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Violence problems transcend gender

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

April 29, 2012
Transition houses are full of women whose health and well-being are threatened due to violence, addictions, poverty, compromised life skills and a host of other issues. The focus, though, of them and us, men vs. women, is a disturbing trend. Can we not agree that “hurt people hurt people”? The ones who do damage are the ones who are damaged themselves. If energies and money focused on this, rather on alienating and criminalizing an entire gender, we may come closer to dealing with the real issue – hurt people hurt people.

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Harper’s fixes aren’t for the long term

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Jan. 29, 2012
Harper’s pretty good at quick fixes like cutting red tape, cutting off parliamentary debate and cutting corners. He’s comfortable dealing with problems in the short term instead of tackling the more admittedly difficult causes of problems that might take a little longer and cost more to deal with. Filling jails with aboriginal youth does nothing for First Nations. Filling them with the mentally ill isn’t the way to make streets safe. Efficiency and decisiveness are to be admired in government. But Canada is more than a network of pipelines and a repository of riches waiting to be taken.

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Cuba does more in health at lower cost

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

Jan. 7, 2012
With each passing year, our health-care system is becoming more like the American model. More investigations, diagnostics and surgeries are performed, with subsequent higher costs and poorer health outcomes… for 2009… Cuba spent about eight times less than Canada… on health care… the reasons for success include a health policy that emphasizes prevention over treatment, primary care instead of hospital care, co-ordinated provision of care, providing services in the community where people live, and active participation of residents in goal-setting and programming.

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Rising inequality demands debate

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Jan. 4, 2012
There are policy responses which would introduce market discipline without interfering with corporations’ ability to set compensation levels. Shareholder rights, both to detailed information on compensation plans and to a direct say, could be strengthened… Alternatively, government could use its redistributive powers to level the playing field… CEOs increasingly take their payment in stock options, taxed at half the rate of income… The trickle-down approach hasn’t worked, said OECD secretary-general Angel Gurría. “Without a comprehensive strategy for inclusive growth, inequality will continue to rise.”

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How can we best care for our aging population?

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

November 20, 2011
… except for a few modest tax measures or programs (such as the compassionate care leave available through the employment insurance program), there is no national policy addressing family members (or others) caring for disabled older adults in Canada… We need to establish a comprehensive home-care system that links and partners with informal caregivers and community organizations to form a support network for informal caregivers and care recipients that is integrated into the overall health-care system.

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What has gone wrong for working Canadians?

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

September 4, 2011
… the middle class has suffered through a quarter century of wage stagnation, where real income after inflation barely increases… in the 33 years between 1976 and 2009, median income increased by just 5.5 per cent – from $45,800 in 1976 to $48,300 in 2009… But Canada’s richest 20 per cent almost doubled their enormous income difference over the poorest 20 per cent, from $92,300 to $177,500. Apparently these huge gains at ordinary Canadians’ expense are not enough. Corporations continue to clamour for even more tax cuts, despite no evidence that pandering to business creates jobs or investment.

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Harper could make better pensions a legacy

Monday, August 1st, 2011

July 30, 2011
The present system, especially RRSPs, disproportionately helps those with good, steady incomes… A more generously funded public system could cushion the most vulnerable and ease the retirement of the middle class, while offering low overhead, the benefits of shared risk and relatively small increases in individual contributions… despite opposition, and the potential election of Tim Hudak, a Harris clone, as premier of Ontario, a determined prime minister, with skill, nerve and public support could at least launch incremental improvements to a vital social program.

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Gap between rich and rest growing

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

July 27, 2011
The Conference Board found that between 1976 and 1994, the tax and transfer system increasingly reduced income inequality. But since 1994, the trend reversed. Tax and transfer policies played a role in increasing the income gap… A widening income gap isn’t inevitable. The Conference Board found Canada had among the highest income gaps among peer countries, ranking 12th out of 17. Many of the more equal countries had equally strong economies. This should be a central political and social issue for Canadians.

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Poverty comes with a high price

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

July 16, 2011
The government’s approach to poverty is to deal with negative consequences as they arise… like a leaky roof, poverty’s consequences only get harder and more expensive to fix the more we put off dealing with them. Governments often balk at the high costs of policies that would effectively reduce poverty, such as building more social housing, increasing welfare rates and funding high-quality public early learning programs for all children. This kind of thinking assumes that sticking to the status quo… is free. This is not true, as our study demonstrates.

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Stipend for volunteers benefits society

Monday, July 11th, 2011

July 10, 2011
Investment in community volunteerism on behalf of people living with disabilities is sound policy that will lead to dividends down the road. When people living in poverty have the ability to interact in a meaningful way with other members of our community, it leads to a fostering of positive connections, increased confidence and resulting employment opportunities. A $100 earned supplement makes all the difference in the world to families living on embarrassingly low-income assistance rates…

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