- Linda McQuaig discusses how a renewed push for austerity runs directly contrary to the actual values of Canadians, who want to see their governments accomplish more rather than forcing the public to settle for less:
Their formula for achieving small, disabled government is simple: slash taxes (particularly on corporations and upper-income folk), leaving government with no choice but to cut spending -- or risk deficits and the wrath of Moody's, Ivison, the National Post, etc.- CBC reports that the Cons' politically-ordered crackdown on public advocacy by charities now extends well beyond the environmental movement - but is still limited exclusively to groups which tend to disagree with their anti-social policies. And Gareth Kirkby looks in detail at how the policy of silencing opposition has affected the work of the charities affected.
The Harper government, deeply committed to this ideology, has followed the formula closely. It has slashed taxes to the point that Ottawa now collects less revenue (as a proportion of GDP) than it did in 1940 -- before we had national public programs for health care, pensions and unemployment insurance.
The real problem right now isn't the deficit, but getting the economy back in shape -- a point even acknowledged by David Dodge, former governor of the Bank of Canada and former deputy minister of finance.
Asked in an Environics poll to choose between two views of government, 68 per cent of Canadians selected "Governments are essential to finding solutions to important problems facing the country" while just 27 per cent chose "Governments are more often than not the cause of important problems facing the country."
While the conservative revolution and media deficit hysteria have left us with dwindling revenues, the dream of an activist government apparently lingers somewhere deep in the Canadian soul.
- Julian Beltrame reports on Canada's latest job numbers - which show our unemployment rate now exceeding the U.S.', with particularly little employment available for young workers. And David Climenhaga details the absurdity of the businesses a right to indentured labour through the temporary foreign worker program - pointing out that the effect of the program is to suppress wages for everybody for the sole purpose of keeping fast-food outlets open past 3 AM.
- Alexander Ervin and David Woodhouse lament the corporatization of Canadian universities.
- And finally, Matthew Mendelsohn makes an effort to engage in a detailed, fact-based policy discussion with Joe Oliver. Which figures to end about as well as anybody's attempt to speak truth to a broken record.