harper-pope_thumb-1.png
harper-pope_thumb-1.png This article is more than 7 years old

4 things Stephen Harper could learn from Pope Francis

Prime Minister Stephen Harper could learn a thing or two about morals from @Pontifex when they meet at the Vatican Thursday.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper could learn a thing or two about morals from @Pontifex when they meet at the Vatican Thursday.

Why’s that? Because Pope Francis has become a powerful voice exhorting the world to see social and economic issues as important moral issues.

And they’re also issues that Harper and his Conservative government don’t take seriously or refuse to act on. Here are four examples:

1. The root cause of evil is inequality

In a 2013 essay, Pope Francis elaborated:

“Today we have to say ‘Thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized.”

In Canada, inequality is even worse than many Canadians think. And the Harper government is championing policies that will exacerbate it.

2. Greed is not good

While Harper has long been a believer in “the power of free markets,” in a 2013 exhortation the Pope criticized “the new idolatry of money,” adding that this “culture of prosperity deadens us”:

“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.

Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us.”

3. Issues of labour and poverty are fundamentally about human dignity

 In the same essay, Pope Francis wrote:

Without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape…human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded.

Canada’s current unemployment rate is officially 6.8%, but the actual rate is 9.9% when you take into account involuntary part-time work. This is part of a trend showing precarious work is “the new norm” and job quality is down.

4. Climate change is a moral issue 

After extreme weather hit across the globe in 2012, Pope Francis was quick to draw a connection to human activity:

“The monopolising of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness.”

Harper’s record is best described an international laggard with a “virtually non-existent” climate change policy.

Just a few days ago, Harper teamed up with Japan to weaken a statement on the reduction of greenhouse gases at the G7 meeting in Germany, leaving the issue of climate change to his great-granddaughter in 85 years.

Our journalism is powered by readers like you.

We’re an award-winning non-profit news organization that covers topics like social and economic inequality, big business and labour, and right-wing extremism.

Help us build so we can bring to light stories that don’t get the attention they deserve from Canada’s big corporate media outlets.

 

Donate
PressProgress
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

A4C News

Pierre Poilievre Claims He’s a Friend of the ‘Working Class’. He’s Spent Years Attacking Canadian Workers.

Related Stories

News

Christian Nationalists Are Organizing Against LGBTQ Education Resources in Schools

View the post
News

5,000 Winnipeg City Workers Poised to Strike for the First Time in a Century

View the post
News

TELUS Wanted Workers to Stay Quiet About Off-Shoring Practice to Protect Its Image, Documents Show

View the post

Explainers

Human rights & inclusion

Amira Elghawaby

Here’s The Problem With Hoping Corporations Will Be Socially and Environmentally Responsible On Their Own

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

The battle of the PACs in Calgary’s municipal election

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

27 Different Candidates are Vying to be Calgary’s Mayor. Here Are the Biggest Issues at Stake.

View the post
Newspapers always have a business section – why not a labour section? We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get Canadian Labour News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers.
We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get Canadian Labour News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers