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The trouble with 'populist' billionaires is they serve the same old corporate interests

Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr

We toss around the word "billionaire" pretty freely these days, as if it's just another word for a rich guy.

And yet, try this little quiz: you are given a dollar every second, 24 hours a day. At that rate, it takes 12 days for you to become a millionaire. But how long does it take for you to become a billionaire?

Answer: 32 years.

Being a billionaire isn't just about being rich; it's about being mind-bogglingly rich -- rich beyond most people's comprehension.

And yet the mega-fortunes being amassed these days by the newly emergent class of billionaires -- and the enormous influence and control this gives them over our economy and politics -- barely registers as a political issue.

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Photo: Mark Round/flickr
| December 22, 2016
Columnists

Increased cuts push Canadian health care toward privatization

Photo: David Prasad/flickr

At Canada's Wonderland, you can buy your child a "Fast Lane Pass" so he or she can experience the thrill of pushing ahead of all the other children waiting to get on a ride.

It's excellent preparation for today's world of hyper-privilege -- where the rich get to buy their way to the front of just about every line.

We live in a society that's riddled with elitism and special privilege. One of the few holdouts is medicare, Canada's public health-care system, where a billionaire can't bypass a fast-food worker waiting for medical care. Access is determined by medical need, not wallet size.

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Columnists

'All for ourselves and nothing for other people': The takeover of economics by neoliberalism

Image: Adbusters/flickr

All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.

-- Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

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| December 15, 2016
Photo: Kurt Bauschardt/flickr
| December 7, 2016
Columnists

Failure of democracy has many root causes

Image: Prachatai/flickr

The failure of democracy? An academic study published last summer, which is rather suddenly being hailed in places like the New York Times, claims "an entire global generation has lost faith in democracy." Citizens "have grown jaded." This applies to youth especially, who call elections "unimportant" and say "a democratic political system" is a "bad" way to run things.

But is it really so? Young Americans who enthused over Bernie Sanders in the primaries, skipped the election because it wasn't democratic enough. People in Greece, Spain or Italy, left old parties and built new ones for similar reasons.

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Columnists

Cash for access to Justin Trudeau and Liberal cabinet ministers

PMO Photo by Adam Scotti

Looking for a job? The Liberal Party of Canada is hiring. You could be "co-ordinator riding fundraising support and victory fund" or "funding co-ordinator Laurier Club events."

The Laurier Club was set up in 1986. John Turner was Liberal leader. The party had been in power from 1963 until 1984. In that election the Mulroney Conservatives had reduced them to 43 seats.

Finding a way back to power included bringing together business and community leaders with senior MPs, providing lapel pins, and giving members access to "an established network of Laurier Club contacts," as the donation form puts it.

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Photo: Robert Fairchild/flickr
| November 17, 2016

The lessons the U.S. election can teach Canada's elites

Photo: Marco Verch/flickr
While clearly not as grim as the U.S., features in Canadian politics and society mimic those that led to the election result in the U.S.

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