By Henry McRandall
There is an extremely wealthy man in Canada – a man whose massive wealth has come from inheritance and from ownership rather than from actually working – whose insatiable greed and callous and oftentimes lethal ruthlessness typifies the corruption and the lawless impunity with which the Ownership Class or Top1% has been allowed to routinely function for far too long.
That man, who is the second wealthiest Canadian and the 147th wealthiest mega-billionaire in the world, is one of just five immorally and illicitly wealthy Canadians – and all from just two families – whose combined net worth is equal to that of 30% of all Canadians. And that man – whose mostly inherited wealth is equal to the combined wealth of almost 2.2 million average Canadians – had the audacity today to whine that next year’s proposed minimum-wage increases – in the provinces of Ontario and Alberta – would cost his massively wealthy national supermarket chain – Loblaw’s – $190 million over the course of 2018.
That insatiably greedy and lethally ruthless mega-billionaire is Galen Weston and he had absolutely NOTHING to whine about; in fact, he should be seeking ways to give back far, far more than he is continuing to receive. Consider, if you will, just how brutal that man has been in maximizing even further a private wealth that could not possibly be spent even over the course of several generations of descendants:
In addition to being the controlling owner of Loblaw’s, Galen Weston is also the controlling owner of Canada’s largest national pharmacy chain, Shoppers Drug Mart, and the Joe Fresh national fashion chain. Yeah, that’s right – the same Joe Fresh that saw the deathtrap factory that was producing its clothing – in Bangladesh just a few years ago – collapse – killing more than 1,100 workers and severely injuring more than 2,500 others.
According to Forbes magazine, Galen Weston’s current net worth is more than $10 BILLION U.S. (approximately $12.5 BILLION CANADIAN). If he were to sell all his massive corporations at fair market value, Weston could earn as much as $375 MILLION a year in bank interest – and pay much lower tax rates on that massive income than the average working-class or middle-class Canadian actually WORKING to earn his or her keep. Ah, yes, the perks of earning a lavish and under-taxed income – not from working but simply from owning mostly inherited wealth!
And, yes, the perks too of knowing that no matter how egregious or how deadly the criminal actions of your corporation are, neither you nor any of your grossly-overpaid executives will ever be jailed or even prosecuted! Sadly, the response of governments in both Canada and the U.S. to the craven criminality of crony corporate capitalism is not to prosecute – or, for the most part, even to regulate, but to simply aid and abet those “too rich to jail.”
After all, the prevailing sentiment – in the halls of government, in the criminal justice systems, in the newsrooms of the captive mainstream media, and among far too many brainwashed citizens is that “that’s just business.” The fact that it has become routine for business – especially big business – to blatantly and flagrantly break any and all laws and not risk ever facing any real consequences, DOES NOT MAKE IT RIGHT!
The captive mainstream media takes great pleasure in lauding Galen Weston and other corporate robber barons of his ilk as “philanthropists” because of their allegedly generous donations to “worthy causes”. How much, however, did mega-billionaire Galen Weston and his massively wealthy corporations dish out to compensate the more than 2,500 survivors of the Bangladesh deathtrap-factory collapse – most of whom will never be able to work again? A total of just $5 million – or JUST ONE ONE-THOUSANDTH OF ONE PERCENT of Galen’s personal wealth. Yet the criminally corrupt mainstream media – including Canada’s “public” broadcaster CBC – will laud this useless lout as some kind of hero.
Today, this pampered heir to a massive and illicit family fortune was lamenting the fact that next year’s minimum-wage increases in Ontario and Alberta would cost Loblaw’s $190 million in 2018, OR LESS THAN HALF OF ITS PROFITS FOR JUST ONE QUARTER THIS YEAR. Galen Weston’s business empire employs 135,000 people across Canada and if the minimum-wage increases in just two provinces have him crying in his cognac and champagne, we should all shed real tears not for a man whose enormous wealth can never possibly even be spent and who seemingly cannot even comprehend the concept of “enough” but for his more than 100,000 Canadian workers who are not even being paid a LIVABLE wage.
Weston’s total lack of civic responsibility and his total lack of concern for the welfare of his Canadian workers or for the welfare of his grossly exploited indirect employees in Bangladesh, make undeniable this imbecile’s total self-absorption.
A few months ago, this unconscionably greedy man found yet another way to expand his own enormous wealth: Because consumers are reluctant to buy fresh fruit and vegetables that do not look good, grocery stores typically throw away most of this “unmarketable” produce. Not Galen Weston and Loblaw’s, though. Rather than trashing this “unmarketable” produce – or simply GIVING it to local food banks and soup kitchens – this grasping genius figured that he could grow his profits – and his personal wealth – even more by now selling this “unmarketable” produce at a discount price to workers – like so many of his own – who are not being paid a LIVABLE wage.
Making brutally exploited workers risk their lives in Third World deathtrap factories and forcing even his Canadian workers to toil for less than a LIVABLE wage are crimes against humanity. And Galen Weston and so many other billionaires and mega-millionaires of his ilk should all be in jail for their massive crimes against humanity.
(You can also follow Henry McRandall on Twitter – @HenryMcRandall1 )