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    Stephen Harper comes across as banal in effort to claim mantle of populism

    … if the populist is famously “for the people,” it invites the question of who is against — the Them that is supposedly menacing Us. The populist is never short of Thems: elites, foreigners, racial minorities, “globalists” — or in Harper’s (borrowed) formulation, the cosmopolitan “Anywheres” who owe no allegiance to nation-states, move between homes in New York, London and Singapore, and hanker after a world without borders… whom Harper is convinced now control “all the main traditional political parties.”

  • Limits on income sprinkling cut into family businesses

    In the past, business owners would sprinkle income to family members in lower tax brackets through dividends as a way to lower the family’s overall tax bill. For many business owners, this was considered a perk for a spouse’s involvement in the daily operations, even if they weren’t a paid employee, or to help pay for a child’s education. The federal government cracked down on income splitting as part of a broader set of tax changes for private corporations.

  • Why a Canadian basic income is inevitable

    Ontario’s recently cancelled basic-income pilot project, which intended to provide benefits for adults according to the same model, enrolled more working people than people already receiving income assistance. The need for a steady income among middle-class Canadians is accelerating as the labour-market changes. Silicon Valley hyperbole imagines robots replacing human labour, and that has happened for many factory jobs, but a much more likely outcome is that automation will change the way work is done.

  • To avoid catastrophic climate change, we need carbon pricing

    The adoption of carbon pricing is accelerating, and there are more real-world examples that carbon pricing works with each passing year… The Nobel Prize and the IPCC report are just two more data points in a sea of evidence. Climate change is real, climate change is a problem and climate change deserves a serious policy response. There will be disagreements over how we move forward, but we need to tell the truth.

  • The dirty little secret anti-carbon tax folks would prefer you did not know

    You can try to cut emissions by other ways: regulations on business are a particular favourite. But those come with costs just as surely as a carbon tax does — every dollar of which would be passed on to the same “hard-working families” the critics pretend to care about. In fact, for virtually any alternative you can name (subsidies are even worse) the costs are higher — often much higher — per tonne of emissions reduced than for an equivalent carbon tax.

  • The future is populist in this age of disruption, Stephen Harper says in new book

    Present-day populism is not an all-or-nothing proposition. There are parts of it that reflect legitimate grievances with the elite consen­sus. There are others that should be opposed. What is happening requires understanding and adaptation, not dogma and condescension. Populists are not ignorant and misguided “deplorables.” They are our family, friends, and neigh­bours. The populists are, by definition, the people.

  • Ontarians did not sign up for deep cuts in services

    … According to that report [by financial consultants EY Canada and released last week] Ontario could “reconsider application of universality to all programs,” opting instead for “means-testing to selected programs.” … It provides no specifics. But just about the only two services the province provides to Ontarians without a fee, regardless of their income, are health care and public education.

  • Doug Ford turns Conservatives to the hard right

    Everyone on Ford’s team… agrees the size of government must be cut and front-line delivery of services is best left to private and non-profit sector… Ford is expected to make major changes in social support programs, and slash the senior bureaucratic ranks in the health and education ministries… Fire sales may be held for the LCBO, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and Ontario Power Generation. Also on the possible chopping block are eHealth and dozens of agencies, boards and commissions.

  • Higher minimum wage a boost for health

    Nearly two million people living in poverty in Ontario will suffer if the Doug Ford government follows through with plans to slam the brakes on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in January. A higher minimum wage enables more Ontarians to maintain their health rather than fall prey to illnesses such as malnutrition, diabetes and heart disease, which impose far greater costs in the long run.

  • Minimum wage hike a necessity and must be preserved

    Today, nearly two million people in Ontario will put in a hard day’s work for little money. Their paycheques won’t even cover the basic necessities, so they will likely have to deny themselves and their children of items such as healthy food, medicine, new shoes or books for school — things many of us take for granted.