While many members of the chattering class have heralded Stephen Harper's election as the beginning of a bright and beautiful future, Linda McQuaig has always seen it for what it is: a concerted and vengeful attempt to turn back the clock.
In today's Toronto Star, she writes that, by waging a successful bait and switch campaign, conservatives have been able to obscure a good old fashioned class war:
The class war has been relentlessly proceeding. While incomes at the top have steadily climbed, incomes of ordinary Canadians have steadily eroded. The real median Canadian family income hasn’t risen since the late 1970s — even though today’s typical family now has two earners, compared to just one earner 30 years ago. In other words, Canadian families are working about twice as hard to keep up to where they were a generation ago.
One of the Conservatives' prime targets has been unions.They have become what welfare recipients were for the Harris government -- straw men who serve to focus public anger:
With unions weakened in the private sector, conservatives are turning their sights on the last bastion of union power — the public sector, where unionization rates remain a healthy 71 per cent (compared with just 16 per cent in the private sector).
Conservative commentators like to portray public sector workers, struggling to protect their hard-won gains, as a pampered elite. (Meanwhile, the royals, among the most pampered people on the planet, are portrayed as down-to-earth whenever they flash a smile.)
This is an old story. It rests on the axiom that the elect -- religious or social -- are the acknowledged inheritors of the kingdom. And the poor -- who will always be with us -- have to get with the program.