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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

  • 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 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.

  • Ending the scourge of poverty

    The basic income pilot gained the attention of the international community and Canada because its aim was to eliminate poverty — the scourge of humanity for centuries. This hope was dashed, not because the project failed but because it was terminated before it finished. McLeod did not have hard facts to justify the cancellation; it was done on ideological grounds… the government simply dismissed further discussion by saying the project would “take away the incentive to work” and it did not fit with their vision of the future.

  • 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.

  • How poverty and precarious work killed a healthy Toronto man

    This man had been depending on odd jobs to meet his basic needs. His casual employers certainly didn’t offer sick days, and he simply couldn’t spare the money he’d lose by missing work to see a doctor. This man died from poverty. He died from precarious, unsafe work. He died from making just one of the many impossible choices that we saddle on people living in poverty: getting the health care that could have saved his life conflicted with a job that had so far allowed him to survive.

  • Ford’s move to flatline minimum wage is bad for workers, and Ontario

    The Ford government is ignoring numerous studies that demonstrate that providing workers with a decent wage puts more money into the economy, which in the long term benefits everyone. It also leads to higher morale among employees, lower turnover and higher productivity for employers. Nor does increasing the minimum wage necessarily lead to job losses, as some business organizations suggest.