Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Patrick Gossage discusses the desperate need for Canadian governments at all levels to take meaningful action to eliminate poverty:
The reality is that low-income Canadians are invisible and lack political clout. In Toronto, they are concentrated in downtown areas close to the gleaming bank towers, in huge clusters of dilapidated rental towers not far from the crosstown expressways, or in pockets of subsidized low-rise units near major intersections. Tens of thousands drive by these areas daily, ignorant of the lives led there. In the nation’s capital, where politicians cook up policies to relieve their plight, Canadians living under the poverty line are totally unseen.
At the very sharp end of the poverty issue are youth at risk: those who grew up in poor living conditions, often in single-parent families, who have dropped out of school and have little hope of employment. Governments are notably absent from programs to help them. The myriad of government training programs and assistance for students mean nothing to this cohort, because few graduate from secondary school. They are forgotten.

With no way to make money, many are lured into drug dealing at an early age and join gangs. They are the stuff of sad headlines. A young man who was in one of Dixon Hall’s youth programs went to jail for a minor offence. When he got out, he went home, where he was confronted by a gang member and shot through the screen door. These crimes are seldom solved.

Programs for youth in poor communities are woefully understaffed. Believe me, it’s hard to raise money for them. Society largely gives up on youth at risk, and they are dramatically detached from the much-vaunted programs to solve poverty that politicians brag about.

The volunteer and social service sector is often their only avenue of support and training. It was long ago, under Prime Minister Paul Martin, that Ottawa killed federal support for women’s and youth training programs run by these agencies. It is long past time for governments to take up this role again, and to get serious about relieving the crisis in affordable housing.

As citizens, we must leave our comfortable suburbs or downtown enclaves and find out about the reality of poverty through the agencies that work in poorer neighbourhoods. We must be outspoken advocates for disadvantaged Canadians and insist that our politicians learn first-hand how poor people struggle. Only then will governments stop planning, studying and promising and start acting.
- Solomon Israel reports on the Parliamentary Budget Office's new report showing how Canadian consumer debt is skyrocketing. And David MacDonald's study of the issue finds that in an unfortunately first, Canadian individuals and corporations are racking up debt faster than their peers anywhere else in the developed world. 

- Meanwhile, Geoff Dembicki highlights a few realities about the real estate sector which go a long way toward explaining the combination of soaring housing costs, rising debt and increasing paper wealth for a lucky few. And Conor Darcy discusses how increased nominal wealth in the UK is doing nothing at all for most citizens - while pointing out how a wealth tax could help to ensure a more fair distribution of gains.

- Don Pittis writes that Canadian wages aren't keeping up with what would be expected in light of a low unemployment rate - while also noting how economic policy aimed at favouring capital over labour has contributed to the gap.

- Finally, CUPE points out the many problems with the Libs' plan to turn large public infrastructure into a private profit centre. And Andrew Coyne writes that subjecting the infrastructure bank to sorely-needed scrutiny would have represented a useful role for the Senate - so naturally, it chose to amend the Libs' budget only on the far less significant issue of liquor tax inflation.

No comments:

Post a Comment