Prime Minister Harper’s Message of Failure

Prime Minister Stephen Harper in his year end media interviews warned the Canadian people to get ready for hard times in 2008. Only three months earlier he was boasting that Canada was the wonder of the G8, virtually recession proof. Predictably, the Prime Minister took no responsibility for the impending down turn in the economy. He made no promises about what his government will do to protect Canadians from imminent economic turmoil. To do that would expose the responsibility he personally bears for Conservative Government foreign and domestic policies that create economic hardship in Canada.

Studies by the Canadian Council for Policy Alternatives, (CCPA) , NAPO the National Anti-Poverty Organization and the 4 million strong Canadian Congress of Labour (CLC) the aboriginal, First Nations and Métis people’s demanding their national rights and economic justice , and women’s and child care advocates demanding a national child care program and many more people’s movements demanding economic justice, reveal gross inequalities in Canadian society.

The richest 20% of Canadians own 75% of the nation’s wealth and more than 90% of the gain in income share in 2007 went to the richest 5 percent within that group. Most of that gain went to the richest 0.01 percent of Canada’s income scale. 100 top chief executive officers make on average 240 times more than the typical worker. Some make more in a day than the average worker makes in a year.

PM Harper’s “Three Legged Stool” Economy
What are the economic roots of such wealth disparity? The Stephen Harper Conservatives are the government of militarism, big oil and rampant big investor speculation. Wealth disparity cannot be separated from that fact. This shaky three legged stool is passed off as an economy in the interests of the Canadian people. It is nothing of the sort.

This wobbly neo-con economic construct, threatening to collapse, is the logical outcome of the economic and foreign policy straight jacket restricting independent Canadian development. For decades Canada has been hobbled by the military doctrines of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its latest iteration, the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) that subordinate Canadian economic development to the global ambitions of a handful of powerful US and Canadian finance capitalist interests. There is nothing in this anarchic neo-con capitalist economic model for working people. It must change if Canada as a nation is to survive and its people thrive.

War Is No Way to Run a Country
Harper demands that Canadians accept without protest, and indefinitely, the burden of the escalating costs of US-NATO wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and any other wars that may follow. He demands that the Canadian Armed Forces sent by General Hillier and NATO into the most dangerous sector of an unjust and un-winnable war of occupation accept an endless stream of fallen soldiers and wounded.

The human and material cost of the Afghan War is unjustified. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s corporate tax cuts, at the behest of the banks, and high defense spending have reduced a multi-billion federal surplus to an estimated $1.5 billion while the war budget heads for $20 billion. The Harper Government squanders taxpayer dollars at the rate of $3.5 million a day expected to rise to three times that amount by 2009, to fund the Canadian military presence in Afghanistan. At the same time Prime Minister Harper turns a deaf ear to calls for federal government help from communities dependent on manufacturing and auto sector jobs, forestry jobs, and farm income to survive.

The Centre-Left Alternative to Right Wing Extremism
The majority of Canadians who oppose the militarization of our country, the hundreds of thousands of workers deposed from their jobs in manufacturing and the millions more who feel threatened, the majority of farmers trying to stay in farming, the millions of underpaid and overworked and marginally employed workers who are one pay check away from ruin confront a choice. We can continue as we are, and cast votes for parties that let us down, or consider doing something for ourselves between elections that will get the attention of the power elites and force them to back off and put the interests of the working people back on the political agenda of the country.

A centre left alliance of democratic forces can challenge the Harper neo-cons and set Canada on a new path of an independent foreign policy of peace, rational energy development that reduces global warming and serves Canadian needs first and planned reinvestment to direct capital now wasted on war, to restore and expand a domestic manufacturing sector. A revival of the Canadian manufacturing sector would stimulate the domestic market for agricultural products and demand a made in Canada food policy to serve the nation and feed the hungry of the world. In fact a centre-left alliance at this stage in Canada’s history is the only political power alternative capable of stopping the evolution by stealth of the extreme right wing to its logical destination, some form of crypto-fascist corporate governance of our country.

A Sharp Turn to the Left Can Defeat Right Wing Extremism
What is required to stop right wing extremism? What is required is a working people’s movement led by organized labour united around a democratic program of planned economic development that puts the interests of those who must work to live at the top of the country’s agenda. To do that requires a sharp turn to the left in all labour, farm, social and democratic organizations of the people. Canada must move left for survival or continue right to economic and political disaster. There is no “third way”. That reality can no longer be evaded.

Left turn Canada is the task confronting every patriot, every fighter for national rights, every labour militant, farm union militant, every left wing socialist, communist activist in the country. How the challenge left turn Canada is answered in practice, will determine the direction of Canadian politics not only for the next federal election but for years to come.