Without a Safety Net: What kind of country do Canadians want?


tay
-1
#1
The Conservatives came to power with a commitment to right-wing, business-friendly policies meant to bring a more free-market focus to Canada, which before moving into 24 Sussex Drive Harper often derided as a tax-addicted welfare state.


In practice, this meant pro-growth economic policies, including billions of dollars in corporate income tax cuts, and an effort to hack away at Ottawa’s often Liberal-created thicket of progressive programs. The government is cutting $5 billion a year from its annual budget.


Spending reductions have to be made — now and in the future — to make social programs sustainable, Harper says. And the Conservatives repeatedly stress that Canada’s economy is outperforming other advanced industrial countries.
But there is increasing concern that Canada’s quality of life is not keeping pace.



The take-home pay of middle-class Canadians has been in a holding pattern for years and the deteriorating employment market is creating a lost generation of jobless youths. More than half of Canadians have no workplace pensions and government measures to narrow the gap between rich and poor — such as income tax policies — are no longer as effective. And doctors warn that, without more federal leadership, the country could wind up with a patchwork quilt of uneven medical services.



“Are governments truly responding to the needs and values of everyday Canadians?” the co-chairs of the University of Waterloo’s Index of Wellbeing asked in an introduction to their 2012 report, which found Canada is falling behind in environmental sustainability, employment prospects and efforts to promote equality in society.



Declining standards of living in North America have shown that the low-tax, less-government-is-better approach that gained popularity in the Thatcher-Reagan era hasn’t worked, says Steven Lewis, a public policy consultant.



“Canada is already more than competitive in terms of tax rates, so there’s no need internationally for us to keep taxes as low as they currently are,” he told the Star. “The question is: Have Canadians become so used to not having strong social programs and high-quality public service that they don’t demand it any more. Have we dumbed down people’s expectations so much that we were going to continue with this?”



But Canadians do seem increasingly inclined to question the wisdom of putting off spending on urban infrastructure, allowing post-secondary education to become very expensive and letting social problems deepen as a result of income inequality, Stevens commented.



“I think people are starting to realize there is no free lunch,” he said.



In a recent national Nanos Research poll, 45 per cent of respondents said Ottawa should invest future budget surpluses in health care, compared to reducing the national debt (37 per cent) or tax cuts (16 per cent).



The survey for the Canadian Health Coalition also found a majority said they would pay higher taxes if it meant costs for home health care or pharmaceuticals would be covered by the government. And 65 per cent disagreed with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s plan to tie increases in federal health-care transfers after 2016 to levels of economic growth rather than continue with a fixed funding formula.


“It is time for the federal government to step up, provide fixed funding and help meet the urgent health care needs of an aging population,” Michael McBane, executive director of the Canadian Health Coalition, commented.



In another survey earlier this year, pollster Frank Graves of EKOS Research found that 70 per cent of those polled said more active government would lead to a better future.



In an analysis, Graves said, “There is growing skepticism to the notion that a minimal state and lower taxes would leave the invisible hand of the market to produce a better economy for all.



“The invisible hand seems to be offering a visible middle finger to frustrated citizens who have tired of these promises of prosperity while their situations have stagnated or declined,” he stated. There is “a clear conviction that the state should have more — and not less — of a role in designing and delivering a better future,” Graves said.



Canadians are being saddled with a bigger bill for future retirement, health-care programs and urban infrastructure needs, said NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair. “Yet thanks to falling incomes, corporate tax giveaways and blatant mismanagement, Canadians are drowning in debt at the same time — household debt, student debt, government debt.” Canadians are being asked to accept “less and less” from Ottawa, he said.



Mulcair said Canada needs to jettison current federal policies in favour of an approach that promotes job-creation, bolsters social programs and makes cleaning up the environment a priority.



“We need to strengthen programs like Employment Insurance that help people in a time of need, but we also need to help people across-the-board,” Mulcair said. “Protect consumers, help people save for retirement and create high-quality jobs.”

He said it’s possible to “build an economy that’s fairer, greener and more prosperous for all Canadians.”



Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says the country’s most pressing problem is to re-establish the link between pro-growth economic policies and a better life for average Canadians.



“Governments of all political stripes have been elected and re-elected, here in Canada and elsewhere, on a similar economic platform: Openness to trade, fiscal discipline, tax competitiveness, investment in skills, research, and infrastructure.”



But that formula currently is not translating into a better standard of living for most people in this country, he said.



“Canadians now feel it is more likely that they will fall out of the middle class into poverty, rather than rise out of poverty into the middle class,” Trudeau said in a speech several months ago.



Canada needs a renewal of the belief that the country can co-operate on ambitious social and economic goals, he said.


He is calling for Ottawa to work more closely with the provinces on national issues and for the creation of Canadian energy strategy in which the provinces work together on energy regulation, developing new markets for Canadian resource sales and research and development. He also says the country needs a national drive to improve education.



“We should have an ambitious target that would lift our post-secondary education attainment rate from 50 per cent to 70 per cent,” he said, adding that there should also be “more apprenticeships, more co-op placements and more resources for training.”



The Conservatives continue to put great weight on reducing the $17.9-billion federal deficit by trimming government spending while keeping taxes at the current level. “Canadians work hard for their money. And we know families are better placed to make spending decisions than governments,” the Harper government declared in the Oct. 16 speech from the throne.



The government also intends to pursue international trade agreements, gain better access for natural resource exports and tailor job-training programs to eliminate what it says is the contradictory situation where many Canadians are out of work while businesses say they can’t fill job vacancies.



“Canada has one of the best-educated workforces in the world, but there are too many people without jobs and too many jobs without people,” the throne speech said.













WITHOUT A SAFETY NET: THE SERIES






PART 1: So long, security — social programs long valued by Canadians have been slowly disappearing under the Harper government.



PART 2: Cuts and secrecy — a look at how such sweeping change has been made so quietly.



PART 3: Back to the future — with more change on the horizon, what kind of Canada will we be left with?



 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
+1
#2
There has to be a "safety net" for certain segments including children, mentally and physically infirm and some seniors. There are enough filthy rich in the country to fund a safety net at this level.
 
Walter
+2 / -1
#3
Drivel.
 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
+4
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by WalterView Post

Drivel.


Sounds like a case of.............. "F**k you, Jack, I'm alright" -
 
petros
+2
#5
The best way to avoid a safety net: Don't get on the trapeze.
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
+2
#6
You mean, even if it's your God-given and inalienable right?
 
Cliffy
Free Thinker
+6
#7  Top Rated Post
 
taxslave
No Party Affiliation
+4
#8
The first thing that all governments have to do is put a stop to deficit financing and get out of debt. Households must do the same. The reason most people feel they are no longer middle class is because they have moved the goal posts with so much cheap credit and a constant barrage of adds telling you you won't be happy until you have a house, a cottage , two cars in the driveway, at least one computer, smart phone and TV for each person and a family vacation to a destination resort for each season. Plus at least a month's paid vacation.
Oh and the government must provide all possible services for all people at no cost.
Contrary to what the article claims there are lots of good jobs going begging for warm bodies they just are not all in the traditional areas where people want to live.
 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
+3
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslaveView Post

The first thing that all governments have to do is put a stop to deficit financing and get out of debt. Households must do the same. The reason most people feel they are no longer middle class is because they have moved the goal posts with so much cheap credit and a constant barrage of adds telling you you won't be happy until you have a house, a cottage , two cars in the driveway, at least one computer, smart phone and TV for each person and a family vacation to a destination resort for each season. Plus at least a month's paid vacation.
Oh and the government must provide all possible services for all people at no cost.
Contrary to what the article claims there are lots of good jobs going begging for warm bodies they just are not all in the traditional areas where people want to live.


The most intelligent post this morning. Close the gap between the filthy rich and the dirt poor.
 
petros
+1
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

You mean, even if it's your God-given and inalienable right?

To get on a trapeze?

Quote: Originally Posted by JLMView Post

The most intelligent post this morning. Close the gap between the filthy rich and the dirt poor.

The dirt poor need to stop buying beer, weed and data.
 
taxslave
No Party Affiliation
#11
Depends a lot on your definition of poor. I do know people without money and are quite happy about it. Got a small piece of land and grow most of what they need and don't much care about what so many insist they must own.
 
petros
+1
#12
Stinky hippys.
 
taxslave
No Party Affiliation
+1
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Stinky hippys.

This is the wet coast. It rains lots. Keeps them clean.
 
petros
#14
Rain is full of molds, mildews and bacteria.
 
taxslave
No Party Affiliation
+1
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Rain is full of molds, mildews and bacteria.

They all drown.
 
petros
#16
The hippys? That's why they don't wash?
 
taxslave
No Party Affiliation
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

The hippys? That's why they don't wash?

Actually a lot of the hippies got taxed out of their island paradises. Especially on the southern gulf islands when the idle rich decided this would be a good place to retire. A few million dollar houses and there goes the neighbouhood.
 
petros
#18
It's those 1%ers getting you down?
 
taxslave
No Party Affiliation
+1
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

It's those 1%ers getting you down?

The poor don't bother me. It's the idle rich that are irritating. They don't want any industry that provides good paying jobs anywhere near them.
 
petros
+1
#20
I wouldn't want industry in a residential area either.

That's why we having zoning.
 
Spade
Free Thinker
+1
#21
Should I ever die, and should there be Elysian Fields, I would like them to be like Canada, but with no off-key choirs or harpers.
 
taxslave
No Party Affiliation
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

I wouldn't want industry in a residential area either.

That's why we having zoning.

The problem is much of this has been industry for decades before we had zoning. These people and I use the term loosely are much like the morons that buy a house under the flight path at the airport and then complain about the noise. I once met an idiot near Chilliwack that bought a house in a subdivision next to a pig farm that was complaining about the smell and wanted the farm shut down.
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

To get on a trapeze?

Among other things

Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

The dirt poor need to stop buying beer, weed and data.

Those are rights... *See Insight in YVR
 
petros
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

Among other things



Those are rights... *See Insight in YVR

MTL is opening 4 injection sites. I'd rather have a nonprofit supplying safe site than keep paying out of pocket for the spread of disease shooting up in an alley costs.

Quote: Originally Posted by taxslaveView Post

The problem is much of this has been industry for decades before we had zoning. These people and I use the term loosely are much like the morons that buy a house under the flight path at the airport and then complain about the noise. I once met an idiot near Chilliwack that bought a house in a subdivision next to a pig farm that was complaining about the smell and wanted the farm shut down.

The entire valley reeks. You can't get away from it. Besides, since when has BC had industry?
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
#25
So, what that says to me is that use of these narcotics are border-line rights
 
Spade
Free Thinker
#26

Chris Hedges The Absurdity of American Empire FULL INTERVIEW - YouTube

 
petros
#27
Would they be junkies if they didn't have to self medicate thanks to health services cuts
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
#28
So, all junkies were forced into that choice because of Universal Healthcare?
 
petros
#29
Yup if you choose to use a roller to paint the picture of a junkie.

If they are lacking health services you can't call it Universal can you?
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
#30
I see.. So, now that we'ves established that the healthcare system is solely responsible for driving people to drugs, is teh solution to rid ourselves of Universal healthcare?
 

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