Harper’s Cons And The Emergence In Canada Of Virtue-Free Greed

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By Mark Taliano

“Virtue is regularly redefined to reflect fashion,” writes John Ralston Saul, “Sometimes it refers to honesty, sometimes to personal virtue, sometimes to devotion to the people’s welfare.  Over the last twenty years, it has tended to refer to the virtue of personal enrichment.”

The “virtue” of the Harper Regime, sometimes cloaked in Christian evangelism, is the deformed notion that the 1% should enrich themselves at the expense of the 99%.  It is a “virtue” that teaches us that the poor of the world are not worthy of our care, that the poor and marginalized of Canada are obstacles to surmount, and that people are subservient to the parasitical needs of corporate entities and the managerial class.

How else to explain the Con government’s decision to kill Bill C-398, which would help to get generic life-saving drugs to Africa?  Killing Bill C-398 means that the Cons are enabling the deaths of countless poor and suffering in Africa.  This is not an act of Christianity.

MP Nathan Cullen describes the scene in the House of Commons:  “Just watched Conservative vote to kill our bill to help get generic life-saving drugs to Africa. Many of them laughed & smiled. Shameful. Who exactly do they work for? Grandmothers for Africa organized a great campaign. Anyone need another reason to toss Mr. Harper from office?”

 In answer to his rhetorical question, they (the Cons) are working for the insular self-interest of pharmaceutical companies, to whom they are beholden.  Such deeds are not aligned with Christian values, nor are they aligned with any notion of governing for the public good.

Stephen Lewis, former UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, sees it this way:  “ … In the great choice of life, they (the Cons) have chosen patent protection over the lives of children.  And that’s about as perfidious as you can get as a government.”

Under the Harper regime, Canada is experiencing an unprecedented widening of the gap

between the haves and have nots, as well as a shrinking middle class, all hallmarks of a third world economy. This has not gone unnoticed by the United Nations. In May of this year, Canada had the dubious honor of being the first developed nation to face a probe by the U.N Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Oliver De Schutter, who explained “that one of the reasons he came is because it’s scandalous that in a country as wealthy as Canada there are two million without enough to eat, ” and to show that it’s not a lack of food; it’s “ pure political will.”

The final report looks like this.  Needless to say, the Con regime’s failure to adequately address poverty issues is another well-earned black mark on this country’s international reputation, and further proof of their mean-spirited, inhumane, and un-Christian governing style.

How are parasitical corporations contributing to this mess?  Over the years, legislation has been crafted to enable corporate profits to the detriment of the 99%. Low corporate tax rates, corporate bailouts, privatization schemes, attacks on unions etc. ( all of which contributes to the looting of the public treasury), are  specialties of neo-liberal market theories, to which the Harper Cons are devoted.  One result of this failing economic theory is that corporations are now sitting on what Bank Of Canada Governor Mark Carney refers to as “dead money”.

Thanks to an unwitting, and therefore complicit public, Canadian corporations, (not including banks) are now hoarding about 400 BILLION dollars. It is just sitting there: it is not being used to purchase goods and services, and so it is a drain on the economy.  Years ago, corporate tax rates were about 34%, and now they’re at the low rate of about 16%.  Add to this the legislatively enabled tax loopholes, tax breaks, and tax havens, and it becomes clear that many corporations  are not paying their way. To add insult to injury, corporate empowering trade deals allow them to relocate to other countries that offer a weaker social sphere, including no-unionization, low pay, and an easily exploited workforce. Remember Caterpillar?

So, if the definition of “virtue” included a strong social sphere, the Harper Cons are clearly not up to the task. If the definition meant the personal enrichment of the managerial class, to the detriment of the 99%, and to the detriment of the economy, then maybe they are “virtuous”.

I would think, however, that the morally and economically bankrupt Con model doesn’t suit any “definition” of virtue.  Even the 1% will soon find themselves unwitting victims of this governing and economic model, which is childish in its greed, and irresponsible in its societal ramifications.

Mark Taliano is a Niagara resident and regular contributor of news and commentary to Niagara At Large.

(Niagara At Large invites your views on this post. Please Note that NAL only posts comments by individuals who also share their first and last name.)

17 responses to “Harper’s Cons And The Emergence In Canada Of Virtue-Free Greed

  1. It used to be called “Noblesse Oblige” where the aristocrats not only had rights the unwashed peons never had, also the pick of those young virgins that lived in town, The 1% feel that because they have big bucks nobody else deserves a say in what they do, usually looting and pillaging the environment , leaving behind toxic tailings for the dumb tax-payers to pick up the tab.

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  2. Most of the small countries in Central America as well as many of the larger countries in South America are and have been controlled by the reigning rich elite as they like to be referred to as.and these peoples are backed by the wealth of North America for monetary reasons.Even when so called “Democratic” elections are forced and a populist candidate is elected the alarm of those controlling “Elites” finds the North American military either coming to kidnap the democratically elected president and exiling him/her to some nation far away or monetarily sponsoring a coup d’etat of that elected government. This has happened in Haiti, in Chile and other countries in Latin America and it has been perpetuated to maintain the status quo of the controlling faction the Rich. Honduras, Gautamala, El Salvador and this list goes on and on

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  3. Mark, your article says the following, “Under the Harper regime, Canada is experiencing an unprecedented widening of the gap”.

    I checked out your link and it clearly says the problem happened from 2000 to 2006!!

    I find it really disturbing that a major point of your article is disproved by your own reference material.

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  4. http://www.torontosun.com/2011/07/13/canadas-wealth-gap-widening
    (Note: The Harper gov’t is also supressing this type of info. due to targeted cuts)

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  5. Mark, I appreciate the added references. In case your wondering I really do read your articles looking for some thoughtful criticism of the government. What stops me in my tracks is seeing what looks like political propaganda.

    Your original article was referring to gini coefficients for “Economic families, two persons or more” after tax income. So here’s the number for the Harper Government.

    2006 – 0.321
    2007 – 0.323
    2008 – 0.330
    2009 – 0.329
    2010 – 0.328

    You can find this information here:
    http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a05?lang=eng&id=2020705

    For comparison the Brian Mulroney/Kim Campbell Government.
    1984 – 3.00
    1993 – 3.00

    Jean Chretien Government
    1993 – 3.00
    2003 – 3.24

    Paul Martin Government
    2003 – 3.24
    2006 – 3.21

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  6. Thanks for the info. and source, Matt. A score of zero = minimum equality, and a score of 1 is maximum inequality. So, For Harper in 2006 , it is .321, and by 2010, it is .328 , which means inequality has increased significantly during those years. Mulroney/Campbell it is steady at .300., from 84-93 Chretien: .300 -.324 (1993-2003), it has gone up. Paul Martin (2003-2006)
    .324-.321, income inequality actually decreased. With Harper, it has increased by .7 which is significant. Harper’s numbers are also the highest, which is also significant.

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  7. Mark, that’s definitely true and I hope you don’t mind the dialogue, I think the numbers are significant and you should expect the government to work at getting the numbers down. If they stay this high it means that income inequality will be at its highest point in 20 years and I don’t think our country wants to be going in that direction.

    When I look at the numbers I do see something else that concerns me and also explains why I disagreed with your article. When the Harper government took over the gini number stayed within the boundaries established by the Liberal Government for the first two years.

    The numbers only changed significantly when we had a recession in 2008, jumping to 0.330. Since the recession was caused by the United States I have a hard time blaming the Harper Government for this.

    There’s something else however that needs to be considered. The spike that happened during the recession is actually something we’ve been complaining about for 2-3 years now.

    You might remember that when the recession hit in 2008 businesses started loosing money, some people lost their jobs and many desperate for work started accepting lower paying jobs just to pay the bills.

    It’s important to realize that this wouldn’t have affected the gini number if everyone lost income equally.

    This didn’t happen, however. One thing that was well documented was that while many people working in the private sector were loosing jobs, taking pay cuts or accepting lower paying jobs. Most people working in the public sector were not being affected by any of this.

    There were even situations where public sector employees continued expecting raises right through the recession.

    Here’s an article written by Doug.

    https://niagaraatlarge.com/2012/03/23/niagara-regional-police-should-be-made-to-live-with-a-two-year-wage-freeze/

    On a personal level I’ve never had an issue with people having these jobs. But when we start discussing gini numbers and the Harper Government’s blamed for income inequality, It’s like we just decided to ignore the problem that’s been right in front of us the whole time.

    I’d like to know how someone involved in the labour movement explains the need for public sector employees to make $100,000 a year when the average wage in Ontario is actually closer to $40-$42,000.

    Personally, I’m not sure how fair it is to blame the Harper Government for all this. His government didn’t create the recession and he’s certainly not supporting the unions that have been driving up public sector wages over the years.

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  8. I think there’s politics of envy here. I agree with those who say more people should have unions. Otherwise the money ends up as corp. dead money, or in tax havens etc. Let the people have money so they can spend it and improve the economy. Austerity is the wrong formula for a weak economy.

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  9. Pingback: Greed Is Good? | Frank McBride

  10. Farrell Mc Govern

    Ultimately, it comes down to a few fact about Harper and his Neo-Cons…one is that they have the Calvinist belief that the amount of money that you can make through your hard labour indicates How much God loves you, and that you are going to be “Saved”, that is, a member of “The Elect”. Next is that they are sure the end of the world is near, and thus it is important to maximize profits for “The Elect” to make sure they get into Heaven. And part of their “End of the World” scenario means that they Jewish People have to rebulid The Temple, and this is why Harper, and the other Evangelist Christians support Israel unconditionally. And according to their Bible, Man (and it *is* a male movement) was given domination over the Earth to use it as he believes fit…so what if the Tar Sands kill all of the wild life, it will all die soon in the Tribulations before the Rapture. So the environmental policies of the HarperCons make more sense in this light. As well, remember how they believe that how much money they can make shows how much God favours them? Well, the corollary of that is that anything…say unemployment insurance or social assistance…that prevents people from making my through your own hard labour prevents them from being saved!

    When you know this information, it is easy to understand why Harper does things…and it may just scare you a bit too.

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  11. Colin Brown’s vain attempt to stop the implementation of the Canada Health System and the elimination of the Canadian Wheat Board was why he began the National Citizens Coalition and Harper signed on to these decrees when he first accepted their financial backing in his bid for the Alberta seat in Calgary, he resigned the position to be further involved in Brown’s National Citizens Coalition where he finally managed to take over the top position. These are facts that are not hidden…..He could not stop the already enacted Canada Health System and the Canadian Wheat Board through the NCC so the only way to fulfill Brown and His aspirations was through Federal Politics and he quickly moved to the Reform where he easily eliminated all competitors for the leadership roll..He then teamed up with Peter McKay aspiring candidate for the leadership of the old “Progressive Conservative Party”. McKay won with the help of David Orchard’s support and though he signed an agreement with Orchard not to form an alliance with Harper and merge the “Progressive Conservative Party” He did just that and it was the end of an Old and somewhat revered “Progressive Party. This whole scenario over the past few years was seen Canada corrupted by lies, thievery, and betrayal of the peoples of Canada by a few 1%ers with their own self enriching monetary agenda….and to hell with the 99%.
    Mark speaks out with clarity and a sense of concern for not only Canadians but for “ALL” peoples of the world and should be respected for the noble concerns about which he writes…Thank You Mark and Thank you Doug.

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  12. The so called Progressive Conservative Party should change it’s name for what it really stands for. The Regressive Conservative Party of Canada.

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