Stand up for the rights of all!
Governments across the country are engaging in unacceptable self-serving activities under the cover of the pandemic. While the working people have taken a clear stand against returning to “business as usual” — a state of affairs that continues to worsen the pandemic — governments are using the situation to take away any voice the working people have.
Already, the push for profit-based health care has led to a disproportionately high number of deaths due to COVID-19 in private long-term care homes with deplorable conditions. For example, CBC reported in June that 82.5 per cent of deaths in long-term care homes in eastern Ontario have been in for-profit facilities.
Already, the anti-social offensive, pay-the-rich schemes and impunity pushed by governments for the past 20 and more years has caused utter deterioration of the social conditions.
When the ruling class started pushing the anti-social offensive they arrogantly declared that it would lead to prosperity. All the measures they have taken have made the rich richer and the poor poorer and usurped more and more powers into the hands of narrow private interests. Privatization, the elimination of all traces of the social welfare state and “changes to fiscal and budgetary policy” were accompanied by attacks on unions and all arrangements from the past whereby workers could negotiate wages and working conditions and security during illness, injury and retirement. The arrogance is such that the working people are not included in any discussion about the direction of the economy or social, political and cultural policy and affairs. The political system which claims they have representation through the election of political parties to form governments has no credibility or legitimacy because the people control no aspect of the electoral system — from who is selected to represent them and use their name to adopt and carry out policies, to what policies are adopted, to any decisions made.
This is the heart of the matter which reveals the need for political renewal. It is thanks to the fight of the working class against government fraud, corruption and cynical claims that the people still have any measure of security. The use of the pandemic as a pretext to justify emergency police powers is reprehensible. The working people must unequivocally condemn this and put an end to it.
Governments in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta are declaring and implementing serious anti-social measures, using the pandemic to give themselves all kinds of powers in the name of the greater good and restoring the economy. Working people are entitled to be consulted and participate in setting the direction of the economy and being an integral, equal part of any decisions taken because they affect them, their lives and those of their families in every way.It is time to reject all claims that such legislative changes are constitutional or can be made constitutional or acceptable if a mythical system of checks and balances prevails. There are no “checks and balances” within the realm of government dictate. There is the striving of the rich to control everything and the heroic efforts of the working people and their organizations to hold them in check. But the division of the society between those who have usurped power through corruption, fraud and force and those who are supposed to submit without resistance is at the heart of the anarchy, chaos and violence in the form of the most heinous injustices and abuses of all kinds which prevails today.
No to Ontario Bill 195, the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, which empowers Cabinet to make temporary orders adopted during the COVID-19 state of emergency permanent.
No to Quebec Bill 61, An Act to restart Québec’s economy and to mitigate the consequences of the public health emergency declared on 13 March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic; and Alberta Bill 10, the Public Health (Emergency Powers) Amendment Act, 2020, which seek to do the same thing.
The situation facing the working people has become a battle for democracy where all egregious anti-democratic measures must be rescinded, as well as a battle of democracy in which the working people must vest the decision-making power in themselves. This starts by taking a stand against what is unacceptable, speaking out, deciding what measures can be implemented at any time to resolve the crisis in their favour and setting a new direction for the economy. The working people cannot afford to be merely reactive to every attack launched against them but must also learn to be pro-active. Those who are arrogantly using their positions of power and privilege to do all the things which cause such damage to society and the people must be removed, not be replaced by more of the same but by the working people themselves.
Defeat Anti-Workers Anti-Social Legislation!
No the “Emergency Powers”!The Time to Act Is Now!
Workers’ Forum, July 23. 2020