Media

On the Loss of Another Hamilton Employer

By Maggie Hughes
Published April 05, 2010

I have been doing radio shows on the effects of NAFTA and other international corporations taking ownership of local resources and factories for too long now to be surprised by Labatt closing Lakeport Brewery.

This is business as usual. The laws we had in place that made these kind of international deals illegal were all washed away back with Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and before.

I have tried for years to wake people up to the reality that was coming to Hamilton, and now it is here. Still we cannot do anything about it until we as Canadians manage to force our elected officials on "all" levels of government to rescind these kinds of trade deals.

With the continued loss of our news media to a corporate-controlled tape loop, we no longer have investigative journalists. That's why I have been lucky enough to have them on my show, a local community Radio station that broadcasts to the world.

I should not have this opportunity because these journalists should be able to stay at the mega papers and radio stations they were working at. Most of these journalists are now writing books, while some are selling real estate and hoping to come to Canada.

They all have some delusion that Canada is a moral and democratic country. It lost that honour decades ago.

I realize it is hard for busy working people to dig into the research I managed to find the time for, but that is why I do it. All you need to do is go to my web page and look at the links, or click on the podcast at the top right to listen to the audio.

I gave up trying to write my own stories on my interviews because it is better for people to discover this information from the source. What you will find on my web page are links to the source of what is coming.

Our economic structure has been a lie. In the next couple of weeks I will be interviewing Paul John Roberts, former Editor of Economics for the Wall St. Journal.

I still try to air these interviews on CFMU. It is a lot of work for one sick person, but this news has to get out somehow. So I leave it to all of you to take the time to check www.oside.ca.

The hours I have spent pulling URLs together and making audio interviews will certainly save everyone else a great deal of time. But we must get our heads out of the way we have been doing business for the past couple of hundred years. We have run out of resources and land to exploit for a "profit". There are too many of us now all wanting more.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn't think about climate warming other than to provide a public image. It's good for votes. What he is really doing is selling dirty fossil fuel and making more roads, and rail lines, and airports to do it.

Perhaps our local Councillors should all watch The Age of Stupid. The independents posted it on the web free. The rest of the world has watched this documentary. We can't solve the loss of jobs by courting what is literally a handful of businessmen making billions of dollars a year.

I wish I was wrong, I wish all those radio shows I did over the years were wrong, but unfortunately they aren't. Now what are we as citizens on the ground going to do about it?

Building another road to supply jobs isn't the answer, nor is building more sprawl. We need the basics, food and water. They should be available to all of us, but they are not, and the numbers of have-nots will continue to grow.

Believe me - I really wish I could stop doing this work, I am too sick and tired, but there seems to be only a very few of us interested in doing it. What I have gotten out of it is insults, and depression and tired.

I really wish I did not know what I know. But like our own Lynda Lukasik said to me one time, "Once you see it - you can't look away and pretend it isn't happening."

Maggie Hughes hosted The Other Side, a weekly independent podcast. The Other Side looked at the issues that mainstream media tends to downplay or ignore, using interviews and lectures to show the effects that economic, corporate and political policies have on society. Maggie died in November 2012 after a long struggle with multiple sclerosis. The Hamilton Independent Media Awards were established in her honour.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted April 05, 2010 at 23:43:22

Thanks for sharing Maggie. I use to love listening to your radio program on cfmu when I went to Mac, these days I don't seem to listen to the radio that much. Must be frustrating for you to see year after year, council after council with not much changing.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted April 06, 2010 at 03:19:16

Hi Maggie: I was listening to the voices that you recorded at the last labour day parade and the one voice expressed a fear that if we denied the US our resources, that they, the US, would just come and take it anyways.

So in that light, watch this:

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/201...

As an individual, this footage is very stirring and disturbing, it is so unfair that others across this globe are dying and the underlying issue is OIL. Things no longer make sense anymore.

Where is the common good, to end this.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted April 07, 2010 at 15:37:53

Part of the problem is what is "common" anymore grassroots?

We may all agree "we need the basics, food and water" but there will be countless different opinions on how to provide that. Some will argue the system and/or actions you and I may view as problems are the best method and vice versa. We have been successfully divided and conquered.

I also agree with the author's comments on journalists. My late father was a journalist for what was originally a privately owned local newspaper in southern Ontario. He sought to educate and inform his readers through his opinion column until Southam bought the paper and thought he was too opinionated and they did not share many of his views… he finished his career doing entertainment reviews. That was almost 20 years ago.

Mainstream journalism is dead, has been for a long time… nothing but talking heads remain.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted April 07, 2010 at 21:56:02

Kiely: I am sorry that your Dad was basically silenced. It must have been a very challenging time for him.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted April 08, 2010 at 12:14:04

Thanks grasroots, sadly it was a very challenging time for him and many others as well.

That newspaper used to be a collection of staff reporters and journalists now it is nothing but wire feed news stories.

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By alrathbone (registered) | Posted April 09, 2010 at 18:47:11

Why don't you stop being a socialist and actually learn how the world works. I may hate labbatts for this, but this has nothing to do with NAFTA. And even then, if you look up the data, we have been, by far a net beneficiary from free trade with the states. The problem is not Canada loosing out, it is HAMILTON. And after reading articles like this, I am finally starting to realize why this town is dying around me. Nobody wants to compete. We just want guaranteed jobs for everyone. And guaranteed jobs for the local company, nevermind the fact that if you understood the first thing about economics you'd realize how asinine the whole thing is.

Please, continue trash talking capitalism, the reason why lakeport did so well in the first place before it was bought out by another CANADIAN company.

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By alrathbone (registered) | Posted April 09, 2010 at 18:54:54

For the record I know that Labbatts is foreign owned. But if you bothered to notice the jobs are staying in Canada.

Just wanted to make sure no one thought i was a complete idiot.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted April 10, 2010 at 00:58:38

NAFTA has not benefitted everyone, certainly not the working people. Maybe it is you that needs to learn more. The multinational INBEV, owns many brands, thus the market is becoming an oligolopy. It is competeing against inself, not the competition that you are going on about.

Lakeport was not bought out by a Canadian company,it was bought out by a foreign company and it has closed plants in Canada. So much for jobs staying in Canada.

So what the big guy cannot compete with the little guy, so they gobble them up, to ensure no real competition, then dismantle the plants, those jobs gone forever.

Gee was that not the reason why the telephone market opened up, so that Bell could no longer hold the monolopy on the market.

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By alrathbone (registered) | Posted April 10, 2010 at 13:42:32

"NAFTA has not benefitted everyone, certainly not the working people."

I did not claim it benefitted everyone, but rather than Canada was a net beneficiary. Listen, its all very well what you believe, but the real world is not a zero sum game. If companies benefit, it does not mean that workers suffer; if the US benefits it does not mean Canada can not also benefit. While I don't like all aspects of NAFTA, that doesn't mean that access to larger market places has meant economic growth, and more jobs. Everyone is so quick to blame NAFTA for job losses, yet it seems to me that its not the free trade within North America that's costing jobs, but the unequal, unfree trade between North America and Asia.

"Maybe it is you that needs to learn more. The multinational INBEV, owns many brands, thus the market is becoming an oligolopy. It is competeing against inself, not the competition that you are going on about."

What about Molson-Coors. What about Sapporo? What about microbreweries and other independents which seem to pop up a whole heck of a lot faster than the big companies are buying them up? What about other alcoholic beverages?

I agree there are problems with the beer market in ontario. Part of it has to do with the Beer Store and the LCBO which artificially restrict competition. But this shutdown doesn't decrease competition in any way. Perhaps the purchase should have been blocked by the competition bureau. But please tell me where NAFTA led to the closing of this plant.

"Lakeport was not bought out by a Canadian company,it was bought out by a foreign company and it has closed plants in Canada. So much for jobs staying in Canada."

Jobs leaving Hamilton to go to a expanded London plant. Last time I checked London was on this side of the border.

"So what the big guy cannot compete with the little guy, so they gobble them up, to ensure no real competition, then dismantle the plants, those jobs gone forever."

Until someone else opens an independent brewer, and through the magic of capitalism does well. Who knows, maybe they won't start one with inefficient equipment and limited potential. Perhaps we should be removing the obstacles to entrepreneurship, rather than blaming a company for making a good business decision. Unless Labbatts is outright lying and the Hamilton plant was not the least efficient, I wonder if it could have sustained itself as an independent business anyways.

"Gee was that not the reason why the telephone market opened up, so that Bell could no longer hold the monolopy on the market."

Labbatts (InBev) does not hold a monopoly. Brewers Retail and the LCBO do, and I think that should change, but that doesn't change the fact that this whole thing has nothing to do with NAFTA.

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By wachin (anonymous) | Posted July 13, 2010 at 22:01:55

Have you actually read NAFTA.I really suggest you read the entire agreement before simply dismissing NAFTA as an innocent.

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