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Canadian Banks Doing Fine! (In Related News, Canadian People Getting Fucked By Canadian Banks)

(I am aware that a lot of this post applies to other countries as well, and banks in general.)

I’m completely disgusted with hearing about how terrific Canadian banks are doing. You want to know who’s not doing so well? Canadian people! You know why? Because they are having every penny squeezed out of them by Canadian banks. Canadian citizens, faced with insurmountable monthly costs, are being forced to go into record levels of debt to… you guessed it, Canadian Banks!  The banks and financial experts tell the newspapers and media that this is because we are all freewheeling and dealing, blowing cash on anything we can, just for the hell of it!  The truth is this: The cost of living in cities like Vancouver and Toronto is so ridicuously out of proportion with what the people in those cities actually earn it is staggering. People can’t make rent, they have to borrow money, they go into debt.  They want to go to school to obtain an education and get a better paying job, they have to borrow money, they go into debt.  This isn’t some nation wide frat party.  This is people just trying to exist.

But all you see in the news is report after report about how strong our economy is, and how well our banks are doing.  How we’ve “weathered the storm” and what a shining example we are for the rest of the world.  If we actually think we’ve avoided the kind of total economic collapse that has rocked the rest of the world, it’s time for a serious wake up call… we may be a little behind, but the crisis is coming to Canada.  First of all, the housing market will crash, that much is inevitable.  Don’t believe me?  See if you can tell the difference between a Vancouver crack shack and a million dollar mansion. So that will cripple construction, hammer the banks and real estate… and generally devastate many a profession based around this hyper inflated market.  Then there’s the little fact that these levels of “personal” debt (you know, that of real, actual people, not just institutions and governments) are 100% unsustainable. Here’s the reality of our economy: A dual income couple with no dependants living in a one bedroom apartment, can just barely make rent with a little left over for food and transportation to and from work. In order to pay bills and BREAK EVEN (that’s no extra cash for anything, no savings, no paying off of debt, no visits to the dentist… we’re talking basic existance here) they HAVE TO go into debt, with the hopes they will one day make more money in the future. They won’t. Why? Because employers are routinely and systematically stripping away whatever is left of the dignity and decency of their employees. Increasingly, you see job postings offering less and less money, with more and more qualifications and experience required. How exactly is someone paying off a 4+ year degree supposed to survive on $12/hr? More credit and debt of course! Gotta keep those banks well paid. We’re told we should feel lucky to have any work at all. Meanwhile, employers are hacking away at any semblance of workers rights, acting as if a lunch break or paying for holidays is optional in this country. They think they can not pay overtime and fabricate lies to take money off of paycheques. They are demanding outlandish hours with no notification of how many days, or how many hours, you will be working. Or perhaps they’ll offer you 20 hours a week at minimum wage and then have the audacity to demand you are available every day, for weeks in advance, when they only post the schedule one week in advance. They try to control your home life and ‘extra-curricular activities.’ They have no respect for you as an individual, and the work force remains silent, passively accepting the worsening conditions because they should just feel lucky to have a job, right? Shut up, put up, and take it Canada.

You know why they believe all of this? Because they are right. They can and will get away with anything they want. You know why they behave this way? Because they can. They know they are winning, and we are losing, and we won’t fight back. We have no means to do so. The laws are shifting more and more in favor of the businesses and the banks, because we, the actual people, have no voice. No one speaks for us. No one cares about us. Which is funny considering… WE ARE THE COUNTRY! This is OUR country. “We” is not some fringe group of outcasts. “Workers” are not a small portion of the population. This is not the middle ages. We are not serfs. We are not slaves. But only if we don’t allow ourselves to be. Right now, we are slowly being enslaved with the same ancient methods used by many oppressive civilizations of the past, and no one is saying a word.

Sure, our ‘leaders’ will carve out a nice little bit of rhetoric for us in one of their speeches, but it never translates to anything meaningful. We are just bags of flesh whose only purpose is to pay every cent of our wages to the bank. Don’t fool yourself, your rent doesn’t go to the landlord, it goes through your landlord, straight to the banks. The banks get it all in the end. That’s why they’re doing so well. We get nothing. We get to exist, barely, as if we should be grateful that these rich, evil institutions allow us to do so. Grateful that they have a constricting choke-hold on our lives. Make no mistake, we will never be truly free again as long as they continue to do so.  People would much rather lash out at anyone who dare criticize and make obvious observations, regurgitating what they hear on the news.  They say the problem is that we’re all out buying new houses and yachts and cars because of low interest rates.  We’re all reckless, freewheeling spenders.  The reality is that they are, and we are taking the blame.  We have been successfully divided and conquered. The average citizen blames other citizens. They lash out at each other, dismissing any criticism of how the banks are operating as ludicrous. No newspaper or magazine dares report the truth of what real Canadian people are going through… they are all owned by big businesses who are owned by the banks. They say what they are told to say. They blame the greedy consumer.  There is no reporting of the real struggles of real people. There is no article on people having their rent increased by $50 to $100 a year while their wages stay the same. There is no talk of desperate people having to take out loans to pay for dental work because their benefits were severed and their wages slashed in half.  There are no articles on abusive employers and students being manhandled and burdened with massive debt loads straight out of high school.  There is only distractions, more blame piled onto the overworked and underpaid Canadian just trying to survive.  There is talk of a farcical ‘jobless recovery’ and ever more news, that the banks are doing just fine with all our money.

At least someone is doing fine with it, because the Canadian people, are not.

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May 28, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

28 Comments »

  1. I feel ya.

    I had an argument with some coworkers the other day. They were arguing that unions were shitty and outdated. That there is no need for unions today, and that union workers make way too much money.

    They argue that 20-30$/hr is far too much money to be paying a worker(when in reality it is on the low end of the middle class spectrum). They argue that if wages go up then the companies will leave, and criminalize the middle class union worker as the cause of all this.

    The real issue is that upper managment, ownership, and investors do not want to share the wealth. These people are not suffering in the slightest, a loss of $10,000 to these people is like a loonie falling out of my pocket on the way to work. They bitch about the 20-30$/hr wages of the working class, while hiding the $275+/hr they make to earn a cushiony salary of $500,000 a year.

    Union members have no interest in creating a deficite in the companies income, that would be counter productive as they work their and barly make enough to survive. If the company closes they are borderline homeless and starving.

    I was disturbed that my co-workers did not grasp this, and that they argued that somehow shaving $5 an hour off of an employee in uppermanagement to give a working employee a livable salary was wrong.

    Comment by A guy | May 28, 2010 | Reply

  2. “Or perhaps they’ll offer you 20 hours a week at minimum wage and then have the audacity to demand you are available every day, for weeks in advance, when they only post the schedule one week in advance. They try to control your home life and ‘extra-curricular activities.’”

    I see you have worked retail. Not many people understand how much of a drain on your time working that sort of schedule is because “normies” (people working 9-5) only hear that you work 20-29 hours a week and think that you must have these gobs of free time when the truth is that you probably spend more time in work-mode than your 40hr counterparts.

    It is far more likely you’re working 6 or 7 days a week at varying hours so your sleep schedule is fucked up and then you have to consider travel to&from your job as well. Most 9-5 workers have a routine they do everyday that those working in retail or fast food don’t get the luxury of. Not to mention that you never, ever get a consistent “day off” and don’t even THINK about spending a holiday not catering to dumbshit customers.

    Then you are actually PUNISHED, in various and devious ways, if you try to plan more than a week in advance and request a certain day off, union contract be damned.

    Yeah. You have a lot of very valid points in your nice rant here.

    Comment by Random American Chick | June 1, 2010 | Reply

    • You are being punished because you work unskilled labour. Someone has to do it. I’m pleased that you like doing it.

      If you want holidays off, get some relevant specialized experience in a growing job sector.

      Change and adapt, or you could whine instead.

      Comment by random canadian guy | September 2, 2010 | Reply

  3. It’s an opinion on a blog written by a comedian.

    Really ……

    Comment by daveco | June 12, 2010 | Reply

    • So a comedian can’t have an opinion? It’s a comedian’s job to have an opinion. I have a strong academic history and brain, I chose comedy because it is the only profession that allows you to say what you want without judgement or censorship. You dismiss everything I have to say as irrelevant simply because I am a comedian? All that shows is that you can’t attack the content of my writing, so you attack who I am and what I do. Reveals much more about you, then it does about me and my words.

      Comment by dannymendlow | June 13, 2010 | Reply

  4. I didn’t know this was by a comedian, and I wasn’t laughing.

    It’s completely true. Especially the part where the majority of people fight to defend this system that strips them of all worth; financially and personally.

    Well written. Completely true.

    Comment by west coast middle poor | September 1, 2010 | Reply

  5. Yes, there are many people that have it tough finacially. But – the housing market won’t _crash_ because there are more than enough people with enough money to purchase these homes.

    Comment by Van resident | September 1, 2010 | Reply

    • Oh, and a single income earner that spends 10k/year in rent should have 15k/year left for food and transportation and bills and entertainment. Whoa, rough.. (sarcasm)

      Comment by Van resident | September 1, 2010 | Reply

      • assuming a single income earner makes $25k a year. Go ahead, see how well you can survive off of $10-$15/hr, taking home $1200/month.

        Comment by dannymendlow | September 2, 2010

      • What about the taxes?

        Comment by jemele | September 2, 2010

  6. We won’t deserve better until we do something about it.

    Comment by Pstonie | September 1, 2010 | Reply

  7. You’re wrong about one thing; we are serfs. Always have, always will be. Revolution of the workers/serfs is the only way to hit “Reset” on our country. (I DO NOT ADVOCATE ARMED REVOLUTION, peaceful change is possible) Read about how governments are preparing for peak oil and the doubling and tripling of food costs. Move to the country, grow your own food, set up solar electricity panels and geothermal for heat in the cold Canadian winters. Arm yourself for a waves of refugees coming from Asia once their glaciers dry up and all their fresh water is gone. Prepare yourself…

    Comment by GX007 | September 1, 2010 | Reply

  8. Sounds just like Colombia but believe it or not, Colombia is worse

    Comment by Truand | September 2, 2010 | Reply

  9. >> assuming a single income earner makes $25k a year. Go ahead, see how well you can survive off of $10-$15/hr, taking home $1200/month.

    The thing is, your blog post suggests that this is epidemic and how everyone lives… when its simply not the case. Sure people live on $1200.. but if its young people they still have opportunity and if they put in the effort they will be rewarded.. if its older folks or families then sure thats more complicated but society isnt necessarily the cause.

    You commented on Michael Moore in another of your posts.. and i see something you both have in common – taking the worst case scenario to create your logic.

    Comment by Van Resident | September 2, 2010 | Reply

    • Actually, I took my life… and the life of many people I know, and the stories I hear from people all across the country. And the facts that I read, and then I write about them. You know, form an opinion and what not. You don’t happen to agree with it. Why? Because you have an outdated, overly simplistic view of the world. You believe what you’re told, you don’t question anything, and you let the shit run downhill and put the blame on the lower class. In short, you’re just like everyone else. The trials that I am going through and many others haven’t affected you yet. Congratulations. This post is merely pointing out that a lot of people are being affected by this impending crisis, and a lot more are about to be.

      You can choose to ignore it until it finally does affect you. Or you can get angry in the comments section of some nobodies’ blog.

      The fact that people are this riled up over this little post of mine and are debating it this vigorously… means that I’ve done a good job as a writer, and I’ve said something that has gotten people talking. One thing it’s shown me is that Canadians are becoming more and more jaded, uncaring and concerned only about themselves and their own self worth. Not the Canada I grew up in, and a sad turn for the psyche of the nation.

      This is a growing epidemic, it is getting worse, and just because you are fine, doesn’t mean everyone else is.

      My motivation for this post is that my monthly payments to the bank have crippled me financially, and without an advance from my boss would have had me homeless this month. Yet every day I get to read about how terrific the same bank squeezing me of any chance at a dignified existence is doing just terrific. This idea that it’s only young people and students that are having hard times is a blatant attempt to trivialize the situation and convince yourself everything is fine.

      It isn’t.

      I’m sorry you can’t see that.

      Comment by dannymendlow | September 2, 2010 | Reply

      • I just dont see the banks as ‘taking peoples money’. I dont see the gov’t or employers ‘creating serfs’. I’m not arguing that it wouldnt be lousy to be just scraping by.

        Even when I spent 10 months on EI with a 1600/mo income I never felt like I wasnt fine.. and i never felt that it was someone elses (banks/societies) fault that my income was tight or the system was the problem. I had no debt and some savings just in case but I still moved to a basement suite for 650/mo including utilities and it wasnt the greatest situation. But people are responsible for their own situation and no one was forcing problems on me or making things more difficult. I ended up getting a job and eventually a better one came along and so now, yes, i do not have to worry about myself.

        Your situation is difficult to understand. I dont get it. A well written and seemingly intelligent guy is having trouble making two incomes work…increasing his income or decreasing his monthly payments… Surely you are at least somewhat responsible for your employment and financial situation?

        I see it the situations, i’m just not overly sympathetic to it – being that its primarily a persons own responsibility. Beyond that.. Yeah, HST is lame. MSP is completely lame. Tax brackets could be adjusted for low income earners. I’m curious, what do you see as being the first thing that needs to change? Or specifically what is the government or bank policy that creates the largest negative impact?

        Comment by Van resident | September 2, 2010

      • “I had no debt and some savings” – then you hardly understand our situation and aren’t likely to. So far everyone who has come on here to lambast me has been debt free. Until you’re being milked for close to a thousand dollars a month of pure interest payments, then you have no frame of reference.

        I told my story, I said my piece, and I don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why I’m poor. I went to school when I was 20. I’m pretty sure you, and everyone else in the world, made much bigger mistakes when you were 20 than going to school for a year. How’d you like to have those mistakes live with you for the rest of your adult life and make it impossible to ever climb out of poverty barring some sort of miraculous $100,000 windfall?

        I didn’t write this so people who don’t understand can come and attack me even further than I’m already being attacked in my daily life. I’m contemplating suicide enough without your condescending attacks on who I am and how I should be doing. Welcome to the new Canada, where nobody cares about anyone but themselves, and profit for foreign investors and banks is more important than a logical, decent, thriving society.

        Systematically impoverished people who would have otherwise been decent, contributing members of society, will be forced into a dog-eat-dog life of crime, or kill themselves, or finally snap from years of being told how worthless they are and how it’s all their fault and harm others. I guess Stockwell Day was right. Better get those new prisons ready.

        This is the land of the rich now. Fuck everyone else.

        Comment by dannymendlow | September 2, 2010

      • Okay, okay.. I didnt read your post thinking it was so intensely about people in debt or being ‘systematically impoverished’. You have to admit, the way it is written generates many commonly themed responses about ‘it’s not as bad as you make it sound’.

        Anyway, i disagree with the blog in general because ‘it’s not as bad as you make it sound’ and massive debt situations suck!

        You should write a blog about how people become ‘systematically impoverished’ and how to avoid it and assist them.

        Comment by Van resident | September 2, 2010

  10. A couple years ago I was part owner of a business as well as the building our office was in. We had a mortgage with RBC, who was banging down the doors to offer us credit lines, services, etc. Even though they were two separate and unrelated businesses, RBC wouldn’t give us the mortgage unless we used our company as collateral.
    When the economy started to turn RBC started pulling our lines of credit even though we hadn’t used them yet – they obviously were suddenly not as fond of our business model as they were previously. When the time came that we actually needed to use that credit, it was gone.
    We had a looming payroll crunch and so were forced to sell our building at an emergency price to meet the need.
    Then, after basically cornering us into this situation, RBC had the balls to force us to pay over $300K in penalties for exiting the mortgage early. $300K! No lie.
    When we used the argument that the company was put into the situation by RBC, and we were only exiting the mortgage as a response to their actions, their reply was that there really was no connection between the two businesses, so GFY.
    I am sure we could have sued them somehow, but it would have cost us more than $300K to fight it, and that was money we didn’t have at the time.
    As a result of everything, we ended up laying off half our staff – over 50 people – before we got our feet back under us. Things are fine now.
    If they hadn’t pulled the credit, we would never have had to lay off a person.
    End result, they basically stole $300K from us and put 50 people out of work in the process.
    While I suspect all Canadian banks are the same, I will never do business with RBC again, and would like you all to view my tale as a warning.

    Comment by Joe | September 2, 2010 | Reply

  11. i laughed from my home in southern ontario. Min wage in ontario is ~$10 (to lazy to double check but the government website has the data). A base earning for a junior or entry level position is 32000 not 25000, please use a canadian source for canadian data.

    For the reason of why you see no articles of abuse from employers is because we have a ministry of labour that actually works hard to ensure there are policies and checks in place to prevent such behavior.

    Student debt – you haven’t looked hard enough. Students shoulder the debt but there is grants, financial aid, OSAP loans, student line of credits. If you want to go to university, college or trades the options are out there. Every province and territory has something.

    Toronto is expensive as is the GTA, any 5 year old knows that. If you can’t afford toronto than move outside. People who work in toronto earn more than those working out side. But when you live and work in toronto one doesn’t really need a car if your location is good.

    “4+ year degree supposed to survive on $12/hr?”
    Just how one survives co-op work terms, over time. 2nd job. Cut back on going out and buying the extras. A lot of people live at home right after university.

    A house is sometimes cheaper than a condo these days. Lots of condo’s going up.

    don’t read the media for facts go to the government of canada website for information. Or statistics canada.

    Comment by Canadian Student | September 2, 2010 | Reply

    • Well I’ll take all that wonderful advice under advisement when I’m on the streets next month.

      Thanks!

      P.S. Glad to know other people’s pain, suffering and poverty makes you laugh. You must be a terrific human being.

      Comment by dannymendlow | September 2, 2010 | Reply

  12. I agree — the banks will likely not increase the rates drastically and there will be at least a deflation, however there is always the danger that there are way too many people like your friends out there. Leading to mass foreclosures, panic, etc, etc …..

    On the other hand I am also a jackass and would love to see a bursting bubble. Advantage me.

    Comment by Benin | September 2, 2010 | Reply

  13. I look back at my hometown (Winnipeg), and I see tonnes of new houses being built across the city – most of them in the high end niche of the market ($450,000 and up in Winnipeg).

    Then I wonder whos buying them, as the population of the city isnt increasing all that quickly.

    Comment by Dertive | September 2, 2010 | Reply

  14. umm.. its really not as bad as your making it sound.

    a dual income couple living in a single bed room can support them selfs just fine and then some.. as for the debt.. yeah hello welcome to the real world… so one said anything about us not having debt. I personally have 10,000$ to pay for my education at UofT and i was aware of this thru my studies. The government helps you out as much as they can … in reducing payments amounts .. extending loan periods and reducing interest. And they deal with the banks while doing so… as for the recession.. its been in toronto for a while… ask the people looking for jobs for the past half a year. its here and its staying… i think we are doing just fine and will continue to prosper. As for the real estate market going down… not a chance buddy.

    Comment by karan marba | September 2, 2010 | Reply

    • Well I am a dual income couple, we live in a one bedroom, we have ZERO extra expenditures (don’t drink, don’t eat out, don’t do anything except go to work, and come home).

      We aren’t surviving ‘just fine’ so please, by all means, go fuck yourself.

      Comment by dannymendlow | September 2, 2010 | Reply

  15. Sorry mate but you are dead wrong, I am 23, work 35 hours a week @ 14.25 and live downtown (little Italy) with ZERO problems, and NO debt. I rent a big (1800-2000 sq ft) 4-bedroom apartment myself ($1900/month) in a super trendy area (Little Italy) I live with 3 roomies who pay me 455/455/575 respectively in Rent. I have a cellphone bill of about $60-70 a month, and then food ontop of that, overall, including my traveling expenses, I spent about $1000 month to live, and I net about $1550 a month from my job, which leaves me about $500 a month disposable income. And I have NO DEGREE (which sucks, would love to ability to go back to school!!)

    Either way, people quite often complain about not “making enough” then spend $4 on a coffee, and guess what, THEY ARE F-CKING RETARDS WHO DON’T DESERVE a high-paying job, since they clearly have no financial sensibility.

    Regards

    B.

    Comment by Big Toronto | September 2, 2010 | Reply

    • No I’m not “dead wrong” asshole, how many more fucking people are going to come on here and say “well I’m okay, so therefore you are too!”

      I DON’T SPEND ANY MONEY ON ANYTHING EXCEPT FOOD, RENT AND TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM WORK!

      I don’t buy $4, or $1 coffee, Ever. I don’t drink. i don’t DO FUCKING ANYTHING EXCEPT EXIST!

      I’m so sick of you fucking condescending assholes telling me that the life I lead isn’t happening. It is. I have done NOTHING wrong, except for go to school for ONE FUCKING YEAR! I pay $300/month of essentially pure interest to the bank, and have since I left school. At this rate, I will pay off this loan when I am 40 years old. I have been working my ass off, full time, since leaving school, several jobs, and I don’t have one god damned penny and in fact am going backwards every month… narrowly avoiding eviction this month by begging my boss for an advance.

      My front tooth fractured in two at work one day last December, and I can’t afford to get it fixed so I just deal with the pain. I am an intelligent, fully capable individual, and so is my girlfriend and there is no reason for us to be living in the squalor and despair we do.

      “I LIVE IN A GIANT HOUSE AND OTHER PEOPLE PAY THE RENT” is what your post should have read, you fucking imbecile. You live in a delusional, unrealistic world… in the real world, you have to pay your own rent, and it costs a fuck of a lot more than $300/month. You don’t have any credit or debt, so this post doesn’t apply to you.

      Go off and get a degree, then pay rent, eat food, get to work, pay bills and pay off your debt on your own with your $1500/month net… then you can run your fucking mouth.

      Comment by dannymendlow | September 2, 2010 | Reply

  16. to those who say it can’t happen in Vancouver, California real estate was thought to be immune from devaluation but the numbers say otherwise. Check these stats for Cali-O:
    http://www.doctorhousingbubble.com/the-muddle-years-california-budget-10-charts-housing-price-declines-slow-economy-for-years/#more-3654

    Comment by cj | September 2, 2010 | Reply


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