What kind of country do Canadians want?

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What kind of country do Canadians want?


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Without a Safety Net: What kind of country do Canadians want? After nearly eight years of a Conservative government, questions mount about a declining standard of living in Canada.

Declining standards of living in North America have shown that the low-tax, less-government-is-better approach that gained popularity in the Thatcher-Reagan era hasn’t worked, says Steven Lewis, a public policy consultant.

“Canada is already more than competitive in terms of tax rates, so there’s no need internationally for us to keep taxes as low as they currently are,” he told the Star. “The question is: Have Canadians become so used to not having strong social programs and high-quality public service that they don’t demand it any more. Have we dumbed down people’s expectations so much that we were going to continue with this?”

But Canadians do seem increasingly inclined to question the wisdom of putting off spending on urban infrastructure, allowing post-secondary education to become very expensive and letting social problems deepen as a result of income inequality, Stevens commented.

“I think people are starting to realize there is no free lunch,” he said.

In a recent national Nanos Research poll, 45 per cent of respondents said Ottawa should invest future budget surpluses in health care, compared to reducing the national debt (37 per cent) or tax cuts (16 per cent).

The survey for the Canadian Health Coalition also found a majority said they would pay higher taxes if it meant costs for home health care or pharmaceuticals would be covered by the government. And 65 per cent disagreed with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s plan to tie increases in federal health-care transfers after 2016 to levels of economic growth rather than continue with a fixed funding formula.

“It is time for the federal government to step up, provide fixed funding and help meet the urgent health care needs of an aging population,” Michael McBane, executive director of the Canadian Health Coalition, commented.

In another survey earlier this year, pollster Frank Graves of EKOS Research found that 70 per cent of those polled said more active government would lead to a better future.

In an analysis, Graves said, “There is growing skepticism to the notion that a minimal state and lower taxes would leave the invisible hand of the market to produce a better economy for all.

“The invisible hand seems to be offering a visible middle finger to frustrated citizens who have tired of these promises of prosperity while their situations have stagnated or declined,” he stated. There is “a clear conviction that the state should have more — and not less — of a role in designing and delivering a better future,” Graves said.

Canadians are being saddled with a bigger bill for future retirement, health-care programs and urban infrastructure needs, said NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair. “Yet thanks to falling incomes, corporate tax giveaways and blatant mismanagement, Canadians are drowning in debt at the same time — household debt, student debt, government debt.” Canadians are being asked to accept “less and less” from Ottawa, he said.

Mulcair said Canada needs to jettison current federal policies in favour of an approach that promotes job-creation, bolsters social programs and makes cleaning up the environment a priority.

“We need to strengthen programs like Employment Insurance that help people in a time of need, but we also need to help people across-the-board,” Mulcair said. “Protect consumers, help people save for retirement and create high-quality jobs.”

He said it’s possible to “build an economy that’s fairer, greener and more p





In the grand traditions of broken clocks being right twice a day, I'm glad the media is asking the right question. The NDP even has the policy answers.

But Conservatives have spent thirty years destroying any sense of citizenship, any sense of grander solidarity. "What kind of country do you want to live in?" has been replaced with "how can government take the burden off of taxpayers?"? We'll ignore aboriginals. We'll ignore the environment. We'll even ignore every long-term cost, and the gradually shrinking opportunities for pretty much everyone. As long as *I* get a tax cut.

We can't wait for the media to ask "what kind of country do Canadians want?"


socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

We can't wait for the media to ask "what kind of country do Canadians want?"

Define "Canadians".  Then we can talk.



abnormal wrote:

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

We can't wait for the media to ask "what kind of country do Canadians want?"

Define "Canadians".  Then we can talk.


Is that even in dispute?



[url=http://enmasse.ca/?p=114]A Question Of Priorities,[/url] from the 2008 campaign:

This frame only addresses one side of the affordability question, the spending side. The other side, the revenue side, is neglected. As [url=http://democraticspace.com/blog/2007/10/the-myth-of-tax-cuts/]Greg Morrow of Democraticspace points out[/url], tax reductions must be factored in as well. This simple step can dramatically change cost projections of party platforms.

Yet in comparison to program spending, the media isn’t nearly as concerned about tax reductions. Why? Because political discourse has been deliberately tilted away from program spending. This serves the right-wing interests well, as they have [url=http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&It... convinced Canadians that the programs they value are simply not feasible[/url]. Yet Canadians still value their social programs to the point where no politician can be elected without paying lip service towards them.

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Much better!