rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

A long and merciless economic storm

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

With you, I stand on the cutting edge of 2009, bracing for a long and merciless economic storm - possibly unlike any my generation, and yours, has ever weathered.

Some insist Canada will be fine; that the world’s economic troubles will miraculously stop at the U.S. border. But reality keeps seeping in, and this forced optimism is starting to feel foolish.

Plant closures; rising bankruptcy rates; sagging housing and car sales.

We lost 100,000 jobs in November and December, which no one predicted.

A volatile stock market has left many aging Canadians' retirement hopes in question.

Formerly promiscuous banks are suddenly clamping down on the credit they're willing to extend – despite a bajillion dollar bailout from Canada's federal government.

Consumer confidence, that code word for you and I spending our money even in tough economic times, is drying up fast.

Homes and lifestyles built on a house of plastic cards are quickly melting into the global credit crunch.

Now is the time for acceptance, not denial. Canada, the world's eighth largest economy, is beginning to show the sighs and heaves of recession. We are not immune.

Yet our federal finance minister glibly promises more tax cuts in this month’s long awaited economic stimulus plan. It’s one thing to promise tax cuts during good times (more on that in future blogs). It’s quite another to pretend it’s a salve for families experiencing the economic burn of recession.

Canadian households have never been in deeper debt and they've never had so little savings. The rainy day is coming fast upon us. We are ill-prepared. And all eyes are on our government. Expectation is great. Will it rise to the occasion?


Part of a series on Canada’s changing economy.

 Trish Hennessy is director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' Inequality Project www.growinggap.ca.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.