Anger at economy, rising prices expected
By Bruce A Stewart
By now the news should be sinking in. We’re in for a tough fall and winter.
South of the border, this year’s drought has 70 per cent of American grain crops withered and brown. Meanwhile, their ethanol requirements mean that a good portion of what’s left of the corn crop will be diverted to fuel production.
Most meat, in turn, isn’t pasture-fed any longer, either. It requires grains — grains that won’t be there. So, after the culling of herds, there’ll be supply shortfalls there, too.
What this means is that the price of food is going up. Fuel, too, probably. (Gasoline at the pumps rose yesterday, even though oil prices are falling.)
But, of course, food and fuel are explicitly excluded from the consumer price indices. They were taken out years ago so that governments wouldn’t have to make upward adjustments to their various payments due to “inflation.”
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Families, though, know that rising prices are rising prices, whether they’re in the index or not. They also know they’re facing them with a lot less money these days.
All the “we’re number one” or “we’re doing well” stories in the press in the world won’t change the opinions that are hardening: something is wrong, and no one’s doing anything about it.
Think about why British Columbians are angry about the Northern Gateway. Is it only because they’re avid environmentalists?
Or are they a people who — on top of loving their green trees and clear waters — have been paying the highest prices in Canada south of the territories for the basics for years? Food prices in Vancouver, for instance, average 30% higher than in Toronto. Every litre of gas for the car, every kilowatt hour of electricity from BC Hydro, every kilojoule of natural gas comes with the province’s carbon tax attached.
It’s expensive, and keeping up has gotten hard. Now it’s about to get a whole lot harder. That leads to lashing out.
Just like the casseroles marching in Montréal’s streets alongside the students this spring, banging their pots and pans. Were middle-aged housewives out supporting “no tuition increases” — or saying “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it any more?”
In Ontario it’s showing up as a general bubbling rage, on the roads, and in the supermarkets. People pushing one another, bashing carts into each other, the usual pleasantries and courtesy going, going, gone.
The conversations where people meet are getting pointed, too. From the Menali “entitlements” in Alberta, to revelations about ORNGE’s excesses in Ontario, to the corruption hearings in Québec, there’s a growing feeling that the people in charge think they can get away with anything.
Now you know why 50 per cent of British Columbians are ready to leap into the arms of the NDP, with no policy announcements and no sense of where an NDP government will go. It’ll replace “a bunch of bums who don’t care about us” and that’s good enough.
Now you know why Charest’s Liberals are floundering in the Québec election. It’s not a sudden love of separatism, it’s “time for revenge.”
Now you know why McGunity is running in last place in the polls in Ontario — quiet Ontario, that ignores its provincial politics from one year to the next — a slow burn getting ready to torch his government into ashes.
That anger is building against the Federal Conservatives, and against those in power in province after province.
Those in power had better pay attention. The quiet majority of Canada is getting ready to march.