The Broadbent Blog

THE HUB FOR CANADA’S LEADING PROGRESSIVE VOICES.

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

Rethinking the role of faith in Canada's progressive movement

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The recent death of Fred Phelps, the infamous anti-gay activist and leader for many years of the independent Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas, is perhaps an appropriate occasion to reflect on the damaging way the media reinforced and amplified an already misleading stereotype of what Christians in the public square are like. He provided a certain shock value for those who couldn’t resist the temptation to exploit him as a caricature of a relationship between faith and politics that they objected to. The fact that all kinds of Christians belong to churches that take progressive stands on many issues just does not seem to be as interesting.

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Falling participation rate a sign of a soft job market

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A close look at today's labour force numbers indicates that fewer Canadians in all age groups are either working or are unemployed and actively seeking work.

While it is influenced by demographic trends such as an aging population, a falling participation rate is generally a sign that people have given up looking for jobs due to a low level of hiring by employers.

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The power of social media in the gay rights movement

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The importance of the recent sea change in American public opinion on marriage equality is likely lost on many Canadians.

Canada has been on the cutting edge of marriage equality and a leader in protecting the fundamental rights of the LGBT community. Now 10 years since marriage equality was legalized here, the tide is turning in America.

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Executive Director Rick Smith's closing comments at the Progress Summit

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Bon matin tout le monde.

What a fantastic energizing weekend it has been. Many important conversations. New friends. Lots of great ideas to act on.

Let me thank our speakers, our staff, our volunteers, and all of you for your active engagement. Je veux remercier l’équipe extrêmement dévoué de l’Institut Broadbent. Il m’est un grand honneur de travailler à vos côtés.

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Full speech: Julia Gillard addresses the Progress Summit

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Check against delivery.

Julia Gillard
Ottawa; Saturday, March 29, 2014

Thank you Ed for that kind introduction and thanks to you, Rick, the Board and staff of the Broadbent Institute for the invitation to speak today.

In my home town in Australia, Adelaide, it is going to be 32 degrees today but the warmth of the welcome I have received has compensated for the difference between that and the freezing Ottawa air. So I am simply delighted to be here to join you for this important event.

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Jim Flaherty’s Keynesian moment, and its mixed results

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Former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will be rightly remembered for the 2009 federal Budget which provided much-needed fiscal stimulus to boost a crisis-ridden Canadian economy and helped set the stage for recovery.

While the government was reluctant to act, domestic political as well as international pressure from the G20 forced even strict fiscal conservatives such as Prime Minister Harper and Minister Flaherty to find their inner Keynes.

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Introducing the Leadership Fellows

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The Broadbent Institute champions progressive change. Whether it’s our eagle-eyed (and sharp-tongued) colleagues at PressProgress publishing hard-hitting news and analysis, or our Policy Fellows producing creative and practical policy ideas, we lend our efforts every day to advance progressive issues.

But let’s face it – we also need more champions.

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Canada falling behind on innovation

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While we tend to celebrate private entrepreneurship, the state is crucially important in driving and shaping innovation. The question of which economies will thrive and which will lag behind on innovation has a lot to do with sound public policy.

With an economy historically reliant on natural resources and one with high rates of foreign ownership, the role government plays is even more important for Canada.

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Echoes of Walkerton in Environment Canada cuts

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Albert Einstein’s well-known definition of insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” is unsettlingly relevant to a new round of federal government cuts. The latest slashing of Environment Canada, which by 2016 will have half the budget it had in 2007, calls to mind a series of deep cuts to environmental protections in Ontario in the late 1990s. Some of the players are even the same, so they cannot reasonably claim to be ignorant of the tragic consequences.

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How the (Un)Fair Elections Act would play out on the ground

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The perception that a Conservative party agenda is written into the so-called ‘Fair Elections Act’ has the national media and pundits talking. And for good reason. In light of recent Conservative run-ins with Elections Canada and the RCMP, the skepticism towards the changes to the powers of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) and the Commissioner of Elections Canada are understandable

While the media focus on these elements of the Act is warranted, there are other aspects of the bill that are equally troubling because of their potential effects on local campaigns in Electoral Districts (EDs) across the country.

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