- CJ Werleman writes that the U.S.' inequality nightmare is getting worse even as the public gains a greater recognition of the issue. Nick Kristof recognizes that radically different levels of wealth result in a serious lack of opportunity for anybody who doesn't win the genetic lottery. And Katharine Cukier notes that the type of empathy and generosity all too often lacking south of the border has given her and her family a fair chance at happiness in Canada.
- But Ralph Surette observes that the Cons are going out of their way to destroy any sense of fairness or equality in Canada - as evidenced by their work in eliminating equalization in favour of funnelling money and workers toward the tar sands:
(O)ne thing has changed over time -- now the Canadian government is quite content with this state of affairs, and is even encouraging it. Dumping costs on provinces will help it balance its budget, and favouring Alberta and its powerful oil economy at the expense of everything else is its main game. Having Maritimers in particular leave for Alberta is seen by the Harper government as a solution rather than a problem.- Meanwhile, Gary Younge theorizes that the U.S.' cities are becoming engines of progressive change - making for a pattern worth emulating in Canada.
Stephen Harper had not campaigned against equalization before becoming prime minister in 2006, instead talking of righting the "fiscal imbalance" he accused the Liberals of creating in a new era of "open federalism." Instead, his response has been unilateral measures that give more to the rich and less to the unrich, capped off by the 2011 decree on health care that gave Alberta an extra $1 billion and taking from everyone else.
Maritime governments in particular and the political class generally have for decades now failed to address the issue of equalization and the broader federal role (for example, we flagellate ourselves over the cost of the Yarmouth ferry while the federal government, which used to subsidize that run as an essential service, is now happily absent, and nobody says a word). This may be our real "culture of defeat." Small provinces acting alone control only a part of their political, economic and social reality. The rest is federal. The very idea of Canada as a nation is bound up in in it.
It's time to talk about this again, and stop taking dictatorial edicts lying down.
- Mark Burgess reports on the constant growth of the Cons' PR apparatus - as the money spent propagandizing on behalf of Stephen Harper now exceeds the resources available for Parliament to hold the government to account. And Alex Williams points out that there's an even more striking gap in pay and job availability between the PR flacks spinning on the part of the corporate sector, and the journalists who make a profession of seeing behind that surface message.
- Finally, Kathryn May highlights how the Cons are grasping at straws in searching for an excuse to attack public sector pensions.