Sunday, September 09, 2018

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Andrew Jackson comments on the need for a national anti-poverty strategy which can actually meet its intended purpose:
[The new Poverty Reduction Strategy] responds to progressives and anti poverty activists who have long called for a federal government led, broadly based initiative to address and reduce widespread poverty in Canada. However, it is disturbing that there is no commitment to new federal government funding to meet the stated poverty reduction goals and targets, and that the technical poverty measure proposed by Minister Duclos and the Trudeau government is, to say the least, debatable.

Many anti poverty activists, especially in Ontario, were rightly critical of the lack of additional funding for income support programs, especially in the context of already announced and pending provincial cuts to social assistance which will increase and deepen poverty. This underlines the fact that any effective national anti poverty strategy will require major investments by all levels of government, while the new strategy speaks only to the federal role.

It is strange that there is no discussion of the Canada Social Transfer, a $14 Billion per year federal program which has only one condition at present for making cash transfers to the provinces, that there be no provincial residency requirement for social assistance.

With respect to the federal role, there should have been a commitment to increase funding over time for the income support programs which have the greatest immediate impact on poverty – the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors; the Canada Child Benefit, and tax credits for the working poor – as well as broader social investments in areas like education, child care and affordable housing. The strategy does not attempt to calculate what additional resources will be needed to hit the stated targets.
- Scott Remer makes the case for personal debt forgiveness as part of a progressive economic platform. Nick Falvo examines some of the factors which affect a family's ability to move on from housing support. And Brian Rogers' story about a 71-year-old Regina woman evicted and left homeless due to unexpected Service Canada reporting requirements signals the problems with benefit systems designed to attack and punish recipients rather than ensure their well-being.

- Meanwhile, Rajeshni Naidu-Ghelani reports on Canada's extremely high number and concentration of ultra-wealthy individuals. 

- Toby Helm interviews John O'Donnell about UK Labour's plans to systematically increase the role of workers in corporate decision-making.

- Finally, Scott Sinclair highlights the predictable concessions and trade-offs being forced on Canada in a breakneck push to sign a new NAFTA on Donald Trump's terms. And Noah Smith rightly points out that in order to reduce our reliance on a capricious southern neighbour, Canada needs to plan for long-term population growth built largely on increased immigration.

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