The Progressive Economics Forum: Book review: Social policy in Canada (second edition)

Oxford University Press has recently released the second edition of Social Policy in Canada, co-authored by the father-daughter duo of Ernie Lightman and Naomi Lightman. I recommend this book as an excellent resource for students of social policy. It will be useful for classroom instruction, while also being a handy reference for researchers, persons who ...

Michal Rozworski: Confused about universality? So are NDP leadership candidates

There some pretty confused stuff on universality and means-testing during last night’s NDP leadership debate. Here are some thoughts that might help clear things up a bit. First, Singh’s attack of Caron on means-testing early in the debate was a bit bizarre seeing as both of them have major new means-tested transfers among their policy ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Second Annual Canadian Homelessness Data Sharing Initiative

I’ve just blogged about the Second Annual Canadian Homelessness Data Sharing Initiative. This is now an annual event that takes place in Calgary. It’s co-sponsored by the Calgary Homeless Foundation and the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy. A summary of the inaugural event (which took place in May 2016) can be found here, ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Fiscal situation of Canada’s ‘oil rich’ provinces

I’ve just written a blog post about the fiscal situation of Canada’s ‘oil rich’ provinces (i.e., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador). It consists of a summary of key points raised at a PEF-sponsored panel at this year’s Annual Conference of the Canadian Economics Association. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -The ...

Accidental Deliberations: On selective sacrifice

Brad Wall’s definition of shared sacrifice: Public service workers are expected to do their jobs plus more to cover for a hiring freeze, while also getting hit with a 3.5% pay cut. At the same time, specially-selected Saskatchewan Party MLAs get handed new titles without any accompanying work, plus $3,000 free to go with it. ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Ten things to know about social assistance in Canada

I’ve just written a blog post about social assistance in Canada. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Social assistance has two contradictory objectives: 1) to give people enough money to live on; and 2) to not give people enough money to live on. -Very few immigrants receive social assistance (relative to the ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Program Evaluation

I’ve just blogged about program evaluation and the way it’s used where I work—namely, at the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF). The blog post serves as a primer on program evaluation. It also discusses how CHF measures performance by programs that it funds (CHF disburses $42 million annually to programs in Calgary’s homeless-serving sector). The blog ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: A Response to the 2017 Saskatchewan Budget

I have an opinion piece on Saskatchewan’s recent budget in the Regina Leader-Post. Points raised in the opinion piece include the following: -Reductions in personal and corporate income taxes help the rich more than the poor (and this budget cut both personal and corporate income taxes). -Increases in sales tax hurt the poor more than ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: New book on the history of Canadian social housing policy

One of Canada’s foremost authorities on Canadian social housing, Dr. Greg Suttor, has just authored a book on the history of Canadian social housing policy. Titled Still renovating: A history of Canadian social housing policy, it’s published by McGill-Queen’s University Press and covers the period from the end of World War II to 2013. I’ve ...

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading. – Nick Falvo, Janice Chan and Chidom Otogwu point out that housing is just one of the areas where federal action is needed to reduce poverty and its social harms in Canada. And Falvo also reviews Greg Suttor’s “Still Renovating” as a worthwhile look at housing in Canada. – ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Calgary Homeless Foundation’s System Planning Frameworks

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF), I’m co-author of a blog post about CHF’s new System Planning Frameworks.  These frameworks discuss the different programs funded by CHF. Points made in the blog post include the following: -CHF disburses approximately $42 million a year to programs for persons experiencing homelessness in ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Alternative Federal Budget 2017

This year’s Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) was released on March 9. I was proud to be the primary author of its housing chapter (that chapter is available in English here and in French here). The first AFB exercise began in 1994, with the first AFB being published in 1995. That involved a joint effort between ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Foundations for an Alberta Alternative Budget

An Alberta-based volunteer working group, of which I’m a part, recently released a document titled Foundations for an Alberta Alternative Budget (for media coverage, see this Metro article).  Working group members include staff from Alberta’s non-profit sector, labour movement and advocacy sector. While our long-term goal is to emulate the great work of the Alternative ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Five emerging trends in affordable housing and homelessness

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Five emerging trends in affordable housing and homelessness.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -The Trudeau government has spent impressive amounts of money on affordable housing and homelessness.  This is time-limited money though. -There is currently ...

Alberta Politics: Shoreline, True Grit, photo-bombing, certainty and the Deity: random observations from Alberta’s Throne Speech

PHOTOS: Alberta Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell, clad in a purple official gown, reads the NDP Government’s third Speech from the Throne in the Legislature in Edmonton yesterday afternoon. Below: Party crasher Jason Kenney, Labour Minister Christina Gray (Dave Cournoyer photo) and Opposition Leader Brian Jean. Alberta’s New Democratic Party Government delivered its third Speech from ...

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading. – Paul Buchheit comments on the continued spread of global inequality – as a combination of top-heavy gains and lost wealth among all but the privileged few has reduced to 6 the number of billionaires with as much wealth as half of humanity. – Bill Curry reports on ...

Accidental Deliberations: On non-solutions

Tammy Robert thoroughly documents how Brad Wall’s billion-dollar deficit has nothing to do with either resource revenues (being Wall’s primary excuse for blowing up the budget), or public services (which are his first target for attacks): I can’t consider the way the Saskatchewan government has handled the prospect of streamlining public service – or even this ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Federal Role in Poverty Reduction

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’m co-author of a blog post titled “The Federal Role in Poverty Reduction.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development has been tasked to lead the development of a Canada Poverty Reduction Strategy. -Total public ...

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the options available to the Wall government in responding to a budget deficit other than to renew its attacks on Saskatchewan’s public servants – and why we shouldn’t trust a premier whose answer to the failure of his anti-worker economics is to amplify the pain. For further reading…– In case we need a ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Do Calgary and Edmonton need more power and resources?

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Do Calgary and Edmonton need more power and resources?” The blog post comes as the Government of Alberta considers the possibility of, well, giving more power and sources to both Calgary and Edmonton. Points raised in the blog post ...

We Pivot: You Probably Already Support Postal Banking Too

CUPW, the union for Canada Post workers, has had some innovative ideas lately which the Harper and Trudeau governments are, not surprisingly, not too keen on. Both governments pursue a neoliberal privatization agenda. Public services like CBC and Canada Post provide no profit layer to companies because they exist as public services. Privatizing them lets ...

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading. – John Quiggin argues that public services and corporate control don’t mix – no matter how desperately the people seeking to exploit public money try to pretend otherwise: Market-oriented reforms, particularly in the provision of human services like health, education and public safety, have begun with a working ...

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading. – Erin Seatter interviews Adam Lynes-Ford about Brian Day’s latest attack on universal Medicare. And Ricochet’s editorial board highlights how Day is ultimately fighting only to exacerbate inequality: Discrimination against racialized and Indigenous patients fosters health disparities across our country and sometimes leads to death. Poverty hurts Indigenous ...

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading. – Ann McFeatters reminds us of the good a government can do when it dedicates itself to identifying and responding to urgent public needs. And Bill McKibben makes the case for an all-out mobilization against climate change: We’re used to war as metaphor: the war on poverty, the war ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Central Agencies in Canada

Do you ever sit in bed late at night wondering what it is that Finance Canada, the Privy Council Office and Treasury Board Secretariat actually do?  Well, wonder no more my friends!  Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Ten things to know about central agencies ...