Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Tom Sullivan's advice for Democrats south of the border that it's essential to reach out to dispossessed voters of all types of backgrounds with a compelling alternative to the status quo is equally relevant to progressives in Canada.

- But the good news is that here, somebody's actually applying it. And we're also hearing plenty about how our local reactionaries are ignoring the vast majority of families - with Ashley Splawinski offering this look at the Cons' income splitting scheme compared to the obvious alternative: 
About 86 per cent of all families including single parents would gain nothing from income splitting. Being heavily circulated due to its sudden relevance, a research paper titled, "Why income splitting for two parent families does more harm than good" published by the C.D. Howe Institute outlines that 40 per cent of total benefits would go to families with an annual income above $125,000 a year.

When we account for the large revenue cost of these new policies, it is the families that see a modest gain or no gain at all that will ultimately be paying the price through means such as public service cuts.
To stay within a higher tax bracket, the partner who isn't working (who is overwhelmingly likely to be a woman) is discouraged from going to work, lest she wants to pay a more taxes. It seems as though the Harper government is using these policies as a means of subtly favouring wealthy nuclear families.

This has members of the public questioning: If the Conservative government wanted to shed light on issues affecting families, why not increase access to universal child care?

We don't need to look far to find access to affordable child care. Quebec invests $2.2 billion dollars annually into its child care plan. Therefore, a family in Quebec may pay $140 monthly for childcare, yet in Ontario that same family could be paying $900.

Nationally, Canada only has regulated spots for approximately 22 per cent of youth under five years old. Quebec houses half of these spots. Child care costs nationally account for about 30 per cent of the average wage.

The Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada (CCAAC) conducted a study in 2009 which found that affordable child care was not only essential to long-term poverty reduction, but by improving access to affordable child care, it supports stable labour force participation, which is vital for an increase in economic independence -- especially for women. It also found that supporting quality affordable child care would positively support a child's development, leading to improved educational outcomes.
- Fred Hahn rightly suggests that Ontario start investing in future economic development rather than pleading poverty while letting corporate giants hoard profits they can't put to any discernible use.

- Phil Tank reports on the potential for massive growth of solar energy in Saskatoon. But it remains to be seen how long it takes for us to see the assault on distributed renewable energy that's materialized elsewhere.

- Finally, Karl Nerenberg writes about the Cons' attacks on the welfare of refugees in Canada. And Susana Mas reports on the Cons' "express entry" system for immigrant workers which has been designed solely at the behest of - and for the benefit of - employers looking for new pools of workers to exploit.

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