The Broadbent Blog


Disclaimer: the opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Institute.

Government investment can reverse Canada's business innovation deficit


There has been a lot of talk during the federal election campaign about how to create more good, “middle-class” jobs. But there has been only limited recognition of the need for a much more active government role if we are to build the more innovative and sustainable economy we need to create such jobs.

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Canada's childcare debate through Finnish eyes


As an early childhood researcher newly arrived from Finland, the current Canadian debate about universal childcare has been somewhat baffling.

In Finland, universal early childhood education and childcare (ECEC) means that if a child's parents want her/him to attend, the municipality in which they live is obliged to provide them with a place irrespective of the parents’ work/life situation. 

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Making molehills out of mountains


Pity the poor pundits this ridiculously long election season.

The election-industrial complex has never revved this hot for so long, and some of its practitioners are starting to show the strain from feeding the 24-hour news beast. As time wears on two conflicting and equally erroneous themes are front and centre, each making their own unfortunate contribution to the campaign murk.

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Time to move beyond "tough on crime" rhetoric


Not since Governor Michael Dukakis’ 1988 presidential bid was derailed by attack ads about the dangerous inmate Willie Horton being released into the community has any well-briefed politician dared not to be “tough on crime.”  

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The fight for universal child care


My grandmother used to tell me that "nothing worth doing ever comes easy."

Well, a national, quality, affordable child care program is unquestionably worth doing. And come easy it won't.

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Labour market policy is about more than unemployment


When we talk about jobs during the current election campaign, we should be concerned about both the short term and the next few years. We badly need to create jobs now, and also need better labour market policies to avoid emerging skills shortages.

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Two takes on Stephen Harper


Globe and Mail journalist John Ibbitson's new book, Stephen Harper, is well-written and certainly worth reading in the run-up to the federal election.

While there are no major new revelations (most of the insiders and his few personal friends and confidants seem to have kept quiet), it usefully pulls together a lot of contemporary history, especially in the first half of the book which covers the period before Harper became Prime Minister in 2006. This reminds us that Harper was always much more of a right-wing ideologue than a conservative populist like Preston Manning in terms of his agenda and sensibilities, and always supremely self-confident in his own ideas. 

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Stephen Harper's abhorrent record on refugees and immigration


Stephen Harper’s Conservatives took power in 2006. For some 30 years prior, Canada’s immigration system was consistently viewed as of the most welcoming and generous in the world. Although not without growing pains, Canada once worked to accommodate the cultural, religious and ethnic diversity that travelled with immigrants to Canada. After 10 years of Conservative rule, the immigration climate in Canada is now darker and more exclusive than it has been since the 1970s. 

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On inequality, wages and bargaining power matter


The current federal election is being fought against a backdrop of deepening inequality and the social problems that accompany it.  Promises to “make things better” will no doubt be uttered throughout the campaign.  

As we mark another labour day, it is important to remain discerning of the policies on offer.  

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The great shrinkage: Fiscal capacity under Stephen Harper


Prime Minister Stephen Harper's economic record since taking office in 2006  is at the centre of debate in the current federal election campaign. Arguably his signature achievement is to have radically reduced the fiscal capacity of the federal government, and with it, the broader role of government in advancing the economic and social welfare of Canadians.

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