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.

Reasons for hope in 2020



From a progressive point of view, the last days of the year were…less than ideal.  Between Conservative re-election and Brexit in the UK, climate change-linked fires in Australia and a failure of global leadership at the Madrid climate change conference, Jason Kenney and his minions on a rampage and Trump and more Trump, I’m not sorry to see the back of 2019.

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Fair Taxes and Global Capitalism

In recent years, progressives and social democrats have begun to embrace a much bolder tax fairness agenda than was the case even five years ago. This is especially true in the United States where Democratic Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have both made the case for a significant tax on large holdings of wealth, the closure of personal tax loopholes for investment income such as stock options, and serious corporate tax reform. In the 2019 federal election, the NDP similarly called for a wealth tax, higher taxation of capital gains in the personal income tax system, and a higher corporate tax rate.

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Building Health: Canada’s opportunity to improve housing affordability

Decent, safe, and affordable housing is an absolute foundation for healthy lives. Research has shown the critical links between housing and health. Without appropriate and secure housing, our health suffers, our mental health deteriorates, we are more stressed. Without affordable housing we may need to skip on food or medications in order to pay the rent. Every single person requires affordable housing in order to be healthy, and yet so many struggle to find decent housing in Canada, one of the richest countries in the world.

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National pharmacare will make life more affordable



Brittany Andrew-Amofah is the Broadbent Institute's Senior Policy and Research Analyst and Rebecca Cheff is a Researcher at the Welleslesy Institute.


What would you do if you had to make the decision between paying for prescription medications and paying the rent? Sadly, too many Canadians are faced with this impossible dilemma every day. In our first blog in this series, we wrote about the ‘affordability anxiety’ that Canadians face as they make everyday choices that impact their health and well-being. In this blog, we look at how the cost of medication feeds into affordability.

On average, Canadian families spend $450 per year out-of-pocket on prescribed medications. We know medication costs can be unaffordable, sometimes unexpected, and can eat away at family budgets for other important expenses, like groceries, housing costs, or emergency savings. 

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Submission to the B.C. Government on Accessibility Legislation

The BC Government announced its commitment to “developing new laws, standards, and policies to better support” disabled people “to live with dignity and to meaningfully participate in their communities.” To help inform this process, the Broadbent commissioned a submission from writer and consultant, Gabrielle Peters, on the historical and contemporary contexts of the experiences of disabled people in B.C. and provided a guideline and list of recommendations for the province's impending disability framework. 

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The Short-Sighted Vision of Conservative Educational Policy

Public education is the foundation of Canadian society. Over the past two centuries, the institution has developed into rite of passage for children and youth, playing an integral role in their career development and meaningful participation in democratic life. 

Despite wide-spread support for a publicly funded education system, education funding in provinces such as Ontario, Alberta, and Saskatchewan is the target of short-sighted attacks by current Conservative governments, the effects of which could impact a whole generation of students. 

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Voters look left to solve affordability concerns

There is no doubt that cost of living concerns loomed large during Canada’s federal election. Historically, economic angst has been fertile ground for a standard Conservative pitch to the electorate – one that promises to end government waste and interference, lower taxes, and put money back in our pockets so that we can seek out our own path to success. That seems to have been Andrew Scheer’s play, summed up nicely in his campaign slogan “It’s time for you to get ahead”. 

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The Conservative Platform – Tax Cuts for the Affluent, Austerity for the Many

The Conservative platform put forward by Andrew Scheer delivers tax cuts for the relatively affluent, to be paid for by largely unspecified cuts to spending on social programs and public services. That is a poor deal for ordinary working families who get much more each year in program benefits like public health care and post-secondary education and child benefits and public pensions than they pay for in personal income taxes.

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The Affordability Crisis and the 2019 Election

In March, the Broadbent Institute commissioned a study from Abacus Data to explore how Canadians feel about present-day affordability concerns. Highlights of its findings paints a bleak picture:  

  • 1 in 4 Canadians say that issues such as money, taxes and housing are keeping them up at night; 

  • Nearly 60 percent ranked issues tied to cost of living (wages, taxes, healthcare) as their top issues heading into the federal election; 

  • Found there was a direct correlation between household income and concern about the cost of living; and, 

  • When asked what would make a difference to make life more affordable, a majority felt that covering more under public health care such as dental, prescriptions, and home care, as well as access to decent work and wages would be most helpful. 

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Globalization, Democracy and Robert Kuttner

Remarks delivered at the Group of 78 Annual Policy Conference, Ottawa, Sep. 27, 2019 by Ed Broadbent, Chair of the Broadbent Institute. 

It is my pleasure tonight to make some introductory comments to this conference and in particular to introduce Robert Kuttner, a distinguished academic and journalist who is one of America’s leading public intellectuals.

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