July 25, 2013
By Andrew Phillip Chernoff
“OUR PEOPLE AND OUR MOTHER EARTH CAN NO LONGER AFFORD TO BE ECONOMIC HOSTAGES IN THE RACE TO INDUSTRIALISE OUR HOMELANDS. IT’S TIME FOR OUR PEOPLE TO RISE UP AND TAKE BACK OUR ROLE AS CARETAKERS AND STEWARDS OF THE LAND.” — Eriel Deranger
Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations
Canadian workers, union and non-union, have something in common with our Canadian indigenous people and need to get where they are at, and do what they are doing.
The Idle No More movement gets it. The large part of Canadian workers—Canadians in general– don’t.
It’s time for the “Idle Worker No More” movement in British Columbia….in Canada.
So many British Columbian workers……Canadian workers…..not their unions….but individual workers…..union and non-union…..full-time, part-time, seasonal, casual….are mesmerized by the Pied Pipers of “the one-percent”.
Christy Clark’s British Columbia provincial Liberal government and the Stephen Harper federal Conservative government…….are examples of where so many Canadian workers have been are stunned…..left to their technological gadgets and fancy television sets….they just don’t get that they are being oppressed, used as labour hostages.
I have seen the results of the two most recent provincial and federal elections. Voter apathy……not even fifty-percent of Canadians or British Columbians could be bothered to get involved, playing right to the tune of the Pied Pipers of “the one-percent”.
Strength in numbers I often say. In the above cases, the Pied Pipers of “the one-percent” have very strong control of their labour hostages.
Collective personal debt of Canadians is huge.
The debt of retired Canadians is staggering as we have all been told over the last week.
Seniors without an adequate pension are forever struggling.
The Canadian government has changed the age of CPP from 65 to 67.
People have to work longer. Not just because of the increased age in getting the pension, but because they can not control their personal investments; can not control their personal spending; can not shake the Pied Pipers of “the one-percent”.
Fear as well is a big factor. Fear of a poor economy. Fear of change. The belief of the devil I know than the devil I don’t: If I think it is bad here, it might be worse somewhere else.
The Pied Pipers of “the one-percent” will use anything and everything; prey on any worry or anxiety, to quash hope, courage and faith.
In the words of Tommy Douglas, Courage, my friends; ’tis not too late to build a better world.
Workers, whether union or not, men and women, can no longer allow corporations, multi-national companies and labour oppressive provincial and federal governments:
to make us labour hostages in the race for imperialism, industrialism, of Canadian goods and resources;
to monopolise our labour for pennies on the dollar;
to erode hard earned gains for workers that involved blood, sweat, tears, suffering and in some cases death; things that we have taken for granted after years of being accustomed to having them as a matter of fact and engrained in our lives and work environments.
It’s time for workers, and all Canadians, to rise up and take action, to become collectively engaged, as caretakers and stewards of those hard earned gains, or everything that has been done for us by dedicated labour activists over the last one hundred and five years will be all for not and possibly lost for future generations of workers to come.
Those hard earned gains have become engrained in Canadian society for decades and if they continue to be threatened or lost without opposition would create such upheaval economically, socially, in British Columbia and Canada for future generations that things we all and enjoy and have may become a dream and a wish: once it is gone, it may never be possible to get it back.
In the same passion, that our Brothers and Sisters in the Idle No More movement have called on a peaceful revolution, to honour Indigenous sovereignty, and to protect the land and water; I call on a peaceful revolution, to honour and fight to protect labour gains and rights that have been achieved for all workers, union and non-union; to protect, and improve the Canadian way of life; to keep, protect and sustain our land and water for generations of Canadians to come.
I conclude this commentary, with comments from Jack Layton who penned a letter to New Democrats and Canadians before he died in which he looked toward the future, refusing to let his vision of Canada die.
To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.
And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.
All my very best,