On June 10 Stats-Canada released its latest figures showing that the economy added 40,000 jobs in May. The unemployment rate fell to 5.1%, the lowest since 1976. The average hourly wages for all workers in Canada was 3.3% higher in April 2022 than in April 2021 and 3.9% higher in May 2022 than in May 2021. This hardly keeps up with the rate of inflation, which rose to 6.8% in April. The soothsayers of capitalism are very happy about the upswing in the economy. To quote James Orlando, senior economist at the Toronto Dominion Bank:
This has job vacancy rates at record levels, making it clear that the Canadian economy is operating beyond full employment.James Orlando
Mr. Orlando and many who share his excitement tend to forget that capitalism is a market economy and the good times, if one can call them that, don’t last.
To add credence to the previous items gloomy forecast, Jamie Dixon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase and Co. said in early June that ‘an economic hurricane is coming our way.’ The biggest day-to-day issue for most Canadians is inflation. The Bank of Canada and other central banks are raising the interest rates in their attempt to fight inflation. Many fear that they will raise borrowing costs high enough to slow economic growth, thereby causing a recession. One sure thing about capitalism is that there is no such thing as security.
Shortage of Family Doctors
According to Stats-Canada, there were 4.6 million people over the age of 12 who did not have a family doctor in 2019. Of the 115 unfilled positions for new doctors in Canada this year, 99 of them were in the much needed specialty of family medicine. Fewer graduates are choosing family medicine as a profession despite the great need for them. The College of Family Physicians of Canada says the problem of family-doctor positions being left vacant won’t be fixed until the provincial governments make the profession more attractive to the graduates through more competitive pay scales. In other words, it don’t pay enough. Like everywhere else under capitalism, money rules.
A friend of mine is suffering from macular degeneration. She has an injection in her eye every six weeks, which as a senior citizen she receives for free. Her husband told me that if she were younger than 65 it would cost $1,700. This means that if you have this condition, are younger than 65 and don’t have substantial savings, then you will go blind. But what can we expect? Capitalism and compassion never did see eye to eye.
The intrusion of wild animals into many North American towns and cities may not be the biggest problem capitalism has ever dumped on us, but it ain’t a barrel of laughs either. In my neck of the woods, Mississauga, Ontario, we have an infestation of coyotes. They are intelligent, adaptable and resourceful animals. We have had public meetings to inform residents on what and what not to do when dealing with them. One bit of sage advice is that they won’t attack people. This isn’t something I’d like to put to the test if I ran into a pack of hungry ones. They do, however, attack pets like cats and small dogs. Since the effects of capitalism are ruining their natural habitat, I guess they have to find other places to live.
A Drop in the Bucket
Canada’s federal government has announced funding to construct and repair hundreds of spaces for women and children fleeing violence. Housing minister, Ahmed Hussen said the government will give over $121 million to build and repair a total of 430 spaces and shelters and transitional housing. This did not please Lise Martin, executive director of Women’s Shelters Canada:
The need is so great. And so this, unfortunately, is like a drop in the bucket.
Ms. Martin’s comment highlights the enormity of the problem. Advocates and front line workers have been sounding the alarm that domestic violence has been on the increase since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, worsening the already shortage of shelter beds for women and children looking for a safe place to stay. Domestic violence is just another sick symptom of the sick society we live in.
What Difference Do Elections Make?
The results of Ontario’s Provincial election on June 2 showed that most people who bothered to vote
did not vote for Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives, who won with 40.8% and 83 seats. The combined non-Tory vote was 54.6%. The New Democratic Party, with 23.7% of the vote, actually got
31 seats, whereas the Liberals, with one-tenth of a percentage more than the NDP, got only 8 seats.
The Greens got 6% and one seat. An independent also got a seat. This was a real bummer for Ford’s opponents, who accused him of making callous budget cuts and mishandling the pandemic. Ford campaigned that he was all for the working guy, which he did by sucking up to the unions and thereby doing himself some good, if nobody else.
The most significant thing about the election is that voter turnout was the lowest ever, with 43.5% of the electorate voting. The general feedback from non-voters was: ‘What difference does it make? Same old, same old.’ A good question, seeing that all candidates stood for the continuation of capitalism. However, there could be an enormous difference if there were candidates in every riding who stood for Socialism.
In the wake of gun violence in North America, Premier Justin Trudeau had to act fast. He announced a freeze on handgun sales and transfers on May 30, two weeks after the fatal shooting of 10 Black Americans at a Buffalo supermarket and a week after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at a school in Uvalade, Texas. Banning the sale of handguns will not work. It’s just another lousy reform, which at best may reduce shootings but may not. The most any government can do is to make the ownership of guns illegal, except for the armed forces and security guards, but if they did trigger-happy dudes would still get guns as so many are smuggled into Canada and the US. There is only one sure way to abolish handgun ownership and that is to abolish capitalism. Then there will be no real or perceived need for them.
The overturning of the Roe v. Wade ruling has, to say the least, upset a lot of people. What really happened is that a good law was repealed. Governments can and often do either abolish or water down beneficial reform measures, hence the futility of reforms. However, this time it wasn’t the government, but six conservative judges on the Supreme Court who allowed their right-wing and religious ideas, if one can call them that, to prevail. This in itself shows the weakness of democracy within capitalism, considering that a poll showed 75% of Americans opposed to the decision. Biden said: ‘This has set America back 50 years.’ To put it bluntly, reforms don’t cut it, because they leave the property basis of capitalism intact.
Rent prices in the Greater Toronto Area saw the largest monthly hike in three years in May at 5.7% as supply tightened and demand increased. The average monthly rent for apartments and condos in Toronto reached $2,348 a month, a year-on-year increase of 19.8%. The only part of the GTA where rent decreased, by 6.6% to $2,072 a month, was in Vaughan. The surge in demand was caused by recent high immigration and graduates moving out of their parents’ homes. Real estate broker John Rasberry said he expects the rise in rents to continue until the fall and then level out. Small consolation! Yet still so many believe capitalism is the best of all possible worlds!
Russia — Ukraine
The world has been shocked and saddened by the bombing of a shopping mall in Kremenchuk, Ukraine by the Russians. Many may say that the Russians are a load of bastards, and … well … yes, but that isn’t the point. This is the effect of capitalism at its most brutal and ruthless. The Russian and Ukrainan workers have no quarrel with each other, they are carrying out the orders of their respective capitalist classes. The workers of the world have no country. What is a country in the political sense but a geographical area where a small part of the population live well at the expense of the rest? Let’s hasten to make a world where countries won’t exist, so wars won’t either.