August 2013

Labour Day: we can have the kind of Canada we want

The last long weekend of summer is upon us. 

On Monday, Canadians from coast to coast will enjoy Labour Day, a last dash of sun (we hope) before the days quickly shorten and the leaves begin to transform. 

Labour Day, of course, is much more than a statutory holiday; welcome time off at the turn of the season. It’s a day set aside to acknowledge the triumphs of worker’s rights and commemorate what has been achieved through the collective efforts of many generations of Canadians....

Public safety must trump red tape-cutting

When it comes to food, drug and consumer-product safety, the storage and transportation of hazardous goods, and the control of pollutants that threaten human health and the environment, Canadians would almost universally agree that governments should regulate business to ensure that public health and safety always comes first. This is particularly true in the aftermath of preventable human tragedies such as that at Lac-Mégantic.

The causes of the derailment and explosion of the 72-car train of hazardous goods operated by the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway are still being...

Race, class and lessons from Detroit

Detroit's recent bankruptcy filing led me to re-read a fine award-winning book by Thomas J. Sugrue, “The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit.” The basic argument of the book is that the crisis of that city  – now a mainly black, overwhelmingly poor city, a fraction of its former size and a shadow of its former magnificence  – is deeply rooted in persistent discrimination against blacks at the workplace and in housing.