cc: Paul Dewar, MP Ottawa Centre,
I am writing the ministers of Finance and Justice as a concerned Canadian living in Ottawa; the recent actions of the Canadian government have created tension as staunchly ideological policies have been put forth by the majority Conservative government. Specifically, the omnibus crime Bill C-10 introduces sweeping policies that would see the incarcerated population rise dramatically at a great cost to the taxpayer. At the same time, Conservative fiscal policies are trimming away preventative social services budgets. This bill creates a trap for disadvantaged people.
The omnibus crime bill is exemplary of neoliberal policies geared to criminalize poverty and restrict freedom along an ideological basis. While our justice ministry prepares to incarcerate those who never had a hand up, let alone hand-out, our fiscal policies have seen income inequality rise in Canada faster than in the US. University and college tuition has risen much more sharply than inflation due to government clawbacks; inaccessible skills-training further disenfranchises disadvantaged groups and allows wealth rather than merit to facilitate meaningful, productive, and well paid work.
These very real issues have been the reason many Canadians have joined the “Occupy” demonstrations coast to coast. Minister Flaherty, your comments to the media that Canadians have little to demonstrate over illustrates your ignorance on several levels. Firstly, the concept of a grassroots movement is that there is no pre-eminent organizing issue; each participant arrives with their own priorities but unites for change toward a more just and sustainable future. Because Canada could be worse, is not a reason to become complacent. The sitting government is dramatically overrepresented by the majority Conservatives, who were elected by less than 40% of voters.Whereas many Canadians’ voices are not appropriately represented by the sitting parliament, there came an impetus to create new democratic space to express opposition to a Conservative ideological shift in Canadian politics.
There is a simple message here; the “Occupy” protests are largely in favour of a decoupling of public policies from neoliberal profit-fetishizing ideas. As long as the policies the majority Conservative government pursues are inconsistent with the creation of a Canada that is safer, more environmentally conscious, and equitable, the “Occupy” protests are relevant here. Further, I personally implore you to defeat the omnibus crime bill for its juxtaposition with social justice, and I encourage you to interpret the entire “Occupy” movement as resistance to its passing.