Trudeau courts Amazon CEO to locate its second headquarters in Canada


Trudeau courts Amazon CEO to locate its second headquarters in Canada

Laurent Lafrance

27 October 2017

In a missive to “Dear Jeff,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has petitioned Amazon’s mega-billionaire CEO, Jeff Bezos, to establish his company’s second North American headquarters in Canada. In his two-page Oct. 13 letter, Trudeau combined phony “progressive” rhetoric, with boasts about Canada’s business-friendly environment, effectively offering up Canadian workers on a silver platter to the Amazon boss.

More than 230 cities across the US, Canada and Mexico have submitted bids to serve as the site of the second North American headquarters of the Seattle-based electronic commerce and cloud computing company. According to Amazon, its “HQ2” could create as many as 50,000 “high paying jobs” in the chosen city, with the company investing up to $5 billion.

The selection process is itself revealing of the power Amazon wields over governments. Exercising the 21st century version of the medieval royal prerogative, the world’s largest online retailer launched a form of auction in which city officials competed to make the best offer to Amazon, i.e. the lowest operational and labour costs possible, topped off with tax breaks and government subsidies. Key criteria demanded by the company include a prime location, access to mass transit, proximity to an international airport and, above all, a “business-friendly environment and tax structure”. The bidding contest has now ended, with Amazon slated to announce the winner in 2018.

As CEO and the largest shareholder, Bezos has profited handsomely from Amazon’s vast expansion, which is based on the ruthless exploitation of low-wage labour. On one morning in July, a surge in Amazon’s stock price…

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