• Social media is no more a nemesis to democracy than books

    … this method of communication makes it easier to create anti-democratic movements… editors of the Economist magazine drew up an even more severe charge sheet. Social media, they said, spreads untruth and outrage, creating a “politics of contempt” in the process… A historic pattern lies behind these troubled accusations. When a new form of communication is invented and becomes popular, it creates uneasiness… It may be used by people with dangerous ideas.

  • $14 minimum wage, free pharmacare for young people, other Ontario regulatory changes start Jan. 1

    Thousands of workers will also get an extra week of vacation, and sick notes for the boss are banned among a host of changes that take effect Jan. 1… New Year’s Day sees the minimum wage surge $2.40 an hour to $14 and a new pharmacare plan — the first of its kind in Canada — called OHIP+ covering 4 million children, teens and young adults under 25… Other changes coming January 1 include: a 22.5-per-cent cut in the corporate income tax rate, from 4.5 per cent to 3.5, for small businesses to offset the higher minimum wage

  • Hallway medicine is what ails Ontario’s hospital system

    Pent-up patient demand that took years to build up can’t be tamped down anytime soon, not after years of government restraint over health spending… hospital spending wasn’t cut — it continued to increase, but only by bending the curve to a lower, slower, more sustainable rate of growth… The problem is that longer-term care hasn’t grown fast enough in the short term, nor has home care or community care.

  • I’m begging you: Stop donating canned goods to food banks

    … if you feel your coworkers or students need something spherical and tactile in order to fire their benevolent instincts, then by all means hold a food drive, and remind people to stick to the always-needed staples like peanut butter and canned fish. But if you’re a pragmatist just looking to vanquish as much poverty as possible with your disposable income… key in your credit card number and enter the glorious world of anonymous, non-glamourous philanthropy.

  • Religion is still an instrument of colonialism

    Non-Indigenous religious groups understand how traumatizing it is when their places of worship are assaulted, when sites meant to be spaces of prayer and sanctuary are turned into spaces of violence and loss… that the ongoing desecration of sacred Indigenous sites fails to attract similar censure and solidarity is a sign of spiritual colonialism’s enduring power.

  • Why the history of poverty keeps repeating itself

    Allocating too much money for welfare risks antagonizing other voters who fret about waste or dependency. And who want their own needs and entitlements taken care of first — like hydro rate reductions, child-care subsidies, or middle class tax cuts… Logic (and humanity) demands a single, simple, basic income program that consolidates the tangle of existing rules into a more coherent and cost-effective form of social support, now being tested in a pilot program in parts of the province.

  • Paradise Papers tell a troubling story about money and power

    The Paradise Papers are doing nothing to soothe those who worry about the unseemly intertwining of money and power in politics or about the extent to which the economy is rigged by the few against the many. The government can do something about that. It can, for instance, close unfair and ineffective tax loopholes and collect what’s owed. Or it can sit back, defend the current arrangements and watch the cynicism grow.

  • Paradise Papers show Ottawa must crack down on offshore tax havens

    … these revelations promise to deepen the longstanding problems of distrust and cynicism that inhibit needed tax reform and corrode our democracy… more than 3,000 Canadians are among those who made use of byzantine tax-avoidance schemes chronicled in the leaked documents. Most of these schemes are ethically dubious, some possibly illegal, and many might have been avoided had the government listened to the experts.

  • Housing to Health helps clients turn place to live into a home

    Housing to Health (H2H), the first housing initiative in York Region that aims to secure housing for the chronically homeless… succeeded in housing 30 of its hardest to house community members… H2H focuses mainly on ensuring participants remain housed. “We try to wrap supports around the individual” … given that many participants have a history of trauma, addiction, and mental health struggles, “we try to help maintain a good relationship,”

  • Universities should not smother uncomfortable debates

    Universities, at their best, have always provided space for those who would challenge conventional wisdom. In this way, the academy has played a vital role in our social and cultural evolution… In these polarized times, this age-old struggle has become increasingly combative and dangerously divisive, with some on campus railing against political correctness to justify their hate and others imposing purity tests that chill rather than enable debate.