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Trish Hennessy's Blog
Trish Hennessy is director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' Ontario office. Follow her on Twitter: @trishhennessy
The Ontario government has prorogued the provincial legislature, returning September 12 with a new throne speech.
The throne speech has been cast as government "pressing the reset button" following a recent by-election loss and ongoing controversies such as election finance scandals, hydro privatization, and high hydro bills.
Each of those controversies need to be tackled head on, but what should "pressing the reset button" look like for a government that is mid-term, purporting to be "activist" in its approach and less than two years away from a general election?
The answer starts with the question: what is the role of a provincial government in creating the conditions for decent work and reduced income inequality?
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Last week, I sat in the historic chambers of Cambridge's old city hall with about a half dozen contributors to the Waterloo region living wage committee to see if that city would become Ontario's first living wage municipality.
Today, the federal NDP is slated to use its Official Opposition Day to table a motion that would have Parliament Hill vote on a proposal to reinstate the federal minimum wage, which has been dormant since 1996.
The motion asks parliamentarians to consider incrementally raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour over a five-year period.
For a while there, it looked like it would never happen -- a Canadian $15 minimum-wage movement.
You may be forgiven for feeling like you already know what's in the 2014 Ontario budget -- it had more leaks than a sieve in the weeks leading up to budget day.
There weren't really any big surprises in the budget, but reading it in its entirety makes one thing crystal clear: the Wynne government is getting election battle ready.
This is very much an election budget.
It gives multiple nods to NDP Leader Andrea Horwath's insistence that middle-income Ontarians be spared tax and fee increases.
It extends the 2012 NDP-driven deal to implement a small marginal tax on Ontario's richest 0.2 per cent of tax filers. Now the Ontario government is asking the richest 2 per cent of tax filers -- those earning $150,000 or more -- to contribute a little more.
This week Canada's nascent national debate about the problem of income inequality as it relates to the anxious middle class descended into ridiculous levels of un-Canadian gloating.
On Tuesday, Canadians awoke to news that the hypothetical middle-income Canadian outperformed its American counterpart in terms of after-tax income in 2010 (median, per capita, after-tax PPP-adjusted, inflation-adjusted income).
Right-wing politicians and pundits were quick to crow that their ideology was working and that Canada's middle class is not, in fact, struggling.