September 19, 2020 - No. 35

The Appropriate Political Response to the
Speech from The Throne

Nation-Wrecking No!
Stop Paying the Rich; Increase
Investments in Social Programs!

What to Expect from the Speech from The Throne

Speculation on What the Throne Speech Will Contain

- Pauline Easton -

Illusion-Making that a Just Society
Can Be Created the Neo-Liberal Way

- K.C. Adams -

• Claims that Schemes to Pay the Rich Address
Inequality and Plutocracy

- Anna Di Carlo -

September 11, 2020

Tribute to the Chilean People and Their Determined
Struggle for Justice and Peace


Canada's Shameful Ranking on Child Welfare

Canada's Top 20 Billionaires Get Richer by the Day

Global Tourism Losses Amount to $450 Billion

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Releases Interim Outlook Report on Global Economy

For Your Information

Seminar at the Parliament with Economist Dr. Joseph Stiglitz

- Louis Lang -

Neo-Liberal Arguments for "Ensuring a Resilient Economy"

Recommendations of the Task Force for a Resilient Recovery

Proposing a "Roadmap to the Canada We Want"

United States Resistance Continues Unabated

• Demands for Justice, Equality, Defunding and Control of Police Persist Against Ongoing Police Violence

The Appropriate Political Response to the Speech from The Throne

Nation-Wrecking No! Stop Paying the Rich;
Increase Investments in Social Programs!

On August 17, the Prime Minister asked the Governor-General to prorogue the first session of the 43rd Parliament. The second session will open on September 23 with a Speech from The Throne in which Prime Minister Trudeau says he will lay out his government's "new approach" and the House of Commons will have the opportunity to determine its confidence in his Government.

The new approach is rooted in the claim that the government is now addressing the growing inequalities in the society, championing the 99 per cent against the one per cent. The pandemic didn't exist at the time of the last Throne Speech; it is a new situation and Canada can't go back to the old status quo, Trudeau said at a press conference.

As if the inequalities and injustices of the society were not obvious before the pandemic and as if the policy to pay the rich will no longer prevail, Trudeau said the pandemic has "highlighted inequalities that still exist and the vulnerabilities we have as a society." The pandemic, he said, has "taught important lessons;" this is now a "once-in-a-life-time" chance to set out a plan that will create not the same Canada, but a new Canada.

His plan, to be "unveiled over the coming weeks" and detailed in his Throne Speech, will be "long-term" and address "the fundamental gaps this pandemic has unmasked," he said. Trudeau told the press conference, "We need to get through this pandemic in a way that gives everyone a real and fair chance at success, not just the wealthiest one per cent."

In his press conference speech, Trudeau described Canada and the world as being "at a crossroads." He spoke about the resurgence of COVID-19 in Australia and New Zealand, which are currently in their winter, and said "ours is still ahead." He called for vigilance and declared that "the fight is still far from over."

He said parents are not only worried about things such as the return to school. There is also unemployment, difficult choices for women (between children and careers), the "extra barriers" facing "racialized Canadians" and Indigenous people, and young people worrying about their future as they deal with "unexpected burdens."

Trudeau said that there is "an emerging international consensus" that now is the time to "think boldly and rebuild even stronger." Low interest rates mean the cost of stimulating the economy is low. Countries with strong fiscal positions, like Canada, have to invest to help people through the crisis.

"Our G7 allies, whether it is Germany or the United Kingdom, or our partners like the European Union or south Korea, they all understand that this is a time to act. And we must seize the opportunity as well. We have a choice to make. We can decide to move forward instead of returning to the status quo. We can choose to embrace bold new solutions to the challenges we face, and refuse to be held back by old ways of thinking. As much as this pandemic is an unexpected challenge, it is also an unprecedented opportunity. This is our chance to build a more resilient Canada: a Canada that is healthier and safer, greener and more competitive. A Canada that is more welcoming and more fair. This is our moment to change the future for the better."

At the press conference, Trudeau was asked why he is using prorogation when his election platform promised not to do so. He differentiated his use of prorogation from that of former Prime Minister Harper, who used it to avert a confidence motion. Trudeau says his government's renovated plan (in other words, not his government's corruption) will be put to a vote of confidence. The 2019 Throne Speech didn't even mention the word pandemic -- how can the plan set then simply remain, he asked.

The standings of the parties in the House of Commons at the time the 43rd Session of Parliament was prorogued were: Liberal -- 156; Conservative -- 121; Bloc Québécois -- 32; NDP -- 24; Green -- 3; Independent 2. The Liberals need 170 votes to retain the confidence of the House.

This issue of TML Weekly carries several articles which inform what the pay-the-rich schemes of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland are all about.

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What to Expect from the Speech from The Throne

Speculation on What the
Throne Speech Will Contain

There is much speculation as to what the Speech from The Throne will contain. The Liberals are consulting with every "stakeholder,"[1] from lobbyists, to bankers, to representatives of big business and Chambers of Commerce, to the heads of big unions which support them. The media report that, in the end, when it is delivered, the government's "new agenda" will focus on "three main areas: further measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 and avoid another nation-wide lockdown; to help Canadians stay afloat while the pandemic continues; and longer-term measures to structurally rebuild the ravaged economy."[2]

"Liberal insiders" told Reuters that the government telegraphed some of its priorities to lobbyists. Thus, "most should already have a pretty good idea of what the major themes are, like greening the economy, infrastructure spending, childcare reform, health care (including long-term care homes and pharmacare), and addressing the 'she-cession' -- where the pandemic has particularly affected women's jobs. It should include major reforms to the social welfare system and a more concerted effort to tackle climate change."[3]

By all accounts Trudeau and his Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland are haunted by inequality on one hand, and the striving of the people for empowerment on the other. Exhibiting unparalleled hubris, their pretense is such that they claim they can overcome the trend of the rich becoming richer and the poor poorer by nurturing an elite group of decision-makers -- a "social plutocracy" who know how to foster a "middle class" and what's best for everyone. Anyone who does not fall in line they rail against as  dangerous extremists from the "left" or the "right" to be subjected to civil death.

Hill Times' reporter writes: "Freeland is a more natural front woman for a government focused on inequality than Morneau, a wealthy former executive whose wife is part of the family that controls Canada's C$10 billion McCain Foods Ltd. empire.

"'We are living in an age of surging income inequality, particularly between those at the very top and everyone else,' she said in a speech in 2013, about five months before winning a seat in the House of Commons for Trudeau's party, which was then in opposition.

"Freeland, while not ultra-wealthy, has been part of that same globe-trotting elite since her career as an editor at the Reuters news service and the Financial Times."[4]

The slogan Trudeau is repeating from the playbook he has been given by the financial oligarchs is "Build Back Better," which is also Joe Biden's campaign slogan in the U.S. presidential election. With an emphasis on massive investments for a "green recovery," a claim is made of a rebirth of capitalism without addressing any of the real problems of the economy, the natural or social environment or causes for inequality, which is the ever-greater exploitation of the working class and oppression of Indigenous peoples, women, the most vulnerable and the peoples of the world. The irony is that it is what the Trudeau Liberals have repeated ever since they came to power in 2015, when they defeated the NDP in the very last week of the campaign with a surprise announcement of deliberate deficit-spending, often referred to today as "expansionist economics."

"Expansionist economics" is said to be where the production of goods and services is expanded by the state spending massive amounts of money to boost demand and at the same time facilitate investment. The mantra is that there is no need to worry about how to pay back the loans because the economy will sort itself out on its own. It is disinformation to cover up the policy to pay the rich in every conceivable way. This is not discussed. Even Trump is credited with implementing an "expansionist economic policy" and all of them, whether from the "left" or the "right" are in denial that the results we have today are due to these pay-the-rich policies.[5]

The appropriate political answer to the program to pay the rich is Nation-Wrecking No! Stop Paying the Rich; Increase Investments in Social Programs![6]


1. "The Neo-Liberal Definition of a 'Stakeholder,'" TML Weekly Supplement, September 5, 2020

2. "Trudeau opens throne speech consultations with opposition leaders," Canadian Press, September 17, 2020.

3. "Lobbyists eye 'high stakes' throne speech as opportunity for client interests in Liberal reset," Samantha Wright Allen, Hill Times, August 26, 2020.

4. Ibid.

5. An article in The Economist in April by Mark Carney, former governor of first the Bank of Canada and until recently the Bank of England, set out his views on the post-COVID economy -- crucially, on the potential for the gap to narrow between market values and what people value.

The crisis will accelerate the fragmentation of the global economy with travel restricted until a vaccine is found and applied, Carney said. Debt will inhibit the capacity for corporate growth and private dynamism could be restrained by too deep a relationship with the state. COVID has reinforced the lesson of the 2008 financial crisis that resilience will be valued. There will be lasting consequences for sectors that rely on aggressive household borrowing or a booming housing market.

Carney concluded that we have moved from a market economy to a market society, where an asset has to be in a market to be valued (for example, Amazon the company has a value; Amazon the region does not, until it can be farmed).

"The price of everything becomes the value of everything. The crisis could help reverse that relationship," Carney wrote, citing climate change as the greatest test of this new hierarchy of values.

6. See also "Appropriate Demand for Upcoming Speech from The Throne: Stop Paying the Rich; Increase Investments in Social Programs!" TML Weekly, September 12, 2020.

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Illusion-Making that a Just Society Can
Be Created the Neo-Liberal Way

The neo-liberal way perpetuates social inequality and class privilege. This much has been proven by life experience and is not under dispute. What then should we make of the new offensive which suggests that the problem of inequality can be resolved the neo-liberal way?

An ideal of the liberal vision for society is what is called a just society. Of course, this model of society is precisely the one which is in deep crisis in the United States and Europe as well as in countries like Canada. But despite this, the illusion is created that if only the problem of inequality can be overcome, then we can attain the dream of a just society. And how is the problem of inequality to be overcome? By enshrining equality of opportunity -- or so neo-liberal wisdom says.

The neo-liberal restructuring of the society has stepped up the trend of the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer. When this is spoken about by those who seek to perpetuate the neo-liberal way, then it is not about creating a more just society at all but to cover up the aim of neo-liberal societies to pay the rich, make the most powerful monopolies competitive on global markets and politicize private interests which willy nilly destroys the public authority. It is precisely this vicious anti-social offensive to eliminate all traces of a public authority in favour of monopoly right, which is accelerating the trend of the rich getting richer and the poor poorer.

Obscene wealth is accumulating at one pole while the ranks of the poor increase, including the percentage of people in abject poverty. Far from addressing inequality, inequality has reached unprecedented levels not only in the oppressed countries of Asia, Africa, Latin American and the Caribbean where oligarchies with obscene wealth thrive but also in the imperialist heartlands.

First, it is important to take note of what is meant when speaking of inequality.

Inequality is both natural and social. Inequality stems from the vast variety of natural abilities of individuals, and the class privilege that permeates the capitalist social system and its division between the working class and owners of accumulated social wealth. Natural inequality is related to natural ability. Social inequality is related to social class privilege, either inherited through hereditary right or acquired through natural right.

Natural inequality of individuals is not something to change or abuse but rather approach in a manner that makes sure that everyone finds their place in society and contributes to the best of their abilities. While the impression is created that this is achieved by making sure everyone has "equality of opportunity," this is not the case. Society must guarantee the flowering of the natural ability of all and not allow class privilege to negate or misuse it for narrow self-serving purposes. Under current conditions when the state is not in the hands of the working people, this can be accomplished if social inequality or class privilege are restricted and those in the ruling elite are deprived of the power to use the state and their positions of economic and political control to oppress and exploit others and deprive them of their rights and needs.

Myriad statistical studies reveal that class status has a profound effect on natural ability and whether it blossoms or withers and dies. Social inequality negates the broad development of individual ability, which for many individuals is lost to them, the general interests of society and the public good. The working class and its political representatives reject this waste and fight for the rights of all and their empowerment. People have rights by virtue of being human; fundamental to this is the right of each and all to contribute to society to the best of their abilities and in return have society in a harmonious way guarantee their rights and having their needs met.

When members of the working class with natural ability or for other reasons break through the glass ceiling of class privilege so to speak, they are encouraged through wealth and status to join the ruling capitalist elite ideologically and politically, and use their new-found class privilege to consolidate their positions and that of other members of the ruling class in opposition to the working class.

The negation of social inequality for selected individuals of the working class paradoxically strengthens and consolidates social inequality within society as a whole. It nurtures a section of working people dedicated to their new-found class privilege, who use their own acquired substantial resources and influence and the power of the state to deprive the collective of humanity from exercising its right to be according to everyone's abilities and needs, and the interests of society. Members of this section become ideologues for social inequality and class privilege, as they, through natural right have negated their own individual social inequality and gained the "American" or "Canadian" dream, and now trumpet their new-found class privilege with fanatical zeal.

To oppose the rebellion of the working people against their impoverishment, the greatest liberal principle of equality of opportunity is said to be the key to creating a just society. The need, neo-liberals say, is to rally all those who believe that in a fair society, hard work should pay off.

They are calling on the people to change inequality of opportunity. They are creating the illusion that certain individuals through natural right can join those who have either inherited positions of power and class privilege through hereditary right or acquired their positions, wealth and power through so-called natural right. They say inequality of opportunity negates the possibility of people, especially those who are hard working and possess ability, fulfilling their dream of upward mobility to either professional status with high incomes or becoming owners of accumulated social wealth, and leaving behind the working class not only in class position but also importantly in thinking, outlook, ideology and politics.

According to this outlook, unfair inequality of opportunity causes yet more inequality and loss of hope in the dream which they think motivates every individual on the planet Earth of acquiring social wealth and class privilege. The solution is "equality of opportunity" or "intergenerational mobility" to strengthen the status quo of class privilege and collective inequality through keeping alive the dream of negating social inequality for those who work hard or who in a banal way overcome it by winning a lottery or engaging in criminal activity and corrupt practices.

The neo-liberal position on inequality denies its reality within the natural and social conditions. Natural inequality is not a human weakness but a source of great strength and possibility for the advance of all human beings and the general interests of society. Social inequality and class privilege are expressions of the division of society into antagonistic social classes. It will persist as a backward condition of life for as long as social classes and class privilege remain intact.

The ruling class uses its accumulated social wealth and capitalist state to deprive working people of their rights and block them from opening a door to progress towards democratic renewal and their empowerment, and from creating conditions of social equality and the flowering of all: From each and all according to their abilities, to each and all their rights and needs guaranteed by society.

The neo-liberal way perpetuates social inequality and class privilege. To stop the striving of the people for empowerment and to get the people to conciliate with the anti-social austerity agendas, illusions are created about the capitalist system itself: that it can be fixed and that there is no alternative but to do it the neo-liberal way.

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Claims that Schemes to Pay the Rich
Address Inequality and Plutocracy

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the resignation of then Finance Minister Bill Morneau and his replacement by Chrystia Freeland at a press conference on August 17, he was asked by a reporter why he had chosen Freeland. The reporter prefaced his question by noting she is "known for wanting to reduce inequalities in the society and wanting to do so by taxing the rich." Trudeau responded that he and Freeland have been having discussions for over seven years; he knows her views [on inequality]. She has even written a book on the subject, he added.

He told reporters that the pandemic has "highlighted inequalities that still exist and the vulnerabilities we have as a society."

"We need to get through this pandemic in a way that gives everyone a real and fair chance at success, not just the wealthiest one per cent," he said.

It is known that Freeland was recruited by the financial oligarchy to run for the Trudeau Liberals, in part because of her 2012 book Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.

Freeland addresses herself to the concerns expressed by the super-rich at the Davos Economic Forum which purports to address problems of the world economy as a result of promoting unfettered market economies, including the social consequences of a world in which the rich are becoming richer, the poor poorer and the destruction of Mother Earth has created an untenable situation. The introduction to her book describes it as "an attempt to understand the changing shape of the world economy by looking at those at the very top: who they are, how they made their money; how they think, and how they relate to the rest of us."

The book acknowledges "members of the global super-elite" such as Eric Schmidt, George Soros, Jeff Immelt, and David Rubenstein. Freeland writes they "helped me to understand their world and some have become friends."[1]

The writing expresses a form of awe for the accomplishments of the plutocrats whose stories Freeland tells. She describes them as "meritocrats," frequently contrasting them to the "robber barons" of the "first Gilded Age" at the end of the 19th century.

"This book," she writes, "takes as its starting point the conviction that we need capitalists, because we need capitalism -- it being, like democracy, the best system we've figured out so far."

This "end of history" stand on democracy and capitalism indicates that what will follow is not an analysis of concrete conditions so as to draw warranted conclusions, but a dogmatic rendering of how capitalism and democracy can be renewed, both of which have shown the results they give rise to favour the rich and elite rule. She continues:

"But [the book] also argues that outcomes matter, too, and that the pulling away of the plutocrats from everyone else is both an important consequence of the way capitalism is working today and a new reality that will shape the future."

Freeland's failure to analyze leads to a failure to predict how the new reality she speaks of will shape the future. Her morbid preoccupation with defeat is due to her dogmatic end-of-history rendering of capitalism and democracy which block providing the real problems of the economy and society with solutions. What she does do is express the concern of some of the plutocrats that if they don't reckon with what is happening, they may contribute to the demise of the very system that enables them to rise to the top. In this regard, her positions are akin to those of U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden and his backers. But, like Donald Trump, Freeland is also haunted by the spectre of communism.

Writing on the impact of the industrial revolution (in contrast to the current technological revolution), particularly as it unfolded in Europe, along with an account of how the social-welfare state was supplanted by neo-liberalism, Freeland writes that it "was so socially wrenching that it inspired the first coherent political ideology of class warfare -- Marxism -- and ultimately a violent revolutionary movement that would install communist regimes in Russia, eastern Europe, and China by the middle of the century. The victorious communists were influential far beyond their own borders -- America's New Deal and western Europe's generous social welfare systems were created partly in response to the red threat. Better to compromise with the 99 per cent than to risk being overthrown by them." (TML emphasis.)

She then piles on historical oversimplifications by adding: "Ironically, the proletariat fared worst in the states where the Bolsheviks had imposed a dictatorship in its name -- the Soviet Bloc. The living standards lagged behind [...] But in the U.S. and Western Europe, the compromise between the plutocrats and everyone else worked. Economic growth soared and income inequality steadily declined."

"This was the golden age of the American middle class, and it is no accident that our popular culture remembers it so fondly," she adds.

Speaking about the demise of this golden age and the post-war social contract, Freeland attributes the changes in the world economy resulting in today's inequalities to the twin revolutions: technology and globalization, and to the various economic and political aspects of these two phenomena.

An ardent defender of the neo-liberal globalized world order, she coos: "Globalization is working -- the world overall is getting richer. But a lot of the costs of that transition are being borne by specific groups of the workers in the developed West."

She eyes the current international situation as it has affected the people on a global scale as a new form of "internationalism."

"We are accustomed to thinking of the left as having an internationalist perspective. Liberals are the sort of people who worry about poverty in Africa or the education of girls in India. The irony today is that the real internationalists are no longer the bleeding heart liberals, they are the cutthroat titans of capital," she writes.

To explain how this is so, Freeland quotes from The Growth Map: Economic Opportunity in the BRICs and Beyond by Jim O'Neil, former chief economist at Goldman Sachs:

"We are in the early years of what is probably one of the biggest shifts of wealth and income disparity ever in history. It irritates me when I hear and read endless distorted stories of how only a few benefit and increase their wealth from the fruits of globalization, to the detriment of the marginalized masses. Globalization may widen inequality within certain national borders, but on a global basis it has been a huge force for good, narrowing inequality among people on an unprecedented scale. Tens of millions [...] are being taken out of poverty.... Vast swaths of mankind are having their chance to enjoy some of the fruits of wealth creation."

Freeland's book is filled with quotes from, and stories about, plutocrats, ruling elites and their advisors to show how they are the ones who care. Larry Summers, former Director of the U.S. National Economic Council under President Barack Obama and U.S. Treasury Secretary under Clinton, felt conscience-stricken about elitist admission policies at Harvard when he was its dean. She tells an insider story about how Mark Carney, when Governor of the Bank of Canada, became a key protagonist in "a central battle between the plutocracy and the rest of us" at a private international gathering of bankers. In the same vein, she says that in a public conversation with former Prime Minister Paul Martin and former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, both "members in good standing of the global elite," they "sounded a lot like the kids camped out in Zuccotti Park." [site of the Occupy Wall Street encampment in New York -- TML Ed. Note]

The Perverse Desire for a "Social Plutocracy" 

Where, then, does Chrystia Freeland stand on the issue of the plutocrats and the grotesque income inequality she describes?

The "new approach" claimed by the Trudeau-Freeland-LeBlanc-Duclos team[2] falls into a category described as "social-plutocracy" or "inclusionary-plutocracy," which is essentially just another term for the 1990s Third Way politics of Tony Blair, Anthony Gidden, the Clinton's and others, including the Trudeau team.

A social plutocracy is defined by John H. Skinner, one of its advocates, as follows:

"In a plutonomy[3] dominated by technology and offshoring, there is a need for innovative approaches to accommodate major changes. Social Plutocracy could become part of the solution to economic and social problems created by plutonomy if avarice was replaced with altruism. Social plutocracy is based on a society controlled by a powerful minority who, realize that in order to maintain their status, they must ensure economic stability of the masses. A social plutocracy assures that all citizens have the ability to sustain and improve their standards of living. The plutocrats can become a driving force toward necessary reforms in health, education, labour markets, taxation and the environment. Plutocrats have benefited from governmental support and largesse in myriad ways; it is time they help the majority. The U.S. faces a future of continued income inequality and loss of work opportunities unless the plutocrats pursue solutions. Changes can be made without damaging the privileged, while at the same time reducing the threat to their hegemony. Historically, the formula producing disproportionate have's to have-not's has led to social unrest and civil disorder. The solution lies in finding a middle ground that does not discourage the free enterprise capitalist system but also accommodates the dignity of those who desire to work, but remain unemployed through no fault of their own."[4]

A Desperate Plea for Liberal Democracy

In her book, when addressing the political side of plutocracy, Freeland writes about a concept referred to as "cognitive state capture." The term is said to have been coined by William Butler, another member of the "global super-elite," who has served as chief economist for Citigroup since 2010. Freeland shares how Butler explained it to her: "It is not achieved by special interests buying, blackmailing, or bribing their way toward control of the legislature, the executive, or some important regulator or agency ... but instead through those in charge of the relevant state entity internalizing, as if by osmosis, the objectives, interest and perception of reality of the vested interest they are meant to regulate and supervise in the public interest."

Notwithstanding such "cognitive state capture" of the liberal democratic state by the economically powerful, when Chrystia Freeland was given the Atlantik-Brücke award in 2018,[5] she delivered a speech desperately calling for its defence.

Freeland cautioned the audience to not be complacent about the "inevitability of liberal democracy." "[T]he idea that democracy could falter, or be overturned in places where it had previously flourished, may seem outlandish [but] within the club of wealthy Western nations, we're seeing homegrown anti-democratic movements on the rise, seeking to undermine our open societies from within," she warned. "[O]ther great civilizations have risen -- and then fallen. It is hubris to think we will inevitably be different," she said.

Freeland referred to liberal democracy as a garden that has to be carefully maintained and protected from the "vines and weeds." The analogy comes from The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World by Robert Kagan. She read a passage to the audience from the book: "If the liberal order is like a garden, artificial and forever threatened by the forces of nature, preserving it requires a persistent, unending struggle against the vines and weeds that are constantly working to undermine it from within and overwhelm it from without. Today there are signs all around us that the jungle is growing back."

Freeland shares her opinion on "extremists" threatening liberal democracy with Justin Trudeau, Trudeau spoke in the  same way when he rejected the advice of the Parliamentary Committee to adopt a method of proportional representation because it would allow "extremist and activist" voices to be heard.

Politically, the thesis is filled with a wretched disdain for the right to conscience, freedom of speech and of association and for the right of members of the polity to provide the problems society faces with solutions. In her speech, the "vines and weeds" are described as "the preachers of hate, the angry populists of the extreme right and left" who "rail against groups like ours." "They like to claim that the rules-based international order and multilateral institutions -- the UN, the WTO, or EU -- and even liberal democracy itself are elite schemes designed to benefit a small minority while marginalizing everyone else. Nothing could be further from the truth. When the jungle grows back, the weakest are the first to suffer."

She then resorts to the Occupy Wall Street mantra: "But it is also true that in recent decades in our countries, democratic capitalism has served the one per cent better than the 99 per cent. And so, as we cultivate our own plots [her choice of words -- TML Ed. Note] in the 21st century, we must take care that they are gardens whose fruits are harvested by the many and not just the few."

Freeland then once again reveals the extent to which she is haunted by the spectre of communism. She refers to the title of V.I. Lenin's book, What Is To be Done? (attributing it to "the 19th century Russian socialists") and repeats the bravado of all those remnants of the czarist forces who since the Russian Revolution declare they are mired in hopelessness, helplessness and despair. "Here is my answer," she thunders, "it is time for liberal democracy to fight back."

Freeland repeats the mantra of the financial oligarchy against the political "extremist" threats and defends liberal democratic values which no longer accord with the reality of present neo-liberal arrangements. She is a spokesperson for the "rules-based multilateralism" which she advocates the imperialist system of states must adopt to renew the world order and save itself from overthrow.

In a blunt admission of the havoc and destruction the new imperialist world order has wrought on the world, she says:

"Neither Canadians nor Germans want to live in a world where might is right, where theft and murder and invasion are not only tolerated, but become, in practice, the most effective tools of statecraft. We do not want to live in a world where two or three great powers carve up the spoils for themselves, leaving the rest no choice but to choose sides and be satisfied with the scraps."

By championing the integration of the Canadian economy into the U.S. imperialist war economy and the Canadian state into the U.S. imperialist state and war government this is, of course, precisely what she does, de facto, stand for.


1. Eric Schmidt: former Google Chairman and Alphabet executive chairman. Currently chair of the U.S. Department of Defense's Innovation Advisory Board. His current net worth is $14.7 billion.

Georges Soros: Hungarian-American billionaire investor and philanthropist. As of May 2020, he had a net worth of $8.3 billion, having donated more than $32 billion to the Open Society Foundations.

Jeff Immelt: A venture partner of the venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and currently serves on the board of NEA portfolio companies Collective Health, Desktop Metal and Radiology Partners. He was chairman and chief executive officer of General Electric, and before that was director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, chairman of the U.S. Presidential Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and as a trustee of Dartmouth College.

David Rubenstein: Businessman and philanthropist; financial analyst and lawyer; co-founder and co-executive chairman of the global private equity investment company The Carlyle Group. As of June 30, 2020, The Carlyle Group manages $221 billion in assets under management in 389 investment vehicles investing in Corporate Private Equity, Real Assets, Global Credit and Investment Solutions.

2. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister; Chrystia Freeland, Finance Minister; Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs; Jean-Yves Duclos, President of the Treasury Board, former professor at Laval University whose specialty was matters of equalities, social justice, poverty, and the like.

3. Plutonomy is a term that refers to the science of the production and distribution of wealth. The term first appeared in the middle of the 19th-century in the work of John Malcolm Forbes Ludlow. In modern times, Citigroup analysts, beginning with Ajay Kapur in 2005, have used the term to describe an economy in which the rich are the driving force and main beneficiaries of economic growth.

Citigroup analysts advised their clients to take advantage of inequality by building a stock portfolio made up of the luxury items favoured by the wealthy. Fifteen years later, Kapur suggested that antagonism to plutonomy had reached a tipping point. (

4. Capitalism, Socialism, Social Plutocracy: An American Crisis, John H. Skinner, 2014

5. Atlantik-Brücke was founded in 1952 with the aim of advancing cooperation between Germany, Europe and America to promote "multi-lateralism, open societies and free trade." Its membership, by invitation only, is said to be comprised of 500 "decision-makers from business, politics, science and the media on both sides of the Atlantic."

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September 11, 2020

Tribute to the Chilean People and Their
Determined Struggle for Justice and Peace

September 11 marked the 47th anniversary of the U.S. imperialists' coup d'état in Chile, in which the Pinochet regime brutally assassinated President Salvador Guillermo Allende and murdered, tortured and imprisoned thousands of people. Numerous commemorative activities took place worldwide in commemoration of this year's anniversary, at a time when the U.S. continues to organize and support violent coups such as in Honduras in 2009, and carry out subversive actions against the democratically elected governments of Latin American countries such as Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, which are exercising their right to choose their own political system, free from U.S. interference.

We salute the Chilean people's resolute struggle to obtain justice for the crimes committed by the Pinochet regime and its American sponsors and their struggle today to rid themselves of the remnants of the Pinochet era and provide themselves with a new constitution.

Montreal's Araucaria Cultural Centre organized the traditional reminder of the events of September 11 in Chile 47 years ago. Each year the Tree of Memory that grows in Jeanne-Mance Park brings together Chileans and the friends of the Chilean people.

Montreal, September 12, 2020

On Saturday, September 12 in Montreal, the collective Place de la dignité organized a festive event of performances, music, interventions and fundraising in support of Chile's Mapuche people to send medical equipment to Cuba.

Mara Bilbao Díaz, Consul General of Cuba in Montreal, addresses participants.

On September 17, representatives of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) joined the Chilean community in offering flowers at the foot of the tree planted in Strathcona Park on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa in 2008, in memory of the late President Salvador Allende.

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Canada's Shameful Ranking on Child Welfare

"Now in its 20th year, a recent UNICEF report card that tracks the state of children and youth under 18 in wealthy countries, ranked Canada 30th out of 38 developed nations. It ranked 31st in securing strong mental well-being outcomes of children, 30th in physical health, and 18th in academic and social skills," the Hill Times reported September 17.

According to the report, nations spent an average of 2.4 per cent of their gross domestic product on support for families. Canada's public spending in 2015 on transfers, services, and tax breaks for families sat at just above or just below 1.5 per cent.

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Canada's Top 20 Billionaires Get Richer by the Day

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) in a new report says that Canada's top 20 richest billionaires have increased their collective wealth by $37 billion since March, when COVID-related lockdowns and closures began across the country.

The CCPA reports: "Some did better than others, with the biggest gains going to the Thomson family fortune (an estimated $8.8 billion increase in wealth), followed closely by Shopify's Tobi Lutke ($6.6 billion increase) -- mirroring some of the huge gains among big tech firms like Amazon and Apple south of the border. Lululemon founder Chip Wilson has also done exceptionally well, with a nearly $3 billion gain.

"At the same time as billionaires like Loblaws owner Galen Weston have seen their wealth balloon, front-line workers stocking shelves and scanning groceries at his stores have continued to risk their health and that of their loved ones by coming into work."

"Fundamentally this is about the power of a wealthy few, such as Galen Weston's Loblaws, to claw back the pandemic pay of frontline workers to increase their profits," CCPA researcher and report co-author Alex Hemingway told Ricochet. "And their power, under current policies, to amass huge portions of wealth that is actually created by all of us."

"But if people get organized and exert pressure from below, it is possible to change those policies and shift that balance of power," he said.

Ricochet informs that the list "leaves out perhaps the world's richest person who holds Canadian citizenship: Elon Musk. The Tesla founder's personal fortune has more than tripled during the pandemic and is estimated at more than $120 billion."

The CCPA report notes, "Data from Forbes' annual billionaires list and their 'real-time billionaires' listing shows that Canada's top 20 billionaires have amassed an average of just under $2 billion in wealth gains during some of the most economically catastrophic six months in Canadian history. This reflects the increasingly clear decoupling of the stock market from the real economy."

BC billionaire Jim Pattison has also seen a big jump in his fortune, up $1.7 billion since March. The chain of grocery stores he owns rescinded hazard pay for workers in May, barely more than two months into the public health emergency. The CCPA report says that when the cut took place he told reporters he was "not involved" in the decision but that "We own and finance the company."

In addition to advocating for a wealth tax, the CCPA report calls for corporate tax reform and a crackdown on tax havens.

Ricochet writes: "For the billionaires whose ballooning fortunes are documented in the CCPA report, a few percentage points makes a big difference. With a wealth tax of 1 per cent on wealth over $20 million, the Thomsons would pay just over $500 million. With an increase to two per cent starting at $50 million, they'd owe over a billion dollars in wealth taxes, which would still represent a mere fraction of the $8.8 billion they've amassed during the pandemic and leave them with a personal fortune of just under $50 billion."

For the full report click here.

(, September 17, 2020.)

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Global Tourism Losses Amount to $450 Billion

The global tourism sector lost about $460 billion in the first half of 2020 due to the drop in international travel worldwide caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, the UN World Tourism Organization reported on September 15.

"The massive drop in international travel demand over the period January-June 2020 translates into a loss of 440 million international arrivals and about U.S.$460 billion in export revenues from international tourism. This is around five times the loss in international tourism receipts recorded in 2009 amid the global economic and financial crisis," the UN agency said.

According to the organization, international tourist arrivals dropped by 65 per cent during the first half of the year as countries started to introduce travel restrictions and closed borders in an effort to contain the infection.

Asia and the Pacific, the first region to feel the impact of COVID-19 on tourism, was the hardest hit, with a 72 per cent fall in tourists for the six-month period. Europe was the second region hit, with a decline of 66 per cent. Africa and the Middle East both suffered declines of 57 per cent and the Americas had a decline of 55 per cent.

Canada's tourism industry has been greatly affected by the pandemic. While the UN agency did not provide country-specific data, news reports provide some information. Automobile arrivals from the U.S. into Canada decreased by 96 per cent compared to last year, after five months of closure of the U.S.-Canada border to non-essential travel. Tourism spending in Canada fell 14.2 per cent while employment in the tourism industry fell by 6.5 per cent.


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Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Releases Interim Outlook Report
on Global Economy

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released its interim outlook on the global economy on September 16. The report is based on capital-centred economics and gives full credence to pay-the-rich measures by neo-liberal governments, such as the Trudeau government in Canada, despite the experience of working people that such measures do not put the well-being of those who produce the wealth in first place. Consequently, the OECD report promotes the outlook that public health and safety measures come at the cost of economic performance and vice versa, that a balance between the two must be found, and private interests are then promoted as essential to any recovery, not the human factor/social consciousness brought forward by working people.

The OECD states that the global gross domestic product will shrink by 4.5 per cent this year before rebounding by five per cent in 2021. These projections represent an improvement of 1.5 percentage points for 2020 and a cut of 0.2 percentage points for next year, compared with the OECD's last estimates in June.

"The forecasts are less negative [...] due primarily to better than expected outcomes for China and the United States in the first half of this year and a response by governments on a massive scale," the OECD said.

The easing of containment measures and the initial re-opening of businesses had also contributed to faster recovery, it added, noting that new restrictions being imposed in some countries to tackle the resurgence of the virus would likely slow the growth pace.

The OECD states, "All G20 countries with the exception of China will have suffered recession in 2020. Although a fragile recovery is expected next year, in many countries output at the end of 2021 will still be below levels at the end of 2019, and well below what was projected prior to the pandemic." In its outlook, the OECD projected 1.8 per cent growth in China this year.

The OECD considers the United States to be performing better than its predictions, with a 3.8 per cent contraction in 2020, versus the previous estimate of 7.3 per cent.

However, "prospects for an inclusive, resilient and sustainable economic growth will depend on a range of factors including the likelihood of new outbreaks of the virus, how well individuals observe health measures and restrictions, consumer and business confidence, and the extent to which government support to maintain jobs and help businesses succeeds in boosting demand," the OECD stated in the report.

The OECD warned, however, that "a stronger resurgence of the virus, or more stringent lockdowns could cut two to three percentage points from global growth in 2021, with even higher unemployment and a prolonged period of weak investment."

As concerns Canada, the OECD report states, "Annual output is projected to shrink by 9.4 per cent in 2020 in the event of a second virus outbreak and related shutdown, and by eight per cent if recovery is uninterrupted. The rebound will not be dynamic enough for output to attain pre-COVID-19 levels by the end of 2021 under either scenario. Similarly, the rate of unemployment will still be elevated. Fiscal balances will deteriorate sharply from additional spending commitments and tax-revenue losses and then recover somewhat thanks to declining outlays in support payments and recovering incomes. Weak demand will push down consumer price inflation."

Amid high uncertainty and acceleration of economic activities in different patterns across the countries, the OECD called on governments to act more to help build confidence by providing flexible and more targeted fiscal, financial and other policy support.

"It is important that governments avoid the mistake of tightening fiscal policy too quickly, as happened after the last financial crisis," said OECD Chief Economist Laurence Boone.

"Policymakers have the opportunity of a lifetime to implement truly sustainable recovery plans that reboot the economy and generate investment in the digital upgrades much needed by small and medium-sized companies, as well as in green infrastructure, transport and housing to build back a better and greener economy," she added.


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For Your Information

Seminar at the Parliament with
Economist Dr. Joseph Stiglitz

The direction the Liberals are taking in the approaching Throne Speech can be surmised from the event organized for parliamentarians on September 14.

The advertisement for the meeting in the Hill Times used the same buzzwords as those which appear in the Biden campaign and the speeches of the experts which are advising the government on how to build a more resilient economy. "Rebuilding Better: Delivering a More Equitable and Resilient Canadian Economy -- Dr. Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel prize in economy, along with other internationally renowned economists will address Canadian Parliamentarians on the recovery. This first webinar of the 'Path towards relaunching the economy and protecting the health of Canadians series,' also featuring Dr. Cameron Hepburn of Oxford University and Dr. Peter Victor of York University, will include a Q&A session. It is a one-time only event that will not be recorded and for which spaces are limited. For parliamentary offices and key government officials only. Organized and moderated by ISG [Independent Senators Group] Senator Rosa Galvez (Quebec). Monday, Sept. 14, 1-2:45 p.m. ET. [...]"

The main speaker promoted in this discussion Dr. Joseph Stiglitz is one of the main spokespersons internationally of the idea that the present neo-liberal system has given rise to a dangerous level of inequality which must be addressed in any program to relaunch the economy during the pandemic.

While there is no report of his presentation and the event was not recorded, the message he was invited to present, with The Throne Speech in the offing, is well summed up in his latest book, People, Power and Profit; Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent, in which he asserts that to assess the wealth of a nation it is important to see the level of the advancement of science, the development of social science and the flourishing of public institutions which reflect the level of cooperation in the society. He makes the point that the level of individual wealth has no relation to the overall wealth of a nation because individual wealth can have various sources, such as theft, and different forms of exploitation that are taken advantage of by some individuals to accumulate personal wealth. He compares this method to the exploitation of "market power" by some of the largest corporations to dominate the market so that there is no real competition. He claims that in the U.S. these practices have given rise to growing levels of inequality and all the growth is for the people at the top.

He blames this crisis situation on neo-liberalism or the "supply side economics" of the Thatcher-Reagan era which led to the stripping away of all regulations restricting the growth of monopolies. The so-called trickle-down theory has been a total failure so that in the past 40 years for the 90 per cent of the population at the bottom there has been absolutely no growth. He gives the example of China where he says that during the same period of 40 years, 750 million people have been lifted out of poverty.

What he came to tell the parliamentarians in Ottawa is that what is needed is progressive capitalism. Phrasing it another way, he claims that what is needed is to resuscitate social democracy. For the market this means a new social contract between the state and civil society and the establishment of public institutions like cooperatives, NGOs, universities and other non-profit organizations that are needed for the proper functioning of society, based on cooperation and not ruthless exploitation. Others call this a matter of bringing together the best and the brightest and creating an enlightened intelligentsia who can decide what is good for society and "nudge" everyone to choose that.

It is likely that he spoke about the ineffectiveness of some of the programs of support the government has put in place during the pandemic which have mainly benefitted the richest corporations and led to further inequality in the society.

What Stiglitz says is that government programs have been ineffective in injecting money into the economy. Governments need to assess what he calls "industries of the future," with special attention to green industries as well as educational institutions, and to reduce the burden on students.

Essentially, what Stiglitz proposes is a more efficient way of paying the rich by getting money into the hands of people who must immediately circulate it and, at the same time, justifies this method of subsistence by saying that it is based on looking after everyone and ensuring equality in the system. This is essentially what Chrystia Freeland and her mentor Larry Summers have been promoting, which the Liberals espoused in their election campaigns in 2015 and 2019 as "looking after the middle class." It is a totally bankrupt and desperate attempt to disinform the polity into believing that the leopard can change its spots, and to divert attention from the new ways which are being invented to pay the rich.

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Neo-Liberal Arguments for
"Ensuring a Resilient Economy"

Dr. Richard Florizone is president and CEO of the International Institute for Sustainable Development and one of the heads of the Task Force for a Resilient Recovery, which describes itself as "an independent and diverse group of Canadian finance, policy and sustainability leaders determined to make sure Canada seizes this opportunity." Dr. Florizone says that "Ensuring a resilient recovery is not just a question of what's good for the economy or what's good for the environment. It is now an issue of national competitiveness."

He argues the case as follows in an article published by the Ottawa Citizen on August 24:

The idea that stimulus spending should drive a green, resilient recovery has wrongly become a partisan issue in this country, apparently playing a role in the departure of Bill Morneau as finance minister on one side and highlighting the lack of strong Conservative leadership on climate on the other.

Ensuring a resilient recovery is not just a question of what's good for the economy or what's good for the environment. It is now an issue of national competitiveness.

Leaders around the globe and across the political spectrum are making historic commitments to build a low-carbon future, rejecting the false compromise between economic growth and climate action. The scale of investment and economic change around the world illustrates the urgency with which Canada needs to lift its eyes to this horizon and move forward with the best Canadian ideas, informed by fast-moving global trends.

Of course we need recovery plans that are focused on our own country -- addressing first and foremost the needs of Canadians most impacted by the pandemic. But if we, and our political leaders, don't pay attention to these broader global efforts, we risk falling behind.

The roadmap for Chrystia Freeland as our next finance minister is clear, drawing on her international and economic perspective as a former minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

A good start is looking to the examples coming out of Europe. In July, the European Union agreed that at least 30 per cent of its €1.8 trillion multi-year budget and COVID-19 recovery fund would target climate objectives. That historic commitment is further supported by national and regional investment, including more than €40 billion in green stimulus in France and Germany, respectively.

These are massive investments. To put them in a Canadian context, they represent around CAD$2,000 per capita, or a total expenditure of CAD$75 billion for our nation. That equates to nearly a quarter of the federal budget in 2019, though the spending will take place over three to seven years.

Much of the planned spending aligns with recent academic research by Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and others on measures that quickly yield the best economic and environmental outcomes, including building efficiency retrofits, clean energy infrastructure, and investments in nature. Governments are also investing in cleaner and more efficient transportation.

Many Canadians will be surprised to learn that conservative governments are leading some of these programs. For instance, in the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson's government recently announced billions in new investment towards building retrofits, public transit, and walking and cycling infrastructure.

These investments build on that country's decision to ban future sales of gasoline and diesel-fuelled passenger cars -- a decision the Conservative government accelerated last year, moving its implementation from 2040 to 2035. That decision is part of a broader global trend; according to the International Energy Agency, 17 other countries have announced similar bans on future sales of vehicles powered by fossil fuels, some taking effect as soon as 2025.

In sharp contrast, Canada's approach to climate and green recovery is heavily politicized. As we quibble over domestic politics, we run the risk of eroding Canada's national competitiveness -- a topic that should be of utmost concern for all political parties.

Case in point: Germany announced a €7 billion Hydrogen Strategy, which aims to use hydrogen as a storage medium for renewable energies. According to the Eurasia Group, 18 other nations (comprising 75 per cent of global GDP) are now rolling out similar hydrogen strategies. Canada has yet to determine its response, and that's a risk.

In the U.S., meanwhile, should Joe Biden win the upcoming presidential election, our most important trading partner will move forward with a USD$2 trillion green stimulus plan. Canada can either prosper from this or lose ground in the American market.

So, how will Canada respond to these historic, global changes? How will leaders -- across the political spectrum -- ensure our automotive, energy and other industries survive and thrive?

Simply taking a side on lightning rod issues like carbon taxes will not be enough to address these global developments, and Canada will suffer if we continue to focus on old and divisive debates while ignoring global trends.

Canadians of all political stripes must work towards a recovery that builds back better. It's a global race to respond to the pandemic and ensure a resilient recovery that is positive for the economy and environment. But it's also about Canada's industrial competitiveness, supporting the jobs, infrastructure and growth for the future. In building the clean economy of the 21st century, will Canada lead, lag or be left behind?

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Recommendations of the Task Force
for a Resilient Recovery

The Prime Minister has indicated that the Liberals are focusing on the recovery phase of the pandemic and that his government will "unveil an ambitious green agenda." Indications of what this will include can be seen on the website of the "Task Force for a Resilient Recovery," where Gerald Butts retreated after he resigned on February 27, 2019 as Trudeau's most senior adviser and principal secretary in the midst of the SNC-Lavalin scandal, at a time Canada's top civil servant, Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick, also quit.

The task force published its final report September 16. It "calls for five bold moves supported by $55.4 billion in investment, to kickstart Canada's long-term economic recovery from COVID-19:"

1. Invest in climate resilient and energy efficient buildings;
2. Jumpstart Canada’s production and adoption of zero-emission vehicles;
3. Go big on growing Canada’s clean energy sectors;
4. Invest in the nature that protects and sustains us; and
5. Grow clean competitiveness and jobs across the Canadian economy.

The website of the Task Force for a Resilient Recovery contains the following recommendations:

"Let's build back better.

"As Canada comes out of the COVID crisis, governments and the private sector will turn their attention to building a long-term economic recovery. Let's make that recovery resilient by building back better.

"Building back better means supporting the jobs, infrastructure and growth that will keep Canada competitive in the clean economy of the 21st century.

"The Task Force for a Resilient Recovery is an independent and diverse group of Canadian finance, policy and sustainability leaders determined to make sure Canada seizes this opportunity."

The Task Force's "Backgrounder" says:

"Not your typical recession.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has locked the world in what will probably be the deepest global recession since the 1930s. In Canada, it has resulted in record job losses that are unique not only in their scale, but also their scope and the types of jobs lost. The burden on Canadian households, businesses, communities and vulnerable populations has been extreme and governments across Canada have responded by investing in much-needed relief measures. 

"As Canada comes out of the COVID crisis, governments and the private sector will turn their attention to building a long-term economic recovery. 

"The challenge of recovery will be how to get Canadians back to work quickly while also building back better. Building back better means supporting the jobs, infrastructure and growth that will keep Canada competitive in the clean economy of the 21st century. It means a recovery that ensures not only more jobs in five and ten months, but also in five and ten years. Our focus should not be simply on returning to growth, but on growing smarter and cleaner to support a more resilient future. The post-COVID economic recovery is a critical opportunity to build that future. We need to seize it. 

"We need to help people get back to work now, in all sectors and regions of the country, at the same time as investing in the future that Canadians want: clean, competitive and resilient."

About the Task Force

The Task Force for a Resilient Recovery says it is "an independent and diverse group of Canadian finance, policy and sustainability leaders." It says its 15 members (see below) "are determined to make sure that Canadian governments get the best advice on building a resilient economic recovery. The Task Force will make actionable recommendations on how governments can use a range of tools  -- including direct public investment, leveraging private capital, targeted tax cuts and incentives, regulatory sandboxes (to enable innovation), and behavioural 'nudges' -- to spur jobs and generate lasting economic activity while also helping to build a clean and resilient economy. "

It says the Task Force's work "will be informed in part by eight expert advisors, listed below [10 are listed -- TML Ed. Note].  It will also be supported by dedicated economic research from leading institutions, including Smart Prosperity Institute, the International Institute for Sustainable Development and the Transition Accelerator, and their research teams at various universities."

It says the Task Force "has been designed not to promote a single interest or opinion, but to collect the most authoritative insights from a diverse group of experts, and to develop a detailed policy framework that will help governments make Canada's economic recovery clean and resilient. Many partners are contributing to this objective." (See list of funding sources and funding partners below.)

The "research partners" were to submit background research and briefing notes, made public at the same time they were submitted to the Task Force. The Task Force was to review and revise these research inputs in order to produce the final report and recommendations which reflect the broad consensus of all members."

It said, "Research will draw upon cutting-edge academic concepts, insights from leading thinkers and Task Force Expert Advisors, and case studies of international success stories."

Task Force Members:

- Andy Chisholm -- Member, Board of Directors, Royal Bank of Canada & Member, Expert Panel  on Sustainable Finance
- Barbara Zvan -- Former Chief Risk & Strategy Officer, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan
- Bruce Lourie -- President, Ivey Foundation
- Don Forgeron -- President and CEO, Insurance Bureau of Canada
- Gerald Butts -- Senior Advisor, Eurasia  Group
- Helen Mountford -- Vice President, Climate & Economics, World Resources Institute
- James Meadowcroft -- Professor, School of  Public  Policy and Administration  and Department of Political  Science, Carleton University
- JP Gladu -- Former President and CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
- Merran Smith -- Executive Director, Clean Energy Canada 
-  Michael Horgan -- Senior Advisor, Bennett Jones
- Mitchell Davidson -- Executive Director, Strategy Corp Institute of  Public Policy and Economy
- Mira Oreck -- Executive Director, The Houssain Foundation
- Philippe Dunsky -- President, Dunsky Energy Consulting
- Richard Florizone -- President & CEO, International Institute for Sustainable Development
- Stewart Elgie -- Executive Chair, Smart Prosperity Institute 

Expert  Advisors:  

- Kathy Bardswick --  President and CEO, Canadian Institute for Climate Choices
- Sonia Baxendale -- President and CEO, Global Risk Institute
- Corinne Boone -- Chair, Canadian Energy Research Institute
- Edward Greenspon -- President & CEO, Public Policy Forum
- Stephen Huddart -- President & CEO, The McConnell Foundation
- Melissa Kennedy -- Executive Vice-President, Chief  Legal Officer & Public Affairs,  Sun  Life
- Jeremy Kronick -- Associate Director, Research,  CD Howe Institute
- Jeremy Oppenheim -- Senior Managing Partner, SYSTEMIQ
- Kyla Tienhaara -- Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Economy and Environment, Queen’s University
- Christian Zabbal -- Managing Partner, Spring Lane Capital

Founding partners: Smart Prosperity Institute, International Institute for Sustainable Development, Insurance Bureau of Canada, Ivey Foundation.

Funding for the initiative is provided by: The Jarislowsky Foundation, Ivey Foundation, the McConnell Foundation, the Schad Foundation, the Echo Foundation.


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Proposing a "Roadmap to the Canada We Want"

The Task Force for a Resilient Recovery has been publishing a series of "Corporate Knights" articles and holding online roundtables to explore "how to make the coming economic recovery one that leapfrogs us forward in the quest for a calmer, cooler climate and peace with nature."

"Building Back Better: A roadmap to the Canada we want," is an article by Ralph Torrie, Céline Bak and Toby Heaps, published on June 3, 2020. It provides the following scarily incoherent spin:

By 2030, Canada could create more than five million quality job-years of employment by greening the power grid, electrifying transport and upgrading our homes and workplaces to be more comfortable and flood resilient. This wouldn't just be good for jobs -- it's a pocketbook issue that would save Canadians a lot of money: $39 billion per year at the pumps and on heating and power bills by 2030 (in today's dollars).

 Note: Investment is Millions of $ total to 2030, and Person-years of employment is total to 2030.

We could also help to protect more than a million jobs that are at risk by:

- offering rebates for low-carbon cement, steel and mass timber,

- supporting farmers to adopt practices and technologies for restoring the soil while paying them fairly for the ecosystem services they provide,

- paying young people to plant an extra 800 million trees per year and supporting Indigenous communities to be forest guardians, and

- providing seed investment with a Natural Resources and EV Innovation Fund (which could be administered by existing institutions) to catalyze Canadian champions in fast-growing industries of the future where we have competitive advantages (lightweight bitumen-based carbon fibres, renewable jet fuels, green hydrogen, batteries and electric vehicles).

In the wake of the COVID crisis, in which more than three million Canadians have lost their jobs, this is all within reach if we choose to build back better by making these job-rich themes a priority in the federal government's stimulus and recovery packages.

Making this happen would require a federal investment of $10 billion per year (0.4% of GDP) on average over the next decade. Forty percent of this total would be front-loaded in the first two years as part of the stimulus/recovery package, with strings attached to ensure essential complementary policies in other jurisdictions, including net-zero building codes for new and existing buildings by 2022, fair power-grid access for storage and renewables, and an electric vehicle mandate for Canada. To keep the momentum going, additional non-grant federal financial support would be offered, including in the form of low-cost loans and guarantees.

Underpinning all of this would be investment in skills training so that Canadians learn while they are working in these new jobs. We have done this before. When teachers were urgently needed for the new public education system early in the 20th century, they were given intensive training for one year followed by years of in-service training during their early careers. These teachers were a vital part of Canada's nation building as we recovered from the ravages of war and a pandemic.

Over a decade, the federal investment in the programs we have proposed would total $106 billion, crowding in an additional $681 billion in private and other sector investment, creating 6.7 million [job-]years of employment -- more than twice the jobs that have been lost due to COVID-19. These investments would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 237 million tonnes from 2018 levels. That would meet our Paris Climate Agreement commitments and put us on a path to a carbon-free economy within a generation.

These investments are of the same order of magnitude as those being made in Canada today. Case in point: the deep retrofits to homes required to make them more comfortable, cheaper to heat and cool, and better prepared to withstand floods and extreme weather works out to about $20 billion per year. That's just one-third the $60 billion Canadians spend on home renovations each year. Similarly, the investments to decarbonize Canada's transmission grid are on par with business-as-usual investments happening today.

Support for a green recovery is mounting.

Some of the world's leading economists recently completed an analysis of possible COVID-19 economic recovery packages. They concluded that green projects create more jobs, deliver higher short-term economic returns per dollar spent and lead to increased long-term cost savings, compared to traditional fiscal stimulus.

This finding is also supported by McKinsey's research, which found a low-carbon recovery could not only initiate the significant emissions reductions needed to halt climate change but also create more jobs and economic growth than a high-carbon recovery would. Our proposals are very much in line with this research.

Canadians want to do this.

In an Ipsos global poll, 61 per cent of Canadians said they agree or tend to agree that "in the economic recovery after COVID-19, it's important that government actions prioritize climate change." And that was without being given information about the jobs-rich nature of a green recovery.

Other countries are reaching the same conclusions we have:

- On May 27, the European Commission proposed a €750 billion ($1.137 trillion) recovery fund to steer the continent toward carbon neutrality by 2050, with a quarter of the plan earmarked for climate action.

- On May 26, France announced an €8 billion ($12 billion) plan to accelerate the transition to electric cars, which will include increasing the amount buyers can receive as a state incentive toward the purchase of an electric car.

- German Chancellor Angela Merkel has indicated that her government aims to implement a stimulus package that "helps the economy's move toward climate neutrality," saying "it will be all the more important that if we set up economic stimulus programs, we must always keep a close eye on climate protection."

- Denmark has allocated 30 billion kroner ($6 billion) for green building renovations, estimated to help upgrade 72,000 homes.

How to pay for it?

The federal investment component of this could be financed via green bonds, but we don't need to take on additional debt to do this. We can find the money for the public investments needed to seize this opportunity by making minor and long-overdue changes to Canada's tax code.

According to Finance Canada, there are more than 170 corporate tax giveaways that add up to more than $156 billion per year. While some have public benefit (such as small business supports, charitable deductions for corporations, R&D tax credits and regional assistance funds), there are at least five naked examples of corporate welfare that sap more than $40 billion dollars from the public purse every single year with little to show for it -- and that's not even counting the billions of dollars siphoned off each year via elaborate corporate tax-avoidance schemes.

In addition, the Canada Revenue Agency estimates that tax avoidance by roughly 15,000 large corporations is costing Canada $6.7 to $7.9 billion per year, but that's a low-ball estimate. A six-month investigative analysis by the Toronto Star, Corporate Knights and Paul Rhodes, an International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) expert, found that the 100 largest companies in Canada avoided $62.9 billion in taxes over a six-year period, for an average of $10.5 billion per year.

That's the same amount of public investment that's needed to catalyze the Building Back Better program to crowd in $730 billion in private investment, create 6.7 million years of employment and deliver $39 billion annually in savings to Canadians, all the while putting us well on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Why don't we plug those holes and invest a fraction of the money on a temporary basis to build back better and catalyze the industries of the future that preserve rather than plunder our planet, while creating 6.3 million quality jobs?

If timing and political constraints don't allow for the tax reform measures, with its AAA sovereign bond rating Canada could issue a green bond with proceeds ring-fenced for green recovery purposes and regular reporting on the use of proceeds. It would send a signal to global investors that Canada is serious about reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and halving its emissions by 2030.

The institutions that will enable the investments in the Building Back Better program are ready and capable of doing this today. After the Second World War, the CMHC (then known as the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation), in partnership with Canadian chartered banks, led the way in helping to house Canadians. Now the CMHC can lead in transforming Canadian homes and workplaces into more valuable, functional and comfortable buildings that have been deeply retrofitted.

Similarly, the Canada Infrastructure Bank is ready to invest in transmission infrastructure that will underpin a $100 billion investment in Canada's sun and wind belt in Alberta and Saskatchewan that would put Canada at the forefront of 21st century grid technology.

Canada also has strong institutions for energy innovation and economic diversification. Over the past century, Natural Resources Canada has successfully funded energy research, development and demonstration, as has Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada in economic diversification. And Export Development Canada has the mechanisms in place to assure multi-year commitments, including through loan programs to corporations of all sizes (and a new program of guaranteed loans to support oil and gas companies that could be extended to the green industries of the future). The Invest in Canada program, set up to support economic prosperity and stimulate innovation in Canada, can also play a role in attracting investment in the fast-growing industries of the future that play to Canada's natural advantages.

And there are many capable provincial agencies with strong technical capacity that can act as vehicles to carry out the R&D and pilots we have proposed, including Alberta Innovates, Emissions Reduction Alberta and the Saskatchewan Research Council, to name a few.

We should point out, though, that not everyone thinks public investment and involvement to spark a green recovery is a good idea.

Chris Ragan, chair of the Ecofiscal Commission, recently warned that "engineering a 'green recovery' is a terrible idea." He suggested that it's better to just raise the carbon price two- or threefold and let the magic of the invisible hand do its work.

While a carbon tax is part of the policy toolkit, it won't be sufficient to propel a green recovery at the speed needed. Raising the carbon tax from a dime per litre of gas to 25 cents a litre certainly doesn't hurt the economics for getting an electric car (EV), but it's unlikely to be a material inducement, given that EVs already save the average driver more than $1,000 per year on the differential between what it costs to fill up at the pump versus by the plug. A hiked carbon tax would make this a little sweeter, but just by a few hundred dollars.

Raising the carbon tax won't address the real barriers to EV adoption, which include a lack of charging infrastructure, the need for a national Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) mandate that requires automakers to supply more EVs (a six-month wait is standard for many EV models) and quirks in the auto-leasing market, which discriminate against new EV models by making maximum depreciation assumptions -- even though EVs have proven to hold their value just as well as their internal combustion counterparts.

We know that public investment kick-starts markets. In the case of deep retrofits and to get homes off fossil fuel heating, public investment would catalyze a new deep-retrofit renovation industry. Today, it costs more than $40,000 to retrofit a home and make it flood resilient. Research shows that when retrofits are delivered at scale, where work is coordinated over multiple homes in a neighbourhood, these costs can be reduced by half. Once that happens, retrofits become affordable for homeowners. Markets can then take over and public funds are no longer needed.

Information is key to kick-starting all this. That's why we suggest that first grants and then retrofit mortgage insurance for deep retrofits be delivered by the CMHC in conjunction with chartered banks -- so that information promoting retrofits can be integrated into national conversations about the value of Canadian homes. As awareness grows around Canada's progress toward achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, home buyers will place more value on net-zero homes. Local utilities can be pressed into service to deliver these programs too.

The lion's share of work to fire up the low-carbon, high-productivity economy comes down to smart regulation (ZEV mandates, building codes and procurement pull policies), along with industrial policy (of the sort that unlocked billions of dollars in the oil sands).

The Business Council of Canada recently issued a statement saying that "for Canada's recovery plan to succeed, policy makers will need a growth mindset, a singular focus on economic fundamentals and evidence-based approaches to stimulating economic activity."

We would tend to agree. But let us not lose sight of the most fundamental of the "economic fundamentals:" our economy exists entirely within and is completely dependent on the natural ecosystems in which it is embedded. As go the ecosystems, so goes the economy.

Thanks to innovations that have made low-carbon options the better buy in most cases, the market jury has already issued its verdict: those who have the low-carbon solutions will have the high-performance economies.

The question is this: do we want to be buyers or suppliers for the green economy goods and services that will drive the wealth of nations this century?

If we want to be suppliers, now is the time to pony up.

It ends with this cautionary note:

"[I]t is unlikely there will be a green recovery unless there is a big-tent coalition that is bold and creative enough to dislodge the forces of inertia. The best chance we have for the green economy to prevail is by marrying the green economy movement with social justice movements, which on a practical level means Building Back Better with vastly enhanced supports for eldercare, childcare and living wages, and ... by supporting thriving Indigenous communities."

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