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Jumping the queue in a class-divided society

Airport security line. Photo: Josh Hallett/Flickr

As summer drew to a close, I took my kids for our annual pilgrimage to Toronto's CNE Midway. It was a gorgeous sunny Saturday: the smell of corn dogs in the air, the crowd diverse and gritty.

Then came a shocker. The midway company now has special entrances at each ride for people who pay an extra $20 per person per day (above the cost of the rides). They can then bypass the lineups for their favourite attractions.

Say what? Surely standing in line for a roller coaster is a supreme expression of democracy -- not to mention a chance to catch your breath between rides.


Class divisions, the other American dilemma

Protesters from Occupy Oakland, Oct. 2011. Photo: Glenn Halog/Flickr

In An American Dilemma, published in 1944, Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal examined U.S. race relations, and concluded that the American "creed" would eventually vanquish widespread racism, and allow black and white Americans to live in greater harmony.

The election of a mixed-race U.S. president in 2008 did not mean the end of American racism. However, the victory of Barack Obama did confirm the guarded optimism of the conclusions Mrydal reached in his classic work of social science. A majority of those voting signalled it was all right for a non-white family to occupy the White House. Some 64 years after Myrdal documented the extent of systemic racism throughout the U.S., this definitely constituted progress.

Photo: e_monk/Flickr
| September 10, 2012
Statscan Cansim table 376-0051 (by country) and 376-0038 (by industry)
| August 17, 2012
Chocolate coins. Photo: Dan Dvorscak/Flickr
| June 8, 2012

What we owe the striking Quebec students

Manifestation du 22 mai, Montréal. Photo: Luc Lavigne/Flickr

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Speaking of debts, as most governments now do in order to explain why they can't create anything and need to cut back on whatever is already there, here's what I think we owe to those striking Quebec students.

Occupy Wall St. Photo: Rob Sheridan/Flickr
| May 14, 2012
| April 30, 2012

Andrea Horwath's bold call for higher taxes on the rich

Andrea Horwath. Photo: Michelle Tribe/Flickr

It's hard to fight a class war without a billionaire onside. Hence Andrea Horwath's dilemma.

The Ontario NDP leader has thrown down a gauntlet of sorts -- demanding, or at least politely requesting, that Dalton McGuinty's Liberal minority impose a new slightly higher tax rate on Ontarians making more than $500,000 a year.

The move is a small toe-in-the-water toward restoring the progressivity that's been stripped out of the Canadian tax system. But it's also a bold unlacing of the stays on the political bodice that has confined mainstream Canadian politicians for the past few decades.

Of course, U.S. President Barack Obama is paving the way.

| April 1, 2012
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