In the United States, prisons and privatization have become as American as apple pie. Today, approximately 130,000 people are incarcerated by for-profit companies in the United States, an 1,664% increase over the last 19 years. Even those prisons that remain state-run have sought to turn over almost every conceivable service – medical, mental health, educational, food, maintenance and security – to the private sector. Indeed, the Americans have demonstrated an almost devout ideological commitment to prison privatization even in spite of the perverse incentives it causes, such as the reprehensible “kids for cash” scandal. With such a wealth of experience and dedication to prison privatization, we should probably pay close attention to the American experience – particularly when we seem determined to emulate it.
Recessions are always harder on young workers, but we are nearly five years out from the end of the last recession and there is still no recovery in sight for young workers.
The paid internships announced in this budget (some of which is previously announced spending) will only reach a maximum of 2,500 individuals per year, less than 0.5% (half of one percent) of unemployed young workers, and addresses a fraction of the need.
Missing In Action: Federal Budget 2014 CUPE Federal Budget 2014 Summary and Response
Conservatives ignore pressing economic needs with a Do-little budget
Using more of their doublespeak, the Harper government calls the 2014 federal budget “The Road to Balance: Creating Jobs and Opportunities.” Little could be further from the truth. Instead it’s a budget that glosses over the problems facing Canadian workers and continues to kill jobs and stifle economic growth. ‘Missing in Action’ are significant positive measures needed to improve the lives of Canadians by increasing good job opportunities, improving public services or ensuring decent retirement incomes
Après un autre 14 G$ de compressions budgétaires, nous voici de retour à l’équilibre budgétaire. Bien-sûr, si vous questionnez Jim Flaherty, le ministre des Finances, il répliquera au contraire qu’il lui faut toujours résorber un déficit de 0,1% du PIB avant d’y parvenir. Mais lorsqu’un déficit est aussi petit, il vaut mieux parler d’un déficit volontaire… Tout porte à croire que des stratèges conservateurs tiennent à retenir d’une année la bonne nouvelle du déficit zéro et ainsi cueillir le fruit de la « responsabilité fiscale » en contexte préélectoral.
It’s not unreasonable to say that Canada has a youth employment crisis.
The employment rate for youth in January was at one of its lowest points since the start of the recession, at 50.6%[i]. That’s only 0.1% higher than it was two years ago and down by a tenth compared to pre-recession levels. The unemployment rate for youth is nearly 2-and-a-half times higher than non-youth[ii], and the “recovery” in youth unemployment can be attributed to the number of youth who have actually dropped out of the labour market because of the recession.
The federal government has been attempting to silence NGOs with charitable status from speaking out on issues that matter to all Canadians. This initiative to intimidate and otherwise silence voices that challenge its policies—goes to the heart of Canadian democracy.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the Conservative government is attempting to rewrite or reinterpret the rules on what constitutes “political activity” to prevent organizations from saying things it does not want to hear.
The CRA Minister claims these audits are random, but this claim lacks credibility. The claim that they are arms-length and not subject to government interference—is highly questionable.
As Canada slogs through its anaemic recovery, the federal government again appears to be happy to drive down growth. In fact since the last budget, economic growth for 2014 was revised down by a full point. The future two years out looks rosy until we get there and then—surprise!—stagnant growth continues to be the norm.
The labour market, despite a whole booklet on it in the budget documents, is in much worse shape than advertised. Of the decline in the unemployment rate since the worst of 2009, 20% was due to Canadians finding jobs, obviously a positive thing, but 80% was due to Canadians giving up their search. In fact the situation is much worse for youth where 100% of the drop in their unemployment rate was due to young people giving up their search.
February 10th, 2014 · Hugh Mackenzie · Economy & Economic Indicators, Ontario, public services, Taxes and Tax Cuts
In the lead up to Budget 2014, the Wynne government is caught in a transition between two mutually exclusive messages: the doom and gloom fiscal narrative her predecessors handed her and the end of austerity narrative her government floated with its Fall 2013 economic update.
What makes the story even more complex is that, with a minority government, Wynne doesn’t have the luxury of time to set up the basis for that new narrative.
February 9th, 2014 · IRIS · Alternative Federal Budget, Criminal Justice, International Relations, Military, Peace & Conflict
Next week, the federal government will unveil its budget for the coming year. With projections pointing towards a $3.7 billion surplus in 2015-2016, there is every reason to believe that the Harper government will be able to face the electorate sticking its chest out. With pockets that full, it will be in a position to put forth its priorities without any compromise. If the past is any indication, you can bet that during the next elections, along with economic issues, there will be much talk of how “urgent” it is to invest massively in internal and external security. My colleague Guillaume Hébert and I published this week a study which debunks a certain number of truisms. Of course, Stephan Harper and his troops will be leaving a heritage with a heavy tinge of khaki green. However, the tendency to prioritize “security” spending over “social” spending is well embedded in the federal government’s fundamental dynamic and has been since the mid-90s.
The Olympic motto may be “Faster, Higher, Stronger,” but Canada’s employment growth is slower, lower and weaker going into the winter games.
Of the 29,000 Canadians who supposedly gained employment in January, 28,000 reported being self-employed. Only 1,000 found jobs paid by an employer.
While self-employment includes some high-income professionals and entrepreneurs, the jump in self-employment in the context of a poor job market suggests that many Canadians are trying to eke out income through contract work because employers are not offering paid positions.