[Warning: There is no Torah in this post, just frustration. And another reason to wonder about Canada.]
680 News reported this morning that truckers would protest Ontario’s DriveTest strike today – I’m glad to finally have an ally.
We moved to Toronto in August, and our auto insurers want us to get Ontario driver’s licenses. It’s a reasonable enough request, but we can’t fulfill it; the Serco DES corporation responsible for licensing has been on strike for months (since August 21, four days after we moved here), and there’s no end in sight.
Part of the problem is that the government lacks any incentive to bring the strike to an end; every day the workers stay home is a day that the government saves money. At one point the employees actually offered to go back to work provisionally, and the government told them not to bother.
Who’s going to lobby for this strike to end - the minuscule number of people who have immigrated to Canada over these couple of months? Even the soon-to-be-voting teenagers have no leverage as they wait to be licensed, since most of their parents are just overjoyed that they don’t need to pay for a car and insurance for their children.
More, strikes here are just part of the culture. They're part of an economic system that favors labor unions. They're as Canadian as the air you breathe, the water you drink, the trash you compost in those tiny rolling green bins you had better lock tight or the natives of the raccoon capital of the world will have a party Wednesday night (video here).
And so it goes. The auto insurers have agreed to extend our insurance for now, but there’s no telling how long that will last. There is one ServiceOntario office in Toronto offering licensing services, but that’s a joke; I went there last week and was told it would be a four-hour wait just to get to the head of the line.
Perhaps the truckers will be the ones to bring this mess to an end. Snarl enough roads, delay enough shipments, and maybe someone will listen.
Ah, for the days of Reagan and the air traffic controllers. Or even the days of the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919, when the Canadian Army (yes, there is one) came in to break the police strike.
Ironically, this strike was about job security. What does “job security” mean when you sit at home without a paycheck for more than two months? And how much job security do you deserve, when 99% of the province can do just fine without you?