Archive for March, 2020

Their work is keeping Canada safe. But they earn a fraction of the national average..

March 31, 2020

They’re the workers keeping Canada safe and healthy in the midst of a pandemic. But some — like cashiers — bring home just around a quarter of the average Canadian’s annual income.

From food processing to warehouses to delivery services, the workers deemed essential to maintaining the country’s vital supply chain are significantly more likely to be low-wage and racialized compared to the rest of the labour market, according to new statistics from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

In some cases, they are bringing home less than half of the average Canadian worker a year.

Five ways to mobilize for social change during a pandemic..

March 30, 2020

These recent weeks of state and corporate responses to the coronavirus pandemic have made inequalities and the need for structural change all the more evident.

In Canada, it quickly became apparent that the promise of mortgage deferrals for struggling homeowners really amounted to ultimately paying more for your home and the banks profiting yet again from your labour.

There is also the contrast of the Trudeau government’s coronavirus relief package allocating $305 million to Indigenous communities, while it considers a $15 billion “bailout” for transnational oil and gas corporations.

And there’s the exemption from social isolation measures for the man camps so that the building of the Coastal GasLink gas pipeline, the Trans Mountain pipeline, and the Site C hydroelectric dam on Indigenous lands can continue without free, prior and informed consent.

So how do we challenge this from home?

‘We’re all socialists now, at least while the COVID-19 crisis lasts’..

March 29, 2020

Well, the debate’s out there now, thanks to Trump. Will the “cure” — shuttering the economy — be worse than the disease, COVID-19? Turns out it’s an old debate in new garb.

For example, a Canadian economist once claimed that smoking is an economic boon because early cancer deaths reduce overall medical costs. It’s arisen now because most governments have reflexively (and IMO surprisingly) chosen to prioritize saving lives “at the cost” of stifling the economy.

Let me propose another way of viewing this grisly “debate.” Does the economy exist to serve people or vice versa?

Canada’s health system is unprepared for the COVID-19 pandemic…

March 16, 2020

The experience I described shows that Canada is unprepared for the COVID-19 pandemic. If public health lines are swamped with 300 cases in Ontario, imagine how things will look like when we hit a thousand cases, let alone many thousands. Test kits are similarly scarce, as the province has limited testing beyond people meeting their criteria to vulnerable groups: health-care workers with symptoms, people living in long-term care homes and retirement homes, and First Nations residents living on reserves. Unless you are part of the Toronto Raptors, whose entire team got tested. .

Can Canada’s Conservatives resist temptation to try to sabotage the accord with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs?

March 3, 2020

It will be interesting to see how the Conservative Opposition in Ottawa and Alberta’s Conservative government react to yesterday’s announcement the federal and British Columbia governments have reached an accord with the Wet’suwet’en First Nation that would recognize its system of hereditary governance.

‘Enforcers of the colonizers’: Wet’suwet’en crisis casts spotlight on long, difficult history between RCMP and Indigenous peoples..

March 1, 2020

“There’s the notion, increasingly challenged, that the Mounties played a protective role for Indigenous peoples, when in reality the Mounted Police were modelled after the Royal Irish Constabulary, a paramilitary colonial police force that the British used to control the Irish. In the Canadian case, the Mounted Police helped with the process of moving Indigenous peoples onto reserves to free up land for European settlers.