It’s recently came to my attention that Troy Jackson is back on the stump bashing Canadian loggers in the Maine woods, which has been a hobby horse of Jackson’s — he has trotted this horse from his first failed run for office as a Republican to his ascent to Democratic Senate President.

Jackson has found an ally in Rep. Jared Golden, D-2nd District, both of whom are promoting the idea that Canadians are the enemy of Maine loggers and should be cut off from the Maine woods. Similar to former President Trump, both these men blame people “from away” for low wages.

While I respect Jackson’s commitment to Maine workers, why is he pushing a nativist project in these times of such bigotry in America? I do sympathize with loggers and hope they make a good wage, but how does turning Mainers against Canadians help matters? Employers using contractors and different worker classification to pay some workers less is not unique to logging  and as a former worker at the Maine Office of Information Technology, I saw very low wages for state employees with higher pay for contractors, some of whom came from other nations.

I would never lower myself to attacking foreign workers or asking them to be let go; the solutions never involve cutting down other workers trying to make a living. A key part of this obscuring the “problem of Canadian loggers” is not mentioning the single payer health care from the Canadian government; all Jackson does is double down with the claim they work for less.

To make matters even worse, Jackson is wasting Augusta’s time with a “Buy American Act,” which he magically claims will save jobs; this bill has been vetoed before and isn’t serious.

Whatever one’s political leanings, you should see Jackson’s ideas for that are: backwards, failed ideas from the past that divide folks. At his core Jackson wants to help the working folks of Maine, which is admirable, but his proposed policies look like the Ku Klux Klan platform from the 1920s. The Klan opposed Canadian loggers and goods “from away” in an attempt to restore a mythical past. In the 1920s, a nativist political atmosphere led the Klan to attempt to drive Canadian loggers out of Greenville.

It seems in Jackson’s mind, we could cut ourselves off from international trade and magically restore manufacturing with high wages. Meanwhile, in manufacturing all around the globe, fewer and fewer people are employed because of automation — but that doesn’t fit Jackson’s simple story of the greed from away that killed many Maine jobs.

The Democrats are in charge in both Augusta and D.C. If they claim to support workers, fight for single payer healthcare and fight for higher wages without cutting down other workers.

Instead Jackson is pulling a Trump, ranting about the past with no way to bring it back, which is a timeless tactic of politicians.

Jackson’s obsession with bashing Canadian loggers and his dated protectionist ideas to bring jobs back are a disgrace to the state of Maine, a disgrace to workers and a waste of the Legislature’s time.

Seth Baker is a resident of Smithfield.


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