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.

Budget 2013: Canada needs productivity and sustainability

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If there is one priority for the budget, it should be to look beyond the immediate fiscal issues and set a clear direction to a new economy based upon high productivity and environmental sustainability.

The Harper government’s single-minded focus on unprocessed resource extraction for export as the key driver of growth is closely related to the loss of manufacturing jobs, our high trade deficit, continued very high unemployment, growing regional tensions, the continued marginalization of First Nations; and Canada’s failure to deal with the urgent challenge of global climate change.

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Proposing a green economic direction in the face of conservative confusion

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In the lead-up to the 2013 budget it is worthwhile recalling the Conservatives’ economic record thus far. Faced with the 2008 economic bust, and a potential ouster from government, the Conservatives were eventually forced into providing “economic stimulus” after the Liberals rejected a coalition with the NDP.

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It’s time for Ottawa to walk the talk on skills training

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Finance Minister Jim Flaherty thinks the provinces are wasting $2-billion in federal funding to support worker training, and says skills training will be “a priority of the budget.”

While employers tend to exaggerate the real extent of skills and labour shortages, there is no doubt that dealing with the growing issue of “jobs without people” is of central importance.

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Introducing our first Broadbent Fellow: Brendan Haley

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At the Broadbent Institute, we’re working hard to develop cutting-edge ideas for a more equal Canada. At the core of this project, we need a robust discussion about the kind of Canada we want. That’s why we’re proud to introduce Brendan Haley as our first Broadbent Fellow.

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Ahead of 2013 budget, Flaherty should be serious about investing in public infrastructure

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Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is said to be considering extending funding for public infrastructure investment in his forthcoming budget, as urged by the Official Opposition, the provinces and municipalities. Let’s hope, for the sake of jobs and the environment, this is a significant, long-term initiative.

On the eve of the 2013 federal and provincial budget season, public sector austerity is still the order of the day, even though the economy is rapidly slowing down.

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Federal Government Must Ensure Citizens Have Equal Access to Services

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Canada is one of the most decentralized federations in the world. Public services (notably health, education at all levels, social services such as elder care, and local services) are delivered and financed primarily by provincial and municipal governments.

The Canadian Constitution states that the provinces should have sufficient resources to provide “reasonably comparable services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation.”

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Getting the facts straight: EI changes hurt unemployed workers

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In the last federal budget (Chapter 3.3), the federal government tried to sell its changes to Employment Insurance by describing how some hypothetical workers would benefit.

Unfortunately, the scenarios they chose were so unrealistic that most workers wouldn't recognize them. 

Instead, let's see how the changes that have been made impact real-world working Canadians.

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How more tax on the super-rich will help ease income inequality

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Congratulations to Statistics Canada for providing an update on top incomes in Canada, and for launching two new CANSIM tables allowing researchers to dig into the details.

While the income share of the top 1 per cent has slipped slightly since the Great Recession – likely due in large part to the reduced value of exercised stock options – their share of all income (10.6 per cent in 2010) still stands well above the low of about 7 per cent that was reached in the early 1980s.

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David McNally: Addressing Inequality by Rebuilding the Labour Movement

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While growing social inequality is the product of a multi-pronged economic, political and cultural offensive by corporate power across the neoliberal era, the systematic weakening of trade unions looms especially large in the story. After all, unions have served as the most basic organizations for protecting and improving the wages and benefits of working people (including the unorganized). It is hard to see, therefore, how we will reverse the growing inequality gap without a considerable revitalization of the union movement.

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Andrew Jackson: The Distribution of Wealth: Implications for the Neo Liberal Justification for Economic Inequality

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Nobel Prize winning economist and political theorist Amartya Sen points out that “every normative theory of social arrangements that has at all stood the test of time seems to demand equality of something – something that is regarded as particularly important in that theory.” Even extreme neo liberals such as Robert Nozick who reject the goal of distributive justice and favour a maximum role for free markets and a minimum role for democratic governments demand equality of individual rights to freely participate in an economy based upon predominantly private ownership of property and free markets. Capitalism is all about equal access to individual freedom to deploy labour and capital as individuals see fit, as opposed to pre liberal economic systems based upon slavery and serfdom.

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