Tuesday, November 8, 2016

On Today's Menu

Even though I will be riveted to the television tonight watching the U.S. election results, I have had more than enough American political coverage, having just returned from Cleveland, where politics seemed pretty much to be the only topic being covered by the media. So a return to Canadian politics is in order.

Saturday's Star had some strong opinions from its readers on Finance Minister Bill Morneau and his "let them eat cake" attitude toward those mired in precarious work. I think it is safe to say that his attitude is not shared 'by the masses'.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau thinks the precarious work situation is OK and he sees nothing wrong with a situation where worker protection has been so eroded that people are having difficulty supporting families, affording housing and food, to say nothing about saving up for retirement.

The Liberal government has shown itself only to be concerned with the middle class.

Almost nothing has been done for the homeless, seniors and those on the extreme margins.

Obviously the Liberals will do nothing for the working poor in precarious work ... the ones accessing food banks to stay alive.

I am severely disappointed in this party and its misguided focus. Its child-care program will only be affordable to a select group and not the working poor who will need it most.

I did not vote for Justin Trudeau and nothing about his performance so far has changed my mind.

M. Schooff, Orangeville, Ont.

Get used to multiple careers, our finance minister says. Instead of trying to fix the symptoms, perhaps the government should focus on fixing the cause.

The standard of living has been falling for about three decades, going back to the days of Reaganomics, where tax cuts for the wealthy were supposed to trickle down to everyone else.

Well, history has always proven that idea to be total nonsense. Instead of giving tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations, the government should be focusing on social responsibility and ensuring that those with money are sharing it with the country as a whole, instead of hoarding it.

Otherwise, we’ll see more and more precarious employment, job loss and poverty, which will cause more precarious employment, job loss and poverty. It’s a downward spiral that hurts the bulk of the population, while making more and more for the wealthy.

James Knott, Mississauga

It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when the finance minister says, this is as good as it’s going to get, get used to it. He even has a term for it: job churn.

I worry about our grand- and great-grandchildren and their future. They are told to get a good education in order to get good jobs.

All this does is make them over educated and over qualified for entry-level jobs with minimum wage and minimum hours.

Big multi-national companies have no loyalties to their employees, but want their employees to be loyal to the company. At the first sign of trouble, it’s fire or lay off hundreds.

How is the next generation going to cope when they don’t know if they’ll have a job next week, month or year? No job security, no benefits, no pension. Can they afford to buy a house or a car? Can they give their children the things they need, like a university education.

I don’t know what the government can do to bring good-paying jobs with benefits and job security back to Canada, but when the finance minister says get used to it, there is something wrong.

Allan Mantel, Victoria Harbour, Ont.


  1. I'm increasingly disappointed, Lorne.

    1. Real leadership and vision are increasingly rare qualities, Owen.

  2. These are really good letters Lorne. By the way welcome back. Neoliberalism has been eroding the welfare state for years now. I know I harp on alot about this, but neoliberalism is here to stay.In Canada anyway.

    The liberal neoliberal policy on employment is precisely the cause of precarious employment.It does not serve the interests of big business to have employees working full time while being able to plan for their future.It cuts into their profits and we all know that making as much profits as possible is what business wants and our government supports them in this.The threat that always hangs over our head from big business, is if workers don't like precarious employment, the company can always move to a country where $1.00 an hour is the going rate.

    It has become the norm to have 2 to 3 low paying jobs.

    Morneau's arrogant statement that the precarious work situation is okay reveals a man who could care less. It also reveals a man who knows the future and the future is neoliberal, policy after policy. His and Trudeau's attitude is that Canadians will just have to live with it, after all it's not Canadian interests their supporting. When will Canadians start to realize that?

    Our government has gone rogue. They always go rogue when they have something to hide or are putting one over on Canadians.

    Parents struggling to support their children. No money for education or retirement let alone savings. Some parents even struggling to put food on the table, What happens if there is an emergency and more money is needed.

    The whole thing smacks of a government who is watching it happen, but is proceeding on with the neoliberal employment policy that has caused it.

    It is also global policies that Trudeau and his buddies are interested in. Domestic policies hold no real power.

    The global power elite are Trudeau's bosses and delivering Canada to them, democracy removed is his most fervent goal.

    Watch what this government is doing in Latvia on orders of the US/NATO to the tune of $350M and watch what they are doing in Africa. They laughingly call it peace keeping, but they are supporting neocolonial France so France can remove as much uranium as possible.This was why the french PM was in town a few weeks ago. Canada needs no imperial nudging. It's quite capable of creating its own imperialism such as in Africa, Brazil and Haiti, but they are always willing to help a friend like France.

    Global neoliberalism is all pervasive in this governments policies including militarily. That's where the money and power is. Canada wants to dance on the world stage with the big boys.

    Precarious employment? That's a domestic policy. Nothing to worry about there, after all it's only Canadians that are complaining. The complaints will become louder though when when the government implements neoliberal policy in our health care and education.

    1. Thanks, Pamela, for your analysis. To further what you have observed, consider as well Morneau's declared intention of pursuing public-private partnerships in infrastructure developments. Who truly benefits from such arrangements is easy to see, and who suffers are, of course, the people, who will be paying tolls, etc. to ensure a steady revenue stream to the investors. Think Hwy 407 here in Ontario, but on a much grander scale.

    2. You're right Lorne. I read an interesting article by Linda Mcquaig about how our government both federal and provincial are thinking of privatizing Pearson Airport to pay for infrastructure development.

      I really don't think though Lorne that any policies that they domestically implement regardless of how much suffering they cause Canadians and I mean policies across the board that will effect almost all Canadians really worries them.

      I've noticed with Trudeau, Freeland and other Libs and most recently with Morneau, when they are asked about a policy that some or all Canadians don't like or even policies whose consequences Canadians are unsure of, their answers are vague or even flip.

      It's almost as if we are an afterthought.It really is the global/military/neoliberal/corporate elite, that they are totally focused on pleasing.This is who they, not Canada want to be part of.

      Canada, the country that they are supposed to be governing, they've put up for grabs to the highest bidders.

      Trudeau the ultimate PR front man is apparently going to Cuba. He says he wants to walk in his fathers foot steps. It should be a good show.

    3. Agreed, Pamela, but it not only Canadians who will suffer or are suffering under the neoliberal visionaries currently in our government. I read an interesting article in the NYT the other day that talked about Trudeau's failure, despite the fact he favoured punitive measures when in opposition, to act against our mining companies that are wrecking significant havoc abroad: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/04/opinion/justin-trudeau-and-the-sludge-of-canadian-mining-companies.html?smid=fb-share

    4. That's true Lorne. The Canadian Mining Companies in Brazil and I think Africa bring total suffering to the people who work for the mines and to the countries as a whole.

      Yes Trudeau follows US imperialism blindly, but Canada also creates its own imperialism, plundering the wealth of other nations.

  3. Morneau may have been a successful businessman but he's living proof that business acumen is rarely evidence of political talent. He speaks well enough but it's his thinking, what he says, that betrays him. He's not adverse to "job churn" but, at his level of employment, that comes with six to seven-figure golden handshakes and a hefty signing bonus for the next opening. I expect Morneau is the very sort of man a neophyte like our prime minister readily looks up to.

    1. From rarefied circles Bill Morneau came, and within rarefied circles he remains and moves, Mound. The gap between those experiences and the ones experienced by the average person is too wide for his imagination to encompass.