rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

It's crunch time in Ottawa

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Off the Hill graphic

The popular web series is back! Off the Hill 2021 will kick off with a bang on April 15 at 7:30 p.m. EDT.

With the first federal budget in two years expected on April 19, a potential election looms large against the backdrop of an ongoing pandemic and faltering roll-out of a national vaccine program.

We'll be welcoming panelists including federal politics senior reporter Karl Nerenberg, MP for Winnipeg Centre Leah Gazan, the executive director of FoodShare Toronto and newly minted candidate for the NDP in Parkdale-High Park, Paul Taylor. 

This month's webinar includes special guest Jim Stanford, an economist and director of the Centre for Future Work. Hosted by author Libby Davies, and introducing this season's new alternating co-host Robin Browne, a communications professional and the co-lead of the 613-819 Black Hub.

Register here.

Over the past year, there has been much ado about government spending. Conservatives say there's been too much of it; those on the left argue not just for more spending, but more efficiency, better focus, and overall, a commitment to social services. 

Recently at rabble.ca, Karl Nerenberg wrote about the budget as an opportunity for the federal government to show what role, if any, it believes the federal government can play in reforming a long-term care system that has miserably failed the elderly during the COVID-19 pandemic across the country.

And, economist Armine Yalnizyan made the case for governments to pivot their investments towards the care economy. 

"So far no government has talked about addressing the world's first 'she-cession' by spending more on the social infrastructure we all rely on to provide care to each other," she wrote. 

As governments talk about "building back better" and rebuilding our economy in a post-pandemic world, discussions about how and for whom governments are spending have become crucial. We're pleased to bring you a conversation about the impact of the upcoming budget from a progressive point of view.  

Leah Gazan is Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre. She is currently the NDP critic for Children, Families, and Social Development, as well as the deputy critic for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship. Leah has been a champion in the fight for a permanent guaranteed livable basic income in Canada and earlier this year was named to Maclean's 2021 Power List. She was a prominent Winnipeg lead during Idle No More and co-founded the #WeCare campaign aimed at building public will to end violence against Indigenous women and girls. Leah is a member of Wood Mountain Lakota Nation, located in Saskatchewan, Treaty 4 territory.

Paul Taylor is the executive director of FoodShare Toronto and a lifelong anti-poverty activist. FoodShare is the largest food security organization in Canada, with a budget of over $11 million. Paul recently won the nomination for NDP federal candidate in Parkdale—High Park

Jim Stanford is an economist and the director of the Centre for Future Work, a labour economics research institute with operations in Canada and Australia. He previously served as economist and director of policy with Unifor.

Karl Nerenberg is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster and filmmaker, working in both English and French languages. He has been rabble.ca’s parliamentary correspondent since 2011.

Robin Browne and Libby Davies are Off the Hill’s co-hosts. Robin is a communications professional and the co-lead of the 613-819 Black Hub, living in Ottawa. His blog is The "True" North. Libby is author of Outside In: a Political Memoir. She served as the MP for Vancouver East from 1997-2015, and is former NDP Deputy Leader and House Leader, and is a recipient of the Order of Canada.

Off the Hill is thought-provoking panel interaction on current issues of national significance, from a progressive and critically applied perspective. This monthly production features interesting and topical issues from a left perspective not covered in the mainstream media. Discussions are centred on impacts on people, mobilization, and bringing about progressive change.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.