• Time for a new perspective on money, inflation and class struggle

    … the middle class was largely built on the back of trade union power, working-class struggle and an inflationary increase in labour compensation… To some extent, then, inflation reflects the democratic ability of working people to assert themselves in their fight for higher wages and equitable living standards. Anti-inflationary monetary policy, by contrast, can be seen as the use of state power to suppress the wage demands of workers.

  • First Nations students need more than policy advice

    … the time for social reconstruction from the ground up may have arrived. Supporting traditional industries, creating sustainable employment, refurbishing housing, and embracing First Nations community-based schooling is a much better approach… More funding would be a real help, but it will take a generation to rebuild broken trust, foster cross-cultural reconciliation, and engage First Nations themselves in this vitally important work.

  • Don’t forget that women’s rights are a recent invention

    One hundred years ago, most women won the right to vote in Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan, thanks to Nellie McClung and her stalwarts… It wasn’t until 1960 that all Canadian women got the vote… Canada needs prominent feminists. But it wasn’t until Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chose a cabinet with gender parity that Canadians began discussing women’s rights with a kind of fervour. Feminism will not be achieved by women alone.

  • Ottawa discriminated against aboriginal children by underfunding services, tribunal to rule

    The government’s own documents say the underfunding for welfare on reserves runs between 22 and 34 per cent, compared with provincial rates. Putting an end to the disparity could cost hundreds of millions of dollars. But it would stop what the AFN and the Caring Society say has been decades of clear-cut discrimination on racial grounds that results in indigenous children being needlessly ripped from their homes.

  • Eight hundred years later, Magna Carta is worth celebrating

    The document – about 3,550 words in the original Latin – has had a tumultuous history… by 1300 had been translated into English and was widely known. In the centuries that followed, though, it was mostly ignored… It was only in the mid-17th century that Parliament seized on the charter in its struggle with the despotic Stuarts… The history of the Great Charter is tangled and messy. It began as an assertion of rights by a few hundred noblemen, and has become a world-wide symbol of freedom for all.

  • Alan Borovoy was a fighter for civil liberties to the end

    Borovoy was best-known as the outspoken general counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association for 41 years, until his retirement in 2009… He took his inspiration from the progressive movements of the 1930s and 1940s, which made him a civil libertarian and liberal of the old school. In the shadow of the Holocaust, he came to believe that “the best way to protect the Jewish people was to promote greater justice for all people.”

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    Barbara Turnbull set an inspiring example

    … after the 1983 convenience store shooting that left her paralyzed below the neck and confined to a wheelchair. Simply by living as she did, she set an example for people living with disabilities, and for everyone else… She lent her name, her story and her energy to raising money for research into spinal cord injuries. And she campaigned publicly, often in the face of misunderstanding and even hostility, in favour of equal access for all.

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    Inequality and Canadian politics

    Economic inequalities have grown over the last 10 years… Declining marginal tax rates have certainly had some role… but this is not the principal place where government has allowed inequality to increase. Instead, post-transfer inequality has increased principally because government is transferring less to poor citizens. The problem is then not too little government spending or even too little taxing, but the wrong spending.

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    Robert Reich and the fight against inequality

    … the three-decade span between the late 1940s and the late 1970s — was characterized by high rates of taxation on the wealthy; heavy government investment in the people; and the peak level of unionization in America’s private-sector workforce.
    In… Inequality for All , Reich offers a personal narrative of the causes and ills of income inequality. The film is a blueprint of the practical steps by which North America can correct the economically and socially debilitating tilt toward the wealthy.

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    Canadian pay inequality gap getting harder to close

    Canada lacks good, regular data, but the best available evidence… shows that wealth is not only distributed very unequally among individuals and families, but also that wealth inequality has been rising since the 1970s… Over the past decade or so, much of the broad middle class have seen their wealth boosted by rising housing prices, while the value of financial assets held mainly by the very affluent has fluctuated much more… their share is likely to rise even higher if the housing market begins to falter.