Thursday, July 23, 2020

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Edward Xie and Danyaal Raza make the case for a basic services model to ensure people's needs are met as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic:
Meeting universal basic needs for participation, health and independence is not a simple consumer choice. Rather, it’s a minimum condition to ensure a vibrant and thriving democratic society. Sadly, personal income alone cannot create more space in a child-care centre, more beds in a well-staffed care home, or more rail and bus routes. You may have more money, but are you empowered to live and sustain a richer life?

What if more income wasn’t the only path to a better life? A basic service we’ve all experienced is so deep-seated that we take it for granted: we pay taxes for our public health-care system, but it’s free to use when we need it and supported as a matter of civic pride. Our health systems are further supported by monitoring and standards to address the variety of ways the benefits of health can be achieved. As our neighbours to the south know all too well,  trying to purchase a public good like this, out of your own pocket and through private markets, can quickly become expensive in a life-altering way. Yet we haven’t carried this lesson over to other basic services.

The truth is that Canada lags other rich countries in social spending for public programs that improve health, assist children and seniors, and protect us from poverty and unemployment. Research shows that we stand to reap large rewards from boosting our basic health and social services. In their absence, COVID-19 has exposed these long-standing gaps as a precarious reality for too many of us in Canada.

Broadening the scope of what might transition from the CERB, a national approach to public “basic services” complements the undisputed importance of income by ensuring our shared needs are securely met in an uncertain world. It’s already supported by experts in the UK and Canada. They point out that the greatest needs are those that form a basic standard of living and support the determinants of health: clean water, pharmacare, safe and affordable housing, good-quality child and long-term care, and transportation and internet services that rapidly connect this vast country, among others. 

Calling them “basic” recognizes that these services are building blocks for a strong society, as essential for a thriving nation as roads and bridges, and an essential responsibility of governments to deliver. For workers stranded by changing trends in labour conditions and the economic shutdown, expanding access to basic services may provide lasting support while maintaining impetus for better employment standards. Ensuring access to high-quality basic services for everyone can also begin to address existing injustices, particularly to Indigenous peoples, with inclusive design and adequate funding from the start.
- Meanwhile, Rosa Saba reports on yet more research showing how residents in for-profit long-term care facilities have suffered far worse health outcomes than those in public or not-for-profit homes.

- The Atkinson Foundation has offered a set of recommendations to ensure that Employment Insurance actually provides replacement income for the people who need it. And Dennis Gruending offers a look at how the NDP has pushed for vital supports in response to COVID-19 in light of the consistent choices of the Libs and Cons to strip EI of needed capacity.

- Van Badham comments on the absurdity of right-wing politicians continuing to attack unemployed people for failing to find nonexistent work in the midst of a pandemic. And Nick Bonyhady reports that some unions in Australia are seeing their membership grow as workers recognize the need for a voice and a power base in the workplace.

- Finally, Emily Pasiuk reports on the Saskatchewan parents who are increasingly (and justifiably) worried about Scott Moe's decision to reopen schools without giving any meaningful thought to how that can be done safely. And Poverty Free Saskatchewan highlights just a few of the elements of the Saskatchewan Party's pandemic budget which cry out for improvement.

No comments:

Post a Comment