Footing a bill for the cheap stuff

Brian Jones
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From the You Couldn’t Make This Stuff Up department comes news this week that bigfoot is real.

Apparently, the elusive, legendary sasquatch really does live in North America’s deep, dark forests. That’s something to keep in mind the next time you venture far into the bush to pick blueberries.

Coincidentally, bigfoot likes blueberries. According to some news reports, bigfoot’s DNA was obtained from hair found on leftover blueberry bagels found in Michigan.

(It is encouraging to see that staff in the You Couldn’t Make This Stuff Up department aren’t so swamped with the doings of the Dunderdale government that they can’t occasionally feed us items of a more human interest, so to speak.)

It gets better. Dr. Melba Ketchum, a Texas veterinarian and genetic researcher, claims to have done DNA testing on the alleged bigfoot hair samples, and found them to be part human and part non-human. Bigfoot arose, she says, from human women mating with “an unknown hominin species.”

This does not refer to 1960s hippies cavorting in remote communes. Ketchum estimates the deed was done about 15,000 years ago, and thus bigfoot/sasquatch and his progeny were born.

Living legends

Other scientists have not yet had a chance to examine Ketchum’s study to either verify it or debunk it. My guess is it will be debunked. As Older Boy would say, it just sounds sketchy.

Some experts have already said Ketchum’s conclusions could have resulted from DNA anomalies (science-speak for randomly different characteristics) or DNA contamination.

But it’s a great story while it lasts. The bigfoot myth lives on simply because it could be true. The wilds of North America are so vast that, if such creatures did exist, they probably could avoid detection by the forces of civilization. That’s a hard concept to grasp when you’re surrounded by concrete, electricity and iPhones; it’s easier to grasp if you actually venture into, say, British Columbia’s mountains or Alberta’s foothills.

Free-trade falsehoods

Here’s another myth that could be true, but isn’t: globalization is good for Canada.

It’s been a whole generation now that Canadians have been told free trade, globalization and low tariffs or no tariffs are the basis of prosperity and modernity.

To say otherwise is to be “protectionist,” i.e., backward, ignorant, unsophisticated and probably a believer in bigfoot.

Except that, every now and then, the equivalent of a hair on a bagel will provide powerful proof to the contrary.

This week, the hair comes from Statistics Canada, in a report about the decline of Ontario’s economy in general and the decline of its manufacturing sector in particular.

In the past decade, Ontario has lost 255,000 factory jobs, StatsCan says.

In 2003, Ontario had 908,000 factory jobs; in 2012, it has 654,000.

That is a 28 per cent decline in just 10 years. And it doesn’t even account for the years 1988-2002.

Globalization might be good for Canada. Certainly, it’s possible. In the vastness of the big-box stores, the proof can be found in plentiful, cheap stuff from China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mexico, Thailand and other remote locales.

But there’s a tradeoff, if you will. All that cheap stuff comes at a not-so-hidden cost.

And it isn’t just Ontario and its factory workers who pay the price.

Canadians no longer make their own stuff. We have voluntarily turned our economy into one based on services, tourism, “knowledge” (a euphemism for anything to do with computers) and shipping raw natural resources to the very foreign factories that make stuff to sell to us.

Predictably, StatsCan also reports wages in Ontario have fallen below the national average.

Believing in bigfoot just might be more rational than believing in globalization.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at

Organizations: Statistics Canada, The Telegram

Geographic location: North America, Ontario, Michigan Texas British Columbia Alberta Canada China Vietnam Bangladesh Pakistan Mexico Thailand

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