submission info
going corporate

by james hörner

wal-Mart Canada has "adopted" 163 canadian elementary and secondary schools under a new program. for one year each of the 163 stores will pick a school in their community, and then either renew or pick a new school the following year. "Money raised for schools by individual Wal-Mart stores will be matched by Wal-Mart Canada's head office to a set amount" said a press release.

Dave Ferguson, President and CEO of Wal-Mart Canada, said that "Our Adopt a School Program makes it easy for our stores -- our associates -- to give back to their communities in a way that's meaningful to Canadians."

wow, Wal-mart is sure looking like a swell philanthropist, aren't they? giving all that money away and all. heck, they've given away a whole SIX million dollars in only the past FIVE years! SIX million - that's got to be a whole .2% of their companies annual profit which runs in the billions. phew, them folks are a generous lot.

really, though, companies like Wal-Mart and people like Jimmy Pattison and Bill Gates get plenty of press exposure for their recent acts of "generosity." the question we need to ask is whether they are in any way making up for all the damage they cause. do companies that push out smaller companies and use third-world labour really contribute to society? maybe they didn't before, but apparently they do now. now that they are donating to the public coffers, that is.

as well, choosing schools to donate to might appear to have really good implications for our children's education. however, in the long run this is nothing more than the ever increasing presence of corporations in our children's schools. perhaps they have no impact on curriculum now, but couldn't this change as they gain more and more control? and even though they are not directly affecting what our children learn, they are capable of ensuring their corporate logos are branded into kids' brains. kids get enough advertising on television, do they really need it in school too? isn't school supposed to be a safe, educational environment where most children spend the majority of their day?

perhaps the real question is why our government isn't doing more to ensure that children get the education they need - without the corporate sponsorship. it's true that children should have access to the best education possible, but i really don't want to see kids being able to recite corporate slogans, or work on colouring books filled with smiling and helpfull Wal-Mart staff.

and why does Wal-Mart insist on having a branch known as Wal-Mart Canada? i suppose they hope to fool us stupid and docile canadians into thinking we will then be supporting a canadian company. yeah, right.

james hörner is glad to have received the usual, ol' fashioned, crappy, non-corporate type education.
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