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Ottawa’s health plan: When money misses the point

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Dec. 22, 2011
The provinces and territories have five years to figure out how to make health care sustainable on their own terms… After that, the Harper Government will contribute less, tying federal contributions to the growth in the economy, with a floor of 3 per cent… By 2017, when the deal ends, the annual transfer will have grown to $36-billion… it pales in comparison with the more than $220-billion dedicated to tax cuts since 2006, or the 20-year, $490-billion commitment to refurbishing military hardware… The $26-billion over five years could buy important reforms if it’s harnessed to that purpose…

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Posted in Health Policy Context | No Comments »

6 per cent solution for better health care

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Dec 21 2011
Here are three ways to spend that $1.6 billion next year that could lever increased efficiency and equity. • Lower costs through economies of scale… (on) pharmaceuticals… bulk buying, and collectively save ourselves billions. • Bend the cost curve by improving health… Take oral health (where) evidence is showing the linkages between poor oral health and higher incidence of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, pneumonia and Alzheimer’s… • Allocate resources strategically. The biggest challenge to our system is the rise of chronic diseases. We really haven’t tackled the integration of care between our hospitals and our communities.

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Newfoundland has a lesson for Canada on globalization

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

May 20, 2011
Vale’s “home country” has few regulations, weak enforcement of those regulations and negligible labour rights. The concept of stakeholders does not exist in its strategic decision-making. What Vale chooses to do, Vale does… In contrast, Canada’s institutions, regulations and laws were built on an approach that seeks to balance rights and responsibilities, from the most powerful to the most vulnerable… The Vale example is a wake-up call: We can let globalization shape us, or we can shape globalization.

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Middle class in decline is the electoral elephant in the room

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

April 7, 2011
Fewer people in the public service means fewer people earning middle-class pay with decent benefits and pensions. Unless the private sector stops urging downward pressure on wages, benefits and pensions, this purchasing power will not be replaced. Fewer people working in the public service also means poorer public services, or less of them. Less income, less service — this is not a recipe for growing the middle class, or a solid platform for future economic growth.

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Posted in Debates | 2 Comments »

How to wipe out seniors’ poverty, no extra charge

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

April 2, 2011
In 2007, the Harper government introduced income splitting of pensions… About three quarters (74 per cent) went to households making more than $60,000… less than a quarter of all seniors’ households had incomes above $60,000… If we took that money and targeted it to Canada’s 634,000 poorest seniors, they would each get $1,450 more a year. Enough to make a huge difference in their daily lives. Enough to get rid of poverty.

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Posted in Child & Family Policy Context | 1 Comment »

Canada’s immigration policy: Who is on the guest list?

Monday, February 21st, 2011

February 18, 2011
In 2010, there were 283,096 temporary foreign workers in Canada, doing work that employers asserted there was no Canadian available to do… In 2000, 11 per cent of temporary foreign workers performed basic labour or unspecified skills; now 34 per cent of them do. They used to primarily fall into the categories of nannies and caregivers, or seasonal agricultural workers. Employers are now using the temporary work permit program to bring in workers for hotels, fast food outlets, janitorial services and factories — typical Canadian jobs, albeit low-paying.

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Posted in Debates | 1 Comment »

Five reasons to say no to more corporate tax cuts

Friday, January 28th, 2011

January 28, 2011
Here are five economic reasons not to keep reducing the federal corporate tax rate this year or next. – Least effective job creation measure… – Little Impact on investments… – Pay more tax to cut taxes… – False economies… (and) – The question of working capital… An across-the-board general corporate income tax rate cut rewards companies whether they create jobs or kill them. The primary sector of the Canadian economy is increasingly in the hands of off-shore investors, who take the profits and jobs elsewhere. That’s global capitalism, but we don’t need to reward it.

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Posted in Governance Debates | No Comments »

Is income inequality just business as usual?

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Dec. 20, 2010
There has been a sea of change in inequality in Canada over the course of the past 20 to 30 years. For most of the 20th century inequality in Canada – and in virtually all developed nations, actually – had been declining. By the 1980s that long term trend reversed. First because of recessions (where the bottom end of the spectrum lost ground) then because of rowth (when the top part of the income spectrum zoomed ahead). So for the past generation inequality has grown in Canada, in good times and bad.

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Posted in Equality Debates | No Comments »

Austerity Canadian-style, now in Britain? Pity

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

November 12, 2010
The British government is happily taking a page from the Canadian playbook of the mid-1990s, when our own age of austerity reshaped public policy and the role of the state. Massive federal budget cuts in 1995 devolved responsibility for a range of social programs to the provinces and territories who, in turn, pushed costs onto municipalities and hospitals, schools and universities, community organizations and households. One result of this cascade of downloading is that undergraduate university tuitions have more than doubled across Canada and tripled in Ontario since 1995.

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Posted in Education History | 2 Comments »

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