By Henry McRandall
The glaring similarity between the faux populist U.S. presidential election campaign of Republican Donald Trump in 2016 and the Canadian federal election campaign of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in 2015 should give everyone in either country who is not part of the Top1% cause to worry that they may have been duped into voting against their own best interests.
While Donald Trump has been all over the map in terms of policy pronouncements and post-election vows and threats, he has put the fear of the lord – at least publicly – into the minds of the auto industry and – most recently – the pharmaceutical industry. But while Justin Trudeau has been glad-handing everyone in nonstop and well-choreographed “photo ops”, the reality behind his oft-progressive rhetoric has been somewhat alarming and dangerous.
Trump was right to threaten a whopping border tax on vehicles manufactured in Mexico for sale in the U.S. And he was right during his campaign whenever he attacked his country’s so-called “free trade” deals – including NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has turned out to be just the initial volley in what has been more than 25 years of aggressive class warfare – waged by the Top1% – and their acolytes/handmaidens just below them in the wealth pyramid – against the Other99%, the rank-and-file frontline workers who actually produce ALL wealth but get little of it). The problem is, though, that Trump – whose views on an issue can pivot 180 degrees within a five-minute span or as soon as someone raises an aspect on an issue that has never occurred to him before – just cannot be trusted to carry out his threats.
Trump’s depth of knowledge on most domestic and foreign issues is not much greater than that of the average kindergarten flunkout. And his only commitment is to his own best interests, however those vested interests might best be served and at whoever else’s possible expense.
Justin Trudeau, on the other hand, has been a huge proponent of even more free trade deals. And his appointment this week of Chrystia Freeland as Canada’s new global (foreign) affairs minister does not bode well for Canada’s shrinking middle class, its oppressively-exploited working class or for the poor who are no longer ever even mentioned by ANY of the puppet political prostitutes of the Top1%. Moreover, while Freeland – like Justin Trudeau – purports to be on the side of the working-class and has made a lot of money by writing about the massive gap between The Rich and The Rest, her actions and her strong support for even more so-called “free trade” is a heinous betrayal of the working class that she claims to champion.
What have been the consequences – in Canada and in the U.S. – of creeping expansion of “free trade” ever since NAFTA broke the ice 23 years ago? Incremental declines in real middle-class incomes; very significant declines in real working-class incomes; soaring levels of poverty, hunger and homelessness; a massive decline in employer pensions and employee benefits; a massive increase in consumer debt; much more unemployment and under-employment; a massive increase in government debt; massive tax avoidance and outright evasion by corporations making record profits and wealthy parasites already insanely wealthy; a savage preference by governments at all levels for the insatiable greed of the wealthy over the legitimate and long-neglected needs of ever more people in both countries; a massive shift of the tax burden from corporations and the wealthy to the middle class and the working class; – in both Canada and the U.S.
Regardless of whatever cynical trash the Establishment, the mainstream media that it controls lock-stock-and-barrel and its puppet political prostitutes in every corridor of power on the continent may try to claim, at its roots corporate-style so-called “free trade” was never about anything other than savage exploitation of the working class and, now, even of the middle class – which the Ownership Class is now obviously quite comfortable in the belief that it no longer needs the middle class as a buffer between itself and a Working Class that has now been beaten into almost total submission.
Corporate-style so-called “free trade” has never been about anything but pitting worker against worker, race against race, religion against religion, country against country. etc. in order to transfer massive amounts of wealth, income and power from the masses to the plutocracy/autocracy. It’s time not to seek new “free trade” deals but instead to hammer the final nail into the coffin of crony-corporate-capitalist-style “free trade” and prosecute its perpetrators for their massive crimes against humanity.
(You can also follow Henry McRandall on Twitter – @HenryMcRandall1 )