The "Beyond Neoliberalism" workshop in Ottawa on October 30, 2019 was co-organized by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Trade Justice Network and Institute for Policy Studies, with support from Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung-New York.
Employment and labour
Canada’s income tax system has a lot going for it. On balance, its rate structure is progressive. While there are flaws in our system of self-assessment, such as underreporting of income or aggressive tax planning (to avoid taxes owing), most Canadians seem to be motivated to comply with tax rules.
You can’t assume that government budgets affect men and women the same way—or other groups for that matter—since men and women generally occupy different social and economic positions. Unfortunately, until very recently, governments have done exactly that—developing policies and assigning funding to them in a gender-blind fashion.
We are living with vast discrepancies between rich and poor in Canada. That much is undeniable. According to the Broadbent Institute, 10% of Canadians held almost half (47.9%) of all wealth in 2012. Meanwhile, around one in seven people (about 14%) live in poverty, according to Canada Without Poverty. The gap between those with and without wealth is stark.
Mining enjoys massive government support in Canada. Politically, it’s treated as a preferred development option for remote communities and Indigenous peoples. Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall once said, “The best program for First Nations and Métis people in Saskatchewan is not a program at all—it's [uranium mining company] Cameco.” The law backs this up.
Canada is one of the biggest extractive sector players in the world. We are home to approximately 60% of the world’s mining companies, and the Toronto Stock Exchange and Venture Exchange host more oil and gas companies than any other exchange in the world. Collectively, these companies have interests in over 100 countries.
US Democrat Bernie Sanders recently put forward a proposal to nationalize US electricity utilities. He sees nationalization of electricity production as a way to ensure that everyone can afford this essential service and he – and others, see it as a crucial means of addressing the climate crisis.
In 2018 the BC government introduced legislation expected to bring ride-hailing to the province, but many questions remain about what that will look like in practice. One of the bodies responsible for working out the policy details is BC’s Passenger Transportation Board, an independent tribunal that has been handling passenger transport license applications from ride-hailing companies including major players such as Uber and Lyft.
First published in the Winnipeg Free Press September 23, 2019