Teacher, writer, volunteer and running to be the federal Liberal candidate in London North Centre
Peter Fragiskatos teaches at King’s University College in London, Ontario, writes frequently in the Canadian and international press and is running to be the Liberal candidate for London North Centre in the next federal election. @pfragiskatos; http://www.votepeter.ca
In December, when Kellogg's announced that it would be closing its doors, London's economy was hit with a devastating blow. In February 2012, more than 450 workers found themselves out of work when Electro-Motive Diesel closed. In 2013 alone, more than 33,000 factory jobs were lost and this trend is likely to continue.
Last weekend, renewed demonstrations calling for better pay and working conditions broke out and are continuing. Because the garment industry makes up the core of the Bangladeshi economy, its leaders and business class cannot afford to ignore the internal calls for change. In fact, whether they listen depends on the demand for clothes made in Bangladesh being sustained. A boycott would work against this outcome.
Hundreds of thousands of children have been sold or kidnapped and work as virtual slaves in India. Canada must insist that, as part of any free trade deal reached with India, no goods made by trafficked children will be allowed to enter Canada. It is the right thing to do.
While important, it is likely that the continuing media attention on the mine strikes is a result of the violence involved rather than a genuine interest in the finer points -- including the fact that they are rooted in struggles that extend far beyond the economic realm, pitting the governing African National Congress (ANC) on the side of the status quo and its opponents on the side of radical change.