RIP people killed by Flaherty’s policies
April 11, 2014
Former federal finance minister Jim Flaherty died an early death at 64, causing the business community, the Tories and Liberals—but also NDP leader Tom Mulcair—to choke back tears. We mourn instead the thousands whose untimely deaths were brought about by the policies of Flaherty and the cabinets in which he served.
Flaherty was part of Mike Harris’ government in Ontario, whose cuts to water inspection services led to an E.Coli outbreak that killed seven people in Walkerton, Ontario. The same government imposed massive cuts to welfare and social housing, killing Kimberly Rogers in the process, and years later people continue to die from homelessness.
Flaherty was also part of cuts to healthcare at both provincial and federal levels. As the Council of Canadians wrote last week in an article titled Broken Promises and Abdication: Flaherty’s Healthcare Legacy, “March 31 marks the end of the 2004 Health Accord and the last day Canadian health care will have equalization payments to have-not provinces, national standards, and federal funding tied to achieving set benchmarks. March 31 is also a day to mourn the fact that we remain the only wealthy country with a universal health-care system and no national pharmacare plan.” Healthcare cuts kill.
Flaherty was also proudly part of the Harper government that turns its back on global health crises—boycotting the International AIDS conference in Toronto, imposing a maternal health plan denying abortion, cutting humanitarian aid to Gaza, and defunding Sisters in Spirit that investigates missing and murdered aboriginal women.
While destroying social services, Flaherty and the federal Tories have poured billions into the military, which has killed countless people in 13 years of occupying Afghanistan, the bombing campaign in Libya, and the UN occupation of Haiti. At the same time, Flaherty’s budget policies included the New Veterans Charter—cutting benefits from veterans despite an epidemic of suicides and protests across the country.
Flaherty also pioneered the technique of using omnibus budgets to hide life-threatening cuts, from Bill C-45’s attacks on environmental protection and indigenous sovereignty that sparked Idle No More, to the more recent Bill C-4 that attacks workers—including their health and safety.
We mourn these countless victims of Flaherty’s policies of austerity, and organize to put an end to the capitalist system that cut their lives short.