The headline on the front page of today’s Moncton Times&Transcript about the province cutting teachers aptly illustrates Naomi Klein’s message last month at Mount Allison University.
“We are calling for a wave of new investment in the low-carbon workforce that is already out there,” the author and activist told her audience in a packed Convocation Hall.
Klein added that caregiving, teaching, social work, the arts and public interest media should be considered “green” jobs.
“Environmentalists don’t usually mention it, but teaching and caring for kids doesn’t burn much carbon, nor does caring for the sick. When we care for each other, we care for the planet,” she said.
“It makes no sense that these are the very sectors that are under relentless attacks by cost-cutting politicians.”
Klein was delivering a public lecture about her latest book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate in which she argues that relentless economic growth and consumption are responsible for global warming and the floods, fires, droughts and monster storms that come with it.
The Times&Transcript reports that the provincial government is planning to cut 50 teaching jobs in each of the next several years if student enrolments continue to decline. The newspaper adds that the Liberal government cut 259 teaching positions last year.
“In a time of unprecedented private wealth,” Klein said, “austerity is a manufactured crisis that is at war with life on Earth.”
Plenty of money
Klein argued that the money governments need to spend on green, caring jobs is already out there and politicians should take steps to get it on behalf of the public.
“We end fossil fuel subsidies,” she said, “we introduce financial transaction taxes, we increase royalties on fossil fuel extraction, we have higher income taxes on corporations and the wealthy and a progressive carbon tax and cuts to military spending,” she said to a round of sustained applause.
During an interview earlier this month, New Brunswick’s Green Party leader also suggested the province could raise more money if it wanted to.
“I don’t believe the corporate sector is paying their fair share,” David Coon told Warktimes.
He said corporate tax rates are lower here than in Nova Scotia and companies can reduce their taxes still further by taking advantage of loopholes and legal tax havens.
Coon added that the province also hands out subsidies to big companies of more than $100 million a year.
“Why are we spending that money given the deficits we have?” he asked.
To listen to Naomi Klein discussing her book on the New Books Network click here.