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After decades of delay, national child-care plan proves an ambitious social agenda is possible

Thursday, January 13th, 2022

… now that it’s clear a national child-care system is politically viable, it will be up to the Trudeau government to ensure that the one it’s started to build is strong — and public. The success of Scandinavian-style child care stems from the fact that it is a truly public system — like our school system — with no place for private profit-making, which leads to cutting corners on staff and resources.

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Posted in Child & Family Policy Context | No Comments »


Taming inflation can be worse than inflation

Friday, December 17th, 2021

While Canadian inflation is running at 4.7 per cent, Canadian wages are also rising. For some of the most disadvantaged workers (new hires), average wages are growing at the impressive rate of 10 per cent a year — putting them well ahead of inflation… And this booming labour market may get better yet, as contracts expire and new ones are negotiated at a time when workers are wielding more power than they have in decades.

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Trudeau should join Biden in rejecting suffocating ‘trickle-down’ economics

Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Trudeau has shown some spine against the deficit hawks, but he has been timid about joining Biden’s campaign to tax the wealthy… Too bad. We could sure use the money to pay for needed programs. Besides, when nations co-operate, corporations have a hard time playing us off against each other in pushing for ever-lower taxes… if other countries follow the U.S. in policing their corporations this way “it’s the end of tax havens.”

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If you don’t have $20 million, relax. A wealth tax won’t touch you

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

Canada’s wealthiest 87 families had wealth of $259 billion in 2016; our top 44 billionaires increased their wealth by more than $50 billion during the pandemic… 79 per cent of Canadians favour a wealth tax… In fact, a wealth tax would be the simplest, fairest and most effective way to collect billions of extra dollars of revenue a year, and to limit the power and political influence of the billionaire class… Here are some of the facile arguments being trotted out against a wealth tax.

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Throwing money at Big Pharma won’t guarantee vaccine supply

Thursday, April 8th, 2021

Now we’re poised to give Sanofi hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in the hope of ensuring a future vaccine supply… If we really want a biotech company we can rely on and that doesn’t hold a gun to our head, we should spend our money creating an enterprise that we actually own and control – a little secret learned by Cuba and, decades earlier, by the brilliant Canadians who created Connaught.

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Bare-knuckle capitalism has no place in nursing homes

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

Over the past decade, Chartwell has distributed $798 million to shareholders and paid its executives $47.3 million, including an annual salary of $229,500 for the former premier’s part-time chairmanship, which he still holds. Mike Harris’ involvement in the dubious rise of privatization — and financialization — in the long-term care industry makes it all the more outrageous that the Ford government recently awarded him the Order of Ontario, even as the pandemic continues…

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When Canada was a world leader in vaccine research and production

Thursday, December 3rd, 2020

… scientists are permitted to take out patents on the products they develop (with our money), and then sell them to pharmaceutical manufacturers, who sell the products to the public — often at great profit. Even though our public investment paid for the original research, Canadians have no say over the products nor the price at which they are sold to us as consumers. Canada also has no share in the profits. We’ve ventured a long way, unfortunately, from the days when we had a publicly owned and medically innovative enterprise that dazzled on the world stage and kept Canadians at the front of the line for vaccines.

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Long-term care fiasco a warning about private ownership

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

Over the past decade, Chartwell paid its executives $47.3 million and distributed $798 million to shareholders. Meanwhile, in the 28 nursing homes Chartwell owns or operates in Ontario, the COVID-19 infection rate has been 47 per cent higher and the fatality rate 68 per cent higher than the provincial average… Contrary to business mythology, the private sector doesn’t always do things better. Rather, it always does things to make a profit

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Posted in Child & Family Policy Context | No Comments »


Ottawa should produce vital products — like it did in the Second World War

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

… many companies have signalled a willingness to produce materials for the pandemic. But, without a powerful government agency overseeing production and distribution, we’ve been left scrambling to buy scarce equipment in a chaotic private marketplace, bidding against U.S. states and governments all over the world. If the Trudeau government seems unable to break out of its subservience to the marketplace, some in the labour movement are showing more vision.

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Posted in History | 1 Comment »


The public lab that could have helped fight COVID-19 pandemic

Thursday, March 12th, 2020

… our willingness to go along with the privatization cult in recent decades has left us weaker and less protected than we could be. Not only do we no longer have Connaught Labs, but Canada spends $1 billion a year funding basic medical research at Canadian universities, yet relies on the private marketplace to produce, control — and profit from — the resulting medical innovations… With a surge in future global pandemics expected, it might well be time to rethink Canada’s foolhardy attachment to the notion “the private sector always does things better.”

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