September 28, 2020

BY CODY MUDGE

This is my government.

At least insofar as it’s the one that I voted for in the previous federal election. I’ve learned too much since casting that last ballot to make the same mistake again. We need a respite from the science intolerance and the tangible excitement over finally being able to go to war in Iraq. We need a government that doesn’t bend over for big business and who respects the rights of every individual citizen.

There have been numerous warning signs that we badly need to rein in the rampant powers that have been exercised by a government that originally preached integrity above all else.
The zealous march for involvement in an unwinnable war against ISIS (or ISIL depending on who you’re talking to) should be much more unpopular with Canadians than it is. Despite a lack of support from any of the other parties our government is clearly eager to embroil us in an expensive and ambiguous conflict. A look at the history books will show that Harper and the Tories in 2003, then the opposition party, were adamant that we should join the United States in their invasion of Iraq. It seems as though they’ve finally gotten their wish.

In the summer of 2012 hundreds of scientists took to the streets of Ottawa to protest the Harper government’s wanton destruction of the public scientific research community. The Environmental Lakes Area (ELA), one of the world’s most influential freshwater research facilities, plays a critical role in the study of the effects of acid rain and heavy industry on delicate ecosystems, but it nearly disappeared thanks to cuts by the government. It took a third party, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, to save ELA and the crucial work they do.

This is just one of a myriad of cases which could be perceived as an attack on science and knowledge itself in this country. We’ve gone from a world leader in climate and environmental sciences to a global laughing stock, winning Fossil Award after Fossil Award for falling behind on even the most modest targets. This trend continues with the government’s promotion of the oil sands project despite massive amounts of evidence from scientists proclaiming the dangers as well as protests from local residents, especially by the ignored and mistreated indigenous communities.

On the financial front, it seems like Canada made it through the recent economic recession better off than other countries, notably the United States. However, a closer examination of the evidence reveals a prolonged stagnation of wages for a middle class that is increasingly indebted.

Our generation, according to a recent report by the Conference Board of Canada, is the first to be worse off than our parents. While the gender wage gap between males and females is a constant fight, and one well worth having, we’re also facing a stacked deck where young workers are unable to make the same as their older counterparts.

I’m not here to pitch a certain party but we cannot have more government antics like the ones that have us blindly digging for dirty oil in a world facing climate change, fighting an ideological crusade in the Middle East and whose interests lie with big business and the rest be damned.

It’s time for a change.

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