“(In)visible Dialogue”. Installation by Wang King Road. 2011. Wikipedia Commons.
(This post was written by Alex and Jordan Himelfarb; an abridged version appeared in the Star here.)
We don’t like paying taxes. This is not big news: we don’t much like paying any bills, and there’s probably never been a time when we didn’t grumble in particular about taxes. But somehow “tax” has gone from irritant to four-letter word, not to be uttered in public and certainly not to be discussed favourably in politics. It seems the Canadian political consensus is that you’d have to be nuts to talk (Read more…)
Public servants celebrating the enrolment of 5 million citizens in the Ontario Hospital Insurance Plan (1959, Archives of Ontario)
Notes for talk at Public Policy Forum Dinner, April 11, 2013
I am delighted to be here with family, friends and colleagues this evening – an evening that can only be understood as a celebration of Canada’s public service. Such celebrations are pretty rare these days though the public service is an institution that deserves celebrating, and may need it now more than ever.
My hunch is that I can speak for all the former clerks here this evening that for
. . . → Read More: Alex’s Blog: Celebrating Public Service
We ought to be outraged. Just about every day our media provides a new account of the decline of our democracy: the inadequacies of our electoral system and allegations of electoral fraud; the high-handed treatment of our Parliament through inappropriate prorogations and overuse of omnibus legislation; a government ever more authoritarian and opaque, resistant to evidence and reason, and prepared to stifle dissent. Adding weight to the urgency of these issues is that they are being raised across the political spectrum, left, right and centre, and among critics with very different models of democracy Even given these significant stirrings of outrage, why do so
. . . → Read More: Alex’s Blog: Bargain Basement Citizenship and the Decline of Democracy
Austerity, we have been told repeatedly by pundits and political leaders, is the defining issue in these uncertain times, the solution to our economic challenges.
We have been given fair warning that the next federal budget will be first about cuts – cuts to government even as we continue to cut taxes. We can expect the same from most provincial budgets.
This, we are told, is what must be done. Austerity is not simply the best way, the argument goes, but the only way, and not just for us but for our friends and allies. Canada has become the champion
. . . → Read More: Alex’s Blog: The Price Of Austerity
C10, the omnibus crime bill, passed third reading and is now over to the Senate for what is supposed to be sober second thought. The vote could only have been a depressing anticlimax for the many Canadians who were fighting to stop or amend this legislation. And the implacable inevitability of its passage must surely lead many to ask, ‘why bother, what’s the point?’
This question takes on added poignancy as we read with increasing frequency articles describing the relatively unconstrained power of the current majority government to do as it pleases, impervious to opposition voices or contrary evidence.
. . . → Read More: Alex’s Blog: A Bad Day: What Now?
Here is the video of a recent talk I gave on taxes as a good thing. The talk was hosted by the Literary Review and TVO and sponsored by The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.