Friday, December 21, 2012

We are being treated like dirt.

A few years ago, I saw a photograph that I cannot erase from my mind; the image of Canadian citizens waiting outside a government building, in the rain, to apply for a passport.
Hundreds of people standing in the rain, for hours, outside the Sinclair Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia.
 How mean-spirited, to force people, especially the sick and elderly, to wait for government services. Members of Parliament, Canada's influential families, political cronies and executives would NEVER stand in line for a passport, all they have to do is make a phone call.
The Trudeau government did not treat ordinary people like serfs, underlings.   
In 1979, I applied for a Canadian passport in Toronto, and I did not have to wait for hours outside a government building on Yonge Street. I waited inside the building, sitting on a comfortable chair in a carpeted room. I was always treated respectfully at Manpower offices, train stations, post offices...
Recently, the Government of Canada announced the closure of 100 Service Canada offices; and the Ontario government is closing Service Ontario terminals.
Federal Crown corporations are fixated on saving money, not on providing services to the general public.
The mandate of Via Rail is "to provide a safe and efficient passenger rail service in Canada." Yet Via Rail is reducing or cutting Sarnia, Kitchener, Stratford, Belleville and Maritime Canada routes.
The government of Canada cannot intervene, because Via Rail is an "arms-length" Crown corporation. Unfortunately, Via Rail is not "arms length" from the Canadian treasury, the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Since 2007, a billion dollars have been transferred from the CRF into the coffers of Via Rail.
We, the people of Canada, are the shareholders of Via Rail, Canada Post, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the national museums, the Royal Canadian Mint, Canada Mortgage Housing and Corporation, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, National Arts Centre, National Capital Commission...the list goes on. Without our money, these institutions would not exist.
We demand that our voices be heard:
Stop privatizing Crown corporations -the bargain-basement sale of the CNR, the People's Railway, was a major boondoggle, that benefited a few (Hunter Harrison and CNR shareholders including Bill Gates) at the expense of many. CNR and CPR rights-of-way are now owned or leased by fiber-optic, telecommunications, hydro and pipeline companies, including Bell Canada and Enbridge.
 Rein in the CBC, which is recklessly selling all the Crown assets - over 100,000 LP's and CD's; analogue transmitters, real estate, archival documents. Why do I never see vintage CBC television programs?
Stop giving bonuses to Canadian Pension Plan Board directors, when they lose billions of dollars on risky investments.

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