We’re up the economic creek

This past week, Canada’s economy shifted into reverse, new details on the Senate expense scandal emerged, and Canada Post notified the public that it was preparing to eliminate home mail delivery in our region early next year.
Canada is on the verge of a new recession. The first-quarter GDP numbers were released by the Bank of Canada and they showed the economy shrank by 0.6 percent between January and April.
The report was full of bad news—showing that economic growth in March was weaker than February while growth in February was weaker than January.
This indicates the negative effects of the oil price collapse are accelerating and voiding any positive benefit we may be seeing from lower gas prices.
The official definition of a “recession” is two-consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. With negative growth in the first quarter, Canada could be in another recession by the end of June.
What’s worse is that with the collapse of oil, there are no possible new drivers for our economy. As the price of crude soared over the past decade and drove our dollar higher, the Conservatives were pumping $2 billion of our money each year into the oil patch to help those poor, cash-starved energy companies.
They did this while our forestry and manufacturing sectors shed hundreds of thousands of jobs across Canada as their products became more expensive to export as result of the higher dollar.
Some of that $2 billion could have been used to help the struggling sectors of the economy but it’s too late now. Mills and factories that have been shuttered just don’t re-open because the dollar ticks down a bit.
We are up the economic creek and Stephen Harper has thrown away Canada’s paddles.
But while the Bank of Canada report came as a bit of a shock to some, the Senate expense scandal revelations did not.
Last week, someone inside the Senate began to leak to details of the Auditor General’s report, which is due to be released this week, and the details are not pretty. CTV reported that 30 senators (out of 100) are likely to have their reports referred directly to the RCMP for criminal investigation.
Included among those 30 senators are the current Speaker of the Senate (Conservative), the current Government leader in the Senate (Conservative), and the current Opposition leader in the Senate (Liberal).
We will know more about which senators will be facing possible criminal charges this week, but now is as good as time as ever to remind people that New Democrats support abolishing our unelected and unaccountable Senate.
If Canada truly is capable of functioning as a modern democratic society, then we should ditch this body that is stuffed with Liberal and Conservative fundraisers and defeated candidates who have been given six-figure jobs for life, and who can–and have–overruled legislative decisions made by the democratically-elected House of Commons.
It is time to roll up the red carpet once and for all, and only Tom Mulcair and Canada’s New Democrats will work to do just that should you elect us to govern.
Finally, the massive cuts to Canada Post are set to hit home as the Crown corporation has announced plans to end home mail delivery to all residences and businesses with postal codes beginning with P7A, P7B, P7C, and P7E early in 2016.
As I’ve outlined in past columns, and will update in future columns, Canada Post is a national institution that has generated a profit of $951 million for the federal government from 2005-14.
Yet for some reason, and despite its significant yearly profits, the Harper Conservatives plan to make Canada the only G7 country without home mail delivery.
As with abolishing the Senate, Canada’s New Democrats are the only federal party to commit to restoring home delivery should you elect us to govern in October.
It’s time for a change, wouldn’t you say?