Behind the Numbers

Got a problem? Privatize it (and pay the price for selling off Hydro One later).

April 16th, 2015 · · Energy Policy, Ontario

The provincially appointed panel led by former TD Bank CEO Ed Clark has released its final report and the Wynne government has said it will act on its recommendations.

It includes fully privatizing part of  Hydro One and selling off a majority stake in what remains.

The government is trying to position this sale as an “asset swap”, promising to use the proceeds of the sale to fund much needed investments in transit infrastructure. But in doing so, the government is ignoring its own previous expert advice: neither Metrolinx nor a provincially appointed panel headed by Ann Golden, suggested selling off vital public assets to fund transit.

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We’re paying for $7/day child care, so why is only one province getting it?

April 15th, 2015 · · Child Care, Income Inequality

Many Canadians don’t know that Quebec has the least expensive childcare in the country at $7/day (well actually $7.30 now). Meanwhile in Toronto parents pay $49/day, and in Vancouver it’s $41 a day for toddlers/preschoolers.

It’s no surprise that $7/day childcare is wildly popular in Quebec. It’s far cheaper than the national average, and allows for more parents, and far more women to enter (or re-enter) the workforce. It also creates more spaces in regulated centres.

In Canada, there are a million families with working parents who have young children. However, there are only half a million regulated child care spaces, leaving parents with long wait times and an increased reliance on the unregulated sector.

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Quand austérité rime avec hostilité

April 10th, 2015 · · Immigration, Quebec

Selon Philippe Couillard, l’austérité ne serait rien d’autre « qu’une vue de l’esprit ».

Or, comme l’a si bien dit Philip K. Dick, célèbre auteur américain de romans de science-fiction, « la réalité, c’est ce qui continue d’exister lorsque l’on cesse d’y croire ».

Dans la même veine, que l’on « croit » ou non à l’austérité, les très réelles compressions dans les services publics ont des conséquences biens concrètes. Elles brisent les liens de solidarité sociale qui existent à travers les institutions et, contrairement à cette déclaration du premier ministre selon laquelle « la rigueur budgétaire ne devrait pas être source de morosité », elles induisent un véritable pessimisme chez celles et ceux qui les subissent.

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NS Budget 2015: Ignores Real Problems, Lacks Vision

April 9th, 2015 · · Economy & Economic Indicators, Nova Scotia, public services

The Nova Scotia budget tabled today is without vision. It was constructed to deal primarily with the deficit.

Undertaking ‘restructuring’ and ‘right-sizing’ of the public sector to balance the budget may well make things worse. In contrast, CCPA-NS projected that Nova Scotia’s fiscal health will continually improve provided the government recognizes its responsibility to invest in the economy, and economic growth.

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Degrees of Separation

April 2nd, 2015 · · Capitalism, Corporations, Education

The shaky economy seems to have prompted Canada’s CEOs to pontificate on what steps should be—nay, must be—taken to solve our economic woes as a nation. Case in point: on Monday, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) released a paper titled “Career ready: Towards a national strategy for the mobilization of Canadian potential.”

Canada’s workforce challenges, it explains, are profound. But the reason we have not met them is simple: too much education for too many young people in too many areas that do not have a direct application to the needs of the job market.

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Three hearings on C-51 would have done the trick

April 1st, 2015 · · Democracy, Human Rights, International Relations, Military, Peace & Conflict, Uncategorized

Public pressure forced the government to hold nine instead of three public safety committee hearings into the Anti-Terrorism Act 2015 (Bill C-51). With the clause-by-clause review now over (committee spent more than 10 hours yesterday vetoing opposition amendments–all of them), you can see the logic in the original proposal. Just three sessions in, the government would have had enough feedback to gauge the public mood and decide, on balance, what changes to the legislation it could accept for the sake of appearing to respect the democratic process while getting tough on terrorism. In the end there were just four, which the CBC’s Kady O’Malley lists as follows:

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Solutions to precarious work in Ontario: new report

March 31st, 2015 · · Employment and Labour, Income Inequality, Ontario

Toronto’s Workers’ Action Centre released a new report today, Still Living on the Edge: Building Decent Jobs from the Ground Up, which addresses cultural, legal, and social issues facing Ontario’s workers.

Using a combination of policy analysis, data collection, and first-hand accounts of workers’ lives, the report paints a full picture of the state of employment in the province.

It comes at a time when the province is reviewing employment standards in Ontario. Many organizations will be weighing in – including the CCPA – but today the Workers’ Action Centre has come out with some important recommendations that could improve the lives of workers.

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Alternative Federal Budget vs. Income Splitting: Who benefits?

March 30th, 2015 · · Alternative Federal Budget, Federal Budget, Taxes and Tax Cuts

On March 19th, we released the 2015 Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) and also marked the publication’s 20th anniversary. Like every year, the AFB includes practical measures to improve Canadian’s lives. For the past two years, we’ve been running our AFB through a sophisticated income inequality simulation to see how our budget would affect poverty and inequality in Canada. This analysis allows us to see who benefits and who doesn’t from various social programs and tax/transfer changes.

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C-51 hearings end with suggestion government erred in drafting bill

March 27th, 2015 · · Aboriginal Issues, Criminal Justice, Democracy, Human Rights, Immigration, International Relations, Military, Peace & Conflict

Like university students cramming for an exam, last night the parliamentary public security committee (SECU) finished the last of nine hearings (over only six days) into the government’s anti-terrorism bill (C-51). It’s now up to the committee to perform a clause-by-clause review of the omnibus legislation and draft recommendations to the House, including possible amendments, before third reading, which is expected to happen quickly. The NDP and the Liberals have announced the amendments they will be seeking.

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RCMP stop another suspected terrorist… without C-51

March 25th, 2015 · · Aboriginal Issues, Criminal Justice, Democracy, Human Rights, Immigration, International Relations, Military, Peace & Conflict

The Charlottetown Guardian reports today the RCMP has arrested a Prince Edward Island man they suspect might carry out a terrorist offence. It’s somewhat awkward for the government: it could be a good news story (depending on what the case looks like), but it could also undermine the Conservative’s position that Canada’s security and spy agencies need more power to keep this country safe from terrorism. Several witnesses have suggested Bill C-51, which is being rushed through the public safety and national security committee this week, could actually interfere with RCMP and local police efforts to disrupt potential terrorist attacks.

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