(18 May 2009) - The “experts” had their chance. We tried it their way. It didn’t work. Now it’s our turn. It’s our turn to ensure our governments find real economic alternatives that work for everybody. — Commentary by NUPGE president James Clancy.
By James Clancy
National Union of Public and General Employees
Times are tough. And our governments have to do something about it.
But so far all the “bright ideas” on how to fix things have come from corporate executives, bankers and brokers – the same “experts” who got us into this mess.
The “experts” said our economy and society would stay strong forever if we just applied their free market formula of smaller government, cuts to social programs, fewer regulations on corporations, tax cuts, and free trade deals.
Governments in Canada and around the world clamoured to apply this formula. In fact they put all their economic eggs in the wide-open free market basket.
Well, it turns out the “experts” were wrong. The evidence isn’t hard to find.
We’re facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Unemployment is soaring. Major corporations are going bankrupt. Pensions and retirement savings are getting hammered.
Rich continue to get richer
And there are deeper, more disturbing trends. Wages for most workers have been stagnant or declining for decades. The wealth and income in Canada is becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people.
The “experts” had their chance. We tried it their way. It didn’t work. Now it’s our turn.
It’s our turn to ensure our governments find real economic alternatives that work for everybody – not just a privileged few.
So how are we going to get people thinking about and sharing their ideas and insights about remaking Canada’s economic fundamentals?
There is still no better way to find out what people think about things than to have a community meeting. So, that’s what we’re going to do.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) and its Component unions are going to hold community forums in twenty or so towns and cities across the country.
We’re going to invite everyone to attend, anyone who can give us the big picture in their community, everyone with an idea on what needs to happen to make our economy work for everyone.
When we’re done we’ll produce a report listing all the ideas and insights and present it to government officials across the country.
But we need your help to ensure our governments turn the page on the failed economic policies of the past. There are a number of ways in which you can get involved.
The first step is simple: visit this website: www.peoplesresponse.ca
The website provides you with many ways to contact elected officials and make your voice heard. You can also check out the calendar listing the community forums in each province so you can make your voice heard in person.
We've waited a long time and we're finally in a position to make a difference. All together now!
James Clancy is the national president of the 340,000-member National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE