Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Sam Becker discusses the economic harm done by growing inequality, while Alexandra Zeevalkink previews Katharine Round's upcoming documentary on the issue. And Carol Goar argues that Canadians are eager for leadership to ensure that everybody shares in our country's wealth.

- Meanwhile, Laura Cattari points out the importance of giving people living in poverty a voice in policy decisions. And Erik Loomis highlights the consequences of failing to do so, as an imbalance in political influence has resulted in U.S. corporations being able to use poor areas both domestic and foreign as dumping grounds for toxic substances.

- Karri Munn-Venn reminds us of the high cost of tax slashing:
Tax cuts in recent decades have been sold to the public under the false pretense that lower taxes benefit everyone.  The truth is, cutting government spending has a detrimental impact in terms of lost programs and investments that will impact us all – both now and in the future.

Provincial and federal governments have made significant changes to Canada’s tax system over the past two decades, reducing the level of taxation on corporations and high income individuals.  Deep tax cuts have reduced the amount of revenue available to governments.  They also make the tax system itself less progressive, shifting the responsibility for financing public services onto middle and lower income families.

Canadians deserve to be told what spending cuts will cost them.  Reducing taxes without an open and honest debate about consequences does not meet the criteria of transparent and accountable decision-making.  And it hurts us all.

When government tells citizens that it can’t afford to invest in the programs and services that people in Canada need and rely on, we must remember that the tax policies of these same governments have put us in this predicament in the first place.  Every year since 2006, a range of tax cuts have resulted in foregone revenues of $45 billion.

And yet, millions of people in Canada continue to live in poverty, climate change and growing greenhouse gas emissions take a toll on our environment, and refugees are being turned away and denied essential healthcare.  So while some of us may have a few more dollars in our pockets, those on the margins of society pay with their well-being.
- Thomas Walkom discusses why Canadian federal politicians (outside the NDP) are so rarely inclined to talk about health care even when it's a top-of-mind issue for a large number of voters. And Kathleen O'Grady and Noralou Roos comment that the media also does far too little to highlight health policy issues for the public.

- Finally, Michael Harris sees C-51 as remaking Canada in Stephen Harper's own paranoid and controlling image, while Michael Geist argues that the Libs' excuses for falling in line behind Harper's power grab are no more plausible now than they've ever been. And Karl Nerenberg rightly slams the Cons for crying terrorism every time anybody questions their abuses of power.

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