Social Justice on Trial in Canada
Student protests reflect more than tuition hikes.
by Stephen Lendman
Destructive neoliberal mandates harm US and European societies. Canada's conservative government force-feeds similar policies.
They include wage and benefit cuts, less social spending, privatization of state resources, mass layoffs, deregulation, tax cuts for corporations and super-rich elites, and harsh crackdowns against resisters.
It's also about sharply hiking college tuition fees, student anger, and criminalizing public responses. More on that below.
In the 1980s, it was called Reaganomics, trickle down, and Thatcherism. In the 1990s, it was "shock therapy." Today, it's austerity. The result is unprecedented wealth transfers to corporate favorites and privileged elites.
Capital's divine rights are prioritized. Social justice is on the chopping block for elimination. Living standards are sacrificed. Ordinary people lose out. Vital services are cut. Human needs go begging. Unemployment and poverty soar. So does rage for change.
Years ago Canada lost its moorings. In December 1984, conservative prime minister, Brian Mulroney, addressed policies that began in the 1970s. Speaking before the New York Economic Club, he announced:
"Canada is open for business."
He meant US companies were welcome. Both countries cooperated for greater economic integration. Corporate interests were prioritized. Ordinary people lost out.
Oh Canada took on new meaning. Sacrificing pluralist Canadian democracy and social justice traditions became policy. Major parties formed consensus the way Democrats and Republicans do in America.
Neoliberal harshness was institutionalized. The conservative Harper government stiffened earlier policies. It serves Canada's ruling class. Finance capital is dominant. What big money wants it gets. Corporate power overall makes policy.
Canada shifted hard right under Mulroney. Harper institutionalized it further. Last January, he addressed Davos World Economic Forum participants. He pledged "transformative" pro-business policies.
They include more tax cuts, privatizations, deregulation, and austerity hitting ordinary people hardest. "We will do more, much more," he promised.