With the pandemic war still on, can we afford a postpandemic Throne Speech?

Thursday, September 10th, 2020

Team Trudeau’s original 2015 idea of using that extra borrowing to pay for a temporary surge in long-term investment fell by the wayside. There’s a strong hint it might be revived later this month. Would that make sense? The only fair answer is: It depends on what the money is being spent on… If it’s permanent, how will it be paid for?

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Posted in Governance Debates | No Comments »

Dare we broach the subject of higher taxes?

Thursday, July 30th, 2020

Current interest rates are so low that… with long-term bonds, debt-servicing costs will remain manageable for decades to come… When the economy is back on its feet, taxes are something Canadians are going to have to talk about. Canadians can have a future of stronger health care, better education, less poverty, less inequality and more opportunity. These are good things, but they’re not free. They’re going to have to be paid for.

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Austerity wasn’t the right path before the pandemic, and it can’t be the road chosen after it

Sunday, July 26th, 2020

The need to shrink government, and by implication social programs, will be pitched as inevitable math and unarguable morality… because Canadians think they have no other options, it will be a missed opportunity, and a great mistake… Canada needs more of some things that only government can do. And it needs these not to end the free market, but to bolster its best qualities by ameliorating its worst.

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Posted in Governance Policy Context | No Comments »

Ottawa should listen to police chiefs. Drug use is a health care problem, not a crime

Monday, July 13th, 2020

There is a cresting wave of support for decriminalization, and its benefits for society. 2011, the Global Commission on Drug Policy backed decriminalization… Canadian health officials have also long worked towards these changes… Decriminalization and a safe supply (prescribed by doctors, to address the deadly toxicity of street opioids) were also key recommendations last year from an all-party House of Commons health committee.

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Posted in Health Debates | No Comments »

Canada needs to start taking long-term care more seriously

Saturday, July 11th, 2020

There is a consensus developing among provincial politicians and advocates for senior citizens that only Ottawa can provide the funding needed to better train and better pay care workers… But if Ottawa is going to pony up, then it can and should set national standards.

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Posted in Inclusion Policy Context | No Comments »

Canada’s bail system is broken and unjust. The Supreme Court shows how to fix it

Friday, June 26th, 2020

The Court says the default position should be to automatically grant bail with no conditions, other than that the person attend their next court date. Other conditions should only be imposed to the degree they address three questions: “Is this person a flight risk; will their release pose a risk to public protection and safety; or is their release likely to result in a public loss of confidence in the administration of justice?”

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Posted in Child & Family Delivery System | No Comments »

Why the CERB had to be extended – and why it has to be fixed

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

… incentives matter. If someone can receive as much money for working as not working, that’s an incentive to not work. The CERB payment is $500 a week; assuming a 35-hour week, that’s more than the minimum wage in eight provinces… If someone declines work under those conditions, it isn’t because they’re lazy or irresponsible. It just shows that they’ve got a grasp on their own financial arithmetic.

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Posted in Social Security Policy Context | No Comments »

Let’s face it, Canada: Even drinking in moderation can be dangerous

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

Alcohol is a health disaster in Canada… In 2017, alcohol put as many people in hospital as heart attacks did, and 13 times as many people as opioids did. And we haven’t even touched on social ills such as drunk driving, domestic violence and absenteeism in the workplace… At the same time, Canadians are getting mixed signals on booze: from health experts, from their governments and from society.

Posted in Health Policy Context | No Comments »

It’s time to expand Canadian medicare, and make it truly universal

Saturday, June 6th, 2020

Canadians have cradle-to-grave insurance for services from a doctor or hospital. But dentistry? Drugs? No. Denticare and pharmacare aren’t part of medicare… Getting to truly universal health insurance, covering all required health services, doesn’t necessarily mean doing it on medicare’s government-runs-it-all model. A number of countries with more extensive and successful health systems rely on a regulated private sector to ensure that everyone is covered.

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Posted in Health Policy Context | No Comments »

A recession is a great time to go back to school. Governments must help make that possible

Tuesday, May 19th, 2020

… unlike previous recessions, postsecondary education has itself been partly shut down… For the sake of Canada’s future, governments need to encourage young adults to keep pursuing their educations, and older and unemployed adults to consider a return… The pandemic presents an opportunity for educational innovation, born of necessity.

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Posted in Education Debates, Equality Debates | No Comments »