- Sherri Torjman comments on the importance of social policy among our political choices, while lamenting its absence from the first leaders' debate:
(M)arket economies go through cycles, with periods of stability followed by periods of slump and uncertainty. Canada has weathered these economic cycles, and even major recessions, largely because of our social-policy initiatives. Income-security programs, in particular, are vital economic measures. The problem is that most of these have withered and shrunk in recent years and are in need of major repair.- Angella MacEwen challenges the theory that deficits necessarily have anything to do with progressive policy, while Nora Loreto fact-checks the Libs' spin about the opposition parties' placement on the political spectrum.
Why is social policy so important to the economy?First, income-security programs act as household shock absorbers when times are tough. Employment Insurance, childcare benefits, public pensions and welfare are intended to ensure that all Canadians have at least some money to pay for necessities such as food, clothing and shelter....Second, income-security programs act as fiscal stimulus when the economic wheels start slowing. They put money directly into the hands of large numbers of Canadians, whose collective spending can jump-start our economic engine and help keep it running....Finally, certain income-security programs stabilize the economy by bolstering low wages. These earning supplementation programs are controversial, with many arguing that decent living wages should be employers’ responsibility. In the meantime, millions of Canadians struggle on low and unstable incomes....Shock absorber, fiscal stimulus and economic stabilizer: These are all crucial roles of social policy and of income-security programs, specifically. They blow wind into the sails of the economy and help ensure a smoother economic ride.While their vital roles are central to the country’s economic health, they are relegated to the sidelines in most debates. An economic-policy discussion without its intrinsic social-policy component is definitely incomplete.
- The CCPA's Good for Canada project offers an important summary of what we should be looking for in order to reduce inequality. And Jim Hightower writes that some of the wealthiest Americans are looking to fight inequality for everybody's good including their own.
- Michael Harris calls out the Cons' continued reign of fear. But Chantal Hebert writes that the goal of scaring voters away from opposition parties no longer seems to be in reach for Harper and company, as they're the party spooking away voters they need to form government. Which goes to show that the Harper propaganda discussed by Andrew Nikiforuk is far from having its intended effect.
- Finally, Sandy Garossino notes that the revelations about Mike Duffy's bribery, cover-up and trial represent just the latest example of Stephen Harper's war against the law. And David Krayden comments on the laughable plea of knowing nothing from the PMO when it comes to one of its most significant issues from the Cons' time in office.