Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- Dan Lett discusses
Stephen Harper's callous disregard for missing and murdered aboriginal women - and how it should serve as a call to Canadians generally to take a broader look at the causes of social inequality:
Why so much resistance to a broader, sociological analysis? A national inquiry of that kind would pose awkward questions and reveal uncomfortable realities about the diminishing role of the federal government in the lives of all Canadians.
A national inquiry would delve into questions such as familial dysfunction, child welfare, substance abuse, sexual exploitation, economic disparity and the shortcomings of the education and health-care systems. An examination of that scope would touch on issues that affect both aboriginal and non-aboriginal citizens.
An inquiry would no doubt expose growing income inequality and the ever-diminishing federal contribution to education, social programs and health care. And how that shrinking support tends to disproportionately hurt the most vulnerable in our society.
A commission of inquiry would be, to put it mildly, a potent and biting indictment of the culture of successive federal governments that have, for decades, placed the health and welfare of the neediest Canadians well below other, less profound policy goals.- Murray Brewster explores
the wide world of policy areas which the Cons have shrouded in cabinet secrecy.
- Meanwhile, the CP reports
on how secretive meetings with oil lobbyists look to have been behind the Clark Libs' push to weaken environmental protections. Les Whittington exposes
the Wall government's preference for back-room dealing - along with its willingness to spend millions in public dollars to try to buy influence in Washington. And Mike De Souza traces
the connections between ALEC, the tar sands and Keystone XL.
- Mike Moffatt weighs on
on how the Cons' latest EI scheme will only make employment more precarious in mid-sized businesses by offering employers incentives to fire workers.
- Finally, Daphne Bramham writes
about the need for us to be involved in public life as citizens, not merely as taxpayers:
To be a citizen means to belong, to have responsibilities, rights and shared values. It means having a stake in the future and, in democracies, a voice in determining what that future might look like.
In Canada, it means having the guarantee that laws will be applied fairly to every person and every institution (including governments), as well as the right to an education and health care.
That is why we pay taxes. It’s the cost and the duty of belonging.
As the terminology has shifted from citizen to taxpayer over the past three decades, maybe it is only coincidental that the gap between rich and poor has widened.
Perhaps it’s also only coincidence that voter turnout has spiralled downward as the poor and the young (too many of whom are unemployed or under-employed and often burdened by huge debts from post-secondary education fees that have nearly tripled in the last two decades) decide not to bother exercising their franchise.
A growing body of economic research confirms that wealth isn’t the best predictor or guarantor of happy or healthy societies.
What matters more is feeling connected, belonging and having a say. In other words, being a full citizen.