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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.

  • 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.

  • How Canada became an international surrogacy destination

    Many people want to be parents and can’t do so without surrogacy, but they live in countries where surrogacy is either prohibited entirely, or prohibited for them… Canada is one of the few jurisdictions left in the world that both allows surrogacy and allows foreign participation in it… Canada… does not allow discrimination on the basis of marital status or sexual orientation… Canada is also fairly efficient about granting legal parental rights… A big question is whether Canadians need to think about recovering medical costs.

  • Why can’t liberalism be populist, too?

    Populism begins from popular suspicion of political, economic and other elites. At its best, however, and from its origins, liberalism too has cultivated such suspicion. The great early liberal thinkers – Spinoza, Locke, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, the authors of the Federalist Papers – mercilessly skewered the elites of their day, along with human pretensions generally… After all, Liberals, too, are supposed to be concerned with fair treatment for the little guy.

  • Under Doug Ford, Ontario is turning the clock back for labour

    … Ontario is enjoying the lowest unemployment rate in almost two decades at 5.4 per cent. And in Ontario’s hospitality industry, one of the sectors most affected by the minimum wage increase, predicted job losses turned into employment gains with more than 7,000 new positions created since January… Ontario also would be wise to ignore knee-jerk fear-mongering from the small-business lobby to throw out the Liberals’ well-researched new workplace legislation.

  • Trump, Canada and life after NAFTA

    … we need to increase our high-value added exports to global markets through support for innovation, as appears to be on the federal government’s agenda. We should also think about restrictions on the export of unprocessed resources to raise the job content of our exports. And we need to look at our capacity to increase Canada’s share of our own large domestic market by displacing manufactured imports in those sectors where we retain productive capacity.

  • Ontario shouldn’t open the door to ‘big-box’ child care

    … in a troubling regulation change last month, Premier Doug Ford’s government lifted the for-profit maximum thresholds, essentially opening the door to big-box corporate child care in Ontario. The government argues that lifting the cap will address shortages by allowing more daycares to open… The real concern was around international child-care chains. And that’s why the Ford government’s change is so troubling.