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The Signature of a Society: A Canadian Manifesto

A Populist Agenda for the 21st Century

Institute Bulletin No.47


To raise people up from poverty. To reconcile private interests with public rights.To attack monopoly. To reward enterprise, but not with untrammelled privilege and preference. To exalt the individual over ruler or regulation. This is our liberalism. This is the signature of our society.”

1. The Politics of Purpose: Addressing the Anger at Governors and Governance

2. The Urgency of  Accountability: Ending Institutional Intimacies of Concentration and Combination

3. The Pruning of Privilege and Preference: Tax Reform


4. The Regulatory  Agencies: Imperatives of Renewal


5. The Crimes of Punishment: Criminal Justice Reform


6. The Untouchable Universal: Health Care


7. The Democratic Deficit: Equity and the Electoral Process

8. A New Majority for Justice

1. The Politics of Purpose: Addressing the Anger

 at Governors and Governance

There is a new political majority in Canadian politics that has yet to find either its voice or its champion. A new political alignment of hard-headed economic self-interest of working men and women, disaffected ethnic minorities and native groups, and the poor, whose problems are not managerial and technical, as many bureaucratic end economic theorists argue, but political and distributive. It is a coalition of economic class.
Wealth and power are not only unequally held in Canada, but also inequitably. After several generations of attempts at reform the concentration of wealth has increased. Seventy years after the economic collapse that led to the Great Depression, the 20% of our population who controlled 80% of national assets in 1932, has been replaced by a mere 4% holding the same control.
The real division in this country is not between races nor generations nor language groups, but between the rich who have power and those who have neither power nor property. The new reality is that the pact of the have-nots, with the added weight of the labor, women’s, cultural and social action movements, buttressed by the idealism of the young, has created a new national agenda.
Conceptually and historically this new populism differs from traditional Canadian progressive political development. It is a broad national frustration, not merely a yoke holding several factions together into a temporary alliance. The new populism is pragmatic, knowing full well that winning elections is only half the battle because so many promises have yet to be fulfilled and so much power rests beyond the reach of the electoral process. It mistrusts the technocrats who have failed so spectacularly so often. It is participatory, believing change is generated from below.
Most importantly it realizes that traditional approaches have been compromised and calcified through a dependence on rhetoric instead of an involvement with, and engagement in, everyday reality. An everyday reality that prizes hard work, loyalty, and endurance, and rejects ingratitude, false piety and lack of courage. A populism that does not fear to ask who holds power---and by what right?
This new pragmatic populism recognizes that a certain degree of inequality is inevitable. As regrettable as it may be, the rich and powerful will, too often, be able to bend the acts of government to their will. But there is now recognition that our very laws have added additional artificial advantages to the preferences past generations of the privileged have already enjoyed and inherited. As the rich become richer and the potent more powerful, on the backs of the labor of the humble who have neither the time nor the means to secure like favors for themselves, there is a call being made on the stake of the commonweal of the country.
The new populism recognizes and rejects the old politics of division where alienation of natural allies was encouraged by political leaders who used that division as the keystone of the edifice upon which they built their political careers. It asks why the nature of the Canadian social contract has had its vision dimmed, its goals diminished, its philosophy undefended and its very spirit deadened.
It believes that the notion that the large economic problems of Canada have been solved and all that is now required are small adjustments and some minor technical tinkering have been proven bankrupt and foolish. The primary issue is a primordial injustice that arouses our compassion---the perplexing paradox of an economy of abundance producing only a thin veneer of affluence.
What is needed is the enactment of an activist populist vision not merely the adoption of an anti-plutocrat vocabulary. It is not about semantics. We need to challenge interests, not merely balance them. We need the capacity to see the world through the eyes of its victims. We must learn to understand intuitively that the less educated are not less intelligent and that the less affluent are not any less human.
2. The Urgency of  Accountability: Ending Institutional Intimacies
of Concentration and Combination
Government must manifest a comprehension of the current crisis by understanding that much of popular rage started with one issue that preceded, and will outlive, the sponsorship issue. That issue was the spate of corporate theft in North America. And that problem can be traced to one overriding element in continental corporate culture. Concentration.
While the debate about concentration rages, the fact of concentration continues. The only end served is not efficiency but greed. While 80% of our new jobs are produced by small business, bank credit and tax breaks go to the conglomerates. While the top 20% of our corporations and citizenry exploit the levers of legislation for their own fiscal benefits, 80% of our total taxes are collected from small businesses and workingmen and women 45% of who have no more than two weeks of cash flow in savings.
In the midst of an already inequitable environment we still hear calls from the banks to allow mergers.
As a start, it would be appropriate to name a Royal Commission on Corporate Concentration and Accountability. It should be empowered to consider the social and political effects of mergers and monopolies, not just the economic edge that big business seeks in order to pursue its ambitions abroad. This Commission would also be mandated to force the pro-merger advocates to demonstrate how increased combinations would flow through benefits to the public at large.
Today, many firms merge not merely because it is efficient, but because our tax laws permit the sheltering of profits in the financial structure of the acquired firm. The techniques of accountancy make firms look more profitable than they really are, causing massive over- investment, and subsequent rapid divestment, thereby destabilizing working men and women’s futures and security while executives get golden parachutes.

Recommendations on reforms of our fiscal codes would be part of this Commission’s mandate as well.


The absurdity of the very people who demand a free market devising constructs of monopoly accompanied by unyielding demands on government cash and credit are not lost on our citizenry.


Several decades ago, in the midst of an economic downturn, a commentator wrote, “the money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple.” Today it may well be said “the money managers have tumbled from their high perches on the tower.” The intimate relationships between the funny-money specialists on the Street, and the corporate titans in the boardrooms, has already destroyed the financial economy of the securities markets and now threatens the real economy of the job market. We are living through a time of elimination of permanent positions unprecedented, in gross numbers, since the Depression. It is commonplace to hear, almost daily, of corporations eliminating twenty, thirty and even forty thousand jobs in one cut.


This malaise cuts across all sectors and all industries. In part, this is due to recessionary business cycles, the negative effects of which government can only seek to cushion the public from. But this is also due to mismanagement by many corporate chieftains characterized by the arrogance of avarice and a cynical smugness stemming from the incestuous intimacies between supposed competitors in the exchange of goods and services and supposed lenders and borrowers in the exchange of capital. All may be fair in a strictly private enterprise environment. But there is not one industrial or financial giant that does not benefit from government largesse.


It is time for a reckoning of corporate accounts so that the ordinary citizen senses that government is trying to reduce the burden on them.


Six points should be considered in examining systemic reform .


1. Restricting interlocking directorates in the financial services sectors. We may finally see the return of competition and an end to the lock-step approach we have today that shuts credit. and facilities to small business and the individual. We may even get better service for customers.


2. Restricting directors of competing businesses from sitting on the board of the same bank. This would close one ready forum for collusive or anti-competitive “off-the-record” discussions between corporations and their financiers. Supposed competitors may not tell all to each other, but they do say hello far too often.


3. Opening up directorships to wider groups. By legislation if necessary. The adoption of policies at the board level in return for similar corporate favors is rampant, particularly in the financial services industries. Financial decisions critical to a community are undertaken with no reference to the people these decisions affect. Banks and insurance companies are chartered, serviced, protected and regulated by government. They cannot continue to collect obscenely unnatural profits made possible by public policy and political persuasion and still demand the autonomy of a purely private operation.


4. Tightening the tax provisions protecting bank profits. Excess bad debt reserves, favored capital gains treatment—such breaks simply add to the tax burden of the wage earner.


5. Requiring bank investments in community and socially useful purposes. Our model should be the U.S. Community Reinvestment Act. Using federal funds to insure against high risks, federal law should require that a set percentage of profits be used for community reinvestment. Particularly in poorer areas where Canadian banks have been known to close six branches in one area because the people there were not wealthy enough to make it worth their while. Banks like to claim that they are in the business of “wealth management”. In fact, for the past thirty years, they have been in the business of debt creation. They cannot simply be allowed to cut costs, grab fees and abandon communities where their own created debtors make it less profitable for them to operate.


6. Taxing the profits hidden by life insurance companies in tax-free reserves. By using outdated actuarial tables and underestimated investment income, insurance reserve funds are swollen by tens of billions. Taxing this hidden profit could produce billions in tax revenues.


Much of the needed reforms can be accomplished through existing financial and consumer legislation. Some will require radically new definitions of what corporate citizens may do, may not do and must do. But at the end of the day, Canadians will be able to eye a great prize---an equitable redistribution of power and profit, preference and privilege; and a generous redefinition of the dignity and debt owed to worker and depositor not just to stockholder and investor.


3.The Pruning of Privilege and Preference: Tax Reform


Someone making $25,000 a year spends almost all of it on the things they need to live. Food, shelter, clothing. Someone making $125,000 has a far wider range of choices. A fair tax system understands this and that is why , in principle, a graduated tax should be defended. It takes not just more, but a higher percentage, of the income of the wealthy because they need a much smaller share of their incomes for necessities. A progressive tax system acts as a balance. Our system says to the wealthy, you have your wealth, but you will help pay for the schools to give all an equal chance at opportunity; and you will help finance the hospitals to give all equal and quality medical care; and you will help pay for the costs of solutions to pollution and disease caused by your industrial plants and their products.


This, at least, is the theory behind our tax system. In fact however, it has been so manipulated that it reinforces inequality rather than forcing equity. Middle income Canadians, those earning between $50,000 and $75,000 annually, pay a higher percentage of their incomes in taxes than the richest 1% of our population. As mentioned earlier, 80% of our total taxes are collected from small businesses and working people even though they control less than 20% of national wealth.


The source of these inequities flows from special privileges to select beneficiaries. In dozens of different ways the tax law says “All Canadians are equal, but the rich are more equal than others.” The pattern of unfair tax advantage is total. The plush business lunch of executives in restaurants is deductible, but the soup and sandwich of the worker in the cafeteria is not. The cost of tax lawyers is deductible for the corporation, the cost of H&R Block for the individual is not. The truth is that money earned by the wealthy is taxed less severely than money earned by the average Canadian.


The damage to our political system spawned by this pattern of privilege cannot be overstated. A $500 a week employee may not know the details of the capital gains law, but if he knows that he pays a greater percentage of his income in taxes than the people who own the plant do, that is enough to breed cynicism into the most patriotic of citizens. And when he hears politicians defend our social security programs for the poor, he knows the rich will not be paying their fair share. Low and middle income working Canadians feel squeezed from the very rich and the very poor, and as much as they may intuitively support programs fostering social justice, they rightly feel that they are carrying too much of the load.


Despite the Byzantine complexities of the tax system, which by it itself amounts to a full employment program for the nation’s tax lawyers, its defenders insist that the tax code is not an instrument of social policy but merely a method of raising revenue. In fact the reverse is true. Every exemption, deduction, credit and surcharge amounts to a statement of policy. Our system subsidizes trains, planes, and factories much more than it does people. The result that is produced is an encouragement of concentration. The use of capital to make maximum advantage of tax breaks. An economy driven not so much to start new enterprises and create new jobs, but one driven to absorb old enterprises and cut jobs. While our competition policies ostensibly encourage diversity our tax laws promote exactly the reverse.


The path to reform through the thicket of tax breaks for the rich may be politically difficult but is conceptually simple. The root principle is to stop treating money earned through prior wealth more favorably than that earned through hard work. It is time to tax the real earnings of our wealthiest corporate and individual citizens.


The following five  initiatives would be vital; to consider in any core reform:


1. Reduction of the favored treatment given to profits from securities. Some 75% of all money in private hands in Canada today is inherited. However much admiration may be due to someone with the initiative to invest inherited money into stocks and bonds, it is doubtful that they have worked harder to acquire profit than someone who operates a punch press or waits on retail customers eight hours a day. The twenty thousand dollars earned when a stock is sold should be counted and taxed the same as the twenty thousand that represents someone’s 1,000 hours of work.


2. Some taxation of income no matter what the institution. If a religious institution operates a parking lot for its members on Saturday or Sunday and runs it as a commercial operation the other six days of the week it is entitled to make a profit on that operation. But it is not entitled to keep that income free of taxation. If it seeks to finance itself by running enterprises, it should do so under the same rules that apply to any other enterprise. When the religious vestments are removed and the sales apron is donned, the special privileges should not remain. When a professional association earns money from advertising placed in its journal, before that revenue is added to its lobbying budget, it ought to be taxed under the same rules as any other publication. If social clubs, universities, associations, foundations and charities maintain plush real estate holdings, they should pay the same taxes as any ordinary businessperson.


3. Tightening of charitable contributions that enrich the wealthy. Donations of securities, artwork and other possessions should not be deductible on their fully appreciated value. This is merely a method of avoiding tax that should fall on the earnings, which is the appreciation. These and other venerable dodges should be eliminated.


4. Restrictions on depreciations and other intangibles write-offs. These kinds of deductions are given without any relation to the actual costs incurred by the company. Allowance for nonexistent “costs” should end and we should allow only true “out of pocket” expenses.


5.Limiting deductions for business travel and entertainment. If an executive wants to spend hundreds on a bottle of Chateau Margaux, his stock clerks should not pay more taxes because of that exercise in good taste. These expenses, and indeed the whole “expense account” form of compensation for the wealthy, are nothing but disguised income and should be treated as such.


We need a conscious shaping of a tax policy that will discourage concentration of economic power, reduce the stifling tax burden on working Canadians (45% of whom have only two weeks of salary in the bank), and strengthen programs for the socially disadvantaged. Since all tax decisions promote economic and social policies—whether intentional or not—a fair tax system should consciously promote the dispersion of economic power.


4. The Regulatory  Agencies: Imperatives of Renewal


By a combination of legal skill, political clout, and economic power, few have anything to fear from the agencies created to control private power in the public interest. Regulation is looked upon as a fix, and the public usually gets stuck with the bill for the fixer. Always with its pocketbook, often with its convenience, safety and health.


Regulatory agencies cloak profound issues in esoteric language, secrecy, and often dilatory, always expensive, almost invisible proceedings. It may legitimately be asked whether some regulators truly understand whom they are supposed to serve. Bureaucratic inertia, political preference and economic interest have too often resulted in decisions that help industry and hurt the public.


As long as the procedures of our agencies remain secretive, technical and of concern primarily to private interests, even good men can make only a marginal difference. The reforms needed do not entail new laws or new institutions. They do entail the acceptance of the radical notion that agencies created to protect the public interest should protect the public interest.


1. Break the industry-agency-industry cycle. We need to appoint commissioners whose concern for fairness is paramount, even at the expense of technical expertise. Technical support comes mostly from the staff in any case. Independence should be the primary consideration.


2. The Public Interest should be a required part of any hearing. Each agency should have a consumer, or citizen, advocate. The advocate would have their own staff and autonomy. The advocate would represent the public interest in any agency decision affecting either a specific case or the development of general rules. The advocate would be admitted to all agency proceedings as a matter of law and any decisions taken without the advocate’s participation would be illegal. The advocates would have the right to issue their own comments and these would be published as part of the proceedings.


3. Appointments should be a public issue before elections. The invisibility of this issue has compromised the effectiveness of our regulatory commissions and agencies for far too long.


5. The Crimes of Punishment: Criminal Justice Reform


The loudest advocates of law and order frequently promote policies that increase the crime rate. Few issues have proven a more fertile breeding ground for hysteria, cheap political shots and outright lies.


Liberals have too often conceded the premises of the right. They are too eager, too often, to state “I’m as tough on crime as you are.” Unfortunately, liberals have rarely challenged conservatives on the critical essential point: the solutions of the right are not only repressive, but also ineffective.


Academicians and theoreticians have been equally unconstructive equally often. They have more concerns for Albanians and East Timorese and have ignored crime as a burden carried by the Canadian poor. After hundreds of marches for hundreds of causes, no one has marched for them.


Despite decades of experimentation and analyses, the fact remains that the fundamental source of crime is rooted in the pathology of poverty. Joblessness, purposeless men and women, broken families, a school system that does not educate and the accompanying epidemics of alcohol and drug abuse. Anatole France wrote many years ago that “…the slums of the great cities are the breeding grounds of crime…” That is still true today.


A start to solutions can begin with the following six proposals:


1. The recognition that the justice system itself is one of the great festering swamps of crime. From the beginning  suspects are stripped of any connection with the community whose law they have allegedly broken. They are isolated, turned into an object to be processed, driven further and further from any sense that they are human beings who matter. This kind of treatment is a catalyst of crime. We need more investment in professionals in the criminal justice system acting as facilitators and interveners between the accused and the community he needs to remain connected to. It is always easy to economize when it suits us, but the irony is that as long as we keep economizing this way, many will return as criminals and as the creators of other victims.


2. Participation of the criminal’s community in breaking the crime cycle. Incarceration is by definition an alienating experience. But when a convict is sent hundreds of miles from his community the effects are much worse and produce an anger that is uncontrollable. The current policy of centralization into mass prisons should be reversed and experiments must be made to keep felons under custody closer to their own communities. One possibility to study are halfway houses staffed by personnel who understand the culture and content of the communities of the convicts. However well intentioned correctional officers may be, the ambience of a fortress has been proven for decades to cripple the possibility of rehabilitation.


3. Penal Reform. Between 70-75% of all crimes are committed by recidivists—men and women who have been in jail before. The reason is simple. Most inmates come out of jail more bitter, more turned against the straight world, than they were when they were first imprisoned. The term “corrections” is wrong. In Ramsey Clark’s famous phrase, prisons are “factories of crime”. We must make our system truly correctional by focusing on rehabilitation rather than punishment. For every Federal dollar spent on corrections, 90 cents goes for purely custodial purposes: guards, walls and bars. Only the small balance goes to job training and placement, education and work-release programs. This ratio must be dramatically improved. We must begin to reform the basic impulses of the correctional system. Large prisons should be replaced by smaller jails of minimum and moderate security. Prisoners should be separated on the basis of age, seriousness of offense and sexual predilection. The  idea of homosexual wings or prisons is far less offensive than the reality of young men subject to rape and assault. Prison rehabilitation programs should include job training for jobs that actually exist on the outside. Home furloughs for selected inmates as a deterrent to aggressive homosexuality and as a means of restoring an inmate’s bond with his community should also be looked at.


4. Law Reform. Penologists and judicial experts agree that prison and court overcrowding would be alleviated dramatically by a more flexible attitude toward victimless crimes—gambling, prostitution, drunkenness, drug possession and many so-called “white collar crimes. These make up about half the non-traffic arrests in Canada. If the laws under which these arrests are made were reformed, not only would it lessen over-crowding, but it would also permit police to focus on more serious crimes. Laws prohibiting employment of ex-convicts should be made Charter violations. Some thirty-five different professions bar ex-convicts. A system of rewarding productive behavior should be included directly in the criminal justice system. New York’s Court Employment Project is a great success and a great example. It provides jobs, group therapy and a structured program for people awaiting trial. If participants get and hold a job and remain crime-free for three months, the court dismisses charges


5. Parole Board Reform. More professional parole boards that include psychiatrists and reformers who have direct contact with prisoners on a non-custodial bias are necessary components of any overall reform program. In too many instances board appointees have been patronage picks with knee-jerk prejudices in place of knowledgeable process.


6. The Untouchable Universal: Health Care


For all the complaints about our health-care system, each month sees dozens of foreign medical teams in Canada copying various aspects of what we have done right. The great national consensus on the five principles of our Medicare system is one of the proudest elements of the Canadians social contract and must be defended, and expanded, using all available resources. It is our noblest effort.


Critics of a single-tier public system continually point out that the U.S. spends more of its GDP on health than Canada. They do, but only slightly. And it is no great thing when fully one-third of Americans have no medical insurance. In America health care is a luxury. In Canada it is a right. There is reason for great pride in that, we should make no mistake about that. Naturally the system needs more money, not only for equipment and facilities, but also for salaries to insure that we keep our best and brightest here. But a two-tier system is not the answer. Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, every two-tier system in the west evidences massive discrepancies in care. There is one level of service for the rich, another for the rest. We must not sacrifice our great experiment in national compassion at the altar of mammon.


Abandonment of our system will result in tragedies of the American experience. Working poor who cannot afford doctors or hospitals, and middle-class families living in the fear that one serious illness can wipe out a lifetime’s savings since even private insurance only covers 80% of inflated hospital costs and procedures. It is not generally known but in the U.S. only about 80% of hospital beds are filled, since so many Americans have no insurance, and of those some 75% are Medicaid or Medicare patients. On the remaining 25% American hospitals create bill charges of up to 1,000% on everything from Saline solutions to Tylenol tablets.


Abandonment of our system for a two-tier one will inevitably create a segregated two-class hospital system. Private hospitals with modern technology and personalized care for the rich and insured, and understaffed public hospitals with beds in the halls and crowded benches in the clinics for everyone else. We will be at the mercy of institutions motivated by greed creating ever growing outrageous costs for the best care. Health care will be reduced to a scarce commodity to be sold at a profit rather than a basic societal right like education.


Abandonment of our system will lead to Canada being at the mercy of insurance and drug companies who are most responsible for health-care cost inflation in the United States. The drug companies, who now specialize in the development of the $1billion “first pill”, 75% subsidized by government tax and R&D credits, have over the past thirty years ranked ahead of tobacco, mining and oil companies in return on total capital. That is the true face of the menace that drains our health resources. The drug companies have exaggerated prices, negotiated cartels on patents and manipulated fears created and heightened by slick advertising. They can get away with this because for all the thousands of drug and biotech companies in the world, the top 2% sell more than half the drugs.


 7. The Democratic Deficit: Equity and the Electoral Process


As it stands now, the political process forms a kind of closed circle with economic power. Because wealth—or access to it—is critical to gaining political power, those who make the basic decisions are often beholden to the people and institutions that already hold economic power. The citizens who are the victims of economic power are too often shut out of the process by which real decisions are made.


Clearly our political process is not a fraud. Too many fights have been won to believe that our system of Parliamentary democracy is unworkable. But what is true is that we must lessen the impact of money on political decision-making and level the playing field of access for the benefit of all Canadians. The link between cash and conscience is too direct to be ignored on any agenda of the new populism.


Put plainly, it costs so much money to run a campaign for any office that either personal wealth or access to it, becomes one of the most important qualifications for office. The inherent absurdity of this needs no overstatement.


Reforms should be made along the following lines:


1. Lower  absolute limits on total campaign spending for every level of office including leadership races. These ceilings, calculated on a dollars per voter basis, would cover total campaign spending from staff to advertising to canvassers and infrastructure. Provisions in the Federal Election Legislation should include automatic nullification of results for any violation. Hopefully, this would bring to an end certain “gentlemen’s agreements” now prevailing.


2. Free radio and television advertising. These industries are federally regulated and as such would be required to give free equal time to all candidates. This would eliminate one of the costliest elements in campaigning. One candidate could still have better image-makers and speechwriters than another, but he could not outspend opponents 10-1.


3. All “in kind” contributions should be included in calculation of total costs. Whether it is a corporation lending a company plane, or a union absorbing printing costs.


4. Require all elected members to disclose all of their financial interests. This is perhaps the most central reform to ensuring that “one person, one vote” does not become “one dollar, one vote”.


A bad process produces good candidates only by accident. We ought to reverse that.

8. A New Majority for Justice


This paper is based on one over-riding belief---that a political coalition fighting for equity and equality, fairness and fraternity as its goal, exists, and can be championed to victory now. That a new populism is both morally and intellectually imperative at this time in our history is clear to us, but more to the point, we also think a new populist thrust is politically appropriate, and that such a strategy has a strong practical chance of success.


The severe pocketbook issues afflicting all, underscore the imperative of a political campaign based on economic justice. From the assembly line worker who hates his job but has no alternative, to the ethnic small business owner whose taxes have soared out of all proportion to the services received, to the elderly eking out lives on social security, to the newly poor who have lost a lifetime of savings in a catastrophe, to the working poor fed up with the rich getting richer while they work longer, to women and the visible minorities tired of being the last hired and first fired, to the newly enfranchised young voters fed up with the calcified hypocrisy around them.


We must always remember that the “Just Society” which men of goodwill seek to build is predicated on a recognition of an equal claim on the stock of welfare of the land by all, and that this recognition has not yet found full expression in the social contract between the government and the people.


In our land today there are too many of shrivelled spirit and hostile heart that fear the future, mistrust the present and invoke the security of a comfortable past, which, in fact, never existed. These we should always oppose.


We must have leadership that has faith in the people’s ability, tempered through the experiences of reason and judgment, to increase for all the amount of justice and freedom and opportunity, which all human life deserves.


We must have leaders who believe that our progress as a people is predicated on the notion that we have a sovereignty over our democratically elected government unencumbered by any conditions of special considerations to property or power, privilege or preference.


We must lead all Canadians, no matter how unempowered, to the belief that through the exercise of their suffrage, they can exact their full share from the bounty of society’s wealth to which their labour has so much contributed, so that they will have a flow of well being from the state to allow for their fullest expression as human beings.


These are the people of the new populism whom we must champion. Faces of anger at the excesses of banks, conglomerates and self-aggrandizing professions. Fresh political leadership must speak for them and against the forces of preference, privilege and greed. All these groups are national symptoms of a stirring. A movement that is a complex mix of engagement and economics. This is the effective political coalition for the 21st Century. A new political majority sure in the knowledge that justice is not in heaven nor beyond the sea, but in our hearts to dream and in our hands to forge.


Beryl P. Wajsman


Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal







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