Spadina's Life Blood --- A Picture of its garment industry

Year Published:  1983  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX2786

Abstract:  Toronto's federal riding of Spadina includes 10,000 garment workers. SPADINA'S LIFE BLOOD-A PICTURE OF IT GARMENT INDUSTRY is a booklet which analyses the current state of the Canadian garment industry.
The clothing and textile industry is manufacturing's third largest employer, and the largest employer of women, most of whom are immigrant women. This booklet discusses the federal government's actions which the author argues will dismantle this industry. Between 1976 and 1979, the textile industry's profits were taxed at a rate 86 per cent higher thatn the average paid by the oil and mining industiries. THis tax revenue is being used to prop up failing energy megaprojects ehich provide little employment or new productive capacity. THe newsletter notes"this is part of a Liberal strategy to turn back a century of industrial deelopment and revert to supplying the world with raw materials."
The federal government is also phasing out impoer restricitons, amove that, if continued, will mean the loss of thousands of jobs, increased UIC payments, lost tax revenues, and loss of control over an industry of which 82.2 per cent of the assets are currently under Canadian control. ( In 1982, within three months of the elimination of the footwear quotas, 8,000 of the 20,000 Canadian footwear jobs wereew lost.) Free trade market of clothing is o gurantee of reduced prices. In fact, with restrictions in place, clothing prices haves risen less than other consumer goods, and Canadian clothing prices les than imports. The Canadian garment industry has ketp foreign producers from raising prices even higher. Free trade does not produce international development; infact, free trade only benefits transnational corporations, the local elite in Third Wrld countries and Western banks, Foreign textile workers ear "starvation wages" in countries where "police state governments suppress free labour unions and human rights...is this the kind of development we want to assist?"
Two immediate actions are advocated to ensure the survival of Canad's garment industry - assistance for modernization and import controls. Otherwise, this vital industry will be destroyed.
This newsletter, also available in Portuguese and Chinese, is based on a more dtailed and documented policy study prepared by the same office.

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