No Social System - Is That The Canada We Really Want?
Date: Friday, June 04 2004
Things to think about for the Canadian Elections.
Ask yourself this question – are you happy with Canada as it stands right now? If you answered no, don’t worry you are in the majority. The reasons vary, but the underlying feeling is pretty much the same.
To get positive result changes, we must identify and expose the weaknesses and segments that have gone rotten.
To begin, let us look at where we came from.
Starting with the Second World War, Canada saw its position in the world propelled forward through the horrors and tribulations of total war. Little Canada grew up in that period and those that lived through that time took the initiative and kept on going.
Canada in the immediate post-war period saw tremendous social change. Soldiers returning from the war, and those that fueled the war machine at home, wanted to ensure that they really did put their lives and effort on the line for more than the freedom of others. They all wanted to see their blood, toil and sweat pay off here at home as well.
Our national industrial base and capacity was greatly expanded due to the war effort. Our farms were maximized and other resource-based industries were brought to full speed. Our ability to play with the big boys had come.
But it was not only what we were capable of doing with our hands that had changed, our attitudes about government and our society had also changed. Canadians came to realize that forging ahead with social change was something that was not only attainable, but also desirable. It was with that prevailing thought that the new Canada was born.
Social ideals and movements were no longer dirty words or bad ideas. The CCF more than proved this and the foundations of our social systems were born. Scare mongering on behalf of the elite did not succeed.
The Canadian people came to realize that the Canada they sought to obtain for themselves, their families and the future generations of Canadians should be based on a social system. It was a system that was compassionate and inclusive. Government had a new role to play, and Canadians were more than willing to be a part of that new expanded role. Governments now had a central role to play in Canadian lives.
Social systems were expanded and employee unions grew in strength and numbers. The Canadian economy grew rapidly to match those strides. The Canadian dream in many ways had become the envy of the world. Many post-war immigrants put Canada at the top of their wish lists. Canada by the mid 1970’s was the premier middle power.
It seemed Canada could do no wrong.
But… the wheels eventually fell off.
With the post-war period of growth came new ideas and new ways of looking at the present scope of economic events. At the heart of these new ideas was the notion of ‘free markets’. Increasingly, the wealthy and powerful in Canada and elsewhere were coming to believe that governments had grown too big and had become too wasteful.
Combined with that general feeling was a sense that corporations and the ultra wealthy were overtaxed and overly burdened by the burgeoning social system, which Canadians had come to enjoy and actually depend upon.
At the core of this new mantra was the adoption of the ideas of Milton Friedman. Instead of using our own bank – the Bank of Canada – to finance our needs, we acquiesced our economic sovereignty to a handful of private banks. Instantly we saw our manageable national debt explode into what we see today – over $500 billion owing with no end in sight of the interest payments due.
Couple the abandoning of our own bank with a constant march of tax cuts for the rich and corporations at the expense of the entire system, we saw the inevitable curtailing of what Canadians had worked so hard to build. Our national social system was now enemy number one, and still is today to those that preach ‘free market’ fundamentalism.
Groups like the Fraser Institute, the C.C.C.E., and the C.D. Howe Institute have all but declared war on what Canadians have worked so hard to create. To many traveling in those circles, social institutions and pubic entities are just added waste to be trimmed so others may reap the benefit. With that is the idea that governments are not to be central to social planning, but instead private institutions are to take over and take place of democratically elected officials.
Corporations now benefit from yearly record profits while our social system collapses around it. In its place are public entities turned private for profit. This panacea was the solution put forward by the few for the many. Thing is, it has not worked as advertised.
Although, increasingly, those that have pushed these ideas onto Canadians have refused to see the obvious, so they continue to push for more of the same in the insane hope that in the end it will all work out. Like an addicted gambler they are always betting that the next spin of the reel will be the winning spin.
To return Canada to its former glory we must turn back the clock. Rarely is this ever an answer for anything in life, but this is one of those times when exceptions count in the final formula. By once again utilizing the Bank of Canada and moving away from the all out ‘free market’ craze we can return Canada to its rightful place as the premier middle power that was respected and looked at as a world leader.
Sadly, if this does not happen we can lump ourselves in with the other failed experiments throughout history.
Canadian Action Party Candidate for Surrey North British Columbia