Right-wing commentators like to claim that unions undermine good economic performance. But respected organizations such as the OECD, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have shown this isn’t so. They have recognized that unions promote more equitable societies, and that countries with strong unions have less extremes of rich and poor, stronger public services and social safety nets, without adversely affecting good economic performance.
So why are Conservatives in Ottawa and the provinces disturbingly adopting the anti-union rhetoric of the American right?
"Tom Kent made an invaluable contribution to the Canada, with a major role in crafting and promoting social policies like the Canada Pension Plan and medicare. Whatever his political affiliations were during parts of his career, Tom Kent was above all else a social democrat. I came to know him well in the last decade. We shared a great deal politically and intellectually. We also became friends. When the Broadbent Institute was announced, he immediately offered to write a paper on social democracy and Canadian federalism, which at the age of 89, he delivered two weeks later, not long before he died. We are posting it here, just as he wrote it. The ideas, of course, are his own. No doubt other contributors to the Broadbent Institute’s discussions will, as always in such complex matters, disagree with some of what he says. But Tom Kent was an extraordinary Canadian and a committed social democrat, whose work we are pleased and proud to share with you."
Stephen Harper is often portrayed by his supporters as a pragmatist, a man who simply wants to do what works. But the evidence suggests that the “major transformation” he promised at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January is aimed in a more radical direction.