Sunday, April 01, 2018

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Lana Payne offers her take on the need for Canada to catch up to the rest of the developed world in providing social supports:
Canada is sitting at a dismal 17 per cent, down at the bottom of the pack with Ireland, Israel, and Latvia. No bragging rights here.

Indeed, Canada doesn’t even reach the OECD average of 21 per cent. It was a surprising finding for many who follow such things.

Perhaps it shouldn’t have been though considering what’s been happening in Canada for the past 20 years or so and the dominant narrative that Canada just can’t afford to build a stronger social safety net. And yet based on the size of our economy (our GDP) which really should define our ability to pay, Canada has lots of room to develop a stronger social fabric, including universal childcare.

Of course, that means having an adult conversation about taxes and fair taxation and climbing back from the decades long race-to-the-bottom started by the United States.

In the last 25 years, Canada has reduced taxes by the tens and tens of billions, especially to corporations. At the same time, it has introduced a smorgasbord of tax breaks to the wealthy. We don’t have an affordability problem, we have a revenue problem.

And in the narrow box that public policy and budget discussions have occurred in pushing for increased social spending has become an uphill battle. Those who pushed for a different and more equal kind of Canada were ridiculed by the right and Conservatives who for too long controlled the public policy debate ensuring that cuts to social spending became inevitable and indeed the goal.

But the conversation is shifting.

The conversation now in many circles, even banking circles, is focused on growing the economy by reducing inequality. How do we do that when Canadian household spending has maxed out? Social supports and higher wages.
- CBC News reports on the findings of Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault confirming the Harper Cons' muzzling of federal scientists on climate change among other issues. And the Star recounts the difficulties its reporters have had trying to access public documents.

- James Wilt discusses the importance of supply-side policy as part of a transition away from dirty energy, while Brett Dolter highlights the Saskatchewan Party's refusal to deal with the demand side.

- Finally, Cam Fuller offers an apt review of the Sask Party's treatment of the film industry. And Alex MacPherson reports on Scott Moe's personal bankruptcy - which looks to have represented ideal preparation for the leadership of a party bent on pushing the province in the same direction.

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