Occupy-Halifax

We've Got it Good

I’ve been itching, for the last week, to write about the occupy movement in the United States, and how it spread across the world, even into Canada. I want to talk about the merits of this movement, as well as the misguided elements that managed to creep their way into our country. This is not meant as an attack against the movement in general, merely the current construct as it appears in Canada.

The occupy movement started in New York city - the epicentre of the financial meltdown from 2008. Their insatiable greed and sole quest to produce record profits at the expense of the common good was unprecedented in recent human history. Regrettably, rather than allow them to collapse under the weight of their own malevolent ambitions, the American government spent billions to bail them out. In essence, companies and financial institutions already rich from milking the hard work of American families, was saved by the tax dollar paid to the treasury by the aforementioned Americans. A double whammy, so to speak. The American population was hurt, badly. They are still hurting. The same people who created this crisis continue to ride high in record profit, while the average family can barely make ends meet. This is a real problem.

Canada did things differently. Though Prime Minister Stephen Harper was initially opposed to any kind of stimulus funding, our government never, ever, bailed out financial institutions with our hard earned tax dollars. The stimulus package was initiated to compensate for events unfolding south of the border. It helped stave off any potential trouble that may trickle up north. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked. As a result, Canadian unemployment stays comfortably below 7%, while American unemployment has almost reached 10%. Europe is a completely different story, nearing 20% in some countries. This is borderline depression. While we enjoy a solid economy, strong real estate sales, strong retail sales and stable financial investments - other countries around the world are barely able to stay afloat. So then why did the occupy movement move north?

The answer, I suspect, is rather simple. According to statistics, the majority of those protesting as part of the occupy Wall Street movement, are made up of the unemployed, the disenfranchised, the dispossessed and more. They range in age from 25-40 and have a real bone to pick with their financial institutions and their government for bailing them out. They wallow in minimum wage jobs, pay over $10,000 a year in college and university tuition, see the value of their homes collapse entirely, watch food prices go up, etc. They have every reason to be out on the streets, coordinated or not, to make their message heard. But why Canada?

The difference between the occupy movement in the United States, and around the world for that matter, and the occupy movement in Canada is stark. In Canada, the majority of the participants range between the ages of 18-25. These individuals have likely never owned property, are still in high school, or still in post-secondary educational programs. They work minimum wage jobs, true, because they lack the qualifications for much else. I feel they are participating in this activist movement to proliferate a populist left wing agenda on the heels and backs of the working poor - which is a clear reason why they aren’t even remotely organized. These socialist wannabe’s have this sense of being “ripped off” by the events of the May 2nd Federal Election, but statistically, they have the lowest voter turnout out of any demographic. 

In essence, I am extremely frustrated with the sheer opportunism of the occupy organizers here in Canada. Our banks are strong and were never bailed out by our government. Our real estate market is tough and continues to grow, unlike that of our cousins south of the border. Our job growth is either growing slightly or plateauing, while our American cousins see theirs decreasing. Our students pay a maximum of $8000 a year at Acadia or Dalhousie (most expensive universities in Canada), while the cheapest our cousins down south pay is $10,000 and climbs steadily.

So why are they really complaining? I suspect it’s the election results and the fact that many on the left wing of the political spectrum feel a “neo-con” is at the helm of this country. Though I have political sympathies with that movement, I have to ask this: Have your freedoms been taken away? Has the value of your property been cut in half? Are jobs becoming less available? The answer is simple - NO!

I advise all those participants, who meet the criteria I laid out in the above, to do one of the following: either go back to school and get an applicable trade or degree that is valued in the work force, or in demand - or leave the country for a brighter future in…well…every other country is the pits. So good luck doing better elsewhere. Get with it people. Screw your head on straight, pick up your britches, get back to work and see things for what they are. We’ve got it Good.