In new minority reality, unprecedented opportunities await Canada’s Senate

Friday, November 15th, 2019

In the past, tough topics around health care, mental-health challenges, legalization of cannabis, rural and urban poverty, constitutional reform, official-languages policy and the structure of foreign aid have been thoroughly, openly and constructively addressed by Senate committees… Every region of Canada is represented in the Senate, and its demographic and skills mix is representative of Canada as a whole.

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Posted in Governance Debates | 1 Comment »

Where is the ‘how’ in all of the federal election policy promises?

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

No voter expects every detail regarding the implementation of a new proposal to anticipate every twist and turn of how events might unfold… But… the judgment, balance, capacity and relevant experience of those seeking to hold the highest elected office in the country are defogged when there is more robust disclosure on how they intend to put into effect the promises they have been selling.

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The Senate should do its job – and respect Canadian voters

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

Killing a government bill that was part of an election platform that elected a majority government, and which was passed in the House with multiparty support, is simply not in the Senate’s job description – not as long as Canada is a parliamentary democracy, premised on the British model, as specified in our very Constitution.

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Governments can’t ignore income security forever

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Jun 10, 2012.
Except for Newfoundland and Labrador, all provinces pay welfare rates well beneath the poverty line, helping to feed the costly pathologies of poverty that fill our hospitals, our homeless shelters, our prisons and the tragedies of family violence and substance abuse. A frank discussion about income security, poverty and the kind of income floor that could obviate other programs that are unbalanced, expensive to operate, wasteful and disconnected from reality, is long overdue.

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Posted in Social Security Policy Context | 1 Comment »

Ottawa and provinces should be thinking big

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Dec. 14, 2011
… social determinants of health, predictors of the outcomes around illness and the related stresses, help fill our hospitals and increase the strains on health care. A majority of those who live beneath the poverty line do have jobs, often more than one, but still do not earn enough to make ends meet. If our health-care system is to be one where flexibility, access, appropriate care and financial sustainability are real assets in the service of Canadians, it is vital that any new formula for health-care financing take the social determinants of health into account.

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Posted in Health Policy Context | No Comments »

Tough on poverty, tough on crime

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Feb 20 2011
Debates about whether approaches to crime and corrections in Canada are too soft or too tough are ongoing and endemic… the real issue is why prisons disproportionately house our most vulnerable citizens… Less than 10 per cent of Canadians live beneath the poverty line but almost 100 per cent of our prison inmates come from that 10 per cent. There is no political ideology, on the right or left, that would make the case that people living in poverty belong in jail… If crime abatement is the goal, it is time for all Canadians and their governments to become tough on poverty.

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Posted in Child & Family Debates | No Comments »

Let’s refocus on a guaranteed annual income

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Jan. 20, 2011
Mr. Croll’s description of the situation Canada faced in the 1970s still echoes: “If the social welfare business of Canada had been in the private sector, it would have long ago been declared bankrupt. The reasons are not hard to find. Resistance to change, a stubborn refusal to modernize its thinking, a failure to understand the root causes of poverty, inadequate research and the bureaucracy digging in to preserve itself and the status quo, are some of the basic causes of the dilemma in which we find ourselves today.”

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Posted in Social Security Debates, Social Security History | 2 Comments »

If we let partisanship steer us, we’re in for a train wreck

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

August 12, 2010
On the issues that matter, innovation, not partisanship, will underline opportunities for progress. Right-wing think tanks will argue for less government, lower taxes and reduced regulation; left-wing competitors will argue for the opposite. The problem with this particular mix of perspectives is that it tends to paralyze, rather than energize, prospects for innovation… Recent bipartisan Senate reports on rural and urban poverty have called on governments for new thinking based on a basic income floor that obviates welfare and provides a measure of economic-base security that diminishes both poverty and its more expensive burdens on the rest of society.

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In From the Margins: A Call to Action on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

December 8, 2009
“As our research evolved, so too did our frustration and concern as we repeatedly heard accounts of policies and programs only making living in poverty more manageable – which essentially entraps people.” (Sen. Art Eggleton)
“The Committee’s recommendations demonstrate the crucial difference between spending, and spending wisely. By breaking the cycle of poverty once and for all, we will be investing in human empowerment – which will drive the health and prosperity of our cities and yield benefits for all of us.” (Sen. Hugh Segal)

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Posted in Social Security Policy Context | No Comments »