Written for Daily Hive by Chip Wilson, lululemon founder and former CEO.
While running lululemon, I had a policy of never, ever hiring anyone who worked at MEC. It comes as no surprise to me that the company had to be bought out of bankruptcy and rescued by an American Private Equity firm. Many people may wonder how a BC and Canadian institution, which in so many ways reflected the progressive agenda of environmental consciousness, diversity, social equality, and union hand-holding, as set out by the provincial NDP (but also read as the federal Liberals), could have failed.
Make no mistake, MEC failed because it is a co-op that, in theory, should have provided dividends to its members, had it made a profit. Inside the MEC socialist regime, the costs of providing inflated wages, of ensuring job security for inferior work, of employing people who should have likely been terminated but were kept for diversity percentage reasons or unionization, is a recipe for competitive failure.
MEC only attracted employees who believed it was egregious for employees to work more than 36 hours a week, who thought their job was safe no matter what their contribution, and who refused to take responsibility for a failing business. MEC was in competition with creative entrepreneurs who enjoy working 24/7, who develop employees to be great, and who propel the world forward — the same entrepreneurs who pay for Canada’s infrastructure and social programs.
When social justice is put ahead of profits, eventually, natural competition eliminates the weak. MEC attracted people who believed social justice trumped profits, just as the NDP attracts candidates who believe they have been dealt an unjust hand in life. These NDP candidates are out to rectify their perceived inequities by pushing an agenda of redistribution as opposed to creating the conditions required for entrepreneurs (and thus, the entire economy) to thrive. Whilst I love people who take action, unfortunately, it is these same people who have never had to risk their future, their family, and their reputation to start and build a business.
Our prime minister’s “executive experience” was as a drama schoolteacher. Premier Horgan’s most entrepreneurial job was as a waiter at the Keg (a job I also once held). John Horgan has lived off the profits of entrepreneurs who have paid taxes to support his government jobs. He has no experience with financial stress, commitment to employees, or the setbacks it takes to achieve profitability. But he has no problem blaming entrepreneurs for the failures of a socially just society.
MEC lasted for many years eating into profits they should have been giving back to its members. It kept waiting for a miracle to occur. The dream that customers would buy from them because it was socially just was madness. MEC ignored the fact that consumers want the best product at the best price.
If anyone thinks that the NDP is any different than MEC, they are misinformed. You cannot put out an inferior product and hide behind socially acceptable slogans and expect to fund social programs. Great societies provide incentives for people to build businesses that make money and tax just enough to encourage more entrepreneurs. The more entrepreneurs, the more money the government makes in taxes. And the more taxes, the more social systems can be put in place.
We shouldn’t forget about the UK rock stars who were taxed so heavily that they simply up and left the country. “Progressive” governments continue to repeat these same mistakes over and over.
The NDP is using the COVID-19 crisis to expand big government and take BC residents further into debt and to forward uneconomic social programs on the backs of entrepreneurs and our children. The NDP does this with socially acceptable phrases addressed to voters who do not understand finance or what policies small businesses need to be successful.
The NDP persuades voters by using phrases summed up by “it’s not fair.” As we go to the polls, I urge the undecided not to be blinded by social media headlines of unionized media writers and socialist university professors (who are also paid by entrepreneurs), but to vote for the reality that sustainable social programs require a strong economy.
In this election, if you want our province to end up like MEC, vote NDP.