• Ford majority exposes democratic crisis

    The Ontario election is yet another symptom of a democratic dilemma facing Canada. A minority of voters elect the government. The leaders then claim a mandate to make changes not widely supported by the majority. When voters are left to wonder whether their vote really matters, they lose confidence. When voters lose confidence, many just don’t show up at the polls… A ranked or preferential ballot might be the easiest way to address both the federal and provincial representative dilemma.

  • Should Canada have an inheritance tax?

    The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, in its report called “Born to Win,” says a Canadian inheritance tax “could go a long way to curbing the tendency of Canada’s tax system to heighten socially, politically and economically harmful levels of wealth concentration in Canada.” … the average net worth of Canada’s 87 wealthiest families rose by 37 per cent between 2012 and 2016 … while the net worth of middle class families increased by only 16 per cent… over the same period.

  • What’s good and what can be improved in the national poverty strategy

    … there is still a lot that can be improved in the new strategy. First, there is no new money for any existing or new policies included… Clearly more money around issues such as housing is desperately needed… we also need strategies for important sections of the population, including Indigenous peoples, that are made together with them as partners… We have to keep updating the LIM so we can compare ourselves to other countries…

  • Hugh Segal – The Case for a Universal Basic Income

    The top-up being tested in Ontario reminds me of what we did for our senior citizens in 1975 [with the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS)], reducing the level of poverty from 35 percent to 3 percent in three years… that is the challenge that we have to face. And the notion that we can’t afford it is like saying we’re not prepared to fight a disease which destroys the fiber of our society.

  • An Apology for Multiculturalism

    Not long ago we assumed globalization, with its intensity of interactions, would breed tolerance for others. Instead, we must fight for that ideal, even if flawed, now more than ever… We should fight for multiculturalism not because it’s easy but because it’s hard. Open societies are rare; they call to each other over the great nightmare of history, candles in windy darknesses. And yet openness to the other has always been an essential element of basic human decency.

  • Notes on a Butter Republic [Social Democracy]

    … a country can produce agricultural products, be “dependent” by most definitions, yet use that as the basis for permanent elevation into the first world. And in today’s world, Denmark manages to be very open to world trade, while having very low levels of inequality both before and after redistribution. Globalization need not be in conflict with social justice… Denmark, where tax receipts are 46 percent of GDP compared with 26 percent in the U.S., is arguably the most social-democratic country in the world.

  • Gun violence a ‘significant concern’ for Canadians and government must deal with it, Bill Blair says

    Bill Blair is acknowledging that the latest rash of shootings – most recently in Toronto – has touched off a sense of urgency among the public for the government to do more to keep deadly firearms out of the wrong hands… the prime minister has asked me to… look at every aspect in every ministry so that we address all of the issues related to gun violence and that will enable us to take effective action in addressing it”

  • Tories target the poor with bad welfare changes

    These are ideologically driven, deplorable reductions that will create more suffering for the poor, and surely lead to higher costs in the long run as the price of poverty inevitably falls to health care, shelter and justice systems… The savings from these changes are paltry compared to the billions in ongoing costs associated with poverty, and ultimately borne by taxpayers… None of this makes sense; at least not when judged from a good policy standpoint.

  • Can the federal public service fix its culture problem?

    the public service of Canada has a problem of truth-telling – or, as we say in the public sector, speaking truth to power. But it is not alone. In fact, every large, hierarchical organization, in the public or private sector, has the same problem of truth-telling. For obvious reasons. Managers are only human. And so they have an inevitable tendency to surround themselves with people who agree with them, support their ideas and directions and tell them what they want to hear.

  • What America forgets: Competition drives innovation

    Competition in an advanced economy leads to more science, more advanced engineering and better products… Raising tariffs simply encourages a more insular United States and reduces access to these improvements. Less competition in the technology realm means that it becomes easier to emphasize cheaper instead of better. Tariffs hold everyone back from advancements in technology.