- Bill Curry reports on the Cons' continued refusal to provide accurate information to the PBO - with the end result being that an office intended to provide a fully-informed, unbiased perspective in evaluating government action is now being forced to make Access to Information requests in an attempt to do its job.
- If it's seldom easy to unite Canada's provinces behind a single cause, the Cons can at least take credit on that front - as their no-consultation, poorly-thought-out jobs grant has managed to win unanimous disapproval from our premiers. And Matthew Mendelsohn discusses a few of the problems:
The programs that the federal government plans to cut — delivered under the Labour Market Agreements — are those that fund training for Canadians who are not eligible for Employment Insurance. These workers are typically the most vulnerable and hard to serve. Many of the programs that could be cut are those that support the essential literacy and numeracy skills that are critical for unemployed Canadians to re-enter the workforce.- Meanwhile, Jeff Jedras makes the case against the Cons' attempt to exercise control over access to the Internet. And Lee Berthiaume reports on their push to turn Canada into an arms dealer.
The federal government is proposing to use the $300 million diverted from the Labour Market Agreements to create a new program called the Canada Job Grant, which would pay employers to train workers through educational institutions. Employers would have to kick in one-third of the funds, and provincial governments would likewise have to come up with an additional third.
This would act as a windfall subsidy to employers who already provide the type of training covered by the program — mostly large employers — who could see their training bill fall by two-thirds. But it would probably be too complex and bureaucratic for many small and medium-sized employers to access.
Given that the maximum grant from the federal government would be $5,000 per trainee for short-duration programs, it is hard to see how this would actually help provide workers with the advanced skills they need to take the high-skill jobs where there really are labour shortages. There is simply no evidence to suggest that these small subsidies to large firms would be more effective than the current programs that provinces and communities have been building over the past decade to help unemployed people get jobs.
- Finally, Ish Theilheimer argues for a Marshall Plan aimed at improving the lot of people living precarious lives around the globe. And Mark Bittman sees some hopeful signs in the movement toward a living wage in the U.S.' fast food and retail industries.