As with any budget there are winners and losers, with the true test of a budget at least in my mind being the determination of who wins and who loses. As the days pass and people have had time to scour the latest Conservative government budget a picture of who loses this time around has emerged and surprise surprise it is civil society, access to data and information plus the most vulnerable among us.
With election fraud,F-35's and cuts to the CBC using up most of the oxygen many of the smaller yet just as important cuts in the budget are gaining little notice, no doubt much to the Harper regimes delight. Lets take a look at three of those "minor" cuts that I feel will highlight just what this government is trying to accomplish.
The National Aboriginal Health Organization’s (NAHO) funding has been
cut by Health Canada. NAHO which provides research and has formed partnerships with many in the healthcare sector provides vital information on the healthcare needs of people who are often under served by our healthcare system. Their website alone saw 640,000 publications downloaded by those seeking the latest information regarding the health needs of Aboriginals with another 250,000 sent out via snail mail last year alone
Plug pulled on public Internet access program ( CAP ) Started in 1995 this program was set up to ensure that those unable to afford internet access could at least access the net through terminals placed in public spaces such as libraries and community centres. The Harperites as usual play loose with the truth in their attempts to justify this cut. saying that since 79% of us now enjoy some type of access there is no longer a need for CAP to continue. Putting aside the fact that this ignores the 21% that do not have access, according to Eric Stackhouse, Nova Scotia CAP administration chair there is still very much a need for CAP to continue "All of our usage numbers are the same as they always were or increasing," Plus lets not forget that this government is actively forcing us to access more of it's programs online thus denying this population access to much needed programs.
Scrapping welfare council is a cheap shot by a government that doesn’t care about the poor Around since 1969 the National Council of Welfare has been an invaluable ally in the fight against poverty, perhaps too invaluable for it's own good given Harper's desire to strip us of the information we need to fight back against his ruinous policies. The government didn't even have the decency to announce its death,as former Director Steve Kerstetter pointed out in his article. "The budget papers included a table in one of the appendices that showed a
cut of $1.1 million a year in the council’s budget beginning next year.
What the papers didn’t bother to say was that $1.1 million is the
council’s entire budget." Check out this table,
A Snapshot of Racialized Poverty in Canada to get a sense of the type of research the council provides Canadians and why Harper is so bent on silencing them.
Any one else see a trend here?. Each of these organizations served marginalized communities and helped keep Canadians informed, leaving no doubt if there was ever one as to to what the Harperites agenda truly is.