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.
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.
Mackenzie Thomason, leader of the NBNDP, recently announced new policy goals that will improve the lives of working-class people. This is a dual-pronged approach; the goal is to provide a four day work week for workers, with little or no loss in pay.
Giving Labour more power within the capitalist system should be seen as a win for the Left, especially after decades of neo-liberal decay. If we are to progress as a society, building worker's power within a strong intersectional, labour, and Indigenous coalition would be a great starting point. Change only comes from the streets.
Many of us voted for Trudeau, giving him a majority government for four years. But since his 2015 legalization promise, Justin Trudeau has done little to help the generation that got him elected. He is losing the youth vote.