Throwing the 99% under the bus
Jim Flaherty, a true Mike Harris disciple and clone, enslaved to Bay Street, remains in office all these years and watches the poverty rate rise, including the number of children living in poverty (967,000 last year), but instead of aiming funds to fight poverty he diverts tax money to super wealthy corporations who do nothing with their wealth except offshore it to avoid paying taxes in Canada? Read more about child poverty
Enter Joe Oliver and all media, CBC included, report on why Oliver’s appointment should cause no real concern because (get ready for this), he comes from BAY STREET! How comforting is it for us to be told that Hey, Joe’s okay cause Bay Street loves him. All Bay Street is geared to do is amass profits. Destroying people’s lives and livelihoods, ruining neighborhoods, scorching the earth, none of this is of any concern to them. Oliver actually zig-zagged the globe preaching the virtues of the tar sands and pushed for the Keystone pipeline. Now he’s our Finance Minister…and we’re supposed to be okay with this because Bay St. likes him?
Okay, you’re asking the obvious question: what the hell can we do about this? Bay Street (the corporations) have the police and army on their side, a fawning media, and a bully prime minister who’s put the fear of god in everybody. Know what? Change will never come from Parliament, no matter how much they yell at each other, but only when the people have said, Okay, we’ve had enough of this! As Rick Salutin put it in one of his op-eds columns: “Movements are the lifeblood of democratic renewal.” Not just larger movement, such as Arab Spring, but smaller movements; the ones taking place every day in communities when small groups gather to reimagine a better world. Simply voting once every four years doesn’t do it. Neither does voting for a certain party, then waiting for the world to change. It never will.
Want a good example? Check out: The Parkview Closure, It tells the story of Jordan, a teenager with learning disabilities who decides to take action when told his special school is about to close to be replaced for a parking lot. When he attempts to protest, he’s told by school authorities to pipe down. None of his business, he’s told. So he finds a bullhorn and lets the world know it is his business. Others gather and a small movement quickly takes form - a movement that spreads to the community and potentially to other Ontario communities experiencing the same problem.
People’s movements such as these reimagine a kinder world – one that respects our environment, that honors aging and that recognizes the special needs of those living in poverty. They also understand that individuals such as Harper, Flaherty and now Oliver are completely connected and subservient to Bay Street and that they will never, of their own free will, work for the people. That’s why movements such as the one Jordan started and others across the country are our only hope.