The Broadbent Blog


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

Why we need a practical approach in the basic-income debate



The idea of a basic income guarantee for all Canadians has again moved to the front burner with the House of Commons Finance Committee and the Ontario government supporting further study and experimentation. This could be an important step forward, but incremental reform towards an income tested guarantee for working age Canadians delivered through the tax system will be the best path forward as opposed to more visionary “big bang” solutions.

The concept of a basic income has won support from both the political right and left. For the former, it promises to simplify complex income security programs and to replace most if not all welfare state programs with a single cash payment which would allow individuals to meet their needs in the market. For the latter, it is a means to free people from dependence upon the job market, a tool for social solidarity amidst a rapidly changing world of work, and a means to abolish poverty.

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Broadening the electoral reform discussion


The Liberal government campaigned on electoral reform, promising “that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system” and that they “will make every vote count.” 

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Ed Broadbent: A social democratic life



I first discovered Ed Broadbent’s career while an undergraduate.

As a young student and activist I was instinctively left wing, but hardly well-informed. Like many young political minds I felt a profound, if unspecified, discontent with things and desperately longed for a language to express that discontent.

Then I discovered social democracy.

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Progressives and the Guaranteed Income Debate


Seldom does a social policy idea make headlines for weeks. 

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Large Inheritances, Wealth Inequality, and Real Equality of Opportunity


Thomas Piketty argues in his recent bestseller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, that capitalism has a natural tendency towards ever increasing concentration of wealth, and that inheritances play a major role in perpetuating and increasing inequality. While wealth inequality is much lower than in the late Victorian “Gilded Age”, we are headed in the wrong direction.

Socialists have long argued that the highly unequal ownership of wealth reflects the power of the rich  in the market and in politics, and that governments should seek to equalize wealth through taxation and other means in order to promote social justice and greater equality.

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Remembering Stephen Clarkson


Not a year since the death of Abe Rotstein, another giant from the University of Toronto's political science department has passed away. Stephen Clarkson died this past Sunday at the age of 78.

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The case for fiscal policy to spur growth


Developments in the Canadian economy have forced an important re-thinking of the respective roles of monetary and fiscal policy in supporting stable growth and job creation. But mainstream thinking about monetary policy has evolved much further than that on fiscal policy.

Before the great recession of 2008, fiscal policy had fallen greatly out of favour as a tool for macro economic stabilization. The conventional wisdom was that central banks could adjust short term interest rates to keep the economy growing more less at potential with low inflation, and indeed there was no recession from the early 1990s until the financial crisis of 2008.

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Redistribution of Working Time Should be on the Policy Agenda


More than twenty years ago, back in 1994, the federal government released the report of the Advisory Group on Working Time and Distribution of Work. (Disclosure: I served as the Labour Adviser.) The central message of the report has been pretty much ignored by governments ever since, even though it is more relevant than ever today in a slow growth world where good jobs are hard to find. 

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Budget submission 2016 — charting a progressive agenda


The Broadbent Institute is an independent, non partisan organization that promotes progressive change. Grounded in social democratic values and ideas, the Institute seeks to deepen our democracy, encourage strong action to counter growing economic and social inequality, and fuel a transition to a more innovative and sustainable economy. This submission lays out concrete policy proposals that the government should consider if it is serious about implementing progressive reforms in Budget 2016.

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Canada and the TPP: Continuity or change under the Liberals?


As the new Liberal Government takes over the reins of power from the Harper government it will be interesting to see what has and hasn’t changed in Canada’s approach to international trade policy. The early signs, for those concerned with how new trade and investment agreements impact policy making in the public interest, are cause for concern. 

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