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RBC CEO Gordon Nixon: "RBC has been in the news this week in a way no company ever wants to be." (Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)
RBC CEO Gordon Nixon: "RBC has been in the news this week in a way no company ever wants to be." (Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)


April 13: Talking Point, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

I find the amount of media attention that RBC’s outsourcing of jobs has drawn to be absolutely incredible. Have we all been sleeping for the past 20 or more years?

Why is this (outsourcing 45 IT jobs by RBC) any different from a manufacturing entity shutting down a plant in Canada and moving it to a location where they can provide a cheaper product?

Corporations, driven by profitability and growth, will always move where they can make or manufacture their product more cheaply. The reason we have this furor at the moment is that the outsourcing of service jobs can happen fast, and the cost of doing so is very low.

This is the 21st century. Anyone in a job or profession that can be DVA’ed – digitized, virtualized, automated – runs the risk that their job will disappear to a location where it will be done cheaper, faster and, in many cases, better. And when it happens, it will be fast.

Dilip Kembhavi, Edmonton


The temporary foreign worker program is meant to allow employers to meet a labour shortage. What RBC is doing, however, is using it to address what they see as a labour surplus, that is, Canadians they think they no longer need.

To claim that competition forces outsourcing is specious; RBC, with a record $7.5-billion in net earnings last year, can well afford to employ Canadians.

James Duthie, Nanaimo, B.C.


You can’t demand high-quality industrial jobs in Canada, then buy the cheapest stuff made in China without being a hypocrite.

RBC is a different story. It enjoys a privileged position in our society and is in a position to make the ethical choice. But how many of its critics will make the ethical choice when they go shopping for cheap, Chinese-made goods at WalMart this weekend? Funny how those who scream loudest about economic injustice and environmental degradation always expect someone else to pick up the tab.

Darryl Squires, Ottawa


There is a huge shortage of qualified labour in northern Alberta. It has persisted since 2006. Unemployed Canadians? Keep Canadians employed? Those arguments clearly are not solutions in this case, or the shortage would have been resolved by now, don’t you think? Don’t make this RBC story a scapegoat for the entire foreign worker program, which is desperately needed in many parts of the economy.

Rob Dawson, Calgary


I have seen it in Alberta and Ontario: Companies complain they can’t find Canadians, but for the skilled jobs, what they mean is they can’t find Canadians who will work for the low wages that foreigners will work for.

Joe Lukasik, St. Catharines, Ont.


Congratulations to Amanda Lang (Let’s Worry About Skills, Not Outsourcing – April 12) for succinctly describing some of the horrors of unbridled capitalism: Clearly, almost every job in Canada can be done by cheaper labour in another part of the world. So, for the sake of the corporate bottom line, let’s outsource everything and forget about employment and standards of living in our own society. Her opinions no doubt mesh with the extreme right but likely not with mainstream Canadians.

Judging by Royal Bank CEO Gord Nixon’s apology, thank goodness at least one leader from the banking industry has seen the light! Ms. Lang is keen on telling us that “it is in the DNA of business to want to grow” and that we should not resist. To continue with that biological analogy, uncontrolled, DNA-promoted cell growth is commonly called cancer. Enough said.

Robert Harrison, Burlington, Ont.


The federal and provincial governments need to offer incentives to employers to hire older and younger workers, instead of subsidizing the importing of foreign labour. There are plenty of available bodies out there, many skilled, but not possessing the exact points of the HR requests.

Uilleam (Bill) Ross, Liverpool, N.S.


Even if RBC didn’t break the law, it broke some quite evident moral principles, and it’s turned into a PR disaster for the bank. This has a price, too, even if it’s not calculated by accountants.

Emmanuel Franco-Laporte, Ottawa


There is little difference between, on the one hand, the wealthy sequestering money offshore to avoid paying taxes in Canada and, on the other hand, large corporations outsourcing jobs overseas to increase their profits. In both cases, the rich and powerful are depleting Canada of capital – either financial or intellectual – to enrich themselves.

Canada is overdue for a legislative framework that values all Canadians. The only question is whether the federal government – any federal government – will show leadership or whether, as in the case of the Idle No More movement, Canadians will have to take to the streets to effect change. Under the current government, the policy seems to be to pay lip service when the masses take to the streets, then hope the issue will go away.

Victor Emerson, Ottawa


One wonders if the new Gord Nixon field on the main campus of Queen’s University will now be posted “Foreign Students Only.”

Steve Iscoe, Kingston


I guess we should thank RBC for giving us a glimpse of a worrisome but plausible trend. For years, there has been anguish over the loss of Canadian manufacturing jobs to lower-wage jurisdictions, but we may have been too complacent about the exposure of service sector workers to the same fate. Just look up at those shiny bank towers, and ask yourself: What is preventing those jobs from being exported – the civic-mindedness of the RBCs of this world?

We know now that we shouldn’t count on it, even when they say that decisions like that are the responsibility of their contractors.

George Tough, Peterborough, Ont.



March into the cameras

Justin Trudeau is all but anointed and proclaimed. So, here’s a Scottish-inspired suggestion for the new Liberal leader’s march-triumphant into the cameras on Sunday.

Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,

Onward! the sailors cry;

Carry the lad that’s born to be king

Over the sea to Skye.

(With apologies to Jacobites everywhere.)

Stu Woolley, Kingston


What the camera saw

Thank you for printing the famous photo of the bandsman’s grief at Roosevelt’s passing (Moment In Time – April 12, 1945). I remember our much-loved Scottish housekeeper in tears when I was 7, and asked why. Her family had suffered through the Depression in Scotland, then here. She said, “President Roosevelt is dead. He was the friend of poor people.”

Her grief and the bandsman’s was personal and heartfelt. I can’t help but contrast this with some of the reactions to Margaret Thatcher’s death.

Marjorie Ross, Toronto


Play ball! Nah

Re: Jackie Robinson (Sports, April 12): While I don’t disagree baseball’s popularity is declining among African Americans, you’d have to be living under a rock not to notice that this trend is much more universal/generational. For kids today, white, brown, pink and yellow, boys and girls, baseball is considered “your dad’s game.”

It doesn’t draw the viewership of hoops or football, or the participation rate at schools or playgrounds of even soccer. Much different from when I was a kid, but this phenomenon is all across the board.

Owen Gordon, Toronto


Now that’s rich

Lotteries and casinos that fund government programs are taxing the strong appetite most of us have for the fantasy of becoming suddenly rich (Dead man's hand: just say no to casinos – April 11).

The government could forget about making money and focus on making citizens happy by setting up and operating a lottery with fair odds. Somewhat like supplying addicts with clean needles.

John M. Hartwick, Kingston

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