We Need Discussion on the Development of Regional and Local Economies
— A Miner in Abitibi, Quebec —
During this election, workers and communities must discuss the issue of the development of regional and local economies. Take Abitibi, for example. It is a mining and forestry resource region. However, what we require is a much more diversified economy than what we have right now. This means doing more processing of the raw materials in the region instead of simply shipping them out with as little transformation as possible.
More specifically, it means investing some of the value created by the extraction sector to diversify the economies of those regions such as Abitibi. Right now, much of the value created through our resource extraction work is being taken out of the regional and local economies and sent abroad to fill the coffers of the monopolies that dominate the industry.
We need to think about reinvesting the value we produce, so that other sectors of the economy are developed, along with social programs and public services, so that our seniors, injured workers and the most vulnerable are adequately cared for. Communities will be better off and the people will have a more stable life. These investments have to start from somewhere. One thing is certain, we cannot let the monopolies decide everything, as is the case right now.
The old notion of a resource region as a repository of natural resources that are to be extracted only when the monopolies decide it is worthwhile or that projects and installations can be closed down when they no longer serve monopoly interests must be put to rest once and for all. We must find the means for workers and regional and local communities to exercise more control over the development of their economies.
In my opinion, discussing these issues during the upcoming election will put us on a proper footing to move forward with our own concerns and our own way of seeing things.