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Canada needs a social contract for mental health

Wednesday, August 25th, 2021

… the Canada Emergency Response Benefit was arguably the most important mental-health innovation of the pandemic because it decreased financial uncertainty, demonstrating how important government can be in improving mental health. The Canadian Medical Association has calculated that 85 per cent of our risk of illness is linked to social factors such as housing, unemployment, poverty, systemic racism, and lack of access to social supports and health services. These are the types of stresses that are interacting with COVID-19 to drive our mental-health and substance-use crisis. 

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These Ontario experts are calling for universal dental care

Thursday, May 13th, 2021

According to one 2017 estimate, every nine minutes, someone arrives at an ER in Ontario with a dental complaint, costing taxpayers $31 million annually. COVID-19 has exacerbated the issue, as the pandemic strains hospital resources and leaves many Ontarians cash-strapped from job losses and reduced working hours… The fact that Canadian Medicare doesn’t cover dental work stems from conditions around the time of its inception, in 1968…

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Posted in Health Debates | 1 Comment »

It’s time to abolish tipping once and for all

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

“The removal of tipping cannot happen in most restaurants, on their own, in the current marketplace, where all their competition practises tipping… the only way to really get rid of tipping is through government policy. So it’s an even playing field for everybody….” Now, in a largely cashless environment with drastically reduced gross sales, it’s servers who stand to immediately benefit from being paid a wage rather than relying on tips.

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The Problems with Economic Efficiency

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

Roger Martin is a leading global thinker in business management, and his new book, “When More is Not Better: Overcoming America’s Obsession with Economic Efficiency,” offers an idea of why that is… Beyond the obvious problems with economic inequality for people trying to make ends meet, such gaps can also seed serious political problems. And as some recent polling indicates, this can undermine confidence in both democracy and capitalism.

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Another week, another courtroom, another defeat for Doug Ford on climate change

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020

Several young people (ranging in age from 12 to 24) argued that the decision to pursue less stringent GHG reductions amounts to a violation of their Charter rights. They asked the court to order the government to adopt a “science-based” target and want a declaration that a stable climate is part of our Charter rights… It’s true that courts have been willing to make decisions with broad impacts before, but this would be something nearly revolutionary.

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Five things you should know about Ontario’s 2020 budget

Friday, November 6th, 2020

Here are five key items from the 2020-21 budget. 1. Record spending makes for a record deficit — but not record interest payments… 2. Health-care spending is, unsurprisingly, growing during the pandemic… 3. Lots of help for small businesses… 4. Lean years for schools coming(?)… 5. The cries for Ottawa’s money will never stop… As it stands, federal transfers to Ontario in this fiscal year were $33.4 billion, up $8 billion from last year.

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Basic income would be the biggest reordering of public finance in a generation

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

… the question of how it would be paid for (the UBI Works page on suggested tax increases to fund a UBI is eye-opening, in multiple senses of the phrase). One point that is worth dwelling on early in the discussion is what a UBI would mean for a pretty fundamental element of Canadian politics: the balance between federal and provincial spending.

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How COVID-19 kicked virtual medicine into high gear

Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

“I have been involved in virtual medicine for many years. I thought it would be adopted quickly. I was very wrong. But then, almost overnight, it’s become mainstream. Soon it will just be part of our health system. They won’t call it virtual health care — it will just be health care.”

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Systemic racism is a Canadian problem, too

Monday, June 15th, 2020

Grappling with such truths is not somehow unpatriotic. It is the sign of a mature society — one honest enough to recognize when it falls short of its values and that believes in those values enough to at least try to live up to them. The reality is that, of course, there is systemic racism in Canada. The question is, in this moment of truth, what are we going to do about it?

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There’s no such thing as a non-partisan recovery plan. Deal with it

Saturday, May 16th, 2020

… it’s worth being honest about COVID-19 recovery efforts: Trudeau’s plans are going to be different from Ford’s because they believe very different things… If you were a small-government conservative before the pandemic, Trudeau’s response will upset you; if you were a socialist before Ontario’s first coronavirus case, I regret to inform you that Doug Ford will not be leading the people in glorious revolution… conservative premiers will have enormous power to shape and constrain the federal response.

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