The Broadbent Blog


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

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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When Income Tax Cuts Leave You Worse Off

The competing personal income tax cuts proposed by the Liberal and Conservative parties in this federal election are almost identical in terms of goals and re-distributive impact, and neither advance a truly progressive agenda.

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Policy Brief: National Housing Strategy

As the October federal election approaches, housing continues to be one of the critical issues Canadian face.  After over 20 years of minimal attention on the issue, the federal government has finally re-engaged with housing policy and funding. While much jurisdictional authority for housing provision and regulation lies with provincial governments, the federal government, nonetheless, can leverage significant affordable housing infrastructure through its spending powers. Indeed, federal leadership in ensuring affordable housing has been key in the past.  Yet, housing experts worry the current initiative promises too little, to be delivered tomorrow and not today. 

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A Green New Deal, Trade and Investment Deals and Canadian Jobs

Many Canadians have, with good reason, embraced the idea of a Green New Deal. Supporters of the idea rightly say that dealing with the global climate crisis cannot be separated from the pursuit of social and economic justice. They emphasize that, with strong government leadership, a rapid transition away from the old carbon economy can generate many good new jobs in areas like renewable energy and energy conservation such that no workers need be left behind.

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Shifting to the Centre is No Way to Fight Right-Wing Populism

Of late, many mainstream Canadian media pundits have sided with centrist Democrats in the United States to argue that a left-wing Democratic nominee would lead to the re-election of President Donald Trump. For example, Konrad Yakabuski wrote in the Globe and Mail on August 2 that “their (Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) hate-on for private enterprise has cut them off from the mainstream United States. Instead, they seem to have embarked on a kind of space odyssey 2020.”

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Securitization and the Muslim community in Canada

The recent passage of Bill 21 in Quebec, which effectively bans teachers and other provincial employees from wearing the hijab, continues in the legacy of discriminatory policy that is based on the securitization of Muslims in Canada. Put simply, expressions of Muslim identity are portrayed as a threat to security in Western societies, including Canada. Such Islamophobic overtures have been catapulted into the public discourse in recent years with the mainstreaming of right-wing political ideas that rest on the demonization of Muslims. As political leaders verbalize (unfounded) anxiety around cultural and political assertions by Canadian Muslims, the community continues to experience elevated levels of anti-Muslim hate and violence. The Quebec City mosque shooting is among the deadliest incidences of domestic terrorism in Canada. Hate crime statistics between 2016 and 2017 indicate a 151% increase in hate crimes targeting Muslims

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Data Analysis: Millennials and Growing Inequality

In May, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden caused a small media storm when comments he made that he had no empathy for millennials who argue they face more difficult economic circumstances than previous generations circulated on social media. Biden was only the most recent public figure to weigh in on what’s become a hot topic over the past few years.

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