Why we need a new social contract

Over the past three decades we have seen the decimation of the social contract between us, the governed, and our collective governments. As pursuing profit at all costs has become the new religion, our governments have breached their responsibility to us. Continued privatization and deregulation has opened up more ways for corporations to rob us at every turn. Whether it is as a consumer or an employee, the social contract is gone.

Take the latest example of corporate greed. Caterpillar, a company that makes billions in profits, has locked out its employees in London, Ontario. Caterpillar wants to reduce wages by over 50%, add co-pays to benefits and force employees to pay 25% of the cost. It has been common for manufacturers to ask employees to take a pay cut but 50% is unheard of. It is not like this company is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Apparently, Caterpillar has a reputation of extracting concessions from its workers by waiting out their unionized employees until they are desperate.

Where is the intervention of the federal government? How come at the whiff of a labour dispute at Air Canada had Lisa Raitt running to the Industrial Relations Board? Where is she on this one? This is union-busting at its finest and clearly the Harper government couldn’t care less. Why is it ok to force a 50% compensation reduction on a group of legally unionized workers? Surely if a company does not have monetary pressures to demand these concessions, it ought to be illegal.

If the government(s) can’t protect us what are we to do? Clearly there is something seriously wrong with our system. It is time that people wake up and withdraw their consent to be governed. Once again, the Occupiers have it right.

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Published in: on January 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm  Comments (1)  
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My 2011 Election Prediction

If someone had told me a month ago that the NDP and the Liberals would have exchanged places in the poll I would not have believed it. Jack Layton has run a very tight yet engaging campaign. He has not faltered from his message of support for families. I find it so interesting how both Harper and Ignatieff became so afraid of Layton and the NDP in the last week of the campaign.

This is a really hard election to call. There are so many variables to consider. Really, it depends on who can get the vote out. If the polls are correct and the NDP support does not erode then Jack Layton stands a very good chance of taking the NDP to its best performance ever. He may even be leader of the Official Opposition.

I think Harper can expect another minority parliament. He did very little to allay the fears of voters with what he would do if he won a majority. I think many people are weary of Harper saying he needs a majority to govern. He needs a majority if he is going to be a dictator.

The real question mark right now is Quebec. If support for the Bloc Quebecois has diminished and if most of it goes to the NDP the results of this election will be one for the history books. Clearly Quebec is not going to support the Liberals no matter how often they trot out Jean Chretien. The problem with the Liberals is Michael Ignatieff. Apparently he has charisma if you meet him in person, however he does not present well on TV. He comes across as a pompous ass who thinks he knows what is best for us.

The Liberals are done until they get a real leader. They need someone with vision and charisma not a professor lecturing to them. Since Jean Chretien stepped down, the Liberals have floundered. Paul Martin wanted to be prime minister simply to be prime minister. He didn’t have a vision for what he wanted to do for the country. Stephane Dion had promise but he got bogged down in policy.

Harper has shown his true colours this campaign. All of the scandals aside, his insistence on only answering 5 questions a day was quite arrogant. He was so tightly wound and uncomfortable. His perseveration on the ‘coalition’ became so tiresome. He consistently misrepresented several issues.

The other unknown is the youth vote. It is interesting that neither the Liberals nor Conservatives has tried to engage the youth vote. I suspect they are afraid that youth will support the NDP. Rick Mercer has done a great deal to get the youth of Canada more engaged in the political process. If the youth vote in droves it may well be enough to put the NDP over the top.

I think we will have another minority parliament. If the NDP gets the vote out then they well could form the Official Opposition. There is a role the governor-general could play here as well. He could ask the opposition parties to form a government if the numbers are close. It is only convention that dictates that the party with the largest number of seats forms the government. I think it is not likely he will do that but the possibility does exist.

If things happen like I have predicted, Michael Ignatieff will resign tomorrow night. There is nothing the Liberal Party of Canada can do to rehabilitate his leadership. Instead of having a leadership coronation again, like they did with Michael Ignatieff. The Liberals need an exciting and engaging leadership campaign with younger contenders. It is my hope that Justin Trudeau become the next leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. I think he has the charisma and the leadership skills to bring the Liberals back.

This and that…

Many things are going through my head so welcome to the latest mish-mash post. Here we go, in no particular order:

  • What is up with play off hockey. Why are the fans so intense? As I drove to work today, I was listening to BC Almanac again, of course they had uber-Canuck fans on today to talk about how they are coping with the unanticipated game 7 of this series. These people are fucking insane! One woman called and said that her 12-year old son had gone on a hunger strike and he was not going to eat until the Canucks won again. Well, if history repeats itself, the kid might not eat until next October. Why do people get so worked up about hockey? Where is all that energy when it comes to social issues? To volunteering? To political engagement? Man if we could harness 1/10 of the energy that is directed towards the Vancouver Canucks we could solve homelessness and political apathy in a few days.
  • I don’t know about you but the idea of Jack Layton as the Leader of the Official Opposition makes me squee with delight! I would love it if Ignatieff had to move out of Stornoway and make way for Jack and Olivia. Layton has worked tirelessly as leader of the federal NDP and it is about time he reaps the rewards. I am glad that people are thinking it is time for a change in Ottawa. I am hoping that Harper is denied his majority – just like Dancing on the Stars you don’t get it if you don’t earn it.
  • I need to make some changes in my world. I want to get a handle on my anxiety so it does not rule my life. I want off the medications that are supposed to help manage it but don’t really seem to do the job. I am completely against going on any more medication. I am not sure what the changes will look like. Some of them I won’t be able to post here unless I do a private post. Mostly though the changes will centre on me taking back control and not letting other people/things control my world. I am tired of walking around with hunched shoulders and backaches because of stress. Now some of it I have no say over. My anxiety ramps up if my pain levels are too high. I am going to try to manage that a little differently as well. Again, not sure what it will look like but the goal is to get some peace back in my life. I want more time for me and with Deb and the dogs.
  • I loved being home last week with the dogs. You miss so many things when you are not here with them all day. They seem to bond more closely to me when I am here. As the week went on, I spent more and more time with Piper laying on my leg and Sawyer cuddled in. It was nice. It made my stress levels go down.

Anyone else out there thinking of making changes? Do you have any ideas for me of things that have worked for you around managing anxiety? Let me know in the comments!

Thankfully it is summer!

No, I have not become a fan of summer. Actually, truth be told, I detest by summer. But summer has some advantages. Right now, the biggest advantage is that parliament is no longer in session, which means we are not going to be forced to put up with the machinations of the idiot talking heads who have been elected to run this country or not as they see fit. The big election threat last week over changes to EI was absolutely ridiculous. It is all scaremongering and brinksmanship politics which does nothing to provide stability to the country in the midst of a recession. What exactly did Michael Ignatieff get? He got a ‘panel of six experts to look into it.’ I am sure he could have held his breath and at least had Stephen Harper agree to a Royal Commission. It would have given them something to do over the summer and employed a lot of bureaucrats.

In all seriousness we need some leadership here. We are being subjected to brokerage politics in the extreme. No one has any ideology. They seem to disagree for the sake of it and have nothing new to offer. Where are the bold plans? The new ideas?

Published in: on June 20, 2009 at 9:07 pm  Comments (1)  
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