Murray Dobbin

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Murray Dobbin has been a journalist, broadcaster, author and social activist for 40 years. A past board member with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, he has written five studies for the centre including examinations of charter schools, and "Ten Tax Myths." Murray has been a columnist for the Financial Post and Winnipeg Free Press and contributes guest editorials to other Canadian dailies. He writes a regular "State of the Nation" column for the online journal The Tyee which is published simultaneously on rabble.ca. Murray has written five books, including critical profiles of Preston Manning, Kim Campbell and Paul Martin. His "The Myth of the Good Corporate Citizen" has been described as a citizens' guide to globalization. He has also prepared radio documentaries for the CBC Radio's Ideas series on subjects including taxes, human rights and the right-wing transformation of New Zealand. A long-time social activist Murray has been involved in many movements from the anti-nuclear movement, to the fight against so-called free trade and public-private partnerships. He is a Senior Advisor to the Rideau Institute on International Affairs and is on the board of Canadians for Tax fairness.
Columnists

Can the courts liberate the Bank of Canada?

Photo: Mikey G Ottawa/flickr

Once a nation parts with the control of its currency and credit, it matters not who makes the nation's laws. Usury, once in control, will wreck any nation.

-- William Lyon Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, 1935

You know the old aphorism, "If a tree falls in the forest…?" Well, how about this one: if citizens win a significant victory in court against an autocratic government involving the fleecing of Canadians of billions of their hard-earned tax dollars and no one in the media actually covers it, did it really happen?

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For corporations, it's never enough: How corporatism threatens Canadian workers

Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout/flickr

A news story this week blandly described the perverse reality that is the current state of the Canadian economy. The headline read "Corporate profit margins at 27-year high and likely to stay there." Pretty heady stuff if you took it out of context. But the context is everything: pathetic growth projections, record high personal debt, stagnating wages, hundreds of billions in idle corporate cash, a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure deficit, a growing real estate bubble and a Bank of Canada chief who has no idea how to fix things. And, of course, a prime minister who thinks fixing things is heretical.

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Civic literacy and the assault on Canadian democracy

Photo: teachandlearn/flickr

The Harper government's pursuit of its odious Secret Police Act (C-51) is just another chapter in the most through-going and massive social engineering project in the history of the country. Social engineering used to be one of the favourite phrases of the right in its attack on social programs -- accusing both liberal-minded politicians and meddling bureaucrats with manufacturing the welfare state. They conveniently ignored the fact that there was huge popular demand and support for activist government.

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Faith-based policy and the West's dangerous game with Russia

Photo: pmwebphotos/flickr

What are the consequences when elected governments make policy based on faith and imperial hubris instead of science and expertise? It's a question that is forcing itself on the world as we watch the U.S., Britain, NATO and the Harper government continue to up the ante in the confrontation with Russia over Ukraine. There are real enough geopolitical dangers in the world without actually creating them out of arrogance and ignorance but that is where we are right now, and the consequences could be catastrophic.

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Off with their heads! Exposing the new feudalism

Image: Jixuan Zhou/flickr

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Editor's note: This piece contains explicit descriptions which may be upsetting for some readers.

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Which will the NDP put first: Party or country?

Photo: CC by Spatial Mongrel

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Anyone who really wants to get the country back from the grim reaper now in charge of Canada -- and who knows our political history -- would look to the NDP as their best hope. They are the only party that is not completely in the pocket of big business and the political elite and that also has a chance of making a difference in Parliament. A lot of people want to believe the NDP can actually make a difference.

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Downsizing democracy: The end of the world as we know it?

Photo: Charlie Owen/flickr

If you are searching for significant anniversaries for 2015 one that you might find illuminating is the publication of a book published 40 years ago entitled The Crisis of Democracy. The title would seem fitting today but that's not the crisis its authors had in mind. It was commissioned by a new international boys' club of finance capitalists, CEOs, senior political figures (retired and active) and academics from Europe, North America and Japan.

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Canada's choice: Austerity or prosperity

Photo: Jamie McCaffrey/flickr

Imagine for a moment two societies living side by side. One has discovered and uses the wheel effectively -- a technology that makes life easier for workers and boosts the economy for everyone. Prosperity reigns. The society next door is well aware of the wheel and watches as its neighbours move inexorably ahead -- wealthier, more efficient, healthier and with more leisure time for cultural activities. But it is not those who do the work in this society who reject the wheel -- it is the governing elite, the priests, the official advisers and scribes who have incorporated a moral objection to the wheel into the state religion. Use of the wheel is thus proscribed by faith, not reason. All practical arguments in its favour are rendered useless.

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Who will save Canada's economy from Harper and the CEOs?

Photo: pmwebphotos/flickr

However you see it -- as separate from society or integral to it -- Canada's "economy" is increasingly at the mercy of a risk-averse, inept corporate elite addicted to government tax breaks, and an ideologically addled government which more than anything else is simply incompetent. It is a deadly combination -- a sort of dumb and dumber team slowly dragging us backwards at a time when the world is just hoping there won't be another economic collapse.

In this there is little that is really new. It just keeps getting worse, and seems that few in positions to challenge the situation or even expose it are willing to do so. It stems from both moral decay in academia, and political cowardice on the part of opposition parties afraid to seriously challenge the status quo.

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