Jim Stanford CAW Economist addresses CAW Council

April 30, 2011

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CAW Council April 2011
CAW Council April 29-30, 2011
dated April 30, 2011

Port Elgin, Ontario
May 18, 2010

Port Elgin, Ontario
April 30, 2011

Jim Stanford
CAW Economist

       "Working people are being asked to take fifteen billion dollars out of their pockets in Canada, that's what it'll be this year, fifteen billion dollars in extra payments for gasoline. Extra payments, not total, we paid fifty billion last year, this year it'll be sixty five billion. So workers are being asked to take fifteen billion dollars out of their pocket and pay more for stuff they were already getting. So first of all this will have enormous implications. You can't take fifteen billion dollars of purchasing power out of the economy and expect not to have problems. Secondly it is immensely unfair because now working people have fifteen billion dollars less in real income, that is about a one point five percent cut in real disposable income in Canada. A one point five percent cut in your standard of living because of what is happening at the gas pump, that is substantial. It could have macro economic implications as well. What do you hear in the paper about this? Well you are paying more because the world price of oil has just gone up, as a result of a group of dictatorships in the Middle East who deliberately get together and set a particular price for their product. Number two, it is the result of speculative bets placed by rich financial investors. They are placing a bet that the price of oil is going to be worth more when the contract expires then it is today. That is pure gambling, it is a casino, nothing more or nothing less then a casino except it is casino where we pay the bills and not the people who are actually placing the bets. Speculators, they estimate, have caused at least a third of the recent run-up in oil prices. Thirdly, is the simple fact of corporate greed. You've got corporations in the energy industry and else where who have the power to extract that fifteen billion dollars from Canadians and are happy to do it. In a true market you are supposed to pay the true cost of what it is that you are buying. Does it actually cost a dollar thirty five a litre now and it only cost a dollar a litre last year? Of course not. ninety percent of the oil we buy in central Canada came from oil that was produced in Alberta and it cost no more to produce this year than it did last year. So the rising price is all about their power as rich individuals who own those corporations to extract it from us, it has nothing to do with supply and demand. And now, to make things worst the government is going to say to the oil industry; "You didn't make enough money collecting fifteen billion extra from Canadian here is an extra two billion dollars in tax cuts because of our program". Two billion of the money that Harper is giving in tax cuts will go to the oil industry. The best thing the government can come up with when people complain about gas prices, Tony Clement, the industry minister said. "the Federal Government will inspect gas stations to make sure their pumps are accurate". So do you feel better now knowing that litre you just paid a dollar thirty five for actually was a litre not nine hundred and ninety millilitres. That is sort of walking up the scaffold to your execution and Tony Clement will send a health and safety inspector to make sure the steps are safe as you walked up to get the noose around your neck. The assumption they are making that prices are the natural result of supply and demand and you can't do anything about it is utterly, utterly false. We have to rip that shroud apart and look behind to see what is actually happening which is people of greed and power trying to get more greed and power and the minute we recognize the price we pay for gasoline is not the result of a market but the result of deliberate human decisions is the minute we'll be well on our way to taking charge of our own energy and using it for Canadians instead of against Canadians."

CAW Fighting Back Makes A Difference.

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