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social justice

There’s no excuse for government refusal to help kids in millions of poverty-stricken families

in Opinion/The Nonagenarian’s Notebook/Uncategorized by

“Where’s the money coming from?” That’s the question thrown at any individual or group seeking increased funding for health care, education, child care, or public pensions – and, most urgently, for the elimination or at least sharp reduction of the disgracefully high rates of poverty in Canada. The presumption underlying this question is that the federal government is short of cash because the Canadian economy is unable to generate enough tax revenue to support an improved social security system. The facts and figures disprove this fallacious supposition. Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016, as calculated on a per capita basis by the CIA World Factbook, was $46,200 in U.S. currency for every man, woman and child in the country. That’s about the same as Denmark’s, but higher than the per capita GDP of the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Finland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Russia, Japan, and many other countries. Significantly…

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Alleviating child poverty would save much more money than it would cost

in Featured/Indy Essay by

Oh God! That bread should be so dear, And flesh and blood so cheap! –Thomas Hood, “The Song of the Shirt.” Canadians are fortunate to live in one of the world’s better countries, but we delude ourselves when we claim to be living in the best—or even one of the best. Not when more than a million Canadian children—15.1 percent or one in seven of them—are living in poverty, many thousands bereft of adequate nutrition and health care. Not when the OECD ranks Canada 15th—third last—among the 17 leading industrialized countries in the extent of its child poverty. (The OECD gives Canada a C grade, not much lower than the D grade given the last nation on the list, the United States.) Not when children in millions of Canadian households are living in sub-standard, crowded, poorly furnished housing conditions. Not when 21 percent of single Canadian mothers have to raise…

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The myth of Canadian progress

in Letters/Opinion by

In the current squabble over improving drug coverage and child care in this country, it’s crucial that the social programs provided in Canada be compared with the far superior benefits that are provided citizens of most European countries. Apart from the United States, Canada is the only advanced nation that confines its public health care to the services of physicians and hospitals. In Europe, coverage is universal and comprehensive, incorporating dental and vision care as well as pharmaceuticals. The latest OECD report on the social spending of its 34 member states ranks Canada 24th for its relatively low 17.2 percent of GDP expended on social programs. Most of the countries that surpass Canada have social spending rates higher than 24 percent of GDP, and several, including France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Ireland, and the three Scandinavian countries, have rates that exceed 28 percent. Incredibly, even the United States ranks above Canada…

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Do governments neglect social spending for corporate subsidies?

in Columns/Featured/Opinion/The Nonagenarian’s Notebook by

Governments exist to protect the rights of minorities. The rich need no protection. — Wendell Phillips. When it comes to listing countries on the basis of the social services they provide to their citizens compared to the subsidies they heap on their corporations, Canada doesn’t fare well. A recent study from the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy reports that our federal government and the four largest provinces spend $29 billion a year subsidizing business firms. The study’s author, John Lester, says that half of these huge subsidies fail to improve economic performance and therefore constitute a colossal waste of government revenue. “And because nearly one-third of all such subsidies just go generally to support specific industries or regions rather than to enhance economic development,” he added, “the proportion of questionable spending rises to 60% of the total.” Of the $29 billion in government handouts that corporations receive annually,…

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What makes a country happy?

in Columns/The Nonagenarian’s Notebook by

The happiest countries in the world are not necessarily the richest, but those with truly democratic governments

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I remember Occupy

in Uncategorized by

Have our values and the way we approach activism changed in the past five years?

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Thank you, Land Protectors of Labrador

in Featured/To Each Their Own by

We have all learned something important from the courage of Labradorians

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“Refugees Welcome”

in Journalism by

People in St. John’s rally in support of refugees, against racism and bigotry.

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Demanding economic, social and climate justice

in The Sustain Ability by

Following a weekend of nationwide protests, and as Canadian politicians host their counterparts from the rest of the Americas in Toronto this week, people are asking: What will it take for Canada and its provinces to decarbonize their economies and join the growing global movement toward clean, renewable energy.

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Post-secondary policy: one step forward or two steps back?

in To Each Their Own by

Accessible post-secondary education is a policy to which this province must affirm its commitment

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Everything is on the table — except common sense

in To Each Their Own by

Governing-by-panic is bad public policy

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Is NL about to repeat the worst mistakes of 20 years ago?

in To Each Their Own by

Privatization will cost the province—and its taxpayers—much more than if we keep services public.

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Introducing Glocal Justice to province’s public schools

in Journalism by

A junior high school teacher is hoping a pioneering teaching resource she developed while in university will be supported by the provincial Department of Education and used in classrooms around the province

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Target (not) acquired

in Lassie Bread and Roses by

Let’s move on from retailers that stifle communities.

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2014: Newfoundland & Labrador ‘Year in Review’

in Journalism by

We need a ‘bigger picture’ perspective if we’re to achieve the large scale change we desperately need. The Independent was there to cover the stories that mattered most in 2014. Help us do it again this year: #GoIndy2015!

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When one door closes…

in Uncategorized by

The dropping price of oil reveals more than just the dangers of relying on oil revenue. It also reveals the dangers of letting high income earners and corporations skip by without paying their fair share of taxes.

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Government debt, social progress: working out the balance

in Going Deeper by

Why individual and government debts are different in a very important way

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Talking Turkeys

in Uncategorized by

Food banks were supposed to be a temporary measure, not an institution. Could our energies be better spent tackling income inequality, rather than institutionalizing charity?

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Call in the taxmen

in Uncategorized by

How the Harper Government is destroying civil society and why that will hurt us all

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NL unions vow “fairness for all” fight in lead up to 2015 elections

in Journalism by

Members of the province’s labour movement gathered in St. John’s last week to discuss their mandate and strategy for ramping up efforts to achieve social and economic justice in Newfoundland and Labrador. Union leaders say political activism will be a key part of their fight.

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