Archive for the ‘Governance’ Category

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Why democracy is in trouble, and what Canadians can do about it

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

The less attention communities pay to how they are governed, the easier it is to intrude on the rule of law, the rights of minorities, or threaten the values that we do share… So what can Canadians do to shift these trends? It starts with recognizing democracy is about more than elections… “democracy is a verb”… it can be cultivated, grown and improved upon… start conversations, build networks, invest in skills development, mobilize communities and get people to take notice.

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Ford flirts with private health care at his peril

Monday, January 14th, 2019

Ford’s election pledges to axe cap-and-trade and implement tax giveaways that overwhelmingly benefit high income earners and corporations will cost approximately $22 billion. That’s $22 billion less for health, education, roads, transit, housing, parks and so on: among the most severe cuts in our history. We anticipate these cuts to start in earnest after the federal election. They will almost certainly result in privatization, if we do not stop them.

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Supreme Court rules voting restrictions on expatriate citizens are unconstitutional

Friday, January 11th, 2019

A lower-court judge had found the voting prohibition unconstitutional. But the Ontario Court of Appeal then ruled 2-1 that the law could stand, saying that non-residents do not live with the consequences of their votes on a daily basis. The dissenting judge said the restrictions had the effect of making non-resident Canadians second-class citizens… The 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms says without qualification that every Canadian citizen has the right to vote.

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Big Tech’s net loss: How governments can turn anger into action

Saturday, December 29th, 2018

Democratic governments will need to wrestle with how their speech laws apply to the digital world. This is going to require bringing together the private sector and civil society in a hard discussion about the nature and limits of free speech, about who is censored online and how, about responsibilities for moderating speech at scale, and about universal versus national speech norms… the sheer breadth of the economic and social services now provided by platforms might demand a more nuanced approach to how they are governed.

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Do you want a carbon tax, or do you want to be lied to?

Thursday, December 27th, 2018

… effective regulations to bring down emissions are not free. They cost people serious money, whether as taxpayers, ratepayers or consumers… One emerging conservative alternative to carbon pricing is working with business to spur the development of green technology. What that usually means is taxpayers giving subsidies to business… With emissions, you can have expensive and effective, or cheap and toothless… At least carbon taxes are transparently expensive.

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Are Canadians overtaxed? The equation is complicated

Monday, December 24th, 2018

Stagnant or falling real incomes for many Canadians are the result of low rates of growth of earnings and other forms of income, not rising income taxes… A decade ago, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a report, Canada’s Quiet Bargain, which argued that the vast majority of Canadians gain much more from public programs than they pay for in taxes. Certainly the tax data continue to bear this out.

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Ford shouldn’t waste taxpayer money on party propaganda. Here’s how to stop it

Friday, December 21st, 2018

Do the government MPPs in Ontario want to face the onslaught of angry taxpayers to save Ford’s propaganda page? … The Ford government has made a commitment to respect taxpayers’ money by reducing spending and waste. Ending Ontario News Now would achieve both. While the PC government does have a majority, it is still subject to political pressure. It’s time for the opposition to turn their words into action and bring a motion to change how caucus services are funded.

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Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Sunday, December 16th, 2018

Senators have agreed on the fly to some accommodation of the growing ranks of independents, giving them some research funds and committee roles. But the leadership of the ISG has argued that their role must be explicitly spelled out and guaranteed in the Parliament of Canada Act. And, since the change would involve allocating financial resources, they say it can’t be initiated by the Senate, only by the government in the House of Commons… “It won’t come from within the Senate. The only way to complete it, to have it finished, is to amend the Parliament of Canada Act.”

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Election reform bill passed in time for implementation in 2019 federal vote

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

Bill C-76 is an omnibus bill that will reverse a number of changes wrought by the previous Conservative administration’s widely denounced Fair Elections Act. It will restore the use of voter information cards as a valid form of identification to prove residency… It will limit spending by parties and advocacy groups during the three-month period before an election is officially called, as well as during the official campaign… It will also extend the right to vote to ex-patriate Canadians… It will ban advocacy groups from ever using money from foreign entities to conduct partisan campaigns…

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Ontario has undermined its Ombudsman’s independence

Saturday, November 24th, 2018

… not everyone will agree with the reforms just announced by the Ford government… One matter… is the introduction of a new clause in the Ombudsman Act, which allows the governing party to suspend an ombudsman if they are “of the opinion the suspension is warranted”… It is not uncommon for ombud statutes to contain provisions for removal with cause, but to contemplate the suspension of an ombudsman based on the government’s opinion takes a jackhammer to the foundation of our work.

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