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.
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.
Justin Trudeau has chosen to place all of the blame on the unvaccinated for the current spike in cases and hospitalizations. The problem is, this is only a half-truth. It is political scapegoating. The other half of the problem is Trudeau himself - and the rest of Canada's political elites who have declined to improve Canada's public health system for decades. There is so much more that our political leaders could have done to prevent, or at least mitigate, the current surge in Omicron cases and hospitalizations.
The influence of the private sector paid off for business owners, as they received more pandemic relief money collectively than individuals did. Justin Trudeau's federal government came out with a slew of programs to help those in Canada, but many of these predominantly favoured employers. According to a new CCPA report, businesses received $26 billion more in financial supports than individuals did on programs like the CERB. The result of the decision to direct more funds toward businesses was the maintaining of control in the hands of employers and managers. This meant there was less autonomy for workers to decide what to do with their own labour-power.
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.