Sunday, November 8, 2009

Under Stephen Harper we are Weakening

In part one of 'Who Killed Canada' a series of lectures by author Mel Hurtig, we were given an introduction to the infrastructure of the extreme right-wing movement, beginning with the hi-jacking of our media, to the many so-called think-tanks, that provide the 'facts' to that hi-jacked media. We were also told, not that we needed to be, how dangerous Stephen Harper is to our national unity, and reminded of how he plans to divide us further, should we ever be foolish enough to give him a majority.

Part two picks up with 'Death by Decentralization', and the reduction in federal revenue that weakens spending. We learn that we are 25th of the 30 OECD countries, in terms of spending on social programs; but weakened federal revenue makes increased spending all but impossible.

I can't help but think that the reduction in the GST and other tax cuts, are part of the neo-conservative strategy. And yet polls show that Canadians put social programs at the top of their list. Ahead of tax cuts, debt repayment and defense spending. It's who we are.

The neo-liberal or libertarian ideal of less government, lower taxes and less spending on programs, was reflected in Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. The neo-conservative movement, which is neo-liberalism on steroids, calls for almost no government, no taxes and no standards or controls. And absolutely no social programs.

That includes universal health care, Canada pension, EI, Old Age Security - none of those things. Listen to Harper's speeches from the time he was helping to create the Reform Party to his days with the National Citizens Coalition.

His idea of government is no government at all.

Mr. Hurtig also goes on to speak of the distribution of wealth. The gap between rich and poor is growing, so it's becoming easier for the 'haves' to embrace neo-conservatism, believing they should get to keep what they have earned. What they fail to realize is that a huge part of their success is due to universal education and health care.

However, sadly, Canada also has one of the highest rates of poverty and one of the highest rates of low paid jobs. Meanwhile the rich are getting richer, but still complaining that they are not rich enough.

94% of all families in Canada own just 3 % of the wealth. 97 % of the wealth is owned by 6% of the population. A lot of their wealth is because of the efforts of the other 94% and yet they cry and scream if we expect them to chip in to keep our nation fed, housed and healthy.

We need to raise taxes and increase spending for social programs, or we are going to be left behind. For the wealthy who don't feel they have a stake in this. If you have all the stuff, who's stuff do you think we'll be going after when we have nothing.

A healthy and strong nation should be the goal of all of it's citizens.

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