Union disputes, mass internet outages, and the demise of the hard left
It has been a tough week for the hard left in Canada, and the lessons apply throughout the West.
Green parties are not going anywhere in the polls. The public has caught on to the toxic individuals that run the parties and the movement in general, and they are not buying in. Snake oil sales are down.
Nowhere was that more evident that in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan's election this past Monday. The resident Green Party received just 1.8% of the votes, its lowest share in nearly 15 years.
Perhaps even more telling was the repudiation of the far left New Democratic Party (NDP) in the province. It received only 30% of the popular vote, its worst showing since 1938. If anything, the laws of political science should have seen the NDP's vote share increase dramatically.
The province's economy has been slowing for a couple years, unemployment rates are rising rapidly, the government finances are in deficit, and the centrist governing Saskatchewan Party had held a majority government since 2007 -- meaning the electoral tree should have been with ripe with voter discontent and the inherent desire for change that comes after one party has been so dominant for nearly a decade.
But the voters are tired of the far left, and recognize the backwardness and support for incompetence that characterizes this portion of the spectrum. The Canadian federal NDP, the parent of its provincial offspring, is in a tailspin. Polls put it at 12% support nationally, or even less. As part of its countdown to electoral oblivion, the party president came out last week and said the NDP is "too white." Nothing like discrimination against whites to win hearts and minds of the dominantly white public.
Of course, the unions that support these parties are upset at their increasingly large failures at the ballot box.
The media reported that Saskatchewan's "Crown corporation" (read: effective government agency) telephone and internet provider SaskTel has "started conciliation talks in hopes of reaching a new contract" on Wednesday with Unifor -- one of Canada's largest, and nastiest, unions that represents SaskTel's employees. In a metaphysical coincidence, the entire province's SaskTel internet coverage collapsed the next day and the SaskTel representatives could only say that "the cause of the outage is still unknown."
Of course it is "unknown." Undoubtedly, something will be eventually blamed for the mass outage that comes within days after the union's political arm gets decimated in a landslide election and the union releases public statements that its members have given it "overwhelming support" to a strike mandate and that SaskTel management "has questioned our [Unifor's] position by continuing to table concessions and unacceptable wage increases... we're not willing to erode benefits in our collective agreement obtained through hard-fought battles going back to the 1940s."
Back to the 1940s the province went on late Thursday afternoon with the internet outage. Funny how that works. What comes around, goes around, and then some.
Almost as funny as the widespread hysteria spread by the radically activist Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) over the past couple years regarding the forced transition of many Canadian homes from door-to-door mail service into community mailboxes -- a process which leads to job losses for CUPW mail carriers. At the same time as the postal union was predicting the end of civilization from forcing people to walk down to the end of the street to collect their mail from a community mailbox, we started hearing reports of mass mail thefts from the CUPW-despised community mailboxes.
So then the union hysteria went from the great evil of forcing elderly people to walk a couple hundred feet down the road to get their mail -- inevitably both ways uphill in 40 below blizzarding weather with no shoes, much as the stories of their youth many of our grandparents used to tease us with -- up to the level of the community mailboxes being sitting ducks for easy mail theft (as opposed to the greater difficulty of someone just taking the mail out of your mailbox?).
Coincidences, they certainly come together at amazingly specific times when the far left is perturbed.
But an ever-shrinking portion of the public is getting fooled by this nonsense across the West.
Back to SaskTel. During the mass internet outage, whoever could get online via alternate providers may have gone to the government agency's (oops, make that "Crown corporation's") Twitter account for customer support to see what was happening. What a treat this Twitter feed is.
Keep in mind the following are some tweets sent by customer representatives from the major telephone and internet provider in a supposedly modern province of a leading G7 nation.
On April 8, 2015, SaskTel sends out a tweet to the entire Twitterverse that reads "Sorry, you'll need to try again to receive a response to your question. Can you rephrase your question in a more professional tone? @bildo85." Yes, attempted Twitter shaming is a real customer service winner. Perhaps try ignoring the perceived slight and respond anyway in a private manner?
Then on October 17, 2015, SaskTel sends out another tweet to the entire world that just reads "you inquired about, I can have this looked into for appropriate coaching. ^ML." Huh? This came after another non-addressed general tweet sent to the Twitterverse reading "I apologize if you were treated rudely as that is not how we normally do things. If you can DM the phone or account number ^ML."
If union members can't handle a basic Twitter account, can we really bank on them for affordable and reliable internet service? Or better yet, to run an entire government?
The answer is clear and lies in the polling data and electoral results. The far left wonders why the public is voting against them? Eventually even a dominantly liberal electorate tires of gross incompetence and waste. The public deserves better, and it is starting to demand better.
Canada is a microcosm of this festering regression. In 1980, the IMF placed Canada's per capita GDP on a purchasing power parity basis at just 7% behind that of the United States. As of 2016, Canada is now 20% behind the U.S. and the difference continues to grow.
When conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper entered office in 2006, the gap was 19%. When he left office in late 2015, the gap was still 19%. Even up against the worst performing U.S. president in the modern era, Canada failed to make any progress.
Depressing indeed, but it is no badge of honor for other countries in the West to wear. We are all going nowhere economically, just some more slowly than others. Looking for causes leads us back to the specific examples discussed above. It is not enough to get angry, voters need to ensure the right-of-center governments deliver the results we need to prosper again.