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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.”

  • 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.

  • The evidence is clear. Canada needs electoral reform

    The imperative of moving to proportional representation is neither a right-wing nor a left-wing point of view. It’s simply democratic common sense. And recent Canadian election results underline the urgency of getting a move-on… In a proportional system, every vote will be taken into account equally… Three of the past five federal elections have produced minority governments. With a first-past-the-post electoral system, this can be a recipe for increasing instability… such a system exaggerates the effects of even tiny swings in voting

  • 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.

  • Social murder and the Doug Ford government

    In 1845, Friedrich Engels described the phenomena by which working-class residents in Manchester died prematurely because of their living and working conditions. He did not simply label the occurrence as we usually do today: “Premature deaths due to unfortunate circumstances,” but rather coined the term “social murder” to make explicit the source of these premature deaths. This extensive quote from his Condition of the Working Class in England begs careful attention in relation to the austerity agenda of Premier Doug Ford.

  • 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.

  • The truth behind wait times and private health care

    We have emergent issues to address in our health care system, but most come from its two-tiered part, not its universal part. Thirty per cent of our system is private… Our health outcomes are impaired by the lack of non-physician public health care: lack of dental care that drives people to the ED for tooth pain, lack of physiotherapy that results in a reliance on opiates for back pain rather than desperately needed manual therapy, and a lack of pharmacare that ends in 1-in-10 Canadians being unable to fill their prescriptions.

  • Resources don’t match need for surgery

    We have just eight full-time neurosurgeons and four orthopedists serving the regional referral population of 2.4 million. Everybody has an elective wait list one to two years long. It is months before we can look after acutely disabled people. None of us in this province operates as much as we could under the resource restrictions of a system that has failed to match the simple growth of the population for decades, never mind the growth of technology and care options.

  • 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.