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Defend Public Healthcare: Ontario loses 19,000 public sector workers while rest of Canada gains 73,000

There has been a general trend downwards in public sector employment in Ontario according to Statistics Canada. In the last two years, Ontario has lost 19,000 public sector workers, with most of the loss occurring in the last year.The downwards trend i… . . . → Read More: Defend Public Healthcare: Ontario loses 19,000 public sector workers while rest of Canada gains 73,000

Political Eh-conomy: Some notes on precarious work

Here’s a few more notes on a point that seems to be made with increasing frequency: working for a wage has always been precarious. The current focus on precarity as a defining feature of our age is not unwelcome; indeed, its popularity shows that it clearly harmonizes with the everyday experience of many. The question . . . → Read More: Political Eh-conomy: Some notes on precarious work

Defending Public Healthcare: Ontario public sector employment shrinks

Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives like to say that there is “a bloated public sector” in Ontario. “We will need to make do with fewer government employees” they proclaim.In fact, we already are. The Ontario broader public sector has shrunk by 47,000 workers over the last year, a 3.5% decline.   The public sector . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Ontario public sector employment shrinks

Political Eh-conomy: Another (budget) day, another dollar (cut): Canada’s slow-motion austerity

Yesterday’s federal budget was a non-event. Indeed, the no-surprises budget was itself no surprise: the Conservatives have long done their fiscal policy dirty work in omnibus bills and other dark corners scattered throughout the legislature, Crown corporations and federal agencies. This leaves the media circus of budget day a very stereotypically Canadian mix of polite . . . → Read More: Political Eh-conomy: Another (budget) day, another dollar (cut): Canada’s slow-motion austerity

Alberta Diary: CFIB members please post: ‘Money from public sector wages & pensions NOT wanted here!’

CFIB AstroTurf technicians roll out part of their campaign against improved pensions for Canadians, a plan certain to harm the group’s naïve supporters. Below: A suggested sign for the windows of CFIB-member businesses.

Whew! That was a close one! We almost improved the Canada Pension Plan!

So says the so-called Canadian Federation of . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: CFIB members please post: ‘Money from public sector wages & pensions NOT wanted here!’

THE FIFTH COLUMN: The Bottom Line on the Parti Québécois Proposed Values Charter

I was going to write a long blog post on this but since so much has been written about it I think this captures the spirit and intent of the proposal succinctly. The bottom line on Quebec’s proposed values charter is that you can visit a hospital name… . . . → Read More: THE FIFTH COLUMN: The Bottom Line on the Parti Québécois Proposed Values Charter

THE FIFTH COLUMN: The Bottom Line on the Parti Québécois Proposed Values Charter

I was going to write a long blog post on this but since so much has been written about it I think this captures the spirit and intent of the proposal succinctly.

The bottom line on Quebec’s proposed values charter is that you can visit a hospital named after a saint with a crucifix in . . . → Read More: THE FIFTH COLUMN: The Bottom Line on the Parti Québécois Proposed Values Charter

Left Over: Strength in Numbers, or Just Numb?

Unifor: CAW, CEP Merger Creates Largest Private-Sector Union In Canada

Posted: 05/30/2013 11:59 am EDT | Updated: 05/30/2013 5:12 pm EDT

Considering that CUPE, the largest public sector union, seems to be powerless when it really matters, I’m not sure what difference this is going to make to the private sector…the same things apply to . . . → Read More: Left Over: Strength in Numbers, or Just Numb?

Dead Wild Roses: Spot the Problem?

Of course, it could just be me…

Filed under: International Affairs, Social Science Tagged: Helpful Infographics, Public Sector, USA

Defending Public Healthcare: Too many public sector workers in Ontario?

Opponents of public services often try to portray the public sector as having grown disproportionately.  In fact, since 1976, the size of the number of public sector employees has not kept pace with the population.

In 1976, the number of public sector employees in Ontario as reported by Statistics Canada averaged 830,800.  By 2012, the . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Too many public sector workers in Ontario?

The Canadian Progressive: In B.C., more than 200 community living workers go on strike today

More than 200 community living workers in the Kootenays and Salmon Arm to go on strike starting on Thursday, January 31. by CUPE British Columbia | Jan. 30, 2013: VANCOUVER, B.C. – Community Living workers who support people with developmental disabilities at agencies in Trail, Castlegar, Creston, and Salmon Arm will be on strike on . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: In B.C., more than 200 community living workers go on strike today

The Canadian Progressive: OPSEU congratulates Wynne, calls for commitment to “the 99 per cent”

by Ontario Public Service Employees Union | Jan. 27, 2013: TORONTO – The president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union has congratulated Kathleen Wynne on her victory in the Ontario Liberal Party leadership race and is calling on her to make fairness the guiding principle of her government when she becomes the province’s first-ever . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: OPSEU congratulates Wynne, calls for commitment to “the 99 per cent”

Canadian Progressive World: Canada lost 30 400 jobs in July & apologists blame the global economy

This is the kind of news Stephen Harper and the Conservatives would wish you didn’t hear. That’s because it debunks the self-made myth that they’re competent economic managers. They want us to believe that Canada survived the recent global recession better than most countries because of them. And, they’re rapidly anti-evidence. Anti-statistics.

Well, out is . . . → Read More: Canadian Progressive World: Canada lost 30 400 jobs in July & apologists blame the global economy

wRanter.com: Attacking public sector workers is a bad idea

During economic downturns, people have a tendency to turn on one another. We blame victims and eat our own. I’ve been alive long enough to have seen it more than once before. It’s wrong, but I get it. The urge to help one’s fellow human during times of trouble gets trumped by the human instinct . . . → Read More: wRanter.com: Attacking public sector workers is a bad idea

Railroaded by Metrolinx: Rally for Respect against the Silencing of Toronto

“Regular Programming in Dufferin Grove Park will be cancelled during the day time hours on Saturday, September 10, 2011 due to an anticipated, large, unpermitted event.” (sic)

– Sign posted on a tree in Dufferin Grove Park by Toronto Parks and Recreation, as ordered by Mayor Rob Ford.

According to Mayor Ford, democracy . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: Rally for Respect against the Silencing of Toronto

Railroaded by Metrolinx: Rally for Respect against the Silencing of Toronto

“Regular Programming in Dufferin Grove Park will be cancelled during the day time hours on Saturday, September 10, 2011 due to an anticipated, large, unpermitted event.” (sic)

– Sign posted on a tree in Dufferin Grove Park by Toronto Parks and Recreation, as ordered by Mayor Rob Ford.

According to Mayor Ford, democracy is a large, unpermitted event.

On September 10th at Dufferin Grove Park, 500 people gathered to discuss core public service cuts under the banner of Stop Ford’s Cuts! Spread out on picnic blankets, Torontonians organized into twenty focus groups to strategize how to protect essential services, keep public sector jobs, and work together to draft the People’s Declaration for presentation to City Hall on Monday, September 26th, the ground zero of the cuts. The sum of these 2012 budgets cuts amounts to $100 million, which matches the 2011 revenue cuts by Mayor Ford, which include the $60 vehicle registration tax, and the refusal to increase property taxes by 3%. This infographic by ‘Ford for Toronto’ blogger, Matt Elliot, shows it a glance — Ford finds it necessary to privatize core services, eliminate the Hardship Fund, environmental monitoring, such as the Toronto Environment Office and Atmospheric Fund, and reduce transit service levels so that people can drive cars and own homes. Sound familiar? In August, Harper eliminated 776 jobs from Environment Canada.

At the Dufferin Grove rally, situated in the west end hotbed of urban hippiedom, Cleo Halfpenny was selling hand silkscreened voodoo dolls of Mayor Ford with Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti in his pocket for $25 a pop, $20 without Giorgio during the meeting. Colourful Mayor Ford graffiti is springing up on walls throughout the city, faster than the white brush of the Fords’ can erase. As one of his decrees, Ford said taxpayers should call 9-1-1 to alert them of graffiti, and in the Dufferin Grove sign, he asks park-goers to call 3-1-1 to stop outdoor meetings, but he cannot stem the fabulous graphics,incisive political blog entries and pithy information visualization charts protesting his efficiency-finding measures.

Toronto is awash with graffiti – – Ford as a corpulent octopus, with his tentacles in many jars, his white potato head saying ‘Spud’, the stenciled word ‘Nightmayor’, and online campaigns such as Margaret Atwood for Mayor and 500,000 citizens against Ford. The silencing of creative constituents has brought about agitprop resistance provoked by anger, and softened by mirth, pointing out how ludicrous this all is, while laughing at Ford’s anti-graffiti legislation as a ‘catch me if you can’ tactic. A photojournalist friend, R. Jeanette Martin, is documenting the Rob Ford graffiti art for posterity; she cannot keep up with the sightings. Whether it is ‘Brazil’, ‘Twelve Monkeys’ or ‘Jabberwocky’- it seems like Toronto City Council is directed and scripted by Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam. Mayor Ford tried to close the park washrooms during the Stop the Ford’s Cuts! rally through an edict to Toronto Parks and Recreation; local councillors had to formally request they remain open.

On September 19th, I witnessed the first morning of the second round of marathon deputations from an overflow room at City Hall. Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti asked for a motion to cut deputations down from five minutes to two; it was granted, and speaking time for the opposition was divided by more than half. Within the first several hours, when a blind PWA spoke eloquently to keep funding for HIV services, he paused to turn to face a councillor and consider his question. Mayor Ford cut him off brusquely, timing him out. Councillor Adam Vaughan quickly invoked City Hall’s policy for accommodation for disability. For the next twenty hours, in an absent, monotonous tone, Ford continued to recite the names of the deputants, ending their time to the allotted second, as his form of efficient, cattle call democracy. Mayor Ford no longer accepts interview requests with Toronto Star, or Spacing, the urban planning magazine, or any other publication held to be partisan to ex-Mayor Miller’s regime, from his City Hall throne. (The video of Dave Meslin pointing out the lack of respect for deputants can be seen here- 87 left because of how late the deputations went.)

Shortly after the PWA deputized, a nurse, outfitted in a beautiful Caribana headdress of her own design, spoke of her dependency upon rehabilitation services after a severe concussion, and mentioned a podiatrist who attended her homeless shelter, and offered services to her for free. You could almost hear the pens scratching by Ford’s note takers to ensure that this service was suspended; Ford has refused the hiring of two nurses who specialized in HIV caretaking from the province, but allowed three nurses who focused on the spread of bedbugs. Councillor Mammoliti threatened a young mother with a 35% tax increase if she demands childcare; 35% is the recurring refrain of tax hikes threatened by the Brothers Ford to budget dissenters, and is completely without factual basis. (See more here.)

Repeatedly, deputants said there is a revenue problem, not a spending problem, and were soundly ignored by the executive council, who pointed out the number of times they had deputized previously to discredit them. Many of these deputants were incensed by this tactic; they were representatives for large constituent groups, such as graduate student unions, and when Councillor Mammoliti pointed out they were being paid handsomely for their services, noted their $15,000 graduate student stipends. And in the most hypocritical repudiation of Ford’s campaign tactics conceivable, Nick Kouvalis, the principal architect of the Gravy Train campaign meme, has jumped the mayoral ship to work as a public relations consultant with firemen, on the site Notgravy.ca, to save them from 300 layoffs.

There is a reason why the neo-conservative tag team, or in an oft quoted tweet calling Ford, Hudak and Harper the future “trifecta of Republican-style, right-wing ignorance and bigotry”, is working so quickly to privatize core public services at the municipal level- they realize that sustainable urban planners, architects, grassroots organizations and citizens who build progressive movements are strong, organized and thoughtful in cities, and want to quash them. This was openly admitted by PM Harper when he attended a barbeque with Mayor Ford in his backyard this spring. Conservative PR flaks have made repeated attempts to take down this video from Facebook, but it pops back up again. This tactic is congruent with the Canadian European Trade Agreement, more comprehensive than NAFTA, which is presently in its ninth round of backroom negotiations, and will open up municipal services to European interests. PM Harper intends to ensure the rungs of the municipal-provincial-federal ladder are filled with his yes-sayers. If elected as the MP in Ontario, Tim Hudak wants to get rid of the Human Rights Commission to further silence leftist dissent; for more on his future initiatives, see the web site The Best Ontario Election Web Site, brought to you by Truthfool Communications, who put up the site Shit Harper Did last election.

Just last week, the inclusion of electronic surveillance in the Conservatives’ tough on crime omnibus bill was stymied through a Stop Spying petition with 70,000 signatures, organized by Openmedia.ca. These wiretapping bills are really about the censorship and control of social media by PM Harper and his media advisors – – they are well aware that Facebook and Twitter are the locii for grassroots organizing. Although their new media firms still monitor social media postings, these bills were drafted to ensure that their warrantless stalking of grassroots opposition would be admissible in court. These bills were excised from the omnibus bill this round, but will no doubt be revised, to crop up in different versions to be reconsidered in future legislation.

And finally the Ford Brothers have lost an important battle. A concerned citizen has registered a formal complaint against Doug Ford for meeting with an unregistered lobbyist, an Australian developer, to sell off the Lower Port Lands, putting in jeopardy the development plans of Waterfront Toronto. These award winning sustainable plans, developed over six years, and with thousands of hours of good faith consultancy of citizens’ groups, were supported by a letter signed by 147 architects, urban planners and professors in an emergency press conference to denounce the revised east end theme park version, replete with a ferris wheel, mono-rail and mega-mall. In addition, CodeBlueTO presented 7,300 signatures on their citizens’ petition to preserve the three key principles of the Waterfront Toronto plans – flood proofing the Port Lands and South Riverdale, renaturalizing the mouth of the Don River, and building urban neighbourhoods – citing them as essential. Media reports say this battle loss has created a rift between the Ford Brothers, and pundits have asked for the return of the unauthorized $500,000 for this unneeded, second consultancy, directly from Rob and Doug’s bank account.

The silencing of the dissenting left by the neo-conservative public relations policy apparatus continues on, whether in the careful handling of Mayor Ford to monitor his press access, his controlled role-calling during the marathon deputation sessions, the shortening of deputation time at City Hall, or the censoring of the barbeque video on youtube by PM Harper, and the hidden inclusion of all-inclusive electronic surveillance in their omnibus crime bills.

When citizens are being censored, they act with graphic ingenuity. As witnessed during the people’s wake for Jack Layton in Nathan Philips’ Square, internationally, chalk has become the unique identifier and ephemeral signature of hope and optimism for Toronto, easily washed away by rain, only to fill the square again. This Monday, during the People’s Rally at City Hall, chalk filled the square again with heartfelt requests to protect our core services, and question the unfounded logic of the Fords’ service cuts. Regular programming of democracy will resume one day, and together, we will make it happen. Torontonians have proven themselves capable of compassion through accepting property tax hikes, and additional taxes, as they realize services and jobs for many will ensure the health of all. They have said so through many hours of City Hall deputations, waiting patiently for their shortened turn to speak.

Update: Mayor Ford and Councillor Mammoliti showed up in new business suits, and debated for a day and a half; one-third of 1 per cent of the city’s $9-billion-plus budget, $28-million in “service adjustments” was found, and the votes can be seen here at http://torontoist.com/2011/09/budget-votes-at-city-hall/ By a vote of 22-23, The Hardship Fund, which offsets medical costs for the needy, was cut. Councillor Vaughan reminds those watching the cuts will be on the table again after the election in November. Mayor Ford is claiming a ‘huge victory’ for finding efficiencies.

Watch this excellent video for more on today’s 5:30 pm Rally for Respect: TORONTO’S PRICE TAG / Ayesha Adhami … ALL OUT MONDAY SEPT. 26 – 5:30pm at City Hall‬ at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNuuR12HxBc

References:
Matt Elliott, City Hall budget infographic at http://fordfortoronto.mattelliott.ca/
New Port Lands Agreement Apparently A Win For Ford, http://www.torontosatire.com/2011/09/22/new-port-lands-agreement-apparently-a-win-for-ford/
John Michael McGrath, EXPLAINER: Where does this “35% tax increase” come from?
http://toronto.openfile.ca/blog/curator-blog/explainer/2011/explainer-where-does-35-tax-increase-come
Andy Radia, Harper Conservatives try to quash Rob Ford barbeque video: Liberal blogger http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/canada-politics/harper-conservatives-try-quash-rob-ford-barbeque-video-172632797.html
Firefighter’s site, Not Gravy.ca http://www.notgravy.ca
Truthfool Communications, The Best Ontario Election Web Site http://www.thebestontarioelectionwebsite.ca/
Truthfool Communications, Shit Harper Did http://www.shitharperdid.com
Openmedia.ca at http://www.openmedia.ca
Stop Spying at http://stopspying.ca
CodeBlueTO at http://codeblueto.com/ . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: Rally for Respect against the Silencing of Toronto

eaves.ca: Interview with Charles Leadbeater – Monday September 19th

I’m excited to share that I’ll be interviewing British public policy and open innovation expert Charles Leadbeater on September 19th as part of a SIG’s webinar series. For readers not familiar with Charles Leadbeater, he is the author of We-Think and numerous other chapters, pamphlets and articles, ranging in focus from social innovation, to entrepreneurship […] . . . → Read More: eaves.ca: Interview with Charles Leadbeater – Monday September 19th

eaves.ca: Open Data and New Public Management

This morning I got an email thread pointing to an article by Justin Longo on #Opendata: Digital-Era Governance Thoroughbred or New Public Management Trojan Horse? I’m still digesting it all but wanted to share some initial thoughts. The article begins with talking about he benefit of open data but its real goal is to argue […] . . . → Read More: eaves.ca: Open Data and New Public Management

Politics, Re-Spun: Greece at a Crossroads

Now that the Greek government has survived a confidence vote in Parliament, the stage is set in Greece for further confrontations ahead of next week’s decision on the new “austerity” plan demanded by the “troika” – the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank (ECB), and the European Union (EU). While the origins of […] . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Greece at a Crossroads

Railroaded by Metrolinx: Stiffed with the Bill: A Private Banquet at Civil Society’s Expense

“With a stroke of the pen, a government can destroy the social safety net built carefully by generations.”
– John Hilary, Executive Director of the War on Want
Left: A trade union picnic banquet before the G20 Rally on Saturday, June 26th

An untendered contract for $16 billion for unneeded fighter jets. $1.3 billion spent on security for the G8 and G20 Summits. 116 votes passed quickly by Premier McGuinty – time for consideration approximately 8.2 minutes each – to pass unheard of laws to criminalize dissent, days before the G20 Summit. A federal Conservative Party which filibustered the vote for a full public inquiry into police conduct during the Summits, calling all 25,000 protesters ‘pro-violent’.

The provincial Liberal government’s MacDonald Block offices raided on July 15th by the OPP – specifically, Ministries of Transportation, Economic Development and Trade and Community and Social Services – launching an investigation into “irregular financial transactions” between the provincial government and outside vendors. And the only good news – on July 30th, there was the sudden withdrawal of SNC-Lavalin from the $1 right of way contract for the Air Rail Link. The full responsibility for the ARL has been transferred to Metrolinx, whose Chief Operating Officer Rob Prichard is being replaced by Bruce McCuaig, with the possibility now of the ARL becoming electric. Preemptive?

Canada’s national deficit stands at $54 billion, yet there were $6 billion in corporate tax cuts this year. A 13% HST has been imposed which means that the average wage earner will have even less discretionary income to spend, so that companies can have even greater tax cuts, ostensibly to invest in new jobs. New austerity measures, recommended by a right wing think-tank, the Conference Board of Canada, to cut many thousands of public sector jobs in health care, education and social services in the next three years, while testing an unproven job creation scheme subsidized by the HST.

Have you ever felt that someone else has held a private banquet at your expense, and stiffed you with the bill, and tip? A bill which now has the Harmonized, also known as the Hated, Sales Tax added? Is any of this HST going toward maintaining public services? No. It is an additional tax to enable banks, corporations and the military to fortify themselves at civil society’s expense, and the public sector’s demise. As someone pointed out, a wartime levy.

Canada is becoming militarized, and as we witnessed during the G20, this military state can work against its citizens as well as its aggressors. Provincially, the HST is streaming more funds into the pockets of corporations, with a tax deduction to them as they ransack Canada for its resources, and externalize the cost of destruction of our environment, and no one is fighting to defend the imperative civil right for the full environmental assessment process. On June 8th, Bill C-9, the Budget Implementation Act was passed, which contained several provisions enabling the National Energy Board to conduct their own environmental assessments for oil and gas developments – which is like asking my students to mark themselves. This bill was passed during the BP oil spill, with minimal outcry by the Liberal Party.

And what does it mean when 11,000 jobs from the public sector will be cut by 2013?

A close friend of mine told me that when his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, his family thought it prudent that she was placed into a private, rather than public, nursing home, assuming that the care was better. A few months later, they found that she was terribly neglected, and moved her into a public home. Surprisingly, they found that public sector care was much better than private, because the public nursing home was regulated by the government.

These are the public sector jobs – in nursing homes, schools, hospitals, transit, municipal services – which will be slashed to feed the bailout by the government for financial mismanagement incurred by the banks, which, incidentally, are making quite a healthy profit this quarter. The banks rebounded quickly, but our public sector, subjected to this drummed up, specious logic of emergency bill austerity measures, will not. Rather than requesting that the banks repay the debt they owe taxpayers by instituting a novel, and effective, infinitesimally small Robin Hood tax on bank transactions to tackle poverty and climate change, we will pay for these cuts with our society’s health. PM Harper opposed the imposition of the Robin Hood tax before the G20 to ensure his illusory future job as CEO of an American corporation, with Canada as a subsidiary, specializing in natural resources.

Of course, there is no interest in a long census form by the Conservative Party. They have stopped representing Canadians, particularly lower income Canadians, long ago. Their goal is to have corporate taxes cut down to 15% by 2012. What does this mean? As the social safety net is eroded, the federal government is anticipating growing dissent from those they are contesting the need to collect data about – those who are lower income, disabled and on a fixed income- to justify building a larger military-industrial complex to suppress those who are disenfranchised. Part of this Orwellian speech model is to publicly conflate protesters with vandals in the public mind so that they ramp up their expenditure on weapons of war, as opposed to building public transit infrastructure for the rabble. Sustainable, electric rail transit throughout Ontario could have been handily built with this promised contractual money for fighter jets, but was not deemed worthy. No explanation needed.

We can look forward to much more violence in our cities as basic needs are no longer met, as they have robbed Peter to pay Paul, and the Pauls are a tiny fraction of the population, secure behind a costly fence which cost $9.4 million, almost double the quoted $5.5 million by SNC-Lavalin. During the G20, the Toronto police were handed a blank cheque by the federal government, enabling the purchase of a substantial arsenal for a police state, so that the military has been fortified to quell growing dissent. It is not a coincidence that this police arsenal will be kept in Toronto, one of the hot spots of the thinking left, but it is a pity that Mayor Miller, who has felt the brunt of this G20 fiasco on police credibility, did not defend the protesters who were speaking in his best interests for the environment, transit and social justice.

Historically, when a society’s parliamentary process is suspended and disrupted, trade unions undermined, and people of property, such as the right wing press, banks and big business, are privileged, these policies are the precursors to a fascist state. I use this term with full cognizance of its weight and implication. Parliament has been prorogued twice by PM Harper within thirteen months, and the formal request by over 50,000 citizens, including lawyers, Amnesty International, and the Civil Liberties Association, for the full, public inquiry into the tactics and cost of the G20 and G8 Summit has been denied by PM Harper and Premier McGuinty. The Liberals stood up against the census, but did not speak out for a public G20 inquiry, which shows implicit support for the military apparatus being put in place. Spines, please.

In Journey to a Revolution, Michael Korda writes of the Hungarian Revolution:

“the general object of fascism was to stifle dissent, and bolster the existing establishment, while producing much drama in the way of rallies, parades, and propoganda, and the occasional foreign adventure to siphon off the energy of the lower middle class and the working class, who might otherwise have moved towards radical social reform”.

The Olympics? The G8 and the G20? The Pan Am Games? Bread not circuses, anyone? In addition to ceaseless pageantry, PM Harper deliberately prorogued parliament a second time to enact a bill, more powerful than NAFTA to undercut our sovereignty, the Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). This far reaching bill will provide sub-national access to municipal services, and undermine the public sector even further, losing thousands of good, Canadian jobs to international outsourcing.

Put it together. Civil society is no longer is prioritized by our government, our country is being sold off to corporations and banks, enabled by a newly armed police state, and expanding prison system, and jobs in our public sector are about to be slashed for international corporations to profit through CETA. This is a Conservative agenda campaign, military in execution, orchestrated by PM Harper, against local economies and the right to self-determination. Provincially, Premier McGuinty is designing his own policies through corporate gladhanding of governmental contracts.

Meanwhile, all over the Internet, discussion postings on news articles are polarized – are we allowed to protest, or not? And I think- for those who are Conservative – your rights are next. Although your values have been upheld by this minority government, I have noticed your online responses can only discredit the protesters by saying that they do not know what they are talking about, and labeling them as unemployed and shiftless. Name calling. Ad hominem attacks. And when you call someone names, all discussion ends. A primary school tactic used by bullies on the playground, undercutting fundamental rights upheld by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms for the right to assembly, and free speech, which you are using to discredit serious concerns about the democratic process, and silence those who are brave, engaged, and well-versed in international policy.

I have never been so concerned about the future of Canada, and I am hearing this from many of those who lived through the events of the past seven weeks in Toronto. Nowhere is the civil society being served or protected – by our police, by our elected representatives, by our city councilors, our Mayor, or by our media. When I read letters on the editorial page ranting about the public sector salaries, I compare these costs to the multi-billion dollar bailouts given to the banks, the golden parachutes given to bank executives, and the inflationary pageantry, and corporate contracts, for the Vancouver Olympic Games and G8 and G20 Summits. Compare these taxpayers’ expenses to those supporting our civil society, and quality of life. At least the public sector provides essential services, and is forced to be accountable.

I am an ethical citizen, yet my voice no longer matters. The moral and financial costs arising from all this pomp and circumstance, and the insidious HST, have already deeply hurt me. I have no government representation – not in Premier McGuinty, or Prime Minister Harper – and neither do the vast majority of Canadians. I cannot afford, and do not want to pay, for cuts to the public sector under these new, jerry-rigged austerity measures so that a self-selected corporate elite can pad their pockets, banks can prosper again, and a military empire, outfitted with new, massive $10.65 billion prisons, can arise from the ashes, and I am not sure I can. I am too busy counting my pocket change to pay the HST on my electricity, gas, transit and groceries to join the banquet, while predicting that I will be stiffed with the tab as the more important guests flee the table.

I ardently believe, though, if you held a poll of Canadians and asked them if they wanted to live in a country which valued the military, corporations and banks more than our health care system, social services, education, transit system and environment, even the most deeply Conservative Canadian would say ‘no’.

References:
Shout for Global Justice, John Hilary speaks at 30:00, link to
http://vimeo.com/13227243
The War on Want, link to http://www.waronwant.org/
Jeffrey Simpson, ‘Just what we need: a $16-billion fighter jet’, link to http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/just-what-we-need-a-16-billion-fighter-jet/article1641373/
Robert Benzie, ‘Cabinet rushed secret G20 change, documents show’, link at
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/torontog20summit/article/840529–cabinet-rushed-secret-g20-change-documents-show
Steven Chase,’Tory filibuster seeks to block hearings on G20 policing’, link to http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tory-filibuster-seeks-to-block-hearings-on-g20-policing/article1637756/
Keith Leslie,’Questions linger over OPP raids Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne confirms Transport Ministry was a target’, link to http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario/questions-linger-over-opp-raids/article1652761/
Tess Kalinowski, ‘Province vows rapid rail link to Pearson by 2015 Pan Ams’, link to http://www.thestar.com/article/842240–province-to-run-rail-link-to-pearson-airport
Michael Korda, ‘Journey to a Revolution: A Personal Memoir and History of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956’, HarperCollins; 2006. page 54. Link to http://www.amazon.com/Journey-Revolution-Personal-History-Hungarian/dp/0060772611 More at http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/29/books/Heilbrunn.t.html
The Robin Hood Tax, link to http://robinhoodtax.org.uk/how-it-works/ and http://robinhoodtax.ca/
David J. Climenga, Bill C-9: ‘Earmarks’ have no place in Canadian legislation, link to http://www.rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/djclimenhaga/2010/05/earmarks-have-no-place-canadian-legislation
Heather Scoffield, ‘Canada says no to ‘Robin Hood’ tax at http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/business/canada-says-no-to-robin-hood-tax-91683444.html
Stephen Hui, ‘Statistics Canada head resigns over long-form census controversy’, link to http://www.straight.com/article-335208/vancouver/statistics-canada-head-resigns-over-longform-census-controversy
Lauren O’Neill, ‘G20 fence costs $9.4M, nearly double original estimate’, link to http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/torontog20summit/article/833495–g20-fence-costs-9-4m-nearly-double-original-estimate?bn=1
Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, link to http://www.canadians.org/trade/issues/EU/index.html . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: Stiffed with the Bill: A Private Banquet at Civil Society’s Expense

Railroaded by Metrolinx: Stiffed with the Bill: A Private Banquet at Civil Society’s Expense

“With a stroke of the pen, a government can destroy the social safety net built carefully by generations.”– John Hilary, Executive Director of the War on Want Left: A trade union picnic banquet before the G20 Rally on Saturday, June 26th

An untendered contract for $16 billion for unneeded fighter jets. $1.3 billion spent on . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: Stiffed with the Bill: A Private Banquet at Civil Society’s Expense

Railroaded by Metrolinx: "Stakeholders not Shareholders"

Gordon Mack Scott, Managing Partner of the Strategic Improvement Company, speaks about the need to protect municipal assets, and public services, so that we can all be players in the greater economy.I shot this interview in Ward 18, which is part of th… . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: "Stakeholders not Shareholders"

Railroaded by Metrolinx: "Stakeholders not Shareholders"

Gordon Mack Scott, Managing Partner of the Strategic Improvement Company, speaks about the need to protect municipal assets, and public services, so that we can all be players in the greater economy.

I shot this interview in Ward 18, which is part of the Davenport Riding, a high priority region in the City of . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: "Stakeholders not Shareholders"