To coincide with budget day in Canada yesterday CBC's "The Current" featured a segment on something called participatory budgeting, which engages local citizens and communities in allocating funds to projects and priorities. Average citizens are no less equipped to make these tough decisions than average politicians.
The 2012 federal budget was the last silky adornment to be peeled off in Stephen Harper's long dance of seven veils with Canadian Conservatives. Turns out there's not much underneath.
An important long run element in today's budget is the change in "retirement age" -- actually a change in the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS). Nowadays, age 65 is more like late middle age than old age and people who reach that age can look forward, on average, to a couple of decades of an enjoyable life.
Budget news came down the Parliamentary stairway with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Stephen Harper sharing in a laugh while reporters furiously thumbed their blackberries, shoved mics in politcians' faces, or yelled, "Tweet that!" in newsrooms (as we did at HuffPostCanada). Feeling a little bombarded with info? We thought you might be.
Canadians must accept the fact that we have at least another three years of oil ideologues holding the levers of power in Ottawa. The polls in B.C. that show Tory support has dropped 16 points are at least encouraging, showing that voters there aren't buying it. Let's hope that the rest of the country soon wakes up too.
I think we should blow up the current school system and start over. Due to cutbacks, my son did not have art in his entire middle school education -- a fact I find unacceptable, but not remarkable. When do we as parents say enough is enough?
The government has decided to make cuts to Old Age Security (OAS). The truth is that OAS is economically beneficial to all of society -- seniors on OAS spend all of their money in their neighborhoods. That is money reinvested in our economy, in small businesses that in turn create jobs.
The way this government chose to deliver the issue of reforming Old Age Security (OAS) was what surprised Canadian seniors. There was no build up to it, nor was it raised during the recent election. Canadians, especially those nearing retirement age rightly want to know what is going on and when these decisions were made.
Rather than social programs to help the poor and vulnerable, to help seniors, there is an emphasis on fulfilling a right-wing agenda in areas such as crime. This reflects the lack of fact-based policy which is needed in a government that promotes economic growth.
The Prime Minister's efforts to save money on OAS may be laudable, but failing to address the demographic challenges and associated costs of the decades to come will have a serious impact on the young people of today. Our country's next generation will be burdened with debt and will lack the fiscal capacity to deal with the even longer-term issues.
Hey there! Over here! Actually, right behind you. Sorry to interrupt The Game. Or rather, the pre-game. Or the pre-game game. Did you hear that The Huffington Post will be launching a Quebec edition this week? I know, right? They just launched France, and now Quebec. "Le Huffington Post." Sounds like a cigarette. In Quebec's case, a cigarette with cheese curds and gravy -- and really, really good news and content, like the other HuffPost sites, except better because it's in French.
Raising the OAS age will target those least capable of doing without it. Rest assured, no one is going to quit working just because they will now get about $600 a month. But this will be very meaningful for those now living on less since access to Guaranteed Income Supplement is tied to receiving Old Age Security.
Don Drummond should be insulted that his report is going to be little more than political cover for the Liberals. It's going to be a convenient straw man for the party, giving them the option to lay any unpleasantness at the feet of an unaccountable third party.
To what extent is a given budget cut driven by ideology? The introduction of the omnibus crime bill and the elimination of the gun registry are red meat tossed to the Conservatives' electoral base. What other programs will need to go in order to satisfy this core constituency?
For this country's urban intelligentsia (the kind of people who think subsidizing Margaret Atwood books should take priority over buying military helicopters), a reduced CBC budget is more terrifying than a Don Cherry rant.
Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie is quoted in Maclean's as having said the "tail," or administrative staff in Ottawa's Defence headquarters, has grown like topsy and "we've got almost as many people in Ottawa as we have in the regular-force deployable army." One is tempted to ask "what else is new?"