Monday, August 08, 2011

Rob Ford's War on the Poor - Part I

Here's a particularly disgusting bit of news from the City of Toronto website. While looking at the site to see when I could register my son for swimming lessons, I found this.

The long and short of it is that if you are in an area specifically marked as poor, you will be charged more for services. Rob Ford cut taxes on home and car owners so that poor people could pay more to exercise at a community centre.

With the whole dustup between the Ford brothers and Margaret Atwood, I was (unsurprisingly for me) seeing Ford as continuing an assault on education and the social ideal of a well-educated population. But a friend of mine pointed something out that gave me pause - Rob Ford's real target is the poor.

That this is a class issue is something that Canadians are especially reluctant to talk about. The attacks on public transit, the tax cuts he has made and the user fee increases are all in one direction, all these things are calculated to reverse any progressivity in our society in favour of a pay what you can because you can kind of attitude.

Part of the problem with this is that most people in the centre or the left, also kind of hate the poor, or at least have drunk enough of the neo-con koolaid to believe that poor people are there through some fault of their own, just like being born in an upper-middle class household with access to education and services had nothing to do with one's success.

But maybe we need to just start calling a spade a spade and start asking Rob Ford and his cadre why they hate poor people so much and why they want to punish them so that people who own property don't have to pay more taxes?

Monday, August 01, 2011


Reading about the various levels of the US government reaching a deal to avert the destruction of the global financial markets at the expense of, it seems, everyone who lives in the US except for the very wealthy, the "celebrations" that people are talking about remind me of the people who voted NDP and celebrated their rise to official a majority conservative government.