Michelin File: Why is the Michelin man stopping over in South Carolina?

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Canadian Press is reporting: “Premier Darrell Dexter is travelling in the United States until Wednesday to promote the province’s life sciences and energy industries.

“One of his stops will be in Washington. D.C., where he will attend the world’s largest biotechnology conference.

“A government news release says he will address delegates at the opening of the Canadian pavilion and at a bio-economy roundtable.

“Dexter will also go to Greenville, S.C., to meet with Richard Wilkerson, the chairman and president of Michelin North America.”

“Michelin has four plants in Nova Scotia and employs about 3,500 people.” (Thanks Allan)

Well three, not four, unless Mr Dexter plans to give away the store.

But why would the premier of the province of Nova Scotia be going cap-in-hand to the headquarters of Michelin Tires North America in South Carolina, one of the union-free states of the American South, at this time? Is Michelin into genetic modification or does Mr Dexter now regard it a life science? To shoot some hoops or jump through them? Should we expect more Olympic hyperbole, or worse?

Or perhaps it’s the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that the Harper government is negotiating with the European Union and which the Council of Canadians is warning will transfer what decision-making power from local governments to private multinational corporations that has already not been transferred.

Whatever, the Chronically Horrid hastens to assure the gullible merely that “he wants the company to keep the province in mind when making future investments.”

“‘They are a constantly evolving company in terms of making decisions around investments within their company, and we want to make sure that we are, and remain, front and centre in their thoughts when they’re making those kinds of decisions,’ Dexter said in an interview from a Washington biotechnology conference. ‘And we want them to know that we value the relationship that we have with them, and that we’re good partners.’ …

“Dexter said he toured the three plants and met with senior Michelin officials when they were in the province after he became premier in 2009. He said they asked him at that time to visit Greenville.” (Dexter to visit Michelin headquarters in U.S., June 29, 2011)

Just two years ago there was such a mood of euphoria and support for a “new” and “democratic” government. I warned friends and others at the time that there were lots of implicit and explicit “understandings” between the capital-centric NDP and Michelin and company. This is from what we wrote just two years and three weeks ago on the eve of the 2009 provincial elections – and the events which have unfolded over the past two years confirm our analysis and warning – about Premier Dexter, Michelin and company:

Nova Scotia MLA – and prospective Premier – Darrell Dexter has received accolades for his “pragmatism” and “measured policies” from the same Chronicle Herald, significantly with regard to his statement that his NDP government will not repeal the anti-labour “Michelin Bill” of 1979 – “I have no interest in fighting battles that happened 30 years ago,” he said on May 11 – and that Michelin Tires Manufacturing of Canada, a subsidiary of the world’s leading tire monopoly which controls 20 per cent of the world market and has always conducted itself as a sovereign power in Nova Scotia, has been “a good corporate citizen in this province.” Far from contesting ancient history, the aim of Mr Dexter’s declaration is that his Nova Scotia will fight to remain an open shop for the exploitation and plunder of the province by monopoly capital, for monopoly right and for annexation to the United States through such projects as Atlantica and the Atlantic Gateway.

At a time when Nova Scotia, the self-styled home of “representative government,” is facing an unprecedented crisis of credibility, with the incumbent Tory regime running third in the polls, such a government masquerading under the hollow NDP slogan of a “Better Deal for Today’s Families” is very much in the interests of the monopolies. Workers for four decades have raised the just demand that the Michelin workers should be given immediate union status, a fundamental right of association.

Dexter’s declaration, among others, clearly shows that a Dexter government will be poised to negate the rights of various sectors of the population of Nova Scotia, as well as around the world, while it will use the state political and judicial power to defend monopoly right, fight for “their monopolies” in the international marketplace under the banner of “making Nova Scotia competitive on world markets,” and facilitate the all-round militarization of the economy and ports. This state-organized denial of rights and capital-centric program will serve to ensure the people’s right to be, whether based on class, nationhood or otherwise, will be negated or at best presented as a privilege that is conditional on behaviour acceptable to the ruling power and “balanced” according to monopoly right.

When Canadian politicians visit the USA, or when they carry behind-the-back secret negotiations, the Canadian people pay the bill. — Tony Seed


1. Tony Seed, Nova Scotia elections 2009 – There is an alternative!, June 9, 2009

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Filed under Nova Scotia Government, Working Class

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