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Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy: Canada’s prosperity should mean “a level of decency” for people’s lives

Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy: Canada’s prosperity should mean “a level of decency” for people’s lives

in Around Town/Poverty Reduction/The Arts by

The co-front man for one of Canada’s greatest bands, Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo, says people are born into economic and social circumstances that either shows a wide horizon before them, or a small horizon – and when it’s small, it’s “suffocating.”

The singer was speaking to The Lindsay Advocate from St. John, New Brunswick, while on tour with the Jim Cuddy band to promote his recent solo album. Blue Rodeo will be performing in Lindsay on March 22 at the Academy Theatre in support of Women’s Resources.

In a wide-ranging discussion of social issues, he says he doesn’t buy the stereotype about low income people being lazy.

“People who are lower income often don’t know doctors and lawyers and other people who could make a difference in their lives. It’s so much about being able to look out your window and see the different possibilities…and when you lack that, it’s suffocating,” Cuddy says.

Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy: Canada’s prosperity should mean “a level of decency” for people’s lives
Jim Cuddy.

He recalls when he first started out in the service industry as a waiter, he couldn’t make a decent living.

“Luckily I just met the right people,” to get into the music business and do something different, he says, noting he has family members who come from a wide variety of economic circumstances.

When it comes to basic income and the Ontario pilots being tested in Thunder Bay area, Hamilton/Brant County, and Lindsay, Cuddy says he doesn’t know a lot about the program in detail, but he does believe in sharing the national wealth better.

“I think generally, that prosperity should be shared with those who are in need,” he says, in a country as wealthy as Canada.

“It just makes sense to me,” he says, noting that if basic income brings someone from about $720 a month to about $1,400 per month, “that money is 100 per cent recycled into the local economy.”

“I can’t see how that’s not a good idea. It’s a sane and humane idea, to bring a level of decency into their lives that can only have a positive effect,” Cuddy says.

The Canadian Music Hall of Fame band singer says their concert at Women’s Resources is “important” and “there’s a lot of need out there.”

“We’ve always been associated with women’s shelters in Toronto,” so this Lindsay concert made sense for the band, he says.

The Advocate pointed out that Blue Rodeo has a long tradition of speaking up for social or political causes. Stealin’ All My Dreams excoriated the previous federal Conservative government for a long list of things, much of it connected to environmental and indigenous issues.

Fools Like You, on the Lost Together album, took former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to task for his Meech Lake Accord that didn’t include indigenous input.

When asked how this federal government is doing overall, and in particular for indigenous people, Cuddy says he likes what he sees for the most part.

“I think this government is doing pretty well,” although he says he is “very confused with some of their economic policies.”

“Some of it I don’t agree with, like what they’re trying to do to small businesses,” with Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s small business tax changes.

But Cuddy says he thinks the “sense of urgency” this government is operating under to deal with indigenous issues gives him hope.

He believes the work of the late Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip has helped galvanize the issues, too, and brought more awareness to the Truth and Reconciliation report.

“I think some serious bridges are being built between indigenous Canada and the rest of Canada. It seems to me the prime minister is actually committed to doing something. I’m a believer in this government.”

Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy: Canada’s prosperity should mean “a level of decency” for people’s livesConstellation

Touring now to support Constellation, a solo album, Cuddy says he didn’t have a theme in mind when he wrote it, “but one did emerge.”

“And the theme that emerged is that because of my age, I’ve experienced a lot now. The loss of relationships and people, and some of the constancies in my life like love and friendships,” he says.

He says there isn’t “a lot of memory songs” on the album.

“This was more a reflection of a present state of mind.”

Cuddy says he has been given the winter and spring to do his own record.

He adds that Blue Rodeo is definitely going to “slow down” in the coming years.

“We’ll play the summer for sure, but we’re not going at this at breakneck pace anymore.”

Their last album as a band was 2016’s 1,000 Arms.

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Roderick Benns is the publisher of The Lindsay Advocate. He is the author of 'Basic Income: How a Canadian Movement Could Change the World,' and is also Vice Chair of the Ontario Basic Income Network. An award-winning author and journalist who grew up in Lindsay, Roderick has interviewed former Prime Ministers of Canada, Senators, and Mayors across Canada. He also wrote and published a series of books for youth about Canada's Prime Ministers as teens.

1 Comment

  1. The world the baby boomer generation’s grandparents knew as children has been obliterated by a century of recurring monstrous wars, concurrent with exponentially increasing revolutionary scientific and technological discoveries and inventions, and massive economic, social, political, and legal changes which for many signify development. These changes have occurred in a stark and pervasive moral and ethical vacuum, in the context of unconscionable, unsustainable, and monotonically increasing welfare disparities between the rich and the poor. The world as we know it now is at the historical fork between the threshold of recovery and the brink of a new conflagration, indeed at a very promising and very threatening tipping point, and begging for drastic global financial, economic, and social redress, which only the most comprehensive multilateral and national governance reforms that would redefine the social contracts in the East and the West, the North and the South, and between them, could satisfy. Some of the more evident issues in need of holistic attention are addressed herein.

    https://www.academia.edu/23094646/OFA_-_At_the_Brink_of_Recovery_or_Conflagration_The_World_at_a_Tipping_Point_2011111506

    At the crux of world peace, and planetary rescue, would be tax reform, via Sole Consumption Tax (SCT), that would enable eradication of absolute extreme poverty and relative extreme poverty, through regular income redistribution ensuring the attainment of autonomous survival with increasing welfare potential for the poorest, that would irreversibly approach that of the richest, voluntary population stabilization, voluntary production and consumption stabilization, and carbon emissions stabilization.

    https://www.academia.edu/13062837/La_Reforma_Tributaria_del_Siglo_XXI_The_XXI_Century_Tax_Reform_-_2011100411

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