Monday, January 04, 2010

The Revenge of the Suburbs

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The Third Whore Derv of Canada goes to a long-deserving citizen and politician. Elected as one of the most crucial pieces of the governing party of Canada that was elected on a platform of free-market shenanigans, streamlined government, and increased transparency, he became the architect of the biggest government intervention in the Canadian economy since the great depression. Also a member of the largest Cabinet since Brian Mulroney’s 40 member Cabinet, excepting Paul Martin’s 39 member cabinet, he is also a governor of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The neo-colonial relations perpetuated by these institutions, namely the provision of funds for development of poorer nations, thereby saddling them with unwieldy debts, are well-known. The interest rates, set by these institutions, which are to a large extent run by people from former colonial powers or their closest satellites, preclude timely payback. Furthermore, they encourage to parceling out of arable land to grow cash crops for export, crops such as coffee and sugar, rather than food crops for domestic consumption. This cycle of poverty dependence is not unlike that shared by the lower echelons of the developed world’s economy, the huge majority of which are the working poor, becoming dependent upon credit with punishing interest rates. Granted, the poorest nations in the world, those with per capita incomes of less than $865/year, are sometimes given interest-free loans. However, the middle range poor nations, those with per capita incomes over $1305 are given loans with interest rates higher than market norms.

While we might laud this Cabinet Member for not being so rigidly dogmatic in his adherence to neoliberal ideology, and for incorporating a corrective dose of Keynesianism into his financial vision for Canada during hard times, his actions strike one as so out of step with his publicly-held beliefs that it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to call him a nihilist. Moreover, Prime Minister Harper has recently asked Governor General Michaelle Jean to prorogue Parliament for a second year in a row. The reason he gave is so that the government can prepare the budget statement, due to be announced on March 3. Given that government critics have posited various theories explaining this move as an evasion of the Afghan torture scandal, or as a holiday for politicians to do some political schmoozing during the winter Olympics, the Invisible Truth does not wish to retread ground that has been beaten smooth. It is true that the committee designated to investigate the Afghan torture scandal will evaporate for now and face time-related obstacles in reconstructing pertinent events, especially if the Conservative paper shredder works overtime during the prorogation. Instead of these well-fleshed-out theories, The Invisible Truth dares to take the Prime Minister at his word.

Therefore, the third Whore Derv of Canada goes to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. Congratulations Jim! If the government needs prorogation to prepare the next steps of Canada’s economic action plan, this implies you haven’t been doing your job. Because you haven’t been doing your job, the Prime Minister has dispatched government and subverted democracy yet again. Way to go! As a former member of provincial parliament in Mike Harris' government for Whitby/Oshawa, The Honorable Jim Flaherty has come a long way: he is also the government official responsible for the Greater Toronto Area. Take that you snooty urbanites!

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