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In Harper’s Canada, will we give more of ourselves to get lower taxes?

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Oct. 29, 2011
Canadians will still enjoy universal public health care and near-universal public education. There will still be subsidized housing, welfare and unemployment insurance. The foundations of the social state will remain intact. But in an era where fiscally restrained governments confront rising need created by economic turmoil, the private sector must do more. And the private sector is each of us. Canadians don’t really give a lot to charity, compared to their U.S. counterparts… Tax cuts have consequences.

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Posted in Inclusion Policy Context | No Comments »

Harper quells unrest in Tory ranks to juggle seats in House

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Oct. 28, 2011
The bill, the Tories’ third attempt to re-jig the House, may have hit the sweet spot, with opposition parties offering grudging – and two provinces outright – support… At the Monday caucus meeting, Mr. Harper made his case: A version of the bill that died with the last Parliament would have left Quebec underrepresented. No province, he said, should be punished to improve the lot of others. The final bill, he added, was based on the latest population projections…

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We work hard, they enjoy life

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Aug. 20, 2011
The Americans don’t legislate vacation time, but Mercer notes that 15 days is what employers typically offer – putting the United States near the bottom. But not dead last. That honour belongs to Canada. Though each province is different, Ontario is typical, with a paltry 10 days of minimum vacation plus nine statutory holidays. Even the Chinese, with their legendary work ethic, give themselves two days more…. Crudely put: We work harder, they enjoy life more.

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Dropout chiefs imperil a generation of kids

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Aug. 17, 2011
Chiefs representing about 230 first nations in Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan have decided to boycott a three-person panel charged with finding fixes for the broken first nations education system. Native children will pay the price for this stiff-necked opposition, based on ancient animosities and petty political ambition. Right now, the federal government sends education grants to reserves, with chiefs using the money as they see fit. Some build and staff schools; some don’t. Only 40 per cent of on-reserve students graduate from high school, half the rate of the general population.

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Will Cautious Stephen Harper let Wild Steve run free?

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Aug. 06, 2011
EI has become a federal welfare program for people who live in areas with chronic high unemployment. Returning it to its original purpose of providing temporary help for people who suddenly find themselves unemployed would be one of Wild Steve’s top goals… Equalization would be another priority… The complex formula is clearly broken, since Ontario now collects more from it than any province other than Quebec… Then there’s health care… Wild Steve would rather cut 10 separate deals, freeing those provinces that want more leeway to experiment with parallel private care from the strictures of the Canada Health Act.

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Ottawa, native leaders commit to sweeping overhaul of reserve life

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Jun. 09, 2011
Ottawa and first nations leaders, who historically have been antagonists more often than partners, will create panels with three major mandates: to put sound education programs in place in native schools, to eliminate obstacles to creating jobs for on-reserve Indians, and to improve the governance of reserves. They will also continue negotiating land-claim and self-government agreements… The reforms will focus on status Indians living on reserve, as opposed to off-reserve and other aboriginal communities.

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Posted in Equality Debates | 1 Comment »

Has U.S.-style ‘voter suppression’ made it to Canada’s election?

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

April 10, 2011
The term refers to efforts by one political party, not to win votes, but to convince people not to vote at all… with negative advertising. The Conservatives might be calculating that, even if the coalition bogeyman doesn’t win voters over to their side, the prospect might discourage some Liberal supporters from voting at all–a second-best result… both the Liberals and the Conservatives may be hoping that, if they can mobilize their vote while discouraging voters who incline to their opponent, that’s not the worst thing in the world.

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Five reasons Ottawa is turning you off

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Mar. 26, 2011
Five reasons stand out for what’s wrong with Parliament, and why you should care about fixing it. 1. Ottawa’s irrelevant… But: Actually, the federal government does plenty, and could do more… 2. Ottawa is old, white and male… But: That can change… 3. Parliament ignores the big cities… But: The House can be fixed, and almost was… 4. Nothing gets done… But: It’s not as bad as it looks… 5. Hyperpartisanship turns people off… But: There are fixes… if you want change in Ottawa, there’s only one way to make it happen. Vote.

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Ottawa, chiefs agree to pursue wholesale reform of native education

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Dec. 09, 2010
The emerging consensus for reform involving both the federal and provincial governments and native chiefs “is quite extraordinary and unprecedented”… [Indian and Northern Affairs Minister] Duncan and National Chief Shawn Atleo jointly announced Thursday that an expert panel will have until the middle of next year to come up with a new plan for on-reserve education that is standards-based, accountable and both culturally and regionally appropriate… For the 113,000 children in native schools, so many of whom are at risk, they can’t come too soon.

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Federal parties agree to scrap bill to correct voting inequalities

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Dec. 02, 2010
In April, the Conservatives announced with great fanfare Bill C-12, which would add 30 seats to the House of Commons, taking it to 338 from 308, to address severe under-representation among Canada’s fastest-growing provinces… The need for the bill was manifest in Monday’s by-elections. In the exurban Toronto riding of Vaughan, 120,864 voters were entitled to cast ballots. But Winnipeg North has only 51,198 electors, making a vote in Greater Toronto worth less than half the value of a vote in Winnipeg.

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Posted in Governance Delivery System | No Comments »

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