The Broadbent Blog


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

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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The unsung merits of supply management

supply_management_thumb.jpgYou’d think that milk in Canada was coloured red considering the debate about our dairy industry. 

The way we manage our milk supply is being scrutinized by our trading partners in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. They don’t like how farmers run the dairy industry and want the federal government to let them in to sell us their products. This country’s think tanks and pundits have lined up to lambaste the system.

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Building a national child care program


It is pretty clear that in the often fractious environment of Canadian federalism, Canadians do better when multi-levels of government and political parties work together to put people’s well-being first.

This goes for all sorts of things — environmental protection, trade, securities regulation, infrastructure. Nowhere is it clearer than in the social policy arena of health, welfare and social provision.  

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Oil Sands Development and Canada's Economic Future


Prime Minister Stephen Harper is doubling down on his strong commitment to oil sands development, charging that the opposition's call for greenhouse gas reductions and a thorough environmental review process of pipeline and new energy projects would be an economic disaster.

This approach is wrong on at least three grounds.

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Remembering Jack



It’s hard to believe that, four years ago on Saturday, our friend Jack Layton passed away. I say hard to believe because he still seems very present to me.

The progressive causes and organizations he poured his heart into across the country continue their great work and serve as a living testament to his spirit.

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This election, Canada must tackle disability rights reform


Early into this federal election campaign and, encouragingly, talk of the creation of a Canadians with Disabilities Act has surfaced.

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