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Policy, not technology is killing Canadian manufacturing

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Jan. 24, 2012
… technology can explain some of the job loss, but not most of it. It certainly cannot explain the disproportionate carnage in Canadian manufacturing… The loss of 500,000 manufacturing jobs in Canada over the last decade was far more dramatic than most jurisdictions. Many factors contributed to this miserable record… [but] Caterpillar’s demand to cut Canadian wages in half has nothing to do with technology. It reflects power: a global company’s ability to isolate and threaten workers, one factory at a time. And it reflects policy: an active decision by governments (like Canada’s) to let them do it.

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Posted in Policy Context | 1 Comment »

$100-billion in expenditures that no one notices

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Jan. 23, 2012
Tax expenditures serve a public policy purpose without the need of an army of bureaucrats in administration. They can be implemented virtually overnight, and can be easily tweaked. [but]… they are very difficult to take away. Canada is a leader in the use of tax expenditures in the sense that our uptake is more than 50 per cent above the OECD average… In the past five years the value of tax expenditures has risen 2.3 per cent, far less than the increase in the size of government… [however] Tax expenditures represent a major claim on the federal treasury and their economic and social benefits need to be put to the test.

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Posted in Governance Policy Context | No Comments »

Canadians want federal health-care role

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Jan. 16, 2012
The national survey by Ipsos Reid was commissioned by the Canadian Medical Association, which represents the nation’s doctors… – 97 per cent of Canadians think the federal government’s responsibility for the Canada Health Act is important. In return for receiving federal money, provinces must adhere to the principles of medicare as outlined in the Act. Those principles include accessibility to services, universal availability, and portability from province to province…

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Posted in Health Delivery System | No Comments »

Should Ontario keep funding separate Catholic schools? No.

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Jan. 3, 2012
Ontario is in the anachronistic position of being the only province that publicly funds one type of religious school (Catholic) to the exclusion of all others. Massive, wasteful duplication and the religious segregation of students are some of the results of this system. Recent events have also shown Catholic doctrine is incompatible with the equality rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms while other religious groups, now seeking access to public schools and public funding, have pointed out the blatant hypocrisy of Ontario’s education policy.

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Posted in Education Policy Context | 1 Comment »

Canada has never had shared values

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Dec. 22, 2011
Canada is a liberal democracy, and like similar societies, it is designed to allow us to get along despite widespread and non-negotiable disagreements over values – that is, over how people should live their lives. Our political institutions, underwritten by constitutional declarations such as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, don’t assume that citizens have shared values. Instead, they work by providing a framework that is neutral with respect to controversial questions of value. This neutrality is what underwrites our freedoms of expression, of religion, and of association.

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Posted in Inclusion Policy Context | No Comments »

Oh, those lucky poor people

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Dec. 16, 2011
A little historical perspective can be an excellent way to show people that progress is possible – which is the first step in getting them up and working toward a better world… Consider Attawapiskat. The issue is living conditions and what we can or should do about them. The distant past isn’t relevant to that question. What’s relevant are living conditions elsewhere around the country. They’re far superior – which shows we can easily do better for the people of Attawapiskat. And that’s the only perspective we need.

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Posted in Equality Debates | No Comments »

Ottawa and provinces should be thinking big

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Dec. 14, 2011
… social determinants of health, predictors of the outcomes around illness and the related stresses, help fill our hospitals and increase the strains on health care. A majority of those who live beneath the poverty line do have jobs, often more than one, but still do not earn enough to make ends meet. If our health-care system is to be one where flexibility, access, appropriate care and financial sustainability are real assets in the service of Canadians, it is vital that any new formula for health-care financing take the social determinants of health into account.

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Posted in Health Policy Context | No Comments »

Alienated from what? By whom?

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Dec. 8, 2011
A new study… found non-voters are not apathetic or ignorant of the political system… politics only became a source of frustration through unpleasant interactions with political institutions… Is it possible that when it comes to political engagement, most Canadians are… neither alienated nor engaged until they are asked by a social scientist, at which point they just fall back on the default public vocabulary of a broken machinery of government manipulated by knavish politicians.

Posted in Inclusion Debates | No Comments »

The upside of downloading

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Dec. 3, 2011
given the altered incentives created by Paul Martin’s restructuring of transfers, many provinces also reformed their welfare systems to focus on better results and controlling costs. But different provinces focused their attention on different things, tailoring reform to their local circumstances. B.C. focused on time limits on entitlements, Alberta on getting employable young people into work, and Ontario on workfare. This is downloading at work. It was directly responsible for a wave of innovative experimentation by the provinces, freed from Ottawa’s poorly thought-out policy ambitions.

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Posted in Governance Debates | No Comments »

Who are Canada’s one per cent?

Friday, October 21st, 2011

October 20, 2011
Individual Canadians who make approximately $200,000 annually in total income are considered in the top one per cent of earners, while $100,000 in annual income will put you in the top five per cent, according to the most recent data from Statistics Canada… the top quintile (20 per cent) of Canadian earners (aged 16 and older) received 51 per cent of total income, while the top two quintiles (40 per cent) of earners made 75 per cent of the total income in Canada… the top one per cent of income earners paid 18 per cent of total taxes in 2004…

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Posted in Debates | No Comments »

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