Details of the Ontario government's Climate Action Plan are out and the reviews are mixed. While the business sector will no doubt grumble about the cap-and-trade system in place to keep the province's climate program on track, it seems that the big losers will inevitably be people living in poverty.
We're looking at roughly 220,000 payday lending customers here in Alberta. Thankfully the NDP government here in Alberta has announced new legislation on payday lending. The government is proposing the lowest payday lending rates in the county while simultaneously fostering better alternatives to help people get short-term credit.
Almost half of Canadian children in foster care are aboriginal, even though indigenous people make up less than five per cent of the population, according to the most recent statistics in the 2011 Census. What's particularly gut-wrenching is the majority of aboriginal children are placed in care, not because of parental abuse, but because their families are poor. Now it's time to invest in progressive initiatives, like the Circle of Care, that keep families together.
The push for doctors to treat social issues like poverty is starting to change the way we practice medicine and how we work with community agencies and those with expertise in income benefits, food security and poverty law. Many health organizations now are right in the middle of advocacy for better social conditions. Major medical organizations, including the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian College of Family Physicians have been vocal in their support for this approach. This demonstrates a real acceptance by the medical mainstream that reducing patients' poverty is a core part of a doctor's job.
After years of rarely hearing the P-word uttered by government -- or even media -- the undertaking to develop a national poverty plan sets a new tone for the federal government's assumption of accountability. Trudeau's letter recognizes that people living in poverty can no longer be sidelined.
The beef I have with the University is that people like me are working de facto full time. If we were really full time, we would be paid a lot more, have much better benefits and even a pension. I have colleagues who have been teaching for 13 years, and the University is still trying to call them "temporary appointments". This is blatant hypocrisy, we are working full time, but the University maintains a pretence that it is a "one off, special contingency" every year. Nonsense!
Today, I had a perfectly reasonable request from a student who wanted to review an exam from last term. I was unable to comply with this request because to do so would be to give my employer more of my time for free. As a dedicated teacher, I am extremely sad about this, because I would like to give my students the very best learning experience that I possibly can. So what makes a mild-mannered Physics instructor turn into a seething rebel? The blunt answer is that I, along with many of my colleagues in Higher Education in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia are being shamelessly exploited by our employers. My total earning for the year are $34,000. If the University wants a "Full Service" teacher, then they need to pay us as a highly qualified professional person would expect to be paid.
It is essential that poor people are not the scapegoat for the problem of our public system. As a society we need to stop blaming the victims of poverty for their circumstances. But rather focus on solution that causes poverty.
With youth unemployment and underemployment remaining at stubbornly high levels, Canada must build on the success of its college system. In Ontario, one of the most significant changes that government can make is to expand the range of career-specific degree programs at colleges.
Playing the blame game won't help the 371,000 children currently living in poverty in Ontario. It's time for the Liberals to look in the mirror. The money is there. But the Wynne and McGuinty governments have chosen political self-interest over reducing childhood poverty.
Teachers do not hold the purse strings to public funds in this province. Teachers cannot pass legislation. Teachers cannot ignore Supreme Court rulings without risking jail. The government can and has done all these things. It is the government who can end this dispute.
Poverty, neglect, family violence and substance abuse can expose children to toxic stress that changes their bodies and increases their likelihood of having many problems later in life, including early pregnancy, heart disease, asthma and cancer. Researchers understand these processes well.
How is it that people with higher wages deserve an increase, but those at the bottom do not? It is hard to believe the Panel suggests that people living in poverty, unable to pay rent, buy food, or heat their house are reaching a 'minimum standard of living'.
By all accounts, this year's budget is all about "keeping the powder dry" for the "big event" in 2015. Next year's budget will be highly politicized, meant to set the stage for the general election in October. That 2015 budget will offer targeted, carefully designed tax cuts designed to secure electoral victory. Budget 2014 is merely laying the groundwork. But what will this budget direction cost?
Mass unemployment is a waste of people's energy and ingenuity. Imagine what the 1.8 million out-of-work Canadians could accomplish if they were mobilized to develop green energy sources or to expand mass transit and childcare services.
While the fantasy surrounding Santa can be a magical experience for a child, how to deal with the consequences of explaining "how a man with infinite resources has left you with less than your peers" can become complicated and send out the wrong message about the child's worth if Santa's yearly rewards don't add up to those of their elementary counterparts.