Sunday, May 4, 2008

Oh Cotton Canada


Kvetching that the Canadian Olympic shmatas will be made in China is a marvelous example of crying after the horse has left the barn.

I grew up in the textile trades. Just about everyone in my family was in one way or another working in the manufacturing or selling of clothes. My grandfather sewed furs, my uncle Max owned most of the buttons, thread and zippers in Winnipeg, my Uncle Tom was the Head Tailor at The bay for 25 years - an authentic Gold Watch man. My mother was the bookkeeper for any number of clothing factories, my aunt, a secretary. Heck, I sold men's clothing at The Bay when I was in my teens.

And it is interesting to note that it is HBC - The Bay - the oldest company in Canada, is it not? - that has the Olympic contract.

But the glory days of Canadian textiles are as much history as Eatons and Woodwards. And no doubt for many of the same reasons - labor costs and world competition.

Having said all that it is still annoying and disappointing to see HBC not try a little harder, be a little more creative in trying to find ways to have these products Made in Canada.

I suspect nothing will resuscitate what has been for some time now a moribund industry, but wearing Canadian products and being able to boast of it would have added a note or two of much needed Canadian pride.

Oh, well, perhaps we can make up for that on the playing fields.

Perhaps the performance enhancing drugs that will carry our athletes to the podiums will be hatched in secret Canadian home labs.

The Unmistakable, Unique, Eccentric Anthony Newley