Your Executive is becoming busier on a number of fronts. Last month we sent comment into the Ontario government on its weak regulatory proposal to limit the interest charged by payday loan companies. We said that a much better solution would be to raise the minimum wage to a living wage (from $11.25 to $15 an hour in this area); and to authorize a financial institution to make small, short-term, relatively low-interest loans for those who still need them. Ontario used to have its own Provincial Savings Offices that could have done this, but the Conservative government sold off its assets just before the 2003 election.
This month we have contacted the Bank of Canada with our concerns about Nellie McClung who, in a recent poll, topped the list of women the Bank is considering putting on our currency. Despite her many accomplishments, her support for forced sterilization in the 1920s should disqualify her. Please read the article below by Colleen Purdon and MaryAnn Wilhelm, both of whom have done some excellent work on this.
Some of the comments we’ve heard (on facebook for example) include a complaint that we’re trying to make political hay out of this, especially since Tommy Douglas dabbled in eugenics himself. While Douglas did indeed write an MA thesis on eugenics, he did not promote sterilization and when he was presented with such a policy for Saskatchewan, he rejected it. You can find some information on Douglas’ thesis here.
It appears Trudeau is enjoying a prolonged honeymoon from Canadians obviously weary of a decade of g Harper’s divisive leadership. However, the Liberals have yet to be tested. Will they ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement – a flawed treaty that will benefit multi-national corporate profits but do little to spark Canadian innovation or deliver good paying jobs? Will they deal honestly with First Nations on a nation-to-nation level as the Supreme Court suggests in its rulings and as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples requires? (Watch for the Cabinet’s decision on the Northern Gateway Pipeline.) Will they repeal the Conservatives’ anti-union legislation? Will they amend the loathsome Bill C-51?
Already there are signs the new boss is the same as the old boss (as the Who sang it in ‘Won’t get Fooled Again’). The Liberals have not put a stop to Canada Revenue Agency’s political audit of left-leaning charities. They decided to sell arms to Saudi Arabia in spite of that country’s human rights record, and now there is evidence that some of those arms are being used to attack Saudi civilians. Thanks to that deal Canada is now the 2nd largest supplier of arms to the Middle East. They continue to support Israel, right or wrong. They have not ditched the expensive and error-plagued F-35 as they said they would. They are fighting with veterans over compensation for service-related injuries.
You can follow some Liberal backtracking on Twitter at #NBisSOB, a hashtag David McLaren is using to record what the new boss is doing that’s the same as the old boss. Feel free to add your own observations. There is also a website that tallies Liberal promises against their actions:https://www.trudeaumetre.ca/. There’s good reason for our skepticism. You might remember Mr Chretien’s Red Book of promises in the 1993 campaign.Not a single one was kept.
What to do! Canada needs people to speak out lest our silence be taken for consent. Pick an issue you’re passionate about; write your local paper; call an open-line show; talk to our MP and MPP. Do not mistake the NDP for the grey porridge of the mushy middle. Listen to Stephen Lewis here and you’ll see what I mean. So mention the NDP and make your voice our voice.
If you are interested in sitting on the Executive and working for a better Bruce Grey, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether you’re interested in the Executive or not, come and sit with us at our meetings. Our next meeting will be on Thursday July 28th at the BDO Building in Owen Sound (1717 2nd Ave E, ground floor). Potluck from 5:30 pm.