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The Progressive Economics Forum: Canada’s National Housing Strategy Consultations

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post about Canada’s National Housing Strategy consultations.  The link to the blog post is here. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -In Canada, public social spending as a percentage of our GDP is well below the OECD average. […] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Canada’s National Housing Strategy Consultations

The Progressive Economics Forum: Federal Income Support for Low-Income Seniors

Over at the Behind the Numbers web site, Allan Moscovitch, David Macdonald and I have a blog post titled “Ten Things to Know About Federal Income Support for Low-Income Seniors in Canada.” The blog post argues—among other things—that if the age of eligibility for Old Age Security were to move from 65 to 67, the […] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Federal Income Support for Low-Income Seniors

The Progressive Economics Forum: Corporate rights masquerading as trade (again)

Anti-democratic investor rights deals are in the news again, thanks partly to a Communications Workers of America & Trade Justice Network event that brought Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz to Canada. Professor Stiglitz pronounced the Trans-Pacific Partnership the “worst trade deal ever”, adding that provisions allowing multi-nationals to sue governments are particularly toxic. Professor […] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Corporate rights masquerading as trade (again)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Fiscal and Economic Record of Political Parties

A version of this originally appeared in rabble.

Conservative ads have focused on the NDP’s fiscal and economic record, claiming that the “NDP Can’t Manage Money”. These include another round of staged interviews with people who repeat “the NDP can’t manage money”, “the cost of their plans is huge”, that “business will be under attack”, . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Fiscal and Economic Record of Political Parties

Bill Longstaff: Vote CBC

The CBC, our national broadcaster, is usually justified on the basis of two fundamentally important services it provides: it serves as stage for Canadian culture and it unites a broad, diverse country. I suggest it serves us in yet another way that is equally important: it is the only national mass medium that is not . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Vote CBC

A Different Point of View....: Strong voter registration campaign could mean the end for Harper

The primary objective of Stephen Harper’s absurdly-named Fair Elections Act  is to prevent hundreds-of-thousands of Canadians from voting for the NDP, Liberals, Greens, etc.

The Conservatives are, in effect, “cheating” the electoral process again, just as blatantly as in the past. They know that a large number of people – students, marginalized people and First Nations – will have a hard time voting because of the changes. And they know those people would not likely vote Conservative.

Even though the Conservatives are trailing in the polls, it’s much too soon to say they will lose the election. Harper’s gang of strategists and pollsters have masterminded their way to victory three times, overcoming tough odds each time.

But efforts to help people to register to vote are not as strong as they could be. There needs to be close co-operation among groups to make sure that as many people as possible – particularly people in some 70 ridings where the Conservatives are vulnerable – have the identification they need to vote.

Alexie Stephens is one of  Leadnow’s staff members
 working to defeat the Conservatives. 

The Council of Canadians contends that some 770,000 people may have a difficult time voting because of the changes to the Act. Included are 400,000 people who used the voter ID card in 2011 and believe that’s all they need this time; 250,000 people who will move during the election period; and 120,000 who used vouching in 2011.

Harper ‘scheme’ must be stopped

If many of those 770,000 people are unable to vote, the Conservatives could win a crucial number of closely contested seats. Vote splitting among New Democrats, Liberal and Greens – similar to what occurred in 2011 – could also result in another Harper government.

A second factor could prevent many people from voting. Voting was less complicated when Elections Canada enumerators went door-to-door registering voters and explaining where to vote, a process that was eliminated in 1997. Now voter information is compiled from tax records, which are less reliable.

“ It’s all part of voter suppression, making it as complicated as possible so people will just throw up their hands and stay home,” says Stephanie Sydiaha, a Saskatoon activist working on registering voters.

Public interest organizations are responding to the challenge, hoping to play a leading role in defeating the Conservatives.

Dozens of groups want to “knock off” the Conservatives, including well-staffed NGOs, the Council of Canadians, Leadnow, and Dogwood Initiative; unions UNIFOR, the Public Service Alliance of Canada , the Professional Institute of Public Servants of Canada, the Quebec Federation of Labour and others; First Nations groups in many ridings; and avaaz, the international lobby group.

Some groups are urging people to vote strategically for either the NDP or Liberals in as many as 70 ridings, while others are campaigning for just the NDP.

So far, only a few groups are running campaigns that encourage people to vote.

Fairly similar campaigns

The Council of Canadians and Leadnow’s ‘Vote Together’ are the main groups encouraging people to vote. Their campaigns are quite similar. People who visit their websites are asked to pledge that they will vote.  So far, the response has been limited.

Both groups are giving extra attention to young voters. The Council has hired high-profile activist Brigette DePape to run its campaign.

The Council and Leadnow are conducting door-to-door campaigns, talking with people and leaving information on what they need to do to vote. The Council has been working in 10 ridings and Leadnow 13. Both groups say they plan to conduct detailed work in more ridings.

Because the Act makes it more difficult for people to vote, groups should do more than just drop off literature and a voters’ guide.

Excellent project in Saskatoon

Interestingly, one small group is doing a more thorough job. In Saskatoon’s downtown generally low-income core, a group of about 15 volunteers have been trained to take people – many of whom have never voted before – through the entire process to get ready to cast their ballot.

The volunteers, equipped with laptop computers, printers and cell phones, go to locations in the city where people congregate. They show people the Elections Canada website and, if they’re not registered, they help them through the process. They make sure people have the right pieces of identification to make sure they will not be turned away at the polls.

“I started with one church I knew about that has a food market for core neighbour residents,” says Stephanie Sydiaha, who launched the volunteer campaign. “I called the Food Bank, they were very eager, so we go there one afternoon a week.”

“We’ve been going to a soup kitchen that feeds 1,000 people a day – yes, in booming Saskatoon, they feed 1,000 people a day,” says Sydiaha , a long-time activist. “These are people who are not reached by politicians, they don’t have TV, or computers, etc. But they want to vote, believe me.”

This kinds of hands-on facilitation should be used by other groups in many neighbourhoods.
Some 14-million-plus people are expected to want to vote. It’s difficult to say how many will not make it through Harper’s rabbit snare of a voting process. But if a million are stymied, it will have a significant impact on the outcome of the election.

I dread thinking of a situation where, two or three days before the election, the NDP is leading the Conservatives by, say, three points in opinion polls. But come the morning after the election, and Harper ends up with perhaps three more seats than the NDP because of his latest trickery.

Serious need for groups to get involved

There is still time – and a serious need – for more groups, particularly unions, to get involved in voter registration campaigning.

Groups involved in the registration campaign need to co-ordinate their efforts. The Canada Elections Act restricts groups (Third Parties) from colluding to provide more than the legal amount of advertising revenue in support of a candidate, but there’s nothing in the Act preventing groups from working together to help people to vote.

Even at this late date, the creation of a national co-ordinating committee could give the campaign the profile needed to warm people about the changes to the Act. There’s still time to publicize the issue and conduct fundraising through a series of national newspaper ads.

There’s plenty of work for individuals. People can contact the Council of Canadians, Leadnow’s Vote Together  or their union and volunteer to help with door-to-door voter registration.

Or, if you’d rather work in your neighbourhood on your own, that’s great too. Post voter information in community centres, churches, and grocery stores.

Voting guidelines and, if you want to, you can vote now. 

If the campaign works, it will be one of the main reasons why Canadians will wake up on October 20th to a new government.

-30-
CLICK HERE, to subscribe to my blog. Thanks Nick
Contact Nick Fillmore at fillmore0274@rogers.com

. . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Strong voter registration campaign could mean the end for Harper

A Different Point of View....: National voter support campaign could mean the end for Harper

The primary objective of Stephen Harper’s new absurdly-named Fair Elections Act  is to prevent hundreds-of-thousands of Canadians from voting for the NDP, Liberals, Greens, etc.

The Conservatives are, in effect, “cheating” the electoral process again, just as blatantly as in the past. They know that a large number of people – students, marginalized people and . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: National voter support campaign could mean the end for Harper

The Progressive Economics Forum: Canada After Harper

Here is the link to buy a new book, Canada After Harper, edited by Ed Finn and with an introduction by Ralph Nader, just published by Lorimer.

Most Canadians know that Stephen Harper has had a tremendous impact on the country since becoming prime minister in 2006. But few have the in-depth knowledge of how . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Canada After Harper

The Progressive Economics Forum: Harper has the worst economic record in history

Louis-Philippe Rochon Associate Professor, Laurentian University Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon

 

Mr. Harper and the Conservatives never miss an opportunity of reminding Canadians that we should vote for them in October in order to ensure economic prosperity in the future. At the heart of this argument is the belief . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Harper has the worst economic record in history

Bill Longstaff: Health Canada—another Conservative mouthpiece?

The Conservatives have started early on their advertising campaign for the upcoming election. We are, for example, being told ad nauseam that Justin Trudeau isn’t ready. With their large war chest, the Conservatives can afford to lay it on thick. But they’re not only relying on their own funds, they are also relying on ours. . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Health Canada—another Conservative mouthpiece?

The Progressive Economics Forum: Canada: World’s Next Superpower? Only If We Stop Relying On Temporary Foreign Workers

It’s only been a couple of weeks since Disney, that most iconic of American companies, moved to displace all its home grown techies with low-cost foreign temporary workers, But the company had to beat a hasty retreat in the face of an outpouring of criticism.

Amid the deluge of commentary this story triggered about where . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Canada: World’s Next Superpower? Only If We Stop Relying On Temporary Foreign Workers

The Progressive Economics Forum: Should we be taxing the rich 1% more?

Louis-Philippe Rochon

Associate Professor, Laurentian Economics

Founding Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon

 

Originally published by CBC. Find commentary here.

 

The federal Liberal Party’s recent election promise to create a new tax bracket for rich Canadians has been quickly decried by – well, rich Canadians. But is it an . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Should we be taxing the rich 1% more?

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Conservatives, sound finance and the facts of recent history

Louis-Philippe Rochon

Associate Professor, Laurentian University

Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics

 

With the tabling of a new federal budget on April 21, the Conservatives are trying to reinvent themselves as good economic managers, stalwart of sound finance. But after almost nine years in office, the data simply does not confirm this story. Mr. Harper’s . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: The Conservatives, sound finance and the facts of recent history

The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON on the upcoming federal budget (April 2015)

THE FEDERAL BUDGET AND CANADA’S ANNUS HORRIBILIS

See Original post here for the CBC.

Canada’s Finance Minister Joe Oliver announced a new – and long overdue – federal budget for April 21. With the Canadian economy doing so badly, this budget will be crucial.

Will the minister do the right thing and give Canadians a . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON on the upcoming federal budget (April 2015)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Homelessness in Canada’s North

Over at the blog of Northern Public Affairs, I’ve written a post titled “Ten Things to Know About Homelessness in Canada’s North.”

Topics covered in the post include the high cost of construction in many parts of the North, the relatively high costs of operating housing in the North, and declining federal funding for social . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Homelessness in Canada’s North

The Progressive Economics Forum: Doubling Contributions To The Tax Free Savings Account: Even Nastier Than Income Splitting

The Harper government gives five reasons why Canadians ought to be happy with its proposal to double the maximum contribution to the Tax-Free Savings Account. Examine each of its points more closely, however, and it’s clear that the TFSA carries far higher risks than rewards — for individual Canadians as well as for the economy . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Doubling Contributions To The Tax Free Savings Account: Even Nastier Than Income Splitting

The Progressive Economics Forum: G20 meeting of world finance ministers too little too late

Posted earlier as an opinion piece for CBC. See original post here (this post slightly modified from original)

By Louis-Philippe Rochon

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon

 

Much was at stake earlier this week when finance ministers from G20 countries met in Istanbul to discuss Greece and the state of the world economy in . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: G20 meeting of world finance ministers too little too late

The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON: Harper in closet over the economy as Canada heads toward another recession

This guest blog post has been written by Louis-Philippe Rochon.

You can follow him on Twitter @Lprochon

Harper’s recent incarnation as an anti-terrorist crusader has caught many Canadians by surprise. Harper is spending considerable political energy beating the drums of war against terrorists, and introducing a far-reaching, and much condemned, bill aimed at restricting . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON: Harper in closet over the economy as Canada heads toward another recession

The Progressive Economics Forum: Rochon Asks: “Is the Canadian economy unraveling?”

In a recent CBC blog post, Louis-Philippe Rochon assesses the current state of the Canadian economy.

The link to the blog post is here.

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon.

The Ranting Canadian: Canadian and American right-wing politicians going on about…

Canadian and American right-wing politicians going on about Islamic terrorism has a sickening stench of hypocrisy, considering the fact that the American government and other Western governments helped fund, arm and train Muslim extremists during the Cold War, which has contributed to many of the problems in the Middle East (and beyond) today. It . . . → Read More: The Ranting Canadian: Canadian and American right-wing politicians going on about…

The Progressive Economics Forum: Rochon on the Bank of Canada’s Decision to Lower the Rate of Interest

Louis-Philippe Rochon—who now blogs for CBC—argues that almost nobody had been expecting the Bank of Canada’s recent decision to lower the rate of interest.

His post can be found here.

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon.

The Progressive Economics Forum: Banks and Balanced Budgets

The Bank of Canada surprised most analysts this week when it decided to cut rates by 25 basis points. The move comes after the price of oil has tumbled below $50 / barrel, oil producers announced huge cuts to business investment for 2015, Target announced a mass layoff of 17,600 workers in Canada, and the . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Banks and Balanced Budgets

The Progressive Economics Forum: Louis-Philippe Rochon’s Top 10 Economic Predictions for 2015

Louis-Philippe Rochon has written a provocative blog post for the CBC titled “Top 10 Economic Predictions for 2015.”

The post is available here.

Scott's DiaTribes: Internal CPC polling on Veterans Affairs issues must be terrible.

If the Conservative government – led by Harper in Question Period no less – has now decided they’re going to try to blame the Liberals for the current mess in Veteran Affairs (led by their mess of a minister Fantino), polling and reaction to their current shabby treatment of Veterans must be pretty bad.

Their . . . → Read More: Scott’s DiaTribes: Internal CPC polling on Veterans Affairs issues must be terrible.

Scott's DiaTribes: Quick question/poll

Is Julian Fantino (Minister of Veteran Affairs) the worst Cabinet Minister in the Harper Conservative government right now? That’s saying something in this government, but some folks are now openly asking if he should be replaced. His department faced a withering Auditor-General report on the inefficiencies of the Department is getting aid and help to . . . → Read More: Scott’s DiaTribes: Quick question/poll