When more than 1,000 people marched through the streets on Saturday for the Occupy Victoria movement, their malcontent might have been lost in the legion of messages their signs displayed.
Despite their apparent lack of solid cause for demonstration, the message is clear: People are unhappy as life becomes more difficult.
For years now, the gap between the rich and the poor has been widening in Canada – Statistics Canada has shown us the numbers. The middle class is being swallowed by layoffs, taxes and debt.
Though Stephen Harper assures Canadians things aren’t as bad here as in the U.S., try telling that to the masses who feel the pinch from every direction.
We have yet to hear politicians directly address the protesters and offer any sign of changes that might come down the pipe.
Policy-makers: Ignore at your own peril. The Occupy movement’s mess of unhappiness indeed has a clear message. People are tired of seeing the world’s richest one percent make strides as the other 99 per cent constantly cut back to get by.
We’ve seen what can happen when governments ignore a dissatisfied and frustrated populace. Look to the uprisings in Greece and the astounding Arab Spring movement. We do not suggest anything of a similar magnitude is imminent for Victoria – or Canada, for that matter. But with tents still pitched in Centennial Square, the Occupy demonstrators’ message is clearly not going away any time soon.
The signs in the Victoria crowd on Saturday read: “You can’t eat money;” “Eat the rich;” “Greed kills,” and sarcastically, “Never question authority. Everything will be OK.”
Government and business need to find a way to level the playing field when it comes to people’s standard of living.