Mourning loss of community to Maple Ridge’s economy

'Over the past 20 years we have accepted the dictum that we exist to serve the economy'

Editor, The News:

In Maple Ridge, there are many people working to foster community at the civic level and in many different volunteer groups.  It is an uphill struggle.

For the past 20 years, neo-Liberal governments have been obsessed with the individual, competition and the market.

Margaret Thatcher put it bluntly: “There is no such thing as society.  There are men and women, and there are families.”

And each is an economic unit, selling their labor and buying stuff. And that’s all there is – no cooperation, no sharing, no compassion.

Since the explosion of free trade deals, we have stopped talking about community and, perhaps, have forgotten how vital it is to human health. A recent poll done by the Vancouver Foundation points out the isolation felt by people in that city.

Over the past 20 years we have accepted the dictum that we exist to serve the economy.

As the Harper government pushed through its omnibus bill, C-38, we heard over and over again that it was in the interests of the economy.

Is this what we have been reduced to as individuals and as a nation – an economic system? The changes proposed for EI will negatively affect community as workers are expected to move, unknown, to where the jobs are.

Proposed changes to environmental laws take the power from the community and place it more and more in the hands of the government.

OAS revisions are done without consideration of the effects on real working people.

Studies of work-life balance have shown that although people are working harder and longer hours, incomes have remained pretty flat and most people struggle to have family life, let alone being involved in community.

Perhaps social media addresses some issues because many people have a community there. That can only go so far.

The Occupy movement and the Casseroles movement in Quebec may be the harbingers of a new way to being in community – one that gets us out on the street with our neighbours as together we create a new way of doing politics and reclaim the commons for the people.

Bob Goos

Maple Ridge

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