Europe is in crisis because it has been hijacked by neo-liberalism and finance. In the last 20 years -- with a persistent democratic deficit -- the meaning of the European Union has increasingly been reduced to a narrow view of a single market and single currency, leading to liberalizations and speculative bubbles, loss of rights and the explosion of inequalities.
This is not the Europe that was imagined decades ago as a space of economic and political integration free from war. This is not the Europe that was built through economic and social progress, the extension of democracy and welfare rights.
Stephen Harper does not seem to care how Canadian government policies compare to those of other countries (other than the U.S.), or want to know how other countries build (or not) their industries, and care for (or not) their citizens.
When Harper was in Davos, Switzerland, last week to address the World Economic Forum, he did not talk about the subject of the conference, The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models, or address concerns about regulation of international banking, or global trade and payments imbalances. Instead he presented his austerity plan for Canada.
Two recent stories out of Ottawa underline the ongoing political and economic assault on ordinary Canadians. More Canadians are now working for low wages than at any time in decades, continuing a trend that began in the early 1990s, and Stephen Harper has announced major changes to retirement benefits -- including delaying Old Age Security(OAS) eligibility to age 67. What kind of society beggars those of its citizens who worked all their lives and now want to retire in dignity while privileging the rich and super-rich by slashing their income taxes and allowing them to transfer their wealth to their children untouched?