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On child care, don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good

Tuesday, March 29th, 2022

If the plan rolls out as described, it will improve early education for kids, cut costs for families at a time when they are badly pressed, and give the economy a boost by making it easier for women to participate fully in the workforce… All that being said, it’s still true that the Ontario deal is not all it could be. And, indeed, in some ways it is less than advertised… All this will be worked out in the years ahead.

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New evidence that hospital pressured to axe doctor who criticized Ford government on pandemic

Tuesday, March 29th, 2022

It’s been more than a year since Dr. Brooks Fallis was suddenly fired in January as interim head of critical care at William Osler Health System, in the hardest-hit part of Ontario. Fallis was respected and admired by peers and employers. He was also a passionate, incisive critic of the government’s pandemic response. One was given more weight by his bosses than the other.

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Run and hide! Lock your doors! The coalition government is coming for your democracy

Friday, March 25th, 2022

The true democratic disorder is when a party receives around 40 per cent of votes but gets 60 per cent of seats in Parliament, and then imposes their will on the country as if they’d received a true mandate. That’s delusional, yet it’s become our political normal. The last time a majority of seats accompanied a majority of votes was in 1984… Coalitions are by their nature improvisational and creative, so they don’t follow rule books. They’re also pretty inevitable now, since elections increasingly return minority governments.

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Some key details in the “confidence and supply” deal between the Liberals, NDP

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022

The NDP will not move a vote of non-confidence, nor vote for a non-confidence motion during the term of the arrangement; Parties agree on the importance of parliamentary scrutiny and the work done by MPs at committees; Meetings of party leaders at least once per quarter, as well as regular meetings of House leaders and whips… to identify priority bills to expedite through the House of Commons… Parties agree to prioritize [the following]…

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Migrant workers make our agricultural industry viable. Why do we treat them as disposable?

Monday, March 21st, 2022

Employers — who are supposed to pay for the consequences of workplace injuries and disease — instead benefit financially from the WSIB’s discriminatory policies. Employers are getting richer on the backs of injured workers. This year, the government has decided to give a $1.5 billion rebate to employers, rather than support injured workers.

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There’s a fix to disinformation: Make social media algorithms transparent

Thursday, March 17th, 2022

In the period of newspaper and broadcast dominance, anyone could find out what news their neighbours were consuming just by opening the paper or turning on the TV. In the social media era, many of those interactions are dark. The solution is algorithmic transparency. But this is easier said than done, because the algorithms are the special sauce in the platforms… So far, lawmakers have listened politely, but not acted. 

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Doug Ford’s government is quietly privatizing health care

Wednesday, March 16th, 2022

Recently, Health Minister Christine Elliott announced the expansion of private hospitals in Ontario… “we can let independent health facilities operate private hospitals.”… [which] sounds a whole lot better than this: “We will award public funds to private, for-profit hospitals and clinics, knowing that these private facilities are associated with worse care, higher costs and more deaths.”

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The fearless Canadian firebrand shaking up Britain’s schools

Sunday, March 13th, 2022

… one of Britain’s top-ranked schools, free to attend and catering almost entirely to underserved low-income, minority kids… Its practices are openly assimilationist. But then again, so are most private schools, elite universities, high courts, corporate boardrooms and political legislatures. For decades, the progressive liberal elite have debated the merits of these castles in the sky while safely ensconced inside them. Meanwhile, inequality has deepened across the globe.

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Tuition should be free. Anything else imposes a regressive barrier to accessing higher education

Friday, March 11th, 2022

In 1990, just before Mike Harris unleashed his “common sense revolution,” roughly 20 per cent of Ontario universities’ operating income came from tuition. That figure is now more than 50 per cent, which means Ontario is well on its way to privatizing higher education… the federal government also contributes to inequitable access… An RESP is essentially a federal handout to the upper-middle classes — and the banks and markets that end up receiving those monies.

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Long banned in Ontario, private hospitals could soon reappear

Thursday, March 10th, 2022

… with the chaos created by COVID as a cover, the Ford government seems poised to allow a considerable expansion of private health care in the province… a dramatic development, allowing hospitals — the centrepieces of our health-care system — to be governed by corporate boards that prioritize profits, as in the U.S… private hospitals would undermine medicare by enabling well-to-do patients to gain faster access to treatment.

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