by Vagner Castilho

89% of Canadians favour a tax on the super  wealthy.  Ironically Canadians have elected a government where 92% of seats are now held by parties who voted against exactly that.  This new (old) government has for decades, along with their biggest rivals, overseen the rise of inequality, the lowering of corporate taxes, an increase in the use of tax havens by corporations (634% since 1999), and a dismal record on climate change, all highly ranked issues of concern amongst Canadians.  Also notable is a climate plan, generally favoured by both leading parties, to continue to expand fossil fuel production to pay for a green transition.  But decades of increased fossil fuel extraction have not led to a green transition, nor a decrease in emissions, but just the opposite.  Since 1990 Canada’s emissions have risen 21%,  including increases in the last several years.  Canadians concern about climate change and desire for climate action consistently ranks as a top issue in public opinion polling.  This concern is well placed  and  aligns with a constant barrage of climate failures and warnings that come at us on a regular basis. 

So how do we end up with a government whose actions reflect the opposite of what we want?  

Some will blame proportional representation, a system that no doubt affects those concerned with vote splitting.  But even with a different system the majority still appear to be voting against their interests. 

mainstream media and corporate propaganda, a fascinating subject on which there is ample literature, has much to do with this anomaly.  The state corporate/media act as stenographers of power, telling us that despite the myriad of crises we face, there is essentially nothing wrong with our political and economic order, at least nothing that can’t be solved by the same players that have brought us to this point and have benefitted the most from the neo-liberal capitalist model.  defining important narratives and the parameters within which ideas can be talked about, while rarely challenging state/corporate power, the mainstream media have done an excellent job keeping the public poorly informed and divided.

Polling suggests the majority of Canadians have a lot in common, but somehow have been manipulated into believing  otherwise.  it is high time we talked about and confronted the power corporations and the wealthy wield over our politicians and political institutions, our discourse and the kind of society we are building.  Until we do, we will continue to elect governments that best represent those interests instead of ours.

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