Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

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 as a whole.

Let’s unpack the government’s arguments one by one:

1. The TFSA helps people save

The evidence certainly doesn’t support this statement. TFSAs first saw the light of day in January 2009 at a time when the savings rate had already been climbing (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Shabby Treatment of Our Seniors

It was just a small story but it really bothered me. And it made me fear for this country's future.For just like I can't stand the way the brutish Harperite cult treats our veterans.I cannot countenance living in a Canada where our seniors are treated like this.

For that's not just an assault on the health of old people, it's an assault on their dignity. It makes you wonder how many others are being treated that way.And what I fear the most is that it's just a harbinger of worse things to come.Read more »

Left Over: November Is the Cruelest month…

Unable to find affordable housing, 82-year-old living in Victoria shelter


All I want is a room somewhere

Far away from the cold night air

With one enormous chair…..

Ah, wouldn’t that be loverly?

I have been indulging myself in creepy fantasies of just this sort of thing happening to me, and others like me..

I am lucky to have a partial pension from work, but it doesn’t do very far, and it just covers my rent (but not utilities…)

I realize that, compared to this woman, I am doing okay, (Read more…)

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Superfoods for Super-Seniors and Their Caregivers

By Felicity Dryer Being a caregiver is usually not easy. You have to be emotionally, mentally and physically strong so that you can support those who require your care. Your food choices can both help you excel in your line of work, as well as be beneficial to keep in mind for those under your care. Here are some nutritious superfoods to add to your regular diet. Blueberries When you’ve been working long hours and you’re exhausted, blueberries can help you to perk up because they’re high in antioxidants. They’re healthier than reaching for sugar-loaded foods that will just zap (Read more…) . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Superfoods for Super-Seniors and Their Caregivers

Montreal Simon: The Community Mailbox Scandal and the Doctor’s Revolt

As you probably know, from now on in Harperland if you're old or disabled, or can't walk for miles or clamber over a snow drift to get to your ugly new community mailbox.If you want home delivery, you have to get a doctor's note.Not CONada Post says because they don't trust seniors. But only because they care about their health, and want to know their "special needs."After all didn't they once suggest it might be an "exercise opportunity?"

But sadly, or scandalously, it seems those wretched suits forgot to check with Canada's doctors, and they're not happy.Read more »

Montreal Simon: Why I Might Vote for the Liberals in the Ontario Election.

With just two days before the Ontario election, and still not having decided whether to vote for the NDP or the Liberals, I decided to check out the lawn signs on the island, which is part of Trinity-Spadina riding.And the results were no surprise. The island is still mostly orange, with a touch of green. The only blue signs are the ones from the No Jets at the Toronto Island Airport campaign.And between that and the hypnotic scent of the giant ORANGE poppies…

For a moment I thought I might be able to vote for the NDP, for sentimental (Read more…)

Left Over: Harper: The Working Class Can Kiss My….


Minimum wage in Canada: One woman’s story No fancy meals and no vacations: ‘I am working poor’

CBC News Posted: Jan 14, 2014 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Jan 14, 2014 7:06 AM ET



This is an article that could have been written forty-odd years ago, when I arrived on Canada’s doorstep as an immigrant. Knew that I would have to start at the bottom because citizens got the preferred jobs…and that was acceptable to me.

Over the years, I worked at several not-so-great jobs, got a University degree…and immediately found my final job as a labourer..a (Read more…) Still not listening to cities.

The Redford Conservatives may have changed Municipal Affairs ministers but they have not changed the way they’re engaging with cities. One of the key complaints of Nenshi and urban dwellers throughout Alberta is that our tax system is fundamentally flawed for cities. We have an outdated system of collecting taxes at the local municipal level […]

ParliamANT Hill: Minister sorry for remarks about hungry children

Inspired by these headlines: and

Left Over: More Layoffs/Less Service? Happy Holidays!

Canada Post to phase out urban home mail delivery Up to 8,000 jobs will be cut, while cost of stamps is going up

CBC News Posted: Dec 11, 2013 9:37 AM ET Last Updated: Dec 11, 2013 11:53 AM ET


There is something the Feds find irresistible about throwing out some bad news when they are under the gun already from some other bad news…if it’s ugly, anti-worker and beyond inconvenient for the general public, why, it must be Christmastime in Canada, and Emperor Steve, once again, bestows his reverse benevolence on us all..

Just too fascinating..hope the Feds (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: The Con War on the Canada Pension Plan

It's my nightmare vision of a Con jungle. A country full of seniors living in poverty and misery. A country where the old and the poor have no present, and the young have no future.A nightmare that became even more real today, when the Cons killed an NDP proposal to expand the Canada Pension Plan.Even though a recent study showed that Canada is the only OECD country where seniors are getting getting poorer, and the government is doing less and less to help them.

And the only good thing I can see, is that some seniors are (Read more…)

Left Over: ‘Trade Deal’ Sure Isn’t the “New Deal”


5 ways the Canada-EU trade deal will impact Canadians

By Susana Mas, CBC News Posted: Oct 18, 2013 9:16 PM ET Last Updated: Oct 19, 2013 8:03 AM ET



I trust Harper even less than I trusted Mulroney, and I didn’t trust him at all… Why is something so ‘momentous’ not put to a referendum in this country? Why do we not get the facts long before these sorts of agreements are signed, sealed and delivered? Probably because, just like NAFTA, the bad far outweighs the ‘good’… I notice that all our prices of goods are more expensive than (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Homelessness Policy

This afternoon, I gave a presentation on public policy responding to homelessness in Canada, with a focus on the past decade. I gave the presentation at this year’s annual conference of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association.

Points I made in the presentation include the following:

-Once inflation is accounted for, the current annual value of federal funding for homelessness programming (now known as the Homelessness Partnering Strategy) has eroded to roughly 36% of its original value (that is, its value in 1999 when it was known as the National Homelessness Initiative).

-In recent years, it has become trendy (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Eyes Have It

This summer my mother was diagnosed with macular degeneration. There is no cure. It is irreversible. It simply progresses. Science has some hope for future cures, and has some treatments to slow the progress, but a cure likely won’t come soon enough for her. At 93, one expects that the body will fail, that organs […]

Montreal Simon: 80-year-old Woman Tasered in Ontario

I must admit I didn't think that police in Otario could stoop any lower than the public execution of Sammy Yatim. For its senseless brutality stunned me. But then so does this. Ontario's police watchdog is investigating after officers deployed a Taser on an 80-year-old woman in Mississauga, Ont. Read more »

The Canadian Progressive: BC’s wheelchair fee for seniors in long-term care facilities not fair: Researcher

Janine Farrell, a seniors care researcher at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, explains why the recently announced $25/month user fee for wheelchairs used by people in long-term care facilities in BC is not fair.

The post BC’s wheelchair fee for seniors in long-term care facilities not fair: Researcher appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Montreal Simon: Pierre Poilievre and The Con War on Pensions

I have to admit that I have always disliked Pierre Poilievre. Something about him rubs me the wrong way.He's abrasive, he's yappy, he's arrogant. He looks and acts like a weird old young guy trapped in the Cold War era. And his recent comment that the "root cause of terrorism is terrorism" only reinforced my belief that he is a brutish right-wing ideologue.As well as an absolute idiot.Read more »

Montreal Simon: Jim Flaherty and the Theatre of Cruelty

You might think that Jim Flaherty would be satisfied with ramming through his latest Trojan Horse budget.His ghastly swollen beast stuffed to the gills with toxic waste.But no. Now he's going after seniors and the Canada Pension Plan. Read more »

Cowichan Conversations: Cowichan NDP MLA Bill Routley Stood Up For Cowichan Seniors And Won!

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The BC Liberal attack on seniors through their wrong headed policy of forcing Seniors to take computer driving tests and or road tests in unfamiliar vehicles on unfamiliar Victoria streets has finally been corrected.

Bill Routley and his Constituency Office staff rolled up their sleeves after countless seniors contacted them regarding the very stressful so called DriveABLE approach the Clark government had taken.

Bill Routley Cowichan NDP MLA- Fought BC Liberals over attack on seniors!

Well thanks to Mr. Routley, progress has been made. Still obstacles remain but you can bet on Routley. He is all over this one

. . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Cowichan NDP MLA Bill Routley Stood Up For Cowichan Seniors And Won!

Things Are Good: Seniors Who Are Social Are Healthier

Seniors who lead active lives like playing cards and generally hanging out with friends feel healthier and are healthier than there less social peers. Friends make things fun and keep you fit!

Dr. Nicole Anderson is a clinical neuropsychologist at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto, where she’s leading a research project called BRAVO. It looks at the effects of volunteering among adults aged 55 and older from physical, cognitive and social functioning perspectives.

“Engaging in more social activities was related to better self-reported health and less loneliness and more life satisfaction,” Anderson said of the Statistics Canada research. “But that

. . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Seniors Who Are Social Are Healthier

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM - A Blog by Donna Thomson: Caring for the Cancer Patient – Today: Mesothelioma

Recently, I received an email requesting a guest blogger spot on the subject of caregiving for people suffering from Mesothelioma, a type of cancer often caused by exposure to asbestos.  This got me thinking that perhaps we should do a mini-series based on caring for various cancers.  Perhaps a series devoted to caring that is specific to different conditions generally.  What do you think? Here is the first instalment of a series of posts that will appear from time to time devoted to the type of care specific to various conditions.  What is Mesothelioma? Mesothelioma is rare type of . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM – A Blog by Donna Thomson: Caring for the Cancer Patient – Today: Mesothelioma

Left Over: Only in Canada? Pity…..

So, the Supreme Court in the US has ruled…and Obamacare, such as it is, is ‘safe’ for now…

This decision means, practically, nothing regarding a tax, since if one reads the bill, carefully, there are no penalties for not buying in…Medicaid is still in place, as is Medicare, provided, (and here is where it gets interesting) that within a certain time frame, the States opt in to the program, with big Federal subsidies coming their way…if they don’t, they will be financing these programs on their own…and I think it’s a great start, but no, not nearly the same as

. . . → Read More: Left Over: Only in Canada? Pity…..

Accidental Deliberations: Parliament in Review – April 27, 2012

Friday, April 27 saw another day of relatively non-contentious debate on the main bill up for discussion in the House of Commons. But there was plenty of reason to question why the focus would be as narrow as it was.

The Big Issue

That main bill was the Cons’ elder abuse legislation, intended to add a new factor in criminal sentencing where the victim was vulnerable due to age. And both of the opposition parties fully endorsed the bill in substance.

But once again, the Cons’ focus on sentencing raised larger issues as to why they wouldn’t put more

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Parliament in Review – April 27, 2012

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- No, there was never any doubt that any statement which could possibly be interpreted as insufficiently jingoistic in favour of the oil industry was going to give rise to a backlash from the Cons’ oilpatch base. But it’s well worth noting that Thomas Mulcair has had little trouble defending his argument that the cost of environmental damage needs to be priced into all industries – and the “polluter pay” principle looks to be one which can stand up to even the most well-orchestrated spokespuppet attack.

- Which stands in stark contrast to the

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Left Over: Plenty of Jobs in Alberta (Alberta!!!) says Emperor Steve’s Puppet, Flaherty

Here’s good ol’ boy Flaherty warning Canadians that EI will be changed to reflect Alberta and Saskatchewan’s need for labour…as if the government was financing EI in the first place..

They aren’t – it’s financed by employers and labour…not that this has stopped any government from tinkering with the program to bolster their philosophy…

“That means we are going to have to encourage more persons with disabilities to work, more seniors to work, more aboriginal people to work, including young people. We need to get rid of disincentives in the employment insurance system to people joining the workforce.” Flaherty

. . . → Read More: Left Over: Plenty of Jobs in Alberta (Alberta!!!) says Emperor Steve’s Puppet, Flaherty