• How to put Indigenous children first

    Step one: Establish the office of a Children’s Ombudsperson that is independent of government with order making powers to initiate investigations and ensure government departments are in compliance with their obligations to ensure full access of services… Canada will never be the nation it was meant to be until we understand that the greatest wealth in our nation is not the gold, the oil or the diamonds — it is the potential of children.

  • Welcome to the new and improved Senate

    They sit as independents, and act like it. They and other like-minded senators have improved more than one piece of legislation by sending it back to the House with recommended revisions. Sometimes the House has accepted their recommendations, sometimes it hasn’t. In all cases, the Senate has deferred to the final will of the Commons, as it did, ultimately, with the budget… We should think of this new, improved Senate as a jury, another institution of our democracy…

  • Justin Trudeau goes halfway on access to information

    The new legislation, the first major update to the act since it was passed more than 30 years ago, does offer a number of welcome and significant improvements to the current system… What the legislation doesn’t do, however, is extend the disclosure rules to PMO or cabinet documents… Instead, the Liberals have tried to placate the public and transparency advocates by including a measure that would force ministerial offices to “proactively disclose” certain information.

  • With new solitary rules, Canada gets smarter on crime

    Prison is a paradox. In a civilized society, the goal of putting people behind bars is to prepare them to be released, and to equip them to live successfully on the outside. That’s what Canada’s federal prison system says its about, and it should go doubly for the provincial prison systems… most people behind bars in Canada are getting out – soon… The use of solitary confinement for anything other than short periods of time doesn’t further that objective. Even relatively short spells in isolation can harm mental health.

  • Senate report offers valuable roadmap to tackling court delays

    “Delaying Justice is Denying Justice” makes 50 recommendations for how to address the crisis… governments would be better served tackling the roots of the crisis… introducing technologies “that facilitate cooperation, permit increased information sharing and improve efficiency.”… that judges be given better training on case management… [and that] incarceration should be a last resort and that less punitive and costly alternatives should be given priority.

  • Today, trans Canadians celebrate Bill C-16. Tomorrow, the work begins for us all

    … trans and gender non-binary Canadians are now recognized as formally equal citizens. But the work of real equality has only just begun… As the history of movements for racial justice and women’s rights has shown, anti-discrimination laws are limited in their ability to tackle structural inequalities. And the structural inequalities that trans and gender non-binary individuals face are monumental.

  • Health care: What should we be paying for?

    … the evidence has found that allowing private payment does indeed make the publicly available care worse. More promising approaches to improving wait times include both making sure the necessary resources are in place, and learning from engineers and improving queue management, including encouraging single points of entry… if we are going to invest more money, place it where we can improve peoples’ health

  • Liberal child-care plan smacks of ticking boxes as opposed to meaningful reform

    … Ottawa currently spends $23 billion on family support through the Canada Child Benefit; a further $1.4 billion through the Canada Social Transfer to provinces and territories; and $1.1 billion through the Child Care Expense Deduction. Add the $500 million a year for the child care deal and you hit $26 billion… since we’re already spending far more than at any time in Canadian history, why the need to spend even more in an area of provincial jurisdiction?

  • Ontario’s imperfect move in the right direction on child care

    … a TD Bank study found that for every $1 invested, provincial and federal governments receive $1.50 in increased tax revenues. It’s discouraging, then, that the provincial government did not set out new affordable fees for subsidized child care in this week’s framework… studies of the Quebec model have shown it pays for itself with economic benefits. In fact, 40 per cent of the cost is recovered in income and payroll taxes alone… the lack of immediate fee relief for parents is a disappointing shortcoming

  • Liberals’ reverse discrimination comes at a cost

    The government’s emphasis on equity and diversity is central to its branding. Its 50-50 cabinet has won universal praise. But now it has embarked on a campaign of reverse discrimination that deeply undermines the concepts of fairness and excellence… The new quotas for Canada Research Chairs are: 31 per cent women, 15 per cent visible minorities, 4 per cent disabled, 1 per cent aboriginal. And woe to you if you do not comply.