From parents to posties, our PM hates working Canadians

LABOUR REPORT by Stephen Whitworth


Something’s wrong with Canada Post home delivery. (Illustration by Myron Campbell)

Stephen Harper hates workers. It’s clear from his actions, it’s clear from his words and it’s clear from his obsessive love for big oil and trade pacts.

The question is, why do some workers vote for him?

Sorry, that’s not actually the question. That’s several dozen PhD theses, or maybe a follow-up to Thomas Frank’s excellent 2004 book What’s The Matter With Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America.

Maybe Frank could call this sequel “What’s The Matter With Saskatchewan”, since the 2011 popular vote in this place was 56 per cent Conservative.

Back to the topic at hand: Harper hates workers’ guts, a fact he’s demonstrated repeatedly. Let’s look at some examples.

How about affordable childcare? This is something Canadian governments have promised but not delivered since at least the Brian Mulroney days. Childcare helps parents get into the work force, which is important because there’s not a lot of high-paying jobs left that let one parent support an entire family.

Childcare also helps single parent workers, especially single parent workers trying to upgrade their education so they can get better jobs. And last time I checked most single parents were still women, which might be why the Royal Commission on the Status of Women  said we needed childcare. In 1970.

Well, we finally got national child care under the Paul Martin minority government but in 2005 the Conservatives took power and strangled the program in its crib. Instead, Harper gave hard-working Canadian parents a dumb-ass discount plan that’s barely more than pizza money.

Not much help for working parents, is it?

Then there’s the Harper government’s union-bashing legislation. One of my favourites was Bill 377, which forced unions to publicly disclose spending details under the guise of “accountability”.

Accountability my ass: unions already make their financial information available to members.

No, 377 is about sabotage.

Here’s how it could work: as with any group of people, some folks in unions are douches. No, don’t argue — some trade unionists are total douchebags. And Bill 377 weaponizes these morons, bullies, contrarians and crackpots, giving them another tool to stir shit up at their local.

Malcontents could already exploit the unions’ democratic structure to grind their ridiculous axes. Bill 377 makes it worse. By giving the idiots more information, they are empowered to waste everyone’s time arguing about, say, union spending on things like activism, education and communication/advertising. “Stop wasting our money! Lower our dues instead!” they’ll cry.

Meanwhile, large companies spend millions on pro-business activism, education and propaganda. Businesses are not messy democracies, after all, and tend not to waste time sabotaging their own interests.

We could go on. Besides making everyone’s lives a little shittier so his rich friends can pay less in taxes, Harper’s attack on Canada Post’s home delivery will destroy union jobs. Or how about slashing government? Maybe you don’t mourn for laid-off unionized civil servants, but if you run a store or restaurant that’s less money being spent in your shop.

In the end, Harper hates unions because unions make ordinary people a little wealthier at the expense of the very wealthy. Even if you’re not in a union, you benefit — well-paid union jobs raise the bar for everyone, putting pressure on all employers to pay more.

What’s the matter with Kansas, and Saskatchewan? Too many have been bamboozled into attacking working people like themselves.

Stephen Harper loves it. So when you vote on Oct. 19, punt the bastard.

That is, unless you’re a multimillionaire business owner who wants to keep costs down. Then you should support Harper. He’s the best friend you could ever have.