Thanks to its natural resources Canada is a very wealthy country, but the vastly inequitable distribution of that wealth tends to obscure the fact that we all, even the child that (again) goes hungry today, own a piece of it. And neither government nor a corporate media encourage an awareness of that fact.
The major political parties keep stressing the importance of the economy but none seem very eager to point out that, yes, the banks and corporations see ever increasing profits while the real income of the working population is either stagnant or in decline.
Even the NDP seems to be carefully pussyfooting around, seemingly more interested in gaining the votes of the ‘I’m OK Jack’ segment of a population that is quite content and comfortable with the status quo but totally indifferent to the plight of the less fortunate.
The use of terms like ‘work- shy’ and ‘layabouts’ by right wing pundits can not disguise the grim reality that the days of near full employment are gone and not likely to ever return.
It is only fair that hard work and ability are properly rewarded, but is it fair when those that lose their job, often through no fault of their own, (manufacturing moving offshore) have to live a life of misery once their meagre EI runs out ?
Badly needed is a credible opposition party with enough clout to pressure those in power to govern with some heart rather than minds entirely focused on their own financial future.
And it remains to be seen whether the federal NDP is prepared to take on that role, or if it just aims to become a sort of surrogate Liberal party.
A prevailing aversion to even the word socialism stops many to look elsewhere and compare.
To recognize that many, mainly Scandinavian and West European countries, even when not blessed with similar natural resources such as Canada, but all without exception, with a strong socialist political presence, are able to maintain a more humane social safety net.
Thus for many the choice is to remain willfully blind, for others more religiously inclined, to dwell – or should that read hide? – in what the late Pierre Berton termed “The Comfortable Pew.”
No matter what, it still leaves us with the rather awkward question of complicity: If we keep voting for politicians or political parties that have no hesitation in spending literally multi – billions on weapons of war while children go hungry, are we as voters blameless?
It’s just a thought.
Peter van IerselFruitvale