• Ford majority exposes democratic crisis

    The Ontario election is yet another symptom of a democratic dilemma facing Canada. A minority of voters elect the government. The leaders then claim a mandate to make changes not widely supported by the majority. When voters are left to wonder whether their vote really matters, they lose confidence. When voters lose confidence, many just don’t show up at the polls… A ranked or preferential ballot might be the easiest way to address both the federal and provincial representative dilemma.

  • Public and social services jobs: the economic lifeline in communities across Ontario

    To sum up: public and social service jobs are not only one in four jobs in the province, but also the jobs more likely, on average, to provide a middle-class lifestyle akin to what manufacturing jobs offered previous generations. They are Ontario’s last reservoir of middle-class jobs… And if individuals and families rely on public and social sector jobs to secure decent income, so do communities. Twenty-six percent is the average proportion of public and social sector jobs in Ontario.

  • Policing society’s poor is unjust and ineffective

    … fines do nothing to change the behaviour of those who are targeted. Though clearly ineffective and inefficient, ticketing of the poor by police in Toronto has grown… The city should decide that fines and scarce police resources will not be used to police the poor, except in circumstances where public safety is at risk. More effective alternatives are available… It’s time for a public conversation.

  • What’s good and what can be improved in the national poverty strategy

    … there is still a lot that can be improved in the new strategy. First, there is no new money for any existing or new policies included… Clearly more money around issues such as housing is desperately needed… we also need strategies for important sections of the population, including Indigenous peoples, that are made together with them as partners… We have to keep updating the LIM so we can compare ourselves to other countries…

  • Canada’s poverty strategy stitched together existing policies and called it a new plan

    The strategy basically pulls together all the government’s previously announced programs to reduce poverty. There are no new policies and no new funding commitments to improve or speed up current programs… There is a new $12 million investment over five years but that’s earmarked for gaps in poverty measurements.

  • Why Canadian medical students should be offered free tuition

    The move has three principal goals: Free future doctors of the crushing debt load many are saddled with; Give graduates the freedom to pursue lower-paying careers in family medicine and pediatrics rather than high-paying specialties such as cardiology (which some do to deal with debt); Attract the best and brightest students rather than just those who can afford medical school and, in the process, a student body that better reflects the society, in terms of race, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status.

  • Anti-poverty strategy will aim for 50 per cent cut in low-income rates: source

    The government wants to reduce the rate of poverty in Canada by 20 per cent from 2015 levels by the end of the current decade, which would require almost 850,000 fewer people living in poverty in 2020 compared to five years earlier… the target increases to 50 per cent by 2030 — a decline of 2.1 million people, including just over 534,000 children under age 18… Absent any new spending, the government is likely to promote efforts to better co-ordinate existing and promised federal programs, as well as better tracking of their impact.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.