Plus ça change... why Stephen Harper's cabinet shuffle disappoints

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Here are five important takeaways from today’s Cabinet shuffle. As the old saying goes, 'plus ca change, plus c'est la même chose'.

1. Economic (In)action Plan

Canadians hoping the government would signal willingness to address pressing economic concerns such as growing inequality, rising youth unemployment, a manufacturing crisis, and the rise of precarious work will be disappointed.

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So much for an independent public service

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This screen grab taken from the Canada Revenue Agency website today promotes a post describing how the "Harper Government's Low-Tax Plan Benefits Canadian Families". It is part of a disturbing pattern of behavior.

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University degrees cushion recent grads against unemployment

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Last month, Statistics Canada released the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) data on Education and Labour, the most recent dataset of its kind since the 2006 Census. The data illustrate that, following the Great Recession of 2008-09, recent university graduates aged 25 to 34 had a more difficult time finding employment than was the case in 2006. Nevertheless, a university degree appears to have provided a cushion for young people during a time of rising unemployment. While the unemployment rate for recent university grads increased between 2006 (pre-Recession) and 2011 (a year of partial recovery from the Recession), it did so at a lower rate than did the unemployment rate for 25-34 year-olds without a university degree, the youth unemployment rate (15-24 year-olds), and the overall national unemployment rate.

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‘The end of men’ in the workplace is far from reality

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Last year there was a lot of discussion of Hanna Rosin’s best-selling book, The End of Men and the Rise of Women. The author was prominently interviewed in a Saturday issue of The Globe and Mail, prefaced by the words: “Women are ahead in academics. They’re jumping up the corporate ladder. And increasingly they’re the family breadwinners.”

Ms. Rosin’s basic thesis is that changes in the economy and the educational system play to the strengths of women, and that power is decisively shifting away from men in the job market. This, in turn, is profoundly changing traditional gender roles.

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