Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, delivered the following remarks this morning at the Seventh Annual Tommy Douglas Institute at George Brown College in Toronto. Her keynote speech explores the interconnections between poverty and populism and its implications for the environment.
It is a great pleasure and honour to be here with you today and to speak in the name of one of my all-time heroes. In reading your on-line description of the moment we are in, I became a bit overwhelmed at our collective task and, frankly, my ability to address it.
You described the “unprecedented display of wealth inequality” both globally and here in Canada; the historic numbers of people fleeing the ravages of war, extreme poverty and human rights violations; the rise of “strong men” bully-boy leaders (my term, not yours); the post-truth reality of fake news; the poisonous use of the internet by hate-filled trolls; and the rise of right-wing populism and its evil older sibling, white supremacy.