Politics isn’t for everyone and I get that. It’s easy to feel that you don’t have a voice or any power to affect what those talking heads are doing or saying. It can seem easier to just worry about your day-to-day and leave politics to someone else.
The problem is that by the time you realize that it is affecting your day-to-day, it might just be too late.
You don’t have to run for mayor, or spend your lunch hours watching endless press conferences, but it is important to weigh in on how you want your community to be. What kind of a province do you want to live in?
You should care that Manitoba Hydro is on strike, that the education system is about to be dismantled, that the healthcare system is under supported, that Manitoba has the highest child poverty rates in Canada and that our country is facing a massive opioid crisis.
These are things you should care about because like it or not they do affect your day-to-day life. Humans are pack animals by nature and we rely on each other. When we allow part of our pack to be ignored and mistreated it affects our whole society. We need each other and this means that even when it feels hard and complicated, we do need to care.
Now, I’m not going to blame the current PC provincial government for all of the above, but I am going to say that each time I see their slogan of We are all in this together! I wonder who their ‘we’ includes.
It doesn’t seem to include the Manitoba Hydro workers who have been trying unsuccessfully to negotiate a contract for the last 28 months. It doesn’t include Manitoba teachers, many who have been working without a contract since 2018.
Even though our government failed to pass bill 28 which a top Manitoba judge threw out, calling it "a draconian measure that has inhibited and dramatically reduced the unions' bargaining power and violates associational rights.", this hasn’t stopped Pallister’s government from trying to bully unions at every turn.
I hear We are in this together! And over and over I keep asking: Who is together? In what?
I can tell you that our government isn’t in hospital rooms supporting our health care workers. Our government hasn’t been clambouring to undo the rash hospital and urgent care closures that it made at the beginning of its time in office. It hasn’t been concerned with hiring extra workers and taking care of the physical and mental well-being of the workers who are caring for the sick and dying.
I can assure you that the government is not in my classroom or at my school trying to understand how their policies and wide-sweeping cuts are going to affect inner city kids (who are actually not data or statistics, but who are instead real, live people). The dismantling of the current education system in Manitoba is paving the way for a decrease in services to diverse populations and children with special needs. For an excellent blog (not mine) about the glaring racism in bill 64, please see here.
I do believe that whether we like it or not, we are in this together. I believe that we need to stand up for and support each other. Education, health care, electricity are right up there with love, safety and a sense of belonging in things that we need and that each and everyone of us deserve.
If we support each other, if we use our voices and our votes to carve out a society where we are each accepted and respected, only then can we really move forward, together.