Due to the strong lobbying efforts of labour and social activists, Canada's minimum wage floor is rising significantly from the current level of between $11 and $12 per hour depending upon the province. A new norm of $15 per hour will be in place, in Alberta by October, 2018, in Ontario by January, 2019, and very likely in British Columbia under the terms of the NDP-Green Party agreement.
The major challenge for the federal government in the budget was to maintain its commitment to progressive social and economic policies in the face of criticism from the right for its supposedly profligate fiscal policies and unwise promises to make the tax system more progressive. The government was also urged to trim its sails in the face of pending tax cuts in the United States.
Experts have roundly criticized BC Premier Christy Clark’s recent home ownership grant policy. A key part of the negative reaction has been based on fears that interest free grants will increase housing prices and drive a further wedge between incomes and housing costs, a divide already plaguing the Vancouver and lower mainland markets.
On January 20, a dangerous con-man took high office in the United States.
Openly trading in hate while ushering in more inequality will be Donald Trump’s MO for the next four years. While the far right gains ground globally, locally we’re not immune. It is a troubling moment for progressives. It’s also an opportunity to respond and to act.
It is no secret that big, global cities like London and New York are highly unequal and display harsh extremes of wealth and poverty. This is increasingly true of Canada's largest cities, as shown by recently released Statistics Canada data on the geographical distribution of high income earners.
On September 22 and 23, the Broadbent Institute hosted Progress Summit BC to chart a progressive path forward for the province in this critical election year. The Summit kicked off with a discussion about the co-operative economy in BC, and how that model can be expanded and advanced in the decades ahead. Watch the video of Vancity CEO Tamara Vrooman in conversation with Janet Austin, CEO of YWCA for Metro Vancouver.
A year has passed since the closing event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Ottawa — a brief moment of self-reflection that punctured through a stubborn, willful and long-standing national blindness.