In this feature documentary, 6 student activists visit 36 Canadian towns to take on one giant corporation. Filmed over 2 summers, these young crusaders (plus a gonzo journalist) try to raise public awareness about Wal-Mart's business practices and their effect on cities and towns across Canada. With youthful passion and often hilarious cultural jams, this film takes us to the frontlines of the ongoing debate over the company's increasing dominance in the Canadian retail market.
This documentary looks at the microchip, an American invention exploited by the Japanese that caused a second industrial revolution. The devastating effect on millions of human lives is related through interviews with some of the newly jobless in Hamilton, Ontario. Using the example of Japan for contrast, host James Laxer demonstrates that the cost of technological advances need not be so high if their effects are foreseen and planned for. Part 2 of the series Reckoning: The Political Economy of Canada.
This feature documentary focuses on the reality of life before, during, and after the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the profound effects the economic agreements between big business and government can have on human lives.
Filmed over a three year period in Canada, the United States, and Mexico, this documentary poses a sobering question: In this global war of cut-rate economies, are people on the losing side?
This feature film made during an exceptionally feverish period of popular revolt that saw the coming together of Quebec’s 3 main unions (CSN, FTQ, CEQ) is a cinematic tract by socially engaged filmmaker Gilles Groulx. Propped against the backdrop of the 1970 October Crisis, the film is a frontal assault denouncing a “consumer society” viewed as the ultimate embodiment of evil.
This feature documentary based on Margaret Atwood’s bestselling book Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth offers a fascinating look at debt as a mental construct and traces how it influences relationships, societies, governing structures and the fate of the planet itself. Exploring the link between debtor and creditor in a variety of contexts and places, from the mountains of northern Albania to the tomato fields of southern Florida, the film blends compelling stories of “owing” and “being owed” with the views of renowned figures like Karen Armstrong, Louise Arbour, William Rees and Raj Patel.
This 1996 documentary takes a nostalgic ride through history to present the experiences of Black sleeping-car porters who worked on Canada's railways from the early 1900s through the 1960s. There was a strong sense of pride among these men and they were well-respected by their community. Yet, harsh working conditions prevented them from being promoted to other railway jobs until finally, in 1955, porter Lee Williams took his fight to the union.
Claiming discrimination under the Canada Fair Employment Act, the Black workers won their right to work in other areas. Interviews, archival footage and the music of noted jazz musician Joe Sealy (whose father was a porter) combine to portray a fascinating history that might otherwise have been forgotten.
This feature documentary is an inquiry into Canada's economic troubles of the 1970 and '80s. The film summarizes the facts at hand, including some pre-NAFTA speculation about economic dependency on the United States. At roughly thirty percent, the Canada of a few decades ago was more foreign-owned than any other country in the world. Still, however, a great and stubborn national pride in our cultural and social idiosyncrasies persists, resulting in the confidence to look elsewhere besides the United States for economic alliances and models. This episode is the fifth and last part of the series Reckoning: The Political Economy of Canada.
Over the course of a decade Brooks, Alberta, transformed from a socially conservative, primarily white town to one of the most diverse places in Canada as immigrants and refugees flocked to find jobs at the Lakeside Packers slaughterhouse. This film is a portrait of those people working together and adapting to change through the first-ever strike at Lakeside.
This documentary from 1987 looks at the serious malaise that plagued the US manufacturing sector at the time. No longer competitive in the world market, and forced to buy more than it could sell, the US nevertheless continued to bask in the glow of past glory rather than face its immediate predicament. Meanwhile, Japan and other Pacific Rim countries were gaining economic ground, perhaps permanently.This film was part one of the series, Reckoning: The Political Economy of Canada.
This feature documentary chronicles the lives of young call-centre workers in Bombay (Mumbai), India. The film profiles several characters who attempt to sell phone services to clients in the UK, showing both sides of globalization’s impact on India – the economic benefits as well as the break with tradition and loss of innocence. A compelling insider’s look at youth culture in India and the growing number of young people who choose to follow the American dream, Indian-style.
More than a decade after the worldwide financial crisis of 2007–08, what does globalization mean today? Filmmaker-philosopher Jean-Daniel Lafond takes us behind the scenes of the International Economic Forum of the Americas, a massive annual gathering at which economists, financiers and politicians hold forth on the key issues of the day. Featuring first-hand testimonials by nearly two dozen influential men and women, The End of Certainties unfolds as a multi-voice meditation on the state of the world. This observational documentary offers a cogent assessment of globalization—and its ideals, disillusionment, fears and hopes—and the quest for a new humanism, characterized by greater inclusiveness and fairness.
This funny yet serious short film demonstrates the effectiveness of advertising and the marketing machine. Its comic appeal lies in the characters and the absurd situations they find themselves in, but it also shines a harsh light on our tendency towards needless consumerism prompted by a steady flow of commercials.
Ages 12 to 17
Civics/Citizenship - Citizen Responsibilities
Social Studies - Economics
The classroom stands in for the municipal council of a small town. Assemble students randomly into groups: Walmart managers, unemployed workers, ordinary townspeople, richer ones, local retailers, elected officials, police officers... Have them view the film and gather all the facts relevant to their assigned group, and then prepare arguments for the town council meeting and vote on whether to allow construction of a Walmart.