Have business and political leaders decided to co-exist with COVID-19 instead of seeking its curtailment?

Politicians and corporations in the United States and Canada have started to open up their economies and relax strict safeguards against the spread of Covid-19. This is happening even though the coronavirus remains prevalent in both countries. In the U.S., the pandemic still proliferates in several states, where the rates of infection and fatalities continue … Continue reading Have business and political leaders decided to co-exist with COVID-19 instead of seeking its curtailment?

Result of re-opening the economy will not create the “new normal” but just resume the capitalist “old normal”

As some Canadian provinces (and American states) relax their pandemic-driven social and economic constraints,  many thousands of hitherto housebound citizens are flocking to stores, playgrounds, and beaches. Governments are urging these suddenly mobile people to maintain their self-distancing and keep wearing masks in crowded assemblies. But the enforcement of such restrictions is clearly impossible. Now … Continue reading Result of re-opening the economy will not create the “new normal” but just resume the capitalist “old normal”

Corporate attacks on public sector and public employees inflict just as much harm on the private sector 

In the early 1960s, while I was working for the Canadian Labour Congress in Corner Brook, the paper mill unions won a 5% pay raise for the mill’s workers – much to the dismay of the town’s business owners. When I next shopped at our neighbourhood grocery store, the manager complained to me about “overpaid” … Continue reading Corporate attacks on public sector and public employees inflict just as much harm on the private sector 

Instead of squabbling over scarce good jobs and low incomes, we should jointly strive for a fair and equitable economic system

There’s an old African proverb that is becoming uncomfortably apt to apply to many workers and citizens in many countries, including Canada: “As the waterhole becomes smaller, the animals get meaner.” In other words, as the food, water, and other basic needs dwindle, so does the willingness to share what’s left. The merits of community … Continue reading Instead of squabbling over scarce good jobs and low incomes, we should jointly strive for a fair and equitable economic system

Latest report on Canada’s shoddy child care is unlikely to reduce government neglect

A recent report on Canada’s abysmal failure to protect and care for the country’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens – its children – made headlines and stirred ripples of shame and outrage. Compiled by Children First Canada and the O’Brien Institute for Public Health, the study found that children in Canada suffer from shockingly high … Continue reading Latest report on Canada’s shoddy child care is unlikely to reduce government neglect

Official rates of employment overlook poorly-paid jobs, poverty, inequality

The recent Statistics Canada report that Canada’s unemployment rate had dropped to 5.7%, the lowest in four decades, was greeted with great jubilation by politicians, most economists, and the mass media. They welcomed the “good news” that the vast majority of Canadians now have jobs and so presumably are being spared the stress and strain … Continue reading Official rates of employment overlook poorly-paid jobs, poverty, inequality

No excuse for government refusal to improve our inferior social programs and help kids in millions of poverty-stricken families

“Where’s the money coming from?” That’s the question thrown at any individual or group seeking increased funding for health care, education, child care, or public pensions – and, most urgently, for the elimination or at least sharp reduction of the disgracefully high rates of poverty in Canada. The presumption underlying this question is that the … Continue reading No excuse for government refusal to improve our inferior social programs and help kids in millions of poverty-stricken families

Alleviating child poverty would save much more money than it would cost

Oh God! That bread should be so dear, And flesh and blood so cheap! –Thomas Hood, “The Song of the Shirt.” Canadians are fortunate to live in one of the world’s better countries, but we delude ourselves when we claim to be living in the best – or even one of the best. Not when … Continue reading Alleviating child poverty would save much more money than it would cost

Qui bono? Who benefits from government priorities? Usually just the rich and powerful

When it can be said in any country in the world, “My poor are happy; neither ignorance nor stress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want; the taxes are not oppressive . . . When these things can be said, … Continue reading Qui bono? Who benefits from government priorities? Usually just the rich and powerful

Huge wasteful subsidies to corporations deplete funds for social programs

Governments exist to protect the rights of minorities. The rich need no protection. — Wendell Phillips. When it comes to listing countries on the basis of the social services they provide to their citizens compared to the subsidies they heap on their corporations, Canada doesn’t fare well. A recent study from the University of Calgary’s … Continue reading Huge wasteful subsidies to corporations deplete funds for social programs