In a blog post I wrote a while back, I stated the issue of unemployment was not something one identifiable group was responsible for. Instead, I suggested it had to take the combined effort of government, business, and social services like employment assistance centers to work together in order to deal with unemployment.
This past month, however, has led me to think that government has lost the ability to do just that.
Starting at the local level of government, Toronto’s City Council is practically paralyzed as left- and right-leaning councillors spend time fighting amongst themselves. Instead of dealing with the issues of traffic gridlock, transit funding and expansion, and high commercial and industrial taxes that are driving business (and their jobs) out of Toronto, City Council is spending time over first creating and then later removing bike lanes, banning plastic bags, and considering hiring Wal-Mart style greeters in City Hall to tell visitors where to go for services. If it were up to me, I’d like to tell the councillors where to go….as in get back to work on making Toronto a world-class city again for businesses to come to. Leading this political asylum is a mayor, Rob Ford, who not only lacks the ability to work with others, he spends too much time coaching his football team and trying to keep himself out of court for the things he says. As of this post, he just finished his testimony in court for the libel claim held against him by restaurateur George Foulidis.
At the provincial level, the Ontario Legislature is closed through prorogation by Premier Dalton McGuinty, who has resigned suddenly without warning. What does this mean? It means no committees being held, no bills debated on and passed where necessary, and no budget until the new leader of the Liberal Party is chosen in a leadership vote in late January, 2013. Premier McGuinty claims the Legislature had to be prorogued because it was getting too hot for all parties to work together, but the Tories claim it was the past actions of the government finally catching up to them (such as the closing of plants that cost taxpayers millions and the out of control spending of services like E-health and the ORNGE ambulance service). It doesn’t matter. What we have now is Ontario with no political leadership for the next two months and possibly another provincial election no one wants to vote for, especially not by the unemployed who want their government working to help create an economic climate that produces jobs.
The federal Conservative Party under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to their credit, has done well keeping the business of government running, but I don’t see any government initiatives that will help reduce Canada’s unemployment rate, which is still stubbornly high at 7.4 percent. In addition, as reported in the Toronto Sun by Anthony Furey, a significant amount of foreign aid is being sent outside of Canada to countries who really shouldn’t get it. Now, please do not get me wrong: I do believe in sending money outside of Canada for places who deserve it but it should be up to the people to donate, not the government. I donated money to the Canadian Red Cross’ “Hurricane Sandy – USA” fund, for example, because it was needed and it was the right thing to do. The Canadian government, for whatever reason that escapes me, has sent Russia $120 million in 2009-2010 and China $32 million. Why do these two countries need foreign aid from Canada? Why was that money not put back into programs for young people and older workers in career transition to get them working again? It boggles the mind
With leadership like this, don’t expect the issue of unemployment to be dealt with any time soon!
Thanks for reading!