• An Apology for Multiculturalism

    Not long ago we assumed globalization, with its intensity of interactions, would breed tolerance for others. Instead, we must fight for that ideal, even if flawed, now more than ever… We should fight for multiculturalism not because it’s easy but because it’s hard. Open societies are rare; they call to each other over the great nightmare of history, candles in windy darknesses. And yet openness to the other has always been an essential element of basic human decency.

  • Ford’s government starts its misguided moves against safe injection sites

    Last year, nearly 4,000 Canadians died from opioid overdoses. And 1,100 of those deaths were in Ontario and over 300 of them in Toronto… Ford’s government hasn’t just stopped three urgently-needed facilities from opening, it seems all but ready to close existing sites and throw the province’s entire harm-reduction strategy out the window… Ford announced during the election campaign that he was “dead set” against the sites…

  • 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.

  • Ontario PC government orders freeze to opening of new overdose-prevention sites

    As the Ontario government reviews whether it should continue supporting supervised drug-use and overdose prevention sites, it has ordered a halt to the opening of any new temporary facilities to combat the opioid crisis… “The minister has been clear that she is undertaking an evidence-based review of the overdose prevention and supervised consumption site models to ensure that any continuation of these services introduce people into rehabilitation”

  • A buck-a-beer: the symbol of Ontario populism

    Populist politicians use sentimental yearnings for times past to strike a chord with people who are unsure about how to confront today’s intricate problems. Voters are discouraged by complexities and fearful about the future. The past seems like a safer place to be… Current models offer a more indirect and restrained form of governance, away from the bans and prohibitions of the past and toward more subtle incentives to encourage the right type of behaviour, from environmental compliance to health promotion.

  • Notes on a Butter Republic [Social Democracy]

    … a country can produce agricultural products, be “dependent” by most definitions, yet use that as the basis for permanent elevation into the first world. And in today’s world, Denmark manages to be very open to world trade, while having very low levels of inequality both before and after redistribution. Globalization need not be in conflict with social justice… Denmark, where tax receipts are 46 percent of GDP compared with 26 percent in the U.S., is arguably the most social-democratic country in the world.

  • What Are Capitalists Thinking?

    Back in the days when our economy just grew and grew, we had a government and a capitalist class that invested in our people and their future… And, funny thing, during all this time, socialism didn’t have much appeal. But ever since, the median income picture has been much spottier, hardly increasing at all in inflation-adjusted dollars over 18 long years. And those incomes at the top have shot to the heavens.

  • We can no longer afford to whitewash our history

    The headlines about the residential schools was the catalyst that made the government admit that the history we’ve been taught has been whitewashed. All Canadian children need to know that their culture has made contributions to Canadian society… Writing workshops were scheduled this summer to update the curriculum…. But one month after the Ontario election, just before the legislature resumed, these workshops, years in the making, were suddenly cancelled.

  • If Ontario won’t see sense, Ottawa should save the basic income pilot

    It’s possible that this project, costing $50 million a year, will actually save money by reducing health-care costs, enabling people to improve their education and ultimately get decent jobs, so they won’t need ongoing government support. But the fledgling Ford government has cancelled the program before we can find out. Promise broken… The Ford government itself barely seems to know why it decided to kill the pilot. In fact, the reasons given for the broken promise grow more absurd with every sitting of the legislature.

  • 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”