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March 30, 2012 / mike54martin

A Budget to Take Us Backwards

The Canadian Federal Budget does a lot of bad things but its biggest flaw is that it takes us backwards to the days before there were liberals or social democrats. It takes us back to the glory days of conservatism. Most of us are too young to remember them but they featured hard work for little pay, no benefits and certainly no pensions. There was no unemployment insurance if you got laid off and there was no public health care system if you got sick. Ah, the good old days.

Unions were limited to a few major industries and there were no unions or even collective bargaining in the public sector. There were no environmental laws or anything like an environmental impact review to impede a business opportunity. There were no aboriginal land claims, no need to respect any of those old treaties, and no need to worry about building on or near a reserve or putting up a mine just about any damned place you want. There was no red tape for business to worry about, no regulations to follow, and no taxes on corporations.

University education was only for the children of the very rich, those who could afford it. Everyone else was expected to fish, farm, work in the mines or the forests or go to the big city to work in the factories. Women could work before they got married but only as teachers or in the banks or shops. Forget about equal wages. They were lucky to have a job.

If you think I am being overly dramatic I urge you to read the Budget document, yes all 498 pages, or as many as you can. You will note that there are 445 references to helping business in the document which might suggest both the focus of and the audience for this business. There are also 33 references to the unemployed which is encouraging except for the fact that this budget does nothing to improve employment insurance except to “remove disincentives to work”. And that’s despite the fact that less than 40% of Canadian workers can currently access employment insurance.

In addition this budget will raise unemployment and the retirement age, lower the quality of health care and dramatically increase the inequality gap that exists today. If you are very rich, a banker, a corporate executive or just a person who wishes we could go back to those good old conservative days you must be a very happy person today. For all of the rest of us, the 99%, that light at the end of the tunnel is not “Jobs, Growth and Long Term Prosperity”. It is a runaway train that is planning to roll over us and the society that we have built together in the last sixty years.

And many of us, most of us really, will not even know that it’s happened until it’s too late.

Next post… on the Alternatives

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