By macleans.ca - Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 0 Comments
… and why the country is better off without it. Peter C. Newman explains
Once upon a time, I invented the notion that there existed in this large, amorphous land of ours a tight-fisted cadre of elitists who controlled Canadian business—lock, stock and oil barrel. The intimate workings of this confederacy of high-octane influence peddlers was laid out in a baker’s dozen of my books, published under the umbrella title, The Canadian Establishment. The series sold more than a million copies and created fascinating new stereotypes.
That was no simple parlour trick. The exercise of power on the windy side of the 49th parallel has been reptile quiet, its intensity muted by a kind of “who me?” quality. Canada’s elite consisted of an informal junta of several thousand circumspect pragmatists, linked more closely to one another than to their country. I broke through the barriers and interviewed the many business aristocrats who had never before confided in “the blackguards of the press.”
The Canadian Establishment’s exercise of authority was never subtle. It was strong armed—aimed directly at fulfilling Bertrand Russell’s description of power as “the production of intended effects”—five words that precisely defined corporate influence and how it dares to be exercised. It was James Eayrs, the former University of Toronto political scientist, who got it right when he declared: “Corporate power is not tangential to Canadian society. Corporate power is Canadian society.”
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 2:44 PM - 0 Comments
CALGARY – Investors are welcoming a new plan by Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. to…
CALGARY – Investors are welcoming a new plan by Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. to drive down costs, while a union representing 5,000 of its employees is awaiting more details on major job cuts.
Shares in the Calgary-based company (TSX:CP) are up about 5.3 per cent to $97.91 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, marking a new 52-week high.
Shareholders are reacting to a presentation by new CP chief executive Hunter Harrison on Tuesday evening outlining his vision for the troubled railroad.
The most striking change will be a 23-per-cent reduction in the railway’s 19,500-member workforce by 2016.
About 1,700 of the 4,500 cuts are expected to take place by year-end.
Much of the reduction is expected to come through attrition as older workers retire and aren’t replaced.
Canadian Pacific management has yet to meet with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, which represents conductors, yardmen, locomotive engineers and railway traffic controllers, the union said in a release Wednesday.
“It is difficult for us to evaluate the scope of the decision,” said TCRC president Doug Finnson. “We will wait to meet with management to find out the details, and will reserve comment until later.”
In May, that group of Teamsters workers, known as running trades, walked off the job for nine days before Ottawa forced them back to work.
The stoppage took place just days after shareholders voted to oust then-CEO Fred Green after a bitter proxy contest launched by the railway’s biggest shareholder, Pershing Square Capital Management.
But it was about a month before Harrison, Pershing Square’s pick for Green’s replacement, was formally appointed CEO.
“We have good relationships with most of our organizations. I can tell you that the Teamsters, from a running trades standpoint, is not my favourite group right now,” Harrison said as he discussed his plans for CP with investors in New York on Wednesday.
“I wasn’t here then, but right before my arrival, as far as I’m concerned, they kicked this company when it was down.”