• Ottawa working hard on child care and early learning, minister says

    … last June’s agreement represented an important re-engagement by the federal government. It demonstrated that we understood the need for all Canadian families to have access to early learning and child care that is affordable, flexible and inclusive, as well as the important leadership role the federal government must play in helping Canadian children get the best possible start in life… the multilateral framework represents an aspirational goal, and is part of a long-term vision for early learning and child care that is coherent with universality.

  • Ford’s aim way off on gun crime strategy

    Consider our experience with mandatory minimum sentences. Gun sentences have tripled since significantly harsher mandatory minimums were introduced for gun crimes in 2008, yet these sentences have had no discernible impact on stemming gun violence… In addition, blanket opposition to bail is morally unfair and legally unconstitutional. It is antithetical to a justice system predicated on treating each distinctive case on its own merits and context.

  • 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”

  • Ford opposes handgun ban as he pledges funds to fight gun violence

    Ruling out new funding for community programs aimed at curbing violence, Mr. Ford said the province would send $18-million to Toronto police to buy new digital and investigative tools, while allocating $7.6-million to staff seven of Toronto’s courthouses with a legal team dedicated to denying bail to people accused of gun crimes… Mr. Ford said certain city councillors, “activists,” “so-called experts” and “special interests” had used shootings to demand spending on what the Premier called “layers of bureaucracy” and “handouts,” instead of on policing.

  • More police are not the solution to Toronto’s gun violence

    The answers from the communities affected are often to avoid cowboy policing, and to address the roots of gun violence. These answers are backed by plenty of studies showing that, for example, funding for local community services and neighbourhood partnerships goes a long way to disincentivizing crime. Reducing gun violence is only possible when the root factors of crime itself – broken neighbourhoods, inequality of opportunity, educational gaps and so on – are meaningfully addressed.

  • Ontario’s child care election promises win praise from B.C. finance minister

    The Wynne government’s recent $2.2 billion budget initiative is coupled with its 2016 commitment to create 100,000 new licensed spots for kids under age 4 within five years. Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath last week vowed to “do better” in her election platform… “When you look at demographics . . . when you have the Governor of the Bank of Canada speaking in favour of child care as a recruitment and retention issue, getting women back into the workforce is critical,”

  • Legal ‘reforms’ punish people Supreme Court sought to protect

    Bill C-75 misses the court’s point. That decision didn’t seek to cut down on trial delays in order to appease police, prosecutors, judges, and complainants. The point was to vindicate the Charter rights of defendants to a fair trial within a reasonable time. Yet parts of this new federal bill does the opposite. In too many ways, they’ve managed to set back due process rights of those presumed innocent until proven guilty.

  • Can Kathleen Wynne convince Ontarians government-funded daycare is about something bigger?

    Ms. Wynne will need to do something extremely difficult… persuade many Ontarians to look beyond narrow self-interest, and put their faith in her to elevate everyone by helping a relative few… they can present daycare as part of an ambitious effort to help Ontarians adapt to modern cost pressures… combined with the introduction of full-day kindergarten… elimination of tuition fees for lower-income students, they are establishing an affordable path from early childhood to adulthood.

  • Parliament needs to cut back Canada’s excessive minimum-sentencing laws

    Mandatory minimums elide much-needed context from individual sentencing decisions, constrain judicial independence and, as the courts have said, can amount to cruel and unusual punishment… Perhaps politics is involved in the government’s reluctance to keep its promise. No one wants to risk being seen as soft on crime. But it’s that sort of craven calculation that has brought us to this point. It’s time the government found the courage to prune Canada’s overgrown mandatory minimum sentences.

  • Employment and Pay (In)equality: The Big Childcare Issue Unaddressed in the Budget

    … a bigger bang for the buck could have been achieved by addressing the more significant problem head on: the childcare expense deduction, which is of limited benefit for so many families and mothers. Transforming the deduction into an income-tested refundable benefit, as we have suggested, would induce thousands of mothers to join the workforce, for a likely smaller cost than what’s proposed in this budget.