Sunday, April 27, 2014


Written by Mark Taliano
Canadians are forever being informed, explicitly or implicitly, that the solution to the crisis of the day, or decade, is a freedom-sounding word called “privatization”.  This, the free-marketeers tell us, will solve our problems.

 The reality is invariably the opposite.  “Privatization” -- also known as bailed-out, highly subsidized corporatism – is in fact the problem, not the solution.

 Furthermore, the crises being addressed are often manufactured for the express purpose of rolling out a parasitical regime of corporatization that profits from calamity, even as its “host”, the public, is fleeced.
Canadian author and social activist Naomi Klein identifies the process as the “shock doctrine” and/or “disaster capitalism”; author, environmental activist, and economist Winona LaDuke calls it “predator economics”; writers call it neoliberalism, and corporate media pretends it doesn’t exist. 

 A tattered thread is woven into a seemingly endless series of crises, and it is the public sector, the commons, that is invariably being exploited.  

 Neo-conservative strategists disguise  the real problem, and deflect attention from it, using a myriad of strategies, all of which serve to instil what insurance whistle-blower Wendel Potter calls FUD – Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt—in the collective mental landscape of the masses.

Instead of identifying the real problem – neoliberalism/predator capitalism/shock economy—neo-cons typically scapegoat other polities.

 According to neo-con politicians, union bosses and their minions, as well as public servants, and public institutions, are the causes of our economic woes, even as these are some of the few remaining polities that mitigate the damages caused by predator capitalism.

 Two of Canada’s “emblematic” institutions, currently being undermined so that they can be replaced by inferior models, are “universal” health care, and Canada Post. 

 Canada’s public healthcare system is in distress.  Community hospitals are closing, wait-times are long, and the public is dissatisfied.  Corporate messaging proclaims that since the status quo of public universal healthcare is failing, then the answer must be privatization/corporatization.  Consequently, the 2004 Health Accord has not been renewed, and the federal government will be cutting $36 Billion over ten years from its Canadian Health Transfers (CHT’s) to the provinces.

 he manufactured crisis in healthcare is chronic under-funding, and the solution is more comprehensive public funding, not corporatization.  Since 1981 hospital funding has decreased significantly as a share of Canada’s  health care budget.

Corporate health care is less efficient, and more expensive, than public health care.  The more it is corporatized, the more expensive (and less accessible ) health care becomes.

 A CUPE article entitled, "Public Health Care Costs Less, Delivers More

clearly shows that the “private” components of health care far exceed its public counterparts in costs even as they deliver less. Listed below are some (of numerous) examples identified in the article:


  • Ontario paid 75 per cent more to for-profit labs than it had to non-profit community labs over the    previous 30 years, for the same tests.10


  • Public-private partnerships are 83 per cent costlier to finance than public projects.11


* (Canadians) spend roughly half of what the private US system spends per person,16 and we get better coverage and outcomes.


  • Studies comparing US and Canadian outcomes for heart attacks, cancer, surgical procedures and chronic conditions show that Canada does at least as well, often better.21


  • A recent Canadian study found that expedited knee surgery in a for-profit clinic costs $3,222 compared to $959 in a public hospital (with worse return-to-work outcomes).24

Clearly, the false “solution” is making a bad situation (under-funding) worse.

Canada Post is also suffering from a manufactured crisis.  Marianne Lenabut argues in "What Happened To Canada" that Canada post ran a profit for the last 16 of 17years, and that it has yet to receive a tax-payer bailout.  Yet the “solution” to the illusory crisis has been the creation of a real crisis, consistent with Shock Doctrine economics.  Canada Post is being restructured so that service costs increase dramatically even as services are deteriorating: bulk stamps will cost .85 cents and a single first-class stamp will cost a dollar, door-to-door urban delivery is being ended, and 8,000 postal positions are slated to be eliminated. 


The crisis is being engineered so that the public will become frustrated, blame the victim (Canada Post), and welcome a false “market-based solution” so that the private sector can roll in, and further erode the public domain.




James Clancy of the National Union Of Public And General Employees argues in "President's Commentary: Privatization is not the answer at Canada Post, modernization is" that when the final play is made in this game, Canadians will see private companies selling mail service at a higher cost.  There will be no accountability mechanism if this happens because the public will no longer own the service.”

 These two important examples are, nonetheless, the tip of the iceberg. The list is long, but the strategies are consistent: create a crisis to undemocratically impose inefficient, expensive corporate models in domains best suited to public funding.

Internationally, the same strategies are being used, and the descriptors are the same: predator economics, shock doctrine economics, neoliberalism.  But, when supranational polities such as the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF) impose these strategies on other countries, the process is called colonialism.


 Written by Mark Taliano
The Straight Goods
Cheers Eyes Wide Open


Jon Ghun said...

You hit the mark perfectly. All too true. They are dismantling our public services as we speak. Underfunding is the method, and shifting the tax burden is the means.

The problem is, those same conglomerates and the One Bank have also usurped control of the main media corps(e) and much of academia, and are using it to shape public opinion in a way that favours their agenda. Additionally, they have paid off most of the political class to go along with their program.

Hence, mounting a serious opposition to this neo-feudal oligarchy grows more difficult by the day in this so-called liberal democracy.

Nevertheless, we must persist and never despair. And so, it was good hearing your voice on these extremely important matters.


Danneau said...

Amen. there are areas of endeavour where I'm quite happy to see the rapacious play out their games, but those are limited to those activities that have no bearing on the welfare of society in general. Great piece.

Anonymous said...

We have just seen, Harper lying his way out of everything. Nigel Wright did aid, abet, cover-up and pay the bill for a thieving Senator, that was stealing our tax dollars. The PMO sanitized other Senator's expense claims. How many lies did Mulcair trip Harper up in Parliament?

Harper's henchman Cote, installed in Elections Canada. Harper stonewalled and blocked the investigation, of his robo-call election fraud.

The stink of the corruption in this country, has been smelled right up to the Space Station.

The Royal Conservative Mounted Police, that let Wright off from his, lies, deceit and corruption. I believe Duffy and Wallin will also get away with their thefts too. The only two that will go to prison are, Brazeau and Harb.

Harper is a fascist, dictator and a control freak. The only way to get rid of scum such as Harper, would be civil disobedience.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Illusions, did you not say that you were writing a story about the big Liberal strategy to take over the NDP?

What happened there? Did they already do it or what? Or was it just another figment of ones over active imagination?

Grant G said...

You must have a reading/comprehension problem......

What I said/wrote.....

I said there was a plot in the works for BC Liberals to join the NDP party on paper for the so;le purpose of voting in the NDP leadership contest...

They had planned on voting in Farnworth..

With Farnworth gone, dropped out the threat has ended..

I`ll have a post out soon..

Been real busy...

Be patient.


Anonymous said...

What about the selling out of our companies. CN, Terasen Gas, BC Rail. When the government runs them they are expensive cash cows but when they are privately owned they are worth billions more with weaker unions and more accidents.