No. 26October 4, 2019
– Margaret Villamizar –
The more that cartel parties of the rich fail at provide solutions to problems of the economy, the environment, international relations or on other fronts the more they invent high-sounding justifications for continuing down the same road.
On the front of the economy, pay-the-rich schemes, many of which contribute to deepening Canada’s integration into the U.S. war machine and economy, are touted as being to defend or provide jobs for Canadians. This particular battle cry has risen to a fever pitch during the election with the mantra of jobs, jobs, jobs used to sell more of the same failed “trickle-down” economic policies based on paying the rich under the name of this or that new “strategy.” We are then supposed to have faith that handing over billions of public dollars, mainly to the global monopolies that dominate Canada’s economy, will somehow trickle down to benefit the working people in the form of jobs and prosperity without any mechanism to make that happen.
The facts of life have long shown the bankruptcy of trickle down economics, with many examples in Windsor and elsewhere of governments claiming there is nothing they can do when it comes to holding the beneficiaries of public largesse to account when they lay off workers, close plants or declare bankruptcy. Over the past year the federal and Ontario governments wrote off loans and interest totalling $3 billion that had been given to bail out “old Chrysler” in 2009, saying they had no legal recourse to collect the money from today’s Fiat Chrysler, which is about to shut down an entire shift in Windsor, affecting 1,500 workers. How is this a sustainable way to run a country’s economy?
Those who continue to put forward paying the rich as a solution to problems in the economy are unfit to govern. The “solution” they offer is a driving force behind problems already plaguing the economy and the society. This includes the damaging cuts to public services and social programs or their handover to private interests to make money. Other anti-social measures imposed such as servicing the public debt racked up to pay the rich are put as priority number one by neo-liberal governments of all stripes who claim there is no alternative.
There are other ways the mantra of jobs, jobs, jobs has been used for nefarious purposes as well. Both the Harper Conservatives and Trudeau Liberals used it to counter Canadians’ opposition to their condoning the export of 15 billion dollars worth of armoured combat vehicles to Saudi Arabia, a U.S. proxy for spreading murder and mayhem in West Asia.
Saving jobs was also the story told to justify the attempt of Trudeau and his accomplices to interfere with the functioning of the Public Prosecution Service to try and help a very corrupt and very connected SNC-Lavalin escape punishment for one of its myriad acts of corruption. The Prime Minister, prominent Cabinet members and others hoping to land there, are all using the election to swear allegiance to the holy grail of “jobs,” but of course not adding what they really mean: jobs at any cost.
Working people should reject this farce being played out in technicolour during the election. They have their own experience that tells them what comes from continuing down the road of paying the rich as a strategy for economic development. Not only does it result in great insecurity for them as one jurisdication and government is played off against the other in the competition for “jobs” but it leads to pitting care for the environment against “jobs” and to Canada becoming ever more integrated with the U.S. war machine and servicing its insatiable needs because it provides “jobs.” What is needed instead is a change in the direction of the economy so it is geared to nation-building and serving the needs of the people. The Canadian people should replace the narrow private, often foreign, interests as the decision-makers over such things as how to use Canada’s vast resources, what goods to produce, as well as what kind of trade relations to have and with whom.
Instead of permitting their ranks to be split by lining up behind one or another faction of the rich and their electoral machines vying for power, working people can use the election to their advantage if they speak in their own names about their concerns. This will be a fitting response to all those who claim to champion their interests while offering only more of the same bitter medicine that has failed so many times before.
Margaret Villamizar is the MLPC candidate in Windsor West.
– Dougal MacDonald –
Canadian canola farmers are suffering severe hardship because they are currently unable to sell their grain to China following China’s March decision to ban shipments. China claimed Canada’s canola was infected by pests. China was Canada’s biggest market in 2018, buying more than $4 billion worth of product and in August 2018, before the ban, experts were predicting record shipments in 2019. Forty-three thousand farmers grow canola, mostly in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Evidence suggests that China’s canola ban is mainly retaliation for Canadian authorities’ arrest of communication giant Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on the orders of the U.S. The Canadian government says that the U.S. extradition treaty with Canada legally obligated Canada to detain Meng when ordered by the U.S. China calls the arrest a “mistake.”
U.S. authorities allege Meng used a Huawei subsidiary to do business in Iran in violation of illegal U.S. sanctions. However, the real underlying reason for her arrest lies in the continuing attempts by the US to dominate the global telecommunications industry at the expense of its main rival, China.
Clearly the canola farmers are caught in a complex web of many events, none of which they have any control over. Supra-national cartels dominate the economy and Canada continues to kowtow to the U.S. on the political front. Meanwhile, farmers and other working people in Canada who want international trade for mutual benefit and development, lack control of their workplaces, the broader economy, and political decision-making.
The lack of control means the farmers and workers cannot promote the necessity for Canada to first have a diverse and self-reliant internal economy. Then, from a sovereign base under their control, they can find peoples abroad who are willing to trade following modern principles of mutual benefit and development, free of destructive trade wars and real wars requiring a war economy.
Dr. Dougal MacDonald is the MLPC Candidate in Edmonton-Strathcona.
Recently, various pundits of differing political views have called for an Alberta sales tax to increase the government’s revenue. This proposal is not in the interests of the working people or the economy. Sales taxes mean less of the social value workers produce goes to the people and more goes to the financial oligarchy.
Proponents argue that a sales tax is necessary because the province can no longer depend on fluctuating resource revenues to fund social programs and, anyway, every other province and the federal government already have sales taxes. These are not defensible or rational arguments.
In this era of the interconnected socialized economy of industrial mass production, all forms of individual taxation such as income taxes, sales taxes and home property taxes are pay-the-rich schemes to funnel money away from working people and into the coffers of the rich, generating greater inequality and damaging the economy. Modern forms of taxation require governments to claim money directly from the economy from the social value workers produce in the form of goods and services, and not indirectly from the working people and their claim on what belongs to them by right.
An Alberta sales tax would strengthen the power and destructive control of the financial oligarchy over the economy to the detriment of the working people as is the case in the rest of Canada. To argue the Alberta government needs a sales tax to fund social programs and humanize the social and natural environment because of an insecure resource-based economy is disingenuous. To argue in such a manner denies the modern principle that all people have rights by virtue of being human. Fulfillment of their rights should not, and does not, depend on taxation. Further, to argue in such a manner deflects attention away from the necessity for a new direction for the Alberta economy towards a socially responsible all-sided development of resource extraction, manufacturing, social programs, public services and infrastructure.
Social programs, public services and infrastructure to guarantee the rights of all are an integral part of the modern all-sided economy and need to be organized in a planned and socially responsible manner. Their existence should not depend on any form of taxation but flourish as necessary activity in a modern economy and society. For example, programs to guarantee the people’s right to education and health care should not depend on or be funded from taxes but directly from revenue collected from all the other enterprises in the economy that employ and need a continuous supply of healthy and educated working people.
The issue is political and depends on who decides and who controls the direction of the economy and society: the working people in ways that favour them or the financial oligarchy in ways that favour their narrow private interests.
Empower Yourself Now!
Organize Politically for a New Pro-Social Direction for the Economy!
The Edmonton organization, Women for Rights and Empowerment, organizes public forums for people to speak out about matters of concern to the polity. During the election, these forums are addressing problems facing women, workers and youth and their collectives and communities which are not addressed by the parties which form a cartel to exclude the concerns of the people.
The forum to be held on Sunday, October 6 will begin with presentations addressing the problems facing workers in the energy sector and communities affected by decisions made by the global energy giants and governments which permit them to act with impunity. Rose Marie Sackela and Andre Vachon will introduce the discussion.
Rose Marie Sackela has been active with local people from Clearwater County & area in working to protect the Clearwater River, which flows into the North Saskatchewan River & supplies the drinking water for metro Edmonton & the Prairies.
The Spanish global giant Repsol has been handed a 10-year license to withdraw billions of litres of water from the Clearwater River for fracking, thus removing that fresh water from the hydrologic cycle forever due to toxic contamination. Rural water wells & underground aquifers are also affected by this deep fracking.
Andre Vachon is a pipeline worker who will speak about the problems facing workers in his sector, including the impact of union-busting legislation attacking wages, working conditions, benefits, security in retirement and how these are being tackled. Andre will also speak about the precarious nature of the energy sector because of its dependence on the U.S. to serve the U.S. war machine, and the need for a new direction for the economy. Andre is the MLPC candidate in Edmonton Manning.
Everyone is welcome to participate in the discussion, and raise their concerns on this topic and what can be done to resolve the problems in a manner which humanizes both the natural and social environment.
Take Back the Night marches continued across the country with a march in Edmonton on September 22 and marches on September 26-27 in Ottawa, Belleville, Kingston, Toronto, Guelph, London and Windsor. With these spirited marches women affirmed their right to be and to walk the streets and participate fully in the life of the society in safety. Take Back the Night marches began to be held in Canada in 1980 — with this year marking the 41st year for the march in Ottawa-Hull.
Hundreds of mainly young women took part in the 39th annual march in Toronto held under the theme “Activism and Resiliency,” highlighting the leading role women play through their organizing in defending their rights and the rights of all and giving pride of place to the activism of Indigenous women. Following a community dinner and rally the march took over the downtown streets asking no one’s permission — there were no police to be seen — and was warmly received by people on the streets and sidewalks and in their homes as it passed.
(Photos: RU, London Pride Fest, CALAC, Guelph CJPP, C. Feere, G. Bacon)
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