News Advertiser – Opinion
The word “Systemic” has been bandied about a lot in recent months. There are many things being called systemic yet not everyone agrees with those pointing the fingers.
One thing that seems clear is that our federal government is quite good at systemic division. At times this division has been subtle and at other times not so subtle as they find ways to drive wedges between Canadians. On the subtle side, there the programs put in place to stifle progress in the west under the guise of protecting the environment. The West-Coast oil tanker ban and Bill C-69 (no more pipelines) are two examples of how Ottawa controls population and money to ensure their power resides where they want it. In the East.
Much of what we see can be made clear by looking closely at the “Laurentian Elite”. In 2011, John Ibbitson coined the term in an article which he followed with a book titled “The Big Shift”. He defined the “Laurentians” as “the political, academic, cultural, media and business elites” of central Canada. While not an official organization, their goal is simply to centralize power in the east.
In 1967 (Pierre Trudeau was elected in 1968) federal government spending was around 16 percent of the economy. When Trudeau left office in 1984, that figure ballooned to 25 percent of a much larger economy. The public sector became almost 50 percent of the economy with more and more programs and government institutions. By 1995, under the watchful eye of Jean Chrétien, Canada reached a debt to GDP ratio near 72 percent prompting the Wall Street Journal to call Canada “an honorary Third World country.” All but the elite have been becoming poorer since 1968.
Today government continues to expand and with that we see a major division. There is becoming a class division between the public sector and the private sector. The middle class is being pushed out of existence and private companies paying for ever expanding offices in and around Ottawa. When private companies were being forced to close, workers in those companies taking pay cuts or being laid off and every day seeing more uncertainty, those on the federal payroll saw a very different picture. Some were told to stay home as a precaution while getting paid their full wages. As many in the private sector took rollbacks, some in the federal government were awarded raises. We are all in this together, but we definitely are not all equal. Or at least some are more equal than others. In all socialist states, those closest to the government are insulated from hardships experienced by others. This could describe some of what we are seeing now.
To add to the division, there is a quiet new carbon tax coming which will futher penalize certain sectors, most of which are western. The new “clean fuel standard” will require supplies of fossil fuel to reduce carbon content. If this requirement cannot be met, there will be a $350/tonne carbon tax levied. Compare this to the $40/tonne B.C. pays as well as their own numbers showing emissions rising 10% in the past three years. PM Trudeau himself stated in an interview on Radio-Canada “Even if Canada stopped everything tomorrow, and the other countries didn’t have any solutions, it wouldn’t make a big difference.” So then why the tax? It helps divide the West with our natural gas heating and energy jobs from the East with ample hydro electric and a large government workforce.
Language is also a place where some are more equal than others. Federal employees know very well that if you are bilingual, you have more opportunities than someone who is not. Even if someone becomes bilingual, their accent can affect how they are treated in the workforce. Canadian labeling laws dictate that you must have both French and English on packaging. However, if you are in Quebec, the language police may write you a letter, visit you and even fine you if you do not comply with their arbitrary rules. One example: St. Lazare, Quebec. A bilingual town with about 36% Anglophones and 53% native French speakers, the language police did not care for the word “Welcome” on their town sign. They were not just asked to add the French “vous accueille,” but were told to remove the English from all signage. I’ll let you research what happened next.
Finally there is an item from recent news. When the World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination, Justin Trudeau all but agreed with them. He stated that he was “disappointed” by the RCMP over the treatment of Sikh officers who were assigned duties away from the front lines because health officials deemed it risky due to the N95 masks not being able to be sealed when the mask wearer had a beard. Since police forces across the globe have gone under the microscope, Trudeau has jumped on the bandwagon and feels it is justifiable to criticize them at any opportunity. This is yet another wedge that divides us.
Could this have been handled better? Yes, on both sides. The RCMP could have consulted (maybe they did) with officers and religious leaders to try to make EVERYONE happy. Sikh officers and leaders could have NOT played the discrimination card and offered up suggestions in a more productive approach on how these officers could do their front line duties while also staying safe and not risking the health of clients, their co-workers and everyone’s families. Between the two sides should have been the voice of reason in government.
This is just as absurd as religious leaders stating that banning public gatherings (such as church) is discriminatory. It’s not. It’s simply science. Science tells us that wearing masks reduces te spread of COVID-19. COVID doesn’t care who you pray to and it’s not my responsibility to jump through hoops to accommodate you. Having said that, there are a wide variety of masks purposely designed for men with full beards. I’m sure with the billions of dollars being tossed around, the federal government could have consulted with our top scientists and health professionals and found a solution that would have been acceptable to all. Instead, our PM throws the RCMP under the bus once again because his goal is not a united Canada. His goal is to divide.
I wonder if PM Trudeau or some representatives calling out discrimination would fancy a visit to some of our fine oil and (sour) natural gas sites. Would any of them refuse to wear a mask or would they simply be ignorant of the science and the 3 characters H-2-S?
One of the roles of government is to create a system that at least appears fair and that brings people together. After all, we are ALL Canadians. What we have now is a deeply divided country that gets pushed apart even more with every passing day and where some are more equal than others. Systemic division.
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