I have only quickly glanced at some coverage of the budget on the online Globe and Mail. It looks like the budget panders sufficiently to the urban voters who are key to the Liberal or Conservative parties, and to some extent, the NDP. It keeps the Bloc from voting down the government. Clearly Prime Minister Harper doesn’t see a majority in the tea leaves.
This gives the NDP breathing space to claim some political ground that no one wants – no one except concerned Canadians who realize we are losing our democracy to corporate totalitarianism.
We are losing our capacity to control our own destinies to those who believe all things are naturally predetermined, to those who believe that capitalism is fine, as long as they get the fattest cut from the top first. To those who feel entitled to own and control vast fortunes even when it means more people live in poverty on this planet than who live in comfort.
The NDP is the only platform we have at this time to put certain things on the political agenda. A partial list includes things like:
– real justice for First Nations – including constitutional reform that will make self-governance a reality, the creation of a Truth and Reconciliation process for past injustices and settlement of all outstanding Treaty and Lands issues.
– electoral reform that will end the Liberal/Conservative monopoly that distorts the will of Canadians.
– Unequivocal labour laws giving every worker in all industries the right to join a union, with accompanying legislation banning employer interference in this basic right.
– democratizing corporate control of the country – this should include public ownership of key wealth producing interests as well as all utilities, and elected boards composed of interested citizens.
– enforcing the five pillars of Medicare, and expanding it to include prescription drugs, homecare, dental care and long-term care.
-setting a timeline for the implementation of a guaranteed annual income.
– Phase out and eliminate Post-Secondary tuition fees.
– Revamping the CRTC so it can create a new public policy that will enable free and unlimited access to the Internet and information technologies, no matter where one lives in this country. (using the former Canada Health Act as a model).
Capitalism is a machine that produces wealth by exploiting the labour of others and by treating the air, soil and water we all need to live, as unlimited, God-given profit centres. Capitalism is reducing everything to a commodity and putting it up for sale. There is no room for ethics or conscience; reflection, or a connection to a spiritual reality that surely connects us all to each other.
If the NDP cannot articulate these values then what party will? These values will be the target of ridicule and howls of how expensive they are. Yet in our heart of hearts, why would we not join with other like-minded people throughout the world and demand this kind of investment in people instead of weapons and deadly competition for dwindling resources?
The NDP will never win the traditional Ottawa power game. It won’t win on the above platform either – today. It will win in the future because the party, by articulating these values, and articulating them consistently, will be in the forefront of a new movement of citizen activists. Slowly, people are becoming aware that the old ways do not work; that the proponents of global capitalism have had their chance and have brought the world to the brink of disaster.
In Canada, we now have some breathing room to create a whole new political dialogue. Our vocabulary can include any idea that counters economic totalitarianism. All that needs to happen is that we show up.