The recent dramatic changes forced through by the Conservatives' omnibus budget will result in a Canadian society where corporations and their rich friends are the beneficiaries of Harper’s Canada.
If the Conservatives believed their changes were good for Canadians, why did they hide them in a 425 page budget bill? Why didn’t they consult with citizens or the provinces about the dozens of changes hidden in Bill C-38, the budget implementation bill? Because this is Harper’s hidden right-wing agenda and they hoped you would not notice.
The Conservatives have made it harder for our seniors to retire in dignity and financial security by raising the retirement age to 67, and made it more difficult for needy seniors to obtain the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
They have made it more difficult for out-of-work Canadians to obtain Employment Insurance (EI) when they need it most. Their “reasonable job search” is based on the Conservative fable that most EI recipients are lazy people who are cheating the system.
The Harper Conservatives have historically been opposed to publically funded health care. They are now chipping away at our health care system, cutting $31 billion in health care transfers. Another piece of their hidden agenda is to privatize as much of health care system as they can for their rich corporate friends.
There is much more hidden in this budget including: the risking of our safety by weakening food safety and drug regulations; the gutting of environmental protections; and giving oil and gas insiders more authority to go ahead with large pipeline projects.
The impact of Bill C-38 will change Canadian society in ways that a few years ago we would have never dreamed imaginable. The changes to the OAS will create an intergenerational divide between young and old. The changes to EI will force workers to compete for jobs, and if workers appeal EI decisions they will have to wait longer for their appeal. Chances are their appeal will be denied. Changes to the Temporary Worker Program mean foreign workers can now be paid up to 15 percent less than the prevailing wage. Since the majority of foreign workers are racialized workers, the government is practicing wage discrimination based on race.
In the past Canada was thought of as a kind, caring, compassionate country. Not anymore, in Stephen Harper's Canada.