Bombardier-A an example of why welfare does not work

This is a family run company who’s only raison d’etre is to make themselves wealthier, and provide votes for Quebec friendly politicians. All this is at the expense of the Dumb Canadian Taxpayer. Yes I say dumb because no one ever really cares until it affects them personally.

When something is given to you without you earning it, do you really value it? It’s like finding a $20 bill on the sidewalk. Do rush to the bank to save it , do you use it to pay a bill or do you spend it right away?

We as a country and Quebec as a Province have poured billions into a company that does not care about those outside its class A structure. If it did, it would have made profits and been profitable at any cost. Instead, they know that they will be propped up by different levels of government in the name of saving Canadian Jobs. If you did the math, we could have funded a national drug program or a national daycare program with all the lost funds poured into Bombardier.

Now, because there were no strings attached with our money, they went looking for another Sugar Daddy in Airbus. Airbus is a shrewd company who paid nothing for the deal and got all the Intellectual Property that we as Canadians paid for.

Welfare is something for nothing. You (and we as a Country) get what you pay for. Remember this next time you’re at the voting booth.

Rick Barbosa


Has “Free Trade” really helped us?

In my humble opinion NO.

Here is what I used to base my answer on. When we lowered tariffs in North America it was meant to encourage a freer flow of goods between nations. Economists tell us that increasing trade creates wealth and was essential to grow economies on both sides of the border or for that sake internationally (TPP, CETA). Free or tariff reduced trade is only a recent trend so we must look at why we had tariffs in the first place.

Tariffs or “taxes” were meant to protect our local and mature markets that were the envy of the world. Our Markets (Canada/US) harbored a healthy working population with disposable income and a robust manufacturing sector. Unlike other parts of the world North America (Canada/US) had made investments for the betterment of it’s population that included:

  • Health and Safety
  • Organized Labor
  • Minimum wage
  • Social Security/Government pensions
  • Workplace or Self-Directed retirement plans
  • Workers Compensation
  • Employment standards Legislation
  • Environmental Protection

Anyway you cut it, these programs increased our cost of production, albeit while producing a higher standard of living. The Tariffs made cheaper goods that were made in countries or states that did not have any of these obligations competitive by increasing their landed cost. In most cases local was cheaper when you factored in tariffs. This drove investment in both countries by companies who wanted to serve these rich markets by making it cost effective to produce locally.

We were told that lowering tariffs would drive competition and innovation because we would be allowed access to their markets on an equal footing in exchange for access into our markets. That did not happen. Restricted or limited access is what we got.

Too often national or state interests fell outside of NAFTA like Health and Safety, minimum wage, and environmental standards. So what in essence happened is that for companies to survive the onslaught of cheaper goods they too had to go offshore to remain competitive. In fact the standard of living has not increased in Mexico, the U.S and Canada. All the wealth that has been created did not raise the standard of living in any developed country, instead it only boosted the multi-national corporations bottom lines. This came at the expense of blue-collar and lower level white collar workers.

I am a strong proponent of responsible capitalism and competition. It’s the best system period and one that drives growth and innovation. When Free Trade was introduced and as other European and Pacific agreements pop up we must ask ourselves one fundamental question:

Is the playing field really level on  both sides?

Rick Barbosa



Morality and Business-Why your business needs strong Moral values

Full disclosure, I am Catholic, but this will not be a sermon or call to convert. I have the greatest respect for all religions that have a strong ethical and principled basis. Being involved in the business world I have come across many situations that were difficult for me personally as well as spiritually. I often had to carry out restructuring initiatives and projects that would “make us more competitive” only to see the lasting and damaging impacts on the communities and families in the area. When I first started out, I did not question or dig into the rationale or true cost of many of these decisions. Whether it was my naïve mindset at the time, or just my desire to drink the cool-aid and not rock the boat to keep my job, I wasn’t sure.

With age comes wisdom and the confidence to start asking questions. My Brother-in-Law was studying philosophy at the time when we were discussing the turmoil in Europe and America. He pointed out that no country or business is an island. What we do for the “good” of the business impacts everyone and has a profound impact on the rest of society. This is especially true today in the interconnected world we live in. Greed and the ever mounting pressure on companies to grow their businesses at any cost and at unreasonable and unsustainable metrics, has led to the turmoil we see today.  The great surge in outsourcing in the 90’s has led the U.S Economy to be primarily a buyer of goods, rather than a maker. The enormous displacement of workers has left cities, people and countries reeling in the aftermath.  Those very companies became hated,  former employees and vendors negatively impacted the very brand image and products that were being made by them. Some were vilified to the point of closing and never opening again. The “smart guys” are not always so smart.

What is the real cost of saving 50 cents per piece or increasing your margins by 5%, when the outcome could be unsafe product or terrible customer service that will impact the very people you displaced? I am not suggesting that we all become tree-hugging socialists and don’t make any money or reward ourselves for the risks we take. I am simply advocating that we take into account all parties including employees, customers and our communities at large when we make business decisions. These qualitative numbers are often the most overlooked numbers when analyzing business decisions. Great accountants take these into consideration as well.

Remember, what goes around comes around!

Your friend,

Rick Barbosa