Politicians of all stripes make mistakes or gaffes, and often have to apologize in the media or walk back their statements. However, when it comes to Jason Kenney and Doug Ford, they're brazenly unapologetic. They will never admit that anything they have said is problematic at best, racist or ableist at worst. Take, for example, what Jason Kenney said just last week when responding to the federal throne speech.
Despite being raked over the coals on social media, I can guarantee you that Jason Kenney won't shed a tear for anyone he's harmed with his words. How do I know this? His attitude speaks for itself. He only cares about himself, those close to him, and retaining power in Alberta. That being said of course, polls are showing that Albertans certainly care. They're sick and tired of being lied to, of being gaslit by his ministers and supporters, and are looking to Rachel Notley to save them from themselves. Not to be outdone though, in Ontario Doug Ford is similarly unapologetic when discriminating against disabled folks during COVID.
Call me "kooky", but doesn't this just smack of ruthlessness to anyone else? Have we all collectively forgotten what it means to 'help your fellow man' or to come together as a community and uplift those less fortunate than ourselves? When did we forget about these basic human values of decency? I would argue that on a basic level, the public hasn't forgotten. But our leaders have time and again chosen to enrich themselves and their friends first, pander for votes second, and leave everyone else under their feet.
Since Alberta elected the UCP in a majority government back in 2019, there have been no shortage of controversies relating to its ministers, the premier himself, or the various government staffers who have been involved in questionable activity, or even direct confrontations with the public. All of these tactics are to undermine public trust in the healthcare system, paving the way for privatization. It's no secret that Tyler Shandro doesn't like being criticized by physicians, and he certainly doesn't want them exercising their right to honour their Hippocratic oath by refusing to participate in a predatory system.
Things have gotten so bad in Alberta that physicians have already decided to leave, regardless of the minister's actions or of the effect it will inevitably have on patient care in the province. The situation between the AMA and the ministry has become untenable. And that's exactly what the UCP wants. It only strengthens their position in pushing private health care systems. They are moving to stack the deck against public systems and enable their rich donors and supporters to dismantle public healthcare.
Gambling On People's Lives
Meanwhile in Ontario, one of the hardest hit provinces by the second wave of COVID-19 in Canada, the premier is focused on what matters most to him and his cabinet: reopening casinos. That's right, you heard me. Re-opening casinos. In the middle of a pandemic. Go figure. After giving them over $500M of public money in loans to stay afloat, casinos will be opened so that people already living beyond their means and who have been hanging on by a thread during a pandemic can empty their pockets into games of chance.
This will disproportionately affect folks who are on ODSP, folks who are on CERB (rolling into EI this week) and people who are immunocompromised. The money being spent to keep business going will leave behind folks who need public money to survive. But Doug Ford doesn't care about them. He also cares only about rich donors to the PC Party, his supporters, and his inner circle. But unlike in Alberta where folks are starting to see through the lies and deceit, Ontarians seem to think that Doug Ford is doing an OK job. Hopefully the latest dose of reality will make them think twice.
But no matter what provincial governments decide to do to deal with the second wave of COVID-19, we must keep applying pressure to politicians to do what is best for EVERYONE, and not just what's 'good for business'. We need to stop pretending that the private sector is going to bail us out with more minimum wage jobs, or that private schools or hospitals will be better than properly funding our public systems. We need to stop enabling the powerful to cruelly crush us under their collective thumbs, and let them know loud and clear that they work for us, and not the other way around.
THE LB PODCAST BLOG
A blog for the revolutionaries.