Sunday, October 19, 2014
Stephen Harper and the Deadly Politics of Ebola
The scene couldn't have been more ironic or more appalling. For even as the Ebola epidemic raged out of control, and Oxfam sent out a desperate call for more boots on the ground, in Africa.
On Saturday Oxfam took the unusual step of calling for troops to be sent to west Africa, along with funding and medical staff, to prevent the Ebola outbreak becoming the “definitive humanitarian disaster of our generation”. It accused countries that did not commit military personnel of “costing lives".
And leaders like Obama urged Americans not to surrender to fear and hysteria.
There was Stephen Harper, with a strange look on his face, receiving an award for helping stamp out polio, while cranking up the fear factor.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is warning Canadians not to be complacent about Ebola virus, suggesting it would be all too easy for the disease to come to Canada.
“What has happened recently with Ebola reminds us that in an age of globalization and particularly global trade and travel, what was a problem that was at one time far away from us could arrive at our shores very quickly,” he said.
Instead of reassuring anxious Canadians that our medicare system, the one he despises so much, will make sure that there is no Ebola epidemic here.
And of course failing to mention that if the world is failing Africa, it's largely due to the toxic effects of savage budget cuts.
According to many experts, the Ebola outbreak has been an entirely “avoidable” crisis that can be largely traced to the impact of budget cuts. It was made possible by a series of brutal reductions — supported by the world’s industrialized countries, including Canada — to the UN’s main health organization, effectively preventing it from responding to the outbreak earlier.
In addition, several countries (including Canada) cut budgets to national health institutes, which have delayed research for a vaccine.
Failing to mention that his ghastly Cons have led the whole world in slashing foreign aid.
This is, after all, the same Canadian government that, according to an international report released last week, made the biggest monetary cut to foreign aid of any country in 2013. This was in spite of the fact that global spending last year on international development reached a new high.
Or that his cuts to the budget of the Public Health Agency of Canada, have made our lives more DANGEROUS.
This agency has seen its budget allocation decrease from $677 million in 2010/11 to $579 million in 2013/14, a reduction of over 14% at a time when the burden of disease in Canada related to chronic disease, injuries, suicides and mental health is increasing.
PHAC’s budget for health promotion and DISEASE PREVENTION, public health infrastructure and HEALTH SECURITY(including surveillance and population health assessment, regulatory enforcement and EMERGENCY RESPONSE) has decreased by over $152 million, or 26%, between 2010/11 and 2013/14.
Given these massive cuts, will the federal government be able to fulfil its leadership role to protect and safeguard the health of Canadians when the next public health emergency occurs?
So we're definitely not SAFER with Harper as he would pretend...
For crass political purposes.
But of course beyond the self serving actions of that grubby little leader, this is just the latest failure of neoliberal ideology. And of a ghastly broken economic system that encourages selfishness instead of cooperation.
And whose cult members never stop trying to kill government. Or hack it down to the bloody bone as Harper and his Con gang are trying to do in Canada.
Even though when disaster and disease strike only good government can save us. And pretending that we are safe behind the walls of imaginary borders, is both criminally irresponsible, and totally insane.
But then Stephen Harper would cheerfully torch the planet just to make his beloved Alberta richer, considers ISIS a greater threat than climate change. And can't seem to understand that unless we do more to stamp out Ebola in Africa it will remain a threat FOREVER.
So what do we expect from a maniac like him?
And what can we do in a time like this one? When the world looks like a madhouse, you can smell the fear in the air, and hear the grunting of the Cons who would use it to enslave us.
Except take the first step towards that better, saner, more cooperative world. Demand that more be done to help Africa.
Remind Canadians that the Harperite cult DECIMATED the ranks of those charged with protecting us from a public health emergency. Over and over again all the way to the next election.
And work to make this country safer, by removing them and their depraved leader from office.
As safely as possible...
But as soon as possible.
Before they kill us ALL...
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