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Fernwood 2021/22 leaderboard

COVID-19

  • Federal pandemic assistance on the chopping block—another way to ‘discipline’ workers

    The Trudeau government’s willingness to curtail Employment Insurance eligibility and throw unemployed workers off its key pandemic benefit programs, prior to employment even fully recovering, is a reminder that leaving people behind remains a feature of Canada’s social assistance regime—not a bug. Effective October 23, barring any unexpected intervention, Canada’s main support programs for workers thrown into unemployment by COVID-19 will end.

  • Canada’s inaction on global vaccine access puts profit over people

    Despite its obvious benefits (ending the current vaccination monopoly, accelerating the global inoculation rate, and speeding up a worldwide economic recovery) and its widespread support, including from more than 100 national governments, the implementation of the TRIPS waiver for COVID-19 vaccines is still being held up by a handful of wealthy countries—including Canada.

  • The tail wags the dog in Alberta. Can we expect the same if Erin O’Toole forms government in Ottawa?

    Jason Kenney and his strategic brain trust have proved themselves to be either sympathetic to that caucus or too fearful of raising its ire to act decisively in dealing with the COVID situation. This is what happens when you let the tail wag the dog. Will O’Toole have the stuff to rein in a caucus loaded with members who answer to the loud-mouthed minority? I’m not optimistic.

  • Direction of post-COVID reconstruction at stake in federal election

    None of the major political parties are proposing a program with sufficient ambition and breadth to fully achieve this vision of post-COVID reconstruction. But there is an undeniable distinction between those that (to varying degrees) accept the new parameters of economic policy since COVID, and those that oppose them and want to return to conventional neoliberal practice as soon as possible.

  • A left perspective on vaccine passports

    Refusing to be vaccinated has real and terrible consequences and it is not possible to view it as a personal choice that we must come to terms with. However, while measures taken by the state to increase levels of vaccination are something we must support, the last thing I want to suggest is that we should trust those in political power or leave it to them when it comes to the response to the pandemic.

  • We need a pandemic-like response to tackle the climate crisis

    From border closures to relief programs like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, we witnessed governments react swiftly to curb the worst of the pandemic and introduce cash transfers that replaced lost income—all with significant public support. We have conclusive proof that urgent action is possible to stem the destabilization of entire economies. Now, we must demand that governments employ the same urgency to tackling the climate crisis.

  • Danger signs on the road to a post-pandemic future

    The official line that the pandemic is a temporary disturbance that will soon be behind us and that we will all build back better in its wake is tired and discredited. The post-pandemic austerity regime will demand new and bold forms of organizing. Similarly, as extreme weather becomes more common and intense, the defence of communities left in harm’s way will require a whole new level of audacity and solidarity.

  • As slogans die, dots are joined

    So many inequities have been with us long before COVID-19. The pandemic made them more obvious to more people. This new awareness was awakened as the loud boosterism of the slogan “We are in this together” proved itself to be so hollow. Paradoxically, the overuse of the slogan intended to hide the true nature of our political economy from us may provide the kind of fuel that is needed to light a cleansing, a transforming, fire.

  • Hounding Toronto’s homeless

    The neoliberal city needs its enforcers as a matter of great priority, writes CD columnist John Clarke. Those who are denied the right of housing must not be allowed to become too visible. If they seek shelter and safety in public parks, they will soon learn that, while there may be no housing or even adequate shelter available for them, there will be no lack of police batons to drive them from view.

  • Capitalism is on life support. We have a decision to make

    Choosing when is the right time to let go is hard. The decision becomes much easier when the pain and suffering outweigh the benefits of living. Over the last 14 months, we’ve seen an economy on life support—capitalism kept alive by injection after injection of public money. Are we ignoring the suffering it brings and simply keeping the system alive because we cannot imagine life without it? Is it time to let go?

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