You can tell a lot about a newspaper in how they talk about certain things. Who they quote, how they frame stories, what they ignore. Sometimes this stuff is hidden; impossible to suss out unless you’re really paying attention.
Sometimes it whacks you in the face.
It’s the latter that I experienced at about 4:15 PM today.
Today is budget day. I find these things tiring unless I’m being paid to pay attention. Then, it’s exciting. But I haven’t been paid to pay attention to the federal budget for years, and so I find out about it the way most people do: from journalists.
(Till I get frustrated with their coverage and then read the document myself. As much as I can stand anyway).
Journalists would have been locked up with the budget all day. During that time, they pour through documents and can ask specific questions of ministry staff if they have any. When the budget is presented at 4:00, the lock-up ends and so too does the embargo. It’s game on for all that writing that journalists had been doing in lock-up. Articles start to move across the wire.
So to see this be what the folks at the Toronto Star thought was the most important budget news was a pretty big shock. Do they even know what a budget is for?
There it is, everyone. The federal budget “throws new money at inflation-weary Canadians.” It throws it, like you might throw in the towel, or throw a game of poker or how you might throw someone a life jacket or throw someone a bone. Maybe you throw out the peels from your onion or you throw on your cleanest clothes, you throw to the next presenter or throw up.
It’s hard to say which one of these kinds of throws the Toronto Star headliner meant when they wrote it. But it betrays something: they don’t actually know what the point of a federal government budget is.
At nearly $500 billion, this is the largest and most significant chunk of money that exists in Canada. And it’s diced up in a thousand different ways to throw money here and there. But throw isn’t the right word. This budget allocates it, earmarks it or maybe assigns, but it isn’t throwing money anywhere.
Unless, that is, we think that this spending is frivolous. The way my kid throws around the money he secretly steals from us on Pokemon cards.
And all this money they’re throwing? Well, that’s not exactly clear. There’s lots of new money for space and technology and the RCMP, and new money for health care (which, considering the age of our population, needs to be looked at through the lens of increasing need — I suspect that the $3.6B in new spending that CBC is reporting would evaporate pretty quickly.)
But the money that is being thrown in this headline — it’s being thrown to inflation-weary people. These poor people. And barely. It adds $5.5 billion per year in spending overall. Throws it.
The article that dons this headline is by Tonda Maccharles and doesn’t exactly explain why throwing money at people is always assumed to be bad. It doesn’t go back to the throwing metaphor at all. Instead, the article is laden with platitudes and numbers and enough words to fill the annual word quota on budget spending to never need to return to the budget’s promises as a whole again. Because none of this matters. Politicians know that we’ve collectively checked out and that their dutiful stenographers will treat their journalism similarly.
The best we can hope for is a series of tax credits that pose as being things. Actual programs rather than nothing. They are Something. Something real and tangible, like a plan or a policy or a vision of something real. There’s no hope of that. There’s nothing real here. Tax credits and tax relief will solve poverty, poor buccal health, climate change, student debt and will “lure ‘clean’ technology dollars to Canada.” Seriously. This is an actual thing that someone who is paid to do journalism wrote in a national newspaper. With billions of permutations available, these are the words that MacCharles chose to put together in this specific order. I’d write lmao but I’m not exactly elling.
Messing about with taxes will solve Chrystia Freeland’s obsession with saving the Liberal Order. It will give Jagmeet Singh his moment of glory and a clear mind and heart to continue to prop up the necropolitics of the Liberals. Pierre Poilievre will become Prime Minister because of tax credits, tax cuts, tax trimming tax solving tax eliminating tax fucking tax obliterating tax privatizing tax blowjobs tax tax tax.
That’s all we have. Death, taxes and smarm towards the working poor that says they wouldn’t know what to do with $100 if Atkinson Himself threw it at them.
What's the difference between Canada and casteist India, which pretends to be upset and dissatisfied having to even recognize the existence of the world's longest running genocide and those affected by it? What's the difference between Canada and China, a state that implements genocide outside of its borders in a supposedly "clean" Singapura (an island-state which has difficulty cleaning its own streets, dark-skinned Bangladeshi migrant labor does that, or construct its genocide wonderland, also dark-skinned migrant labor - both considered vocations beneath the majority racist, colorist, anti-Black Chinese) - a choreographed performance of democracy to appease whoever, with little to no actual depth to the population, and especially not the leadership by which means one might identify tactics and strategies attempting to undermine democratic institutions while all looks fairly normal and regular on the surface. For all the bullshit about unit tests, regression testing, load testing, etc. for software, democracy seems to be taken for granted as though it would be infallible and unimprovable because it was created by Only The Best Race Ever. This is a country which values ignorant, greedy, selfish, delusional people who can normalize any and all violence & suffering, e.g, Hindu/Brahmin Patriarchal Casteists. How could any non-violent, non-attached, peaceful student of Buddhadhamma compete, or even have their voice heard at all.
I attended the Enough Is Enough kickoff event on Saturday 25th March 2023 in Kitchener. While there were enthusiastic sounds generated by the audience, and one audience member who seemed to have serious questions/concerns to raise, the level of suffering which seems to have led to "enough is enough" is one which can be solved by 1130am (incidentally the duration for which the space had been rented). Is it really at "Enough Is Enough" when the leadership seems to know exactly what the problem is and how to solve it, like they had listened to every single one of the concerns, that there were no voices left out, and that everything that had to be engaged in could be wrapped up by 1130am on that blustery, windy, rainy, cold, damp Saturday? I took the 20 back home afterwards. The bus developed a coolant leak and sat still at Victoria & Fischer-Hallman for about half an hour while the handful of passengers waited for the next bus - surely a little more discussion could have been engaged in on that bus for the price of a bus ticket. Would that have sorted out the issues and problems? I don't think so, but it would have been a little more than what was little more than politicians and leadership pretending like they know all of everything that is going on in the regions under their responsibility.