In style, the Occupy Toronto protest is almost stereotypically Canadian. Those camping out in a downtown city park are polite and respectful to all, including police. The campsite itself is meticulously tidy, with protest placards lined up for inspection along the pathways.
So far, the protesters have shown no tolerance for thugs or vandals.
...Then it goes downhill (and it had so much potential!)
In content, though, the Toronto demonstration seems curiously divorced from both the city and country in which it is taking place. Maybe I missed it. But after a day at St. James Park, I didn’t find many talking about Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to aid corporate interests by banning Air Canada strikes.
This may be partly true, but the rest of Walkom's analysis is way off.
Nor did I find any talk about the radical moves coming from Toronto City Hall — such as contracting out city garbage collection in order to break the public sector unions, or selling off assets, or slashing library hours or cutting back transit services.
Well municipal issues really aren't at the heart of the Occupy movement, but for the sake of argument: this kind of radicalism is good. Public sector unions are just as evil as those "Wall Street 1 percenters" and cutting back in government services will hopefully lead to massive tax cuts. Now only if Mayor Ford would allow for competition in these public-only services.
On the Ontario government’s ongoing moves to hand over public electrical generating capacity to big private corporations there was radio silence.
Good observation. The entire industry should be legitimately privatized, not this public/private contract bullshit McGuinty's been shitting out for the last 8 years.
Ditto on the Bank of Canada’s decision to keep the dollar high at the expense of manufacturing jobs in Ontario.
Yeah! The BoC should devalue the dollar (at the expense of all Canadians) to prop up a dying industry. 99%! 99%! 99%!
For a movement focusing on distribution of income between the wealthiest one per cent and the rest of us, there was little mention of such basics as the minimum wage and income tax rates.
Like how minimum wage causes unemployment and how income tax diverts resources and destroys capital (not to mention the fact that taxation is just institutionalized theft).
Nor was there discussion of how Canadian employers have used both globalization and high unemployment to ratchet down wages. [Emphasis mine]
ah-hem. It should read Canadian governments. Last time I checked it was government policies that caused high unemployment and lack of purchasing power from wages. Any employers that aided this process wouldn't have been able to without the State's monopoly on violence.
The Alberta tarsands? That’s a tough topic for a movement claiming to speak for 99 per cent of the population, since cutting back heavy oil production to protect the environment would lead to more joblessness.
That is a tough one. Better let the market decide.
During a session with one small group that graciously allowed me to listen in, the most coherent complaint had little to do with Canada. Rather, it was levelled against the U.S. Federal Reserve, that country’s central bank.
That has everything to do with Canada! I won't even go into why. If you don't know you shouldn't be reading this blog. Click here instead.
Thus bailouts were condemned. But which ones? Unlike, the U.S., Canada didn’t bail out its banks.
Yes we did.
It did, however, help bail out auto giants GM and Chrysler. Do the protesters object to that? If so, they are probably offside with 99 per cent of Ontario’s autoworkers, who were happy to see their jobs saved.
Obviously (and I'm sure Walkom realizes this) the protesters aren't really representing the 99%. I saw a sign that said "Nationalize the Banks... Marxist.ca" Marxism is Nazism with better marketing.
Occupy Toronto opposes corporate greed. But what does that mean?
If your business model is to privatize profits, socialize losses and get bailed out when you go bankrupt -- then you probably qualify for "corporate greed." In other words, if your business model resembles a Crown Corporation, you're being greedy.
All of this is not to disparage the protest. There is a real energy at St. James Park among people who think something is wrong with the world the way it works now.
Here's Walkom's attempt not to take sides. Despite being biased all throughout his column in the end he says of the protesters: "people who think something is wrong"
There is something wrong with the world the way it works now. It's called crony capitalism.
But first they have to address reality as it is — in this city, in this province, in this country. We are much affected by the U.S. But its situation is not ours.
The situation is not the US' either. It's the 1%. They created these circumstances by undermining the market. But the market won't die (just ask the former Soviet Union). The market is concerted action - whether its reflected in protests or gold prices - the market always wins.
As for the reality as it is? Walkom was looking for a distinct Canadian flavour in a global protest. Perhaps he should wait a bit longer. Canada's boom will turn to a bust and all that illusionary wealth will vanish. Twenty somethings with student debt and no job prospects will be angry. Thirty somethings with underwater mortgages will be angry. Forty somethings (and over) will see the civilization they helped create crash like a house of cards. They'll be pissed too.
The Great Depression lasted a couple decades at a time when Canada was richer, the government was smaller and no one had the ability to instantly communicate with each other over vast distances. But even then a large number of Canadians found each other and started the On-To-Ottawa Trek six years after the stock market crash.
This is going to be worse than the Great Depression. It's only 3 years in and the protests have already started. And now we have the Internet.
It's revolution, baby!