The new federal budget is high on symbolism, and low on details and money. All that said, it is all too easy to criticize a budget. An important thing worth noting is the general direction the 2017 budget shows. The government is headed in the right direction, it just might take longer to get there.
It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. The Prime Minister of Canada is deliberately stirring up prejudice against one group of Canadians for one reason only -- political advantage. The sad reality is that many Canadians and Quebecois seem to be vulnerable to embracing an anti-Muslim sentiment. We are all appalled by the brutality of ISIS, with their voyeuristic killing of innocent victims. The tragic murder of two soldiers in Canada has added a sense of vulnerability inside our own country. Stephen Harper's response is to declare that Canada is under attack by "global Jihadists" and introduce sweeping legislation giving new powers to CSIS.
We tend to take it for granted that the presence of a union will lead employers to pay higher wages. In fact, this is not necessarily the case. When does unionizing lead to lower average wages? When it drives away the most productive--and highly-paid--workers.
It is also interesting to note that 43 per cent of CEOs, who can afford to pay for their retirement without other contributions, have set up defined benefits pension plans that will provide them $1.9 million every year from the time they turn 65. Less than 11 per cent of the general population has a defined benefits pension plan, in stark contrast with a full 43 per cent of the wealthiest in our society. But the Couillard government is doing absolutely nothing to improve the lot of the 89 per cent who are excluded.
Of course, we fully support the right of any individual to stop working if he (or she) so chooses. If he quits his job, his employer can hire someone else. But that's not what strikes are about. Strikes are about collective work stoppages, enforced in some provinces by law and in others by sheer intimidation, with the expectation that the employer will still hold strikers' jobs open for them no matter how long they disrupt its business.
On May 1 Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa will stand in the provincial legislature to deliver this year's budget speech. Imagine if Sousa were to surprise us all and take a different track -- one that sets out a new agenda to return Ontario to its historical position as the economic engine of the country.
Most government sector employees do a fine job and are a critical part of a civilized society. But pension liabilities are ultimately paid for by taxpayers, either through special payments or increased contribution rates. The sheer size of the government sector means it is in everyone's interest to ensure compensation is fair and affordable for all.
What we know about the proposed free trade deal with Europe announced "in-principle" just over a week ago comes to us through leaks and press releases from those generally in favour of the deal. And, already there's reason for concern. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will no doubt contain some good and bad things for Canadians worried about the security of their jobs or the opportunities for them or their children to find meaningful employment. Any trade deal would. What we don't know, and can't know until we see the entire text of the deal, is how the two balance.
"Peer groups" is a basket of similar or larger companies compared to one company, and "benchmarking" is a decision to pay a CEO at the 50th, 75th or 90th percentile of other CEOs. average. This one issue -- benchmarking against peer groups -- has been responsible for CEO pay increases more than any other.
Minimum wage jobs are not only for the after-school crowd of kids looking for spending money, but also an entry into the workforce for immigrants, recent graduates and many others who can only find part-time work and need to hold down two or three jobs to survive. Across Canada, minimum wage ranges from $9 an hour in Alberta to $11 in Nunavut, while in most provinces it is set at $10. Unifor's recent submission to Ontario's Minimum Wage Panel Review should be required reading for all of them. Consider the following facts.