Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Luke Savage warns that the Libs' election win may ring hollow for Canadian progressives:
Throughout its democratic history, Canadian politics have basically oscillated between two parties that do not seriously threaten the status quo or the injustices it perpetuates. Occasionally goaded by organized populist movements, they have both been compelled, particularly during minority parliaments, to make concessions while preserving the basic contours of the political order.

Against this, a third current has always insisted that fundamental change is necessary to build a truly just society. This ethos gave us medicare — an institution built by from the ashes of war and depression on principles of universalism and social solidarity.

Neither sweeping platitudes nor bureaucratic conservatism will ever deliver social progress of this kind, eradicate poverty, or save the planet from the economic structures that degrade it every day.
From where many of us stand, what happened last night cannot be read as anything other than a setback, and a major one, for these efforts. It's time we stopped marginalizing social justice or patronizingly relegating it to the fringes.

Democracy isn't a spectator sport. Elections aren't meant to be experienced as affirmative infotainment.

Achieving social progress requires more than just a perpetual return to the traditional, professionalized politics that leaves one in seven of us in poverty, tolerates people having to sleep on the streets, and allows thousands of children to wake up hungry and badly housed every single day in one of the richest societies in the world.

We have to demand better. And plenty of us believe and hope that, one day, we will.
- David Bush and Doug Nesbitt point out just a few of the areas where Canadians will need to hold the Trudeau Libs' feet to the fire. Rick Smith offers his suggestions as to the progressive change we should expect from a new federal government, while Maude Barlow maps out the road ahead. And Scott Reid writes the the first step needs to be an immediate break from Stephen Harper's paranoia and the destructive politics that went with it.

- Laura Stymiest and Elizabeth Lee-Ford Jones discuss the need to fight poverty in order to improve individual health. And Ryan Meili and Danielle Martin highlight the need to push back against user fees and other barriers to health care access - including the ones being introduced in Quebec in recent months.

- Finally, Patricia Cohen examines what tax increases on the richest few can accomplish - particularly in light of the growth of extreme top-end incomes. The Economist comments on the continuing problem of corporate and top-end tax evasion. And the Institute for Research on Public Policy has released a few noteworthy chapters on inequality in Canada - featuring confirmation both that high incomes have more to do with specific industries than individual contributions, and that education is far from a magic bullet in equalizing either outcomes or opportunities.

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