Anchor for this item posted by Bernard (ben) Tremblay at Wednesday, May 22, 2002; Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Rabble-rousers in cahoots -
The other day I sent a letter to a couple of friends pointing to Canada's standing in the world in terms of competitiveness and quality of life, and wondered what was going on during that period that made anyone think we needed to wrench our social and economic priorities around (see below). As a snap-shot of how things are _after_ the adjustments (structural and otherwise), here are a few stories that appear on today's Rabble frontpage.

A Decade of Child Poverty - In 1990, one of seven Canadian kids lived in poverty. So Canada was one of six nations that year that called for a World Summit for Children. And we led participants in promising to give children top priority on resources - in good times and bad. Ten years later, however, almost one five Canadian kids lived in poverty.

Blacklist Blues - She can't get no job. No matter how hard she try. She wouldn't take no guff from that boss-man. Now she got those blacklist blues. (A letter from a single mom who writes, "I'm blacklisted. I lost my last job in a bitter confrontation over my complaint of human and labour rights abuses.")

Feds Shortchange Mental Health Promotion - The Canadian Psychiatric Association has condemned the federal government for cutting its already small national budget for mental health promotion. Not long ago, the government was promising to proritize the issue.

Homeless Squeeze - Secret video from a Toronto homeless shelter shows people packed into spaces tighter than United Nations standards for refugee camps.

So it's pretty clear what our part in their script is: shut up and take it, all in the name of "rationalization and globalization". Seems to me, when the G7 Finance Ministers come to town, folks should tell them what they think of their job performance ... maybe pink slips are in order, on the grounds of corruption and gross mismanagement.
*When the people lead, the leaders will follow.*

Here's the letter I had written:
At the end of this brief is a table entitled Competitiveness and Human Development. Its two columns present results from the Global Competitiveness Report 1997 (World Economic Forum, Geneva) and from the Human Development Report 1997(UNDP, New York).
In the Global Competitiveness Ranking, Canada ranked fourth, immediately following the USA. Singapore held first rank. In the Human Development Index, Canada followed no one; Canada ranked first, was followed by France and Norway and then, in fourth position, by the USA.
What trick of sophistry made of this a call for a set of substantial mid-course corrections? [...]



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