Canada needs a Green New Deal
With every new decision to support fossil fuel infrastructure and corporate restructuring in the name of profit, the scale of the alternative plan to counter these actions needs to become more ambitious and far-reaching. A Green New Deal can put workers and the environment at the centre of economic policy and ensure that the necessary transformation reaches all areas of people’s lives.
Trudeau’s ‘progressive’ trade agenda is anything but
Mass protests against free-trade agreements have died off since the days of the annual confrontations in the aughts, but this is at least in part because progress on opening trade globally appears to have stalled. In recent years, international trade volumes relative to global GDP even fell substantially for the first time in decades. Canada, however, has pushed back against this tide over the past few years, signing several major new pacts.
Lessons from the 70th birthday of the National Health Service
This summer marks the 70th anniversary of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS). When it was established in 1948, the NHS was the world’s first universal healthcare system. It quickly became a beacon of what a decommodified public service could be: open to all, free at the point of service and paid out of taxes. Healthcare was dispensed according to need and funded according to ability to pay.
The Ontario election isn’t about deficits, and that’s a good thing
How big is your deficit? This Ontario election, no one seems to care. There is more and more light sneaking through the widening cracks in Canada’s austerity consensus. Hopefully, it will shine not only on the latest vote-buying scandal or bout of red-baiting but hit upon some of the big questions of economic policy. Here, the relevant question is not “how big is your deficit,” but “who will it benefit?” Or, put most expansively, “how are you going to transform the economy?”
For the 150th, let’s also re-make our economic myths
Every society needs its myths. But as much as myths and stories can empower, they can also be damaging. Here are three economic myths about Canada that could use re-writing. The first economic myth to remake is that we are “hewers of wood and drawers of water” — or, in more contemporary terms, extractors of some of the dirtiest fossil fuels known to humankind.
Economic power to the people!
Sadly little known today, Robinson was a radical, defiantly outside the mainstream. She engaged the orthodoxy of her day in fiery debates, defending the core belief that the free-market profit system was no way to organize the economy and society. In this, Robinson was very much like the Marxist economists of her day, although she was explicit that she was not a Marxist.
How not to fund infrastructure
Recycling is supposed to be a good thing, so when the federal Liberals quietly announced that “asset recycling” would be part of their strategy for meeting their much-ballyhooed infrastructure promises, not many eyebrows were raised. They should have been. Asset recycling is an obscure code word for selling our public goods for private profit. It’s privatization by another name.
Could Bernie Sanders’ surge be the end of Tom Mulcair?
The point is not to copy or even approximate the specifics of the Sanders campaign here in Canada. A revitalized left that responds to the problems the vast majority of us face in one way or another, and that recognizes the economy as a playground for elites, can reignite a political movement to take back power from elites across the board.
Deficit discussion overshadows economic debate Canada needs
Today’s economic debate will likely stay in a rut well worn by decades of right-wing austerity and its victory in the sphere of ideas. At the same time, inequality and stagnation have created fertile ground to spark new ideas. Who will ignite them?
Canada’s Austerity Consensus
A consensus that has emerged over decades will not be broken easily. While putting a single man’s face to it may be useful to start the conversation, we will need to go further, examining the systemic challenges that prevent a parting with austerity — whether the slow-simmering kind Canadians are now experiencing, or sharper variants.
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