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Justin Trudeau goes all in on the carbon tax. It’s the right thing – for the environment, and the economy

Monday, December 14th, 2020

The aim is for people to do such a good job of reducing emissions, and thereby avoiding the tax, that revenues eventually spiral to zero.  The carbon tax’s goal is its own obsolescence… Among economists, putting a price on carbon is generally seen as the most efficient way to push people and businesses to use less carbon… In taking the 2030 climate goals seriously, and choosing carbon pricing to achieve them, Ottawa is making the right move, rather than the easy move.

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Taking advantage of workers must not be the future of work

Monday, November 9th, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has laid waste to our economy and exposed deep inequalities in our communities. It has shown how frayed our social safety net has become and how much is wrong with the labour market… The pandemic has shown how low-paid, precarious work isn’t just bad for the people who hold down those jobs, but for society as a whole… It can’t be left up a few companies who have landed on an exploitative business model to decide what the future of work looks like.

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How to Take on the Tech Barons

Sunday, November 8th, 2020

The pandemic has laid bare both the promise of technology — softening the blow of months at home — and its rougher edges, which include the consolidation of power and ever-greater personal data collection… to confront, among other things, the exposed gaps in the nation’s broadband network; the urgent need for broad online privacy protections; the rollout of 5G; growing consumer resentment of technologists; and the pitfalls of nascent technologies like self-driving cars, artificial intelligence and facial recognition.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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