Poilievre’s announcement to run as Prime Minister touches on working-class issues, with a mood of plausible, genuine sincerity. He even mentions the working class by name. Of course, Poilievre doesn’t care about the working class at all. His solution to alleviating poverty in Canada is to put the social welfare bureaucracy “out of business.”
The organizers of the covid convoy have been demanding they speak to the manager of Canada. While they claim to fight for freedom and "vaccine choice," this couldn't be further from the truth. What all the elements within the spectrum of supporters of the convoy have in common is the promotion of social harm.
Wage theft is a major problem for workers in the trucking industry, yet the organizers of the so-called Truckers for Freedom Convoy are completely silent about this. How can the organizers and supporters of the convoy claim to support truckers, when they simply used them as a spectacle to draw attention to anti-vaccine and far-right ideology?
In the end, workers are attacked on two fronts via inflation rhetoric. First, by banking CEO's who claim workers make too much money, and second, by the Conservatives who claim that they received too much government support during the pandemic.
Aside from needless greenhouse gas emissions, the only accomplishment of the so-called Truckers for Freedom convoy is further consolidation and recruitment of the far-right. Whatever your stance on vaccines or vaccine mandate, the growth of these far-right conspiracy movements and the inevitable violence that goes along with it should be alarming.
BC excludes some workers, students, and newcomers to the province from receiving healthcare benefits. This forces people to pay for their own healthcare out of their own pocket. During the pandemic, temporary policies were introduced to cover these groups of people, but were eventually revoked. If Canada's public healthcare system is to be truly universal, these barriers to healthcare must be removed immediately.
Public transit is much more than getting from point A to point B. It is implicitly linked to broader societal issues like climate change and social justice. Eliminating user fares would be a great first step in the right direction.
The internal logic of capitalism has tainted our government's response to the pandemic. Corporate profits were preserved, while the interests of the working class were disregarded. Pandemic austerity and vaccine nationalism were the primary themes of government responses, and have grave consequences for the working class and health of humanity. An alternative solution, worker-ownership, is good public health policy as it would empower workers to create their own safe pandemic working conditions.
While not a solution to all of the problems of Canadian political economy, a truly universal UBI program does have potential to increase the quality of life for many of the working class. On December 16, NDP MP Leah Gazan (Winnipeg Centre) introduced a bill to the house of commons to develop a national framework to create a Universal Basic Income (UBI) in Canada.
Thus far, it is fair to say that Canada's strategy around rapid testing has been focused on preserving capitalist interests, while workers' interests have been cast aside. While Canada is confronted with a looming Omicron wave, rapid tests could play a crucial role in public health, if Canadian governments would allow it.