Posted by Katrina Miller · October 25, 2019 9:00 AM
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”.
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.
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.
Solidarity has long been a standing principle of social justice advocates, but in the face of the current crisis of inequality and the concentration of power and money, solidarity is an essential ingredient of change. This was the message at a day-long workshop the Power Lab recently convened with a multitude of organizers, from public transit activists based in Scarborough to community benefits advocates based in Jane-Finch, on how to strengthen our collective fight for fair economies.
If there’s one thing top of mind for most folks, it’s the cost of living. Recent polling commissioned by the Broadbent Institute showed that whether it’s housing, healthcare, or simply paying for daily basics like food, Ontarians and the rest of Canada are worried that their largely stagnated incomes just can’t keep up. And they expect their government to start doing much more to make life affordable.
This blogpost appeared in the Globe and Mail on February 18th.
By now, everybody is surely aware that the core commitments of the Liberal federal government are to “build a strong middle-class” and “help those working hard to join it.” But economic progress and social progress over the past three years seems to have been very limited, and it is far from clear that the government is pursuing the best overall strategy to promote higher living standards and greater income equality.
This blogpost originally appeared in the Globe and Mail.
Partly fuelled by reports from conservative think-tanks such as the Fraser Institute, many Canadians believe that they are taxed far too heavily and that the tax “burden” has been rising over time. Recently published Statistics Canada data show, in fact, that most individual Canadians pay very low effective rates of personal income tax, and that the tax “burden” has been falling.
The announced General Motors closures have shown us that we need to explore a new industrial strategy, where public investments gives equity in companies, and where public control can help us preserve manufacturing, and direct it toward just social and environmental outcomes. Above all, we have to realize that it is the people, and not the corporations, who should make the economic decisions which affect them in their daily lives.
The Ontario government’s annual Economic Outlook and Fall Fiscal Update arrives on the heels of a controversial first quarter for Premier Doug Ford’s new Progressive Conservative government. Campaigning solely on a message of reversing the legacy of the Ontario Liberals’ time in government — primarily by reducing government spending and making life more “affordable” for Ontarians, Ford’s first five months has largely resulted in service, democratic and economic disruption, instead of actual cost-savings that would benefit average Ontarians.