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Governments paid billions to help develop COVID-19 vaccines — so why is Big Pharma charging us billions more for the vaccines we helped create?

Thursday, June 3rd, 2021

If we think of war profiteers as being lower than a snake’s belly, what are we to make of the drug industry’s pandemic profiteers? … Canada, like other government funders in this global crisis, is not expecting to recover its costs in funding COVID-related medicine…  governments that fund research that is used in lucrative commercial drug production must demand a return on their investment. 

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Canada needs the Connaught model of domestic vaccine production

Saturday, March 20th, 2021

A properly restored Canadian global powerhouse in vaccines would improve on the current world patchwork of players focused on discovery, clinical trials, safe packaging, mass production and a dozen other disciplines, layered over by conflicting priorities of national governments. That model conflicts with Ottawa’s current $1-billion national vaccine strategy.

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Trudeau’s using our moment of crisis to reinvent our economy. That’s exciting

Saturday, August 29th, 2020

The Liberals are not proposing radical change. Every advance they will propose is an expansion or acceleration of existing Canadian priorities and practices… The timing is right. Interest rates are at a historic low. The government’s cost of borrowing to pay for pandemic relief, a permanently stronger social safety net, and seed capital for tech-oriented startups with export potential is therefore manageable.

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Why for-profit nursing home operators will likely leave the sector of their own accord

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

Reinventing LTC means a restoration of the minimum staffing levels scrapped by the Mike Harris government in the 1990s. It means replacing or retrofitting nursing homes according to 21st century design standards. It means “in-sourcing” housekeeping, cooking and other services that have been outsourced to part-time and casual workers and contractors, the use of which impairs teamwork and continuity of care… What’s required is a multibillion-dollar megaproject.

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Close your eyes and imagine what a best-in-class LTC system looks like… then build it

Saturday, April 25th, 2020

It has fewer and larger LTC facilities. We have too many now… a proper ratio of personal support workers (PSWs) to residents, as with regulated daycare centres… Each resident of the new LTC system has his or her own room, with a personal washroom… PSWs are prohibited from working in multiple locations. That widespread practice, rooted in PSWs’ low pay, is believed to have caused much of the COVID-19 spread.

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Millions of Canadians are now collecting a state-funded income. But what happens after the pandemic ends?

Saturday, April 18th, 2020

The advent of UBI in its pure form is unlikely. It has its champions today as never before, but UBI is likely to fade as the pandemic does. To start, the federal finance ministry, no fan of UBI, prefers to create targeted rather than universal programs. And never mind the streamlined efficiency of universal programs like Medicare… the issue isn’t affordability. It’s culture. People either embrace or reject paying the freight for ensuring that everyone has a decent, dignified way of life.

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Why universal pharmacare will help get Canada’s drug costs under control — and why Big Pharma hates it

Saturday, June 22nd, 2019

It might be more accurate to say we can’t afford to go without it… The Hoskins report estimates an annual savings of about $5 billion in total drug spending once universal pharmacare is fully implemented… And it would strengthen employers’ ability to hire and properly compensate employees. Employer contributions to drug plans generally reduce worker pay.

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Premier needs primer in the value of universal basic income to the economy

Saturday, February 9th, 2019

It might be news to the premier that most poor people in Ontario have jobs — and quite a few put in longer hours than he does. UBI is not a novel concept. Thomas More championed it in Utopia(1516). Canada saw positive outcomes from a 1970s “mincome” experiment in Manitoba, but the project was of insufficient duration to be deemed conclusive.

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Don’t fear the education revolution

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

September 21, 2012
A return to three-year undergrads would move students more quickly to two-year masters and three-year PhD programs, or the workforce. It would free up teachers and class and lab space. It would reduce students’ tuition expenses… Online study doesn’t have to mean home study… The latter would be more enriched than before, since the fundamentals would have been imparted online.

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Why economically troubled nations should emulate Germany

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Apr 19 2012
German industry is no less productive and innovative than its top peers, including Korea, Japan and the U.S. Yet organized labour in Germany has long had a significant role in corporate governance, as members of corporate supervisory boards. And Germany has long required employers to provide mandatory five-week vacations to workers… Germany… has not attempted, simplistically and foolishly, to slash its way back to robust health. Indeed, that Germany remains in robust economic health is a vindication of the social-welfare state.

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