The way that trans people are housed in detention and correctional settings has come to attention recently, after British comedian Avery Edison was detained by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) for having previously overstayed her visa — and then she was initially sent to a mens’ prison while the issue was sorted out. After an outcry. Ms. Edison was moved to a female facility, but a number of other experiences that trans people have had with CBSA and Correctional Services Canada (CSC) have also come to light.
On Friday, I’d posted an article discussing some of the issues (Read more…)
This morning I gave a presentation to a church group in Ottawa on affordable housing and homelessness. My slides can be downloaded here. Points I raised in the presentation include the following: -Though government provides subsidies to some low-income households for housing, it is important to be mindful of the considerable funding available for Canadian [...]
OTTAWA — Canada’s cities say that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is reducing its efforts to invest in affordable housing and fight poverty despite suggesting earlier that it was ready to take action. The government rejects this claim, suggesting that […]
|Which of these horses is a community volunteer?
That’s easy, the one that’s worth it’s weight in gold!
Science fiction is often charged with naïve technological optimism and historical amnesia. But for present-day Californians struggling with a wide range of environmental and social problems, science fiction might just provide the perspective we need to successfully pivot from the boom times of the twentieth century to the messy prospect of the century ahead. It won’t be the techno-futurist elements of science fiction—miraculously clean energy sources, flying cars, off-planet factories—that are going to save us, though. The classic works of science fiction have a different, more fatalistic side that speaks more usefully to our current condition, awash as we are in the environmental and social consequences of the Golden State’s postwar boom.
by: Kendra Milne | First published by Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Housing is a right. [Photo by Obert Madondo/The Canadian Progressive
Safe and secure housing is a cornerstone of overall health and well-being. The housing affordability crisis in BC is common knowledge, but less well known is the fact that the lack of enforcement of tenancy laws threatens the safety and security of rental housing across the province.
Roughly one third of British Columbians live in rental housing. They depend on BC’s tenancy laws to ensure that their rental housing is safe and reasonably well maintained, that they (Read more…)
WASHINGTON – U.S. sales of new homes fell in December for a second consecutive…
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Across Canada, housing prices slowed down in 2013, but in Manitoba, there are no signs of the housing crunch abating. Last month, the average house price in Win…
Yesterday, Vancouverites learned that they have yet another reason to celebrate: for the sixth year in a row, Vancouver was named the second most unaffordable city in the world.
It’s a stunning accomplishment — New York, Tokyo, London, San Fran…
This and that to end your weekend.
- Paul Luke comments on the general stratification of workers into three groups: professionals facing extended hours and stress at a single job, service-sector workers juggling multiple jobs at more than full-time hours, and people struggling to find work at all. But it’s well worth asking whether it’s inevitable that we’ll keep moving in a direction which seems to offer few benefits for anybody but the employers who extract more work for less pay – and asking what public policy choices we could make to ensure manageable workloads for more of the would-be (Read more…)
TORONTO – House prices in Canada rose in the last quarter of 2013, according…
“Joe Canada” is increasingly likely to be Jose, Youssef or Josipa Canada, with our nation now boasting the highest proportion of foreign-born citizens of the G8 countries: 20.6 per cent. His – or her – daily commute takes 25.4 minutes, […]
Pantomime is a popular Christmas theatre tradition in the U.K. where audiences shout back at the characters and enjoy humour that ranges from bawdy to political to slapstick. A pantomime written by Charles Demers with Veda Hille and Theatre Replacement…
Assorted content for your Sunday reading.
- Joan Walsh discusses how employers are exploiting the U.S.’ wage supplement policies by taking the opportunity to severely underpay their employees – resulting in both insecure income and employment, and significant public expense to reduce the poverty suffered by full-time workers. And Lana Payne comments that the Cons’ anti-worker policies figure to further exacerbate inequality in Canada as well.
- Meanwhile, lest anybody doubt the disproportionate effect of corporate power in politics, Juliet Eilperin writes that the Obama White House delayed the introduction of health, safety and environmental regulations until after (Read more…)
Assorted content to end your week.
- Bob Hepburn writes that more Canadians approve of the idea of a guaranteed annual income than oppose it – even as the concept is all too frequently dismissed as politically unpalatable. And Stuart Trew points out that a majority of Canadians disagree with the corporate super-rights contained in the CETA and other trade agreements.
- But of course, blind support for corporate interests and opposition to a reasonable standard of living for all are neatly clustered in the Cons’ caucus among other places. And Carol Goar writes that Con MPs used a Parliamentary (Read more…)
The same ones housing activists have been calling for since the federal government axed the national housing program two decades ago.
To ensure that the 600,000 households currently living in social housing across the country cont…
OTTAWA – The Conservative government has announced rule changes that will allow social housing…
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Toby Sanger highlights how the Cons (following in the footsteps of the Libs before them) have already slashed federal government revenues and expenses to levels not seen since the first half of the 20th century – even as they continue to call for more blood: Total federal government spending as a share of the economy is projected to drop to a 14% share of the economy by 2018/19. This would be the lowest since at least 1948. Because the government has tied the federal public service up in knots, actual spending will (Read more…)
OTTAWA – Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says he’s prepared to clamp down on…
The ability of municipalities to regulate, permit or prohibit certain types of development activities within their boundaries is one of the most powerful tools of local government. Through proper planning, local governments can help encourage de…
Last week, I gave a presentation on public policy responding to homelessness in Canada, with a focus on the past decade. I gave the presentation at this year’s annual conference of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association.
Points I made i…
David Madden argues that gentrification is not synonymous with urban renewal. Madden is an assistant professor in the Sociology Department and the Cities Program at the London School of Economics. He’s the author of a recent article in the Guardian, Gentrification doesn’t trickle down to help everyone. David Madden speaks with Redeye host Jane Williams.
To find out more about Redeye, check out our website.
Esther Hsieh was interviewing three Downtown Eastside activists in a coffee bar when they were attacked by the manager of a nearby hotel. Wendy Pedersen and Beatriz Osario came down to the studios of Coop Radio to talk about what happened with Esther H…
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
As governments push their austerity agendas, anti-poverty activists have been fighting to increase funding for housing and shelt…
Assorted content for your Sunday reading.
- Alex Pareene muses that Lawrence Summers would be an entirely worthy nominee to oversee U.S. monetary policy – for a very specific set of criteria: Laws and policies he championed directly led to the financial crisis, and the same laws and policies caused that crisis to kick off a global recession that we still have not crawled out of. He is more responsible than almost anyone else alive — it’s him, Robert Rubin, Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan, basically — for the severity of the crisis. I can’t think of a better (Read more…)
Assorted content for your Sunday reading.
- Alex Pareene muses that Lawrence Summers would be an entirely worthy nominee to oversee U.S. monetary policy – for a very specific set of criteria:
Laws and policies he championed directly led to the financial crisis, and the same laws and policies caused that crisis to kick off a global recession that we still have not crawled out of. He is more responsible than almost anyone else alive — it’s him, Robert Rubin, Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan, basically — for the severity of the crisis. I can’t think of a better time to inexplicably reward Summers for his disastrous record than today, as news outlets everywhere revisit those miserable days of five years ago and sort through the aftermath. The ascension should happen as soon as possible. Think of it as a sort of birthday president for the crisis.
The timing has never been better to reaffirm that in America, a lucky few are able to be wrong — disastrously wrong, in ways that cause a great deal of harm and suffering — about everything and be forever rewarded for it. Larry Summers is basically the mascot of the last few terrible decades, and today is the day that should be officially recognized.
- And Peter Beinart sees Bill de Blasio’s primary victory as evidence that voters are very much willing to throw their support behind genuinely progressive options, rather than looking for somebody who caters primarily to the Very Serious People.
- Speaking of unabashed progressive heroes, Peter O’Neil excerpts Graeme Truelove’s take on Svend Robinson’s legacy. And the would-be MPs currently pursuing nominations in the upcoming set of by-elections would do well to follow his example.
- Finally, Armine Yalnizyan offers her take on how the Cons have permanently damaged our ability to assess the state of Canada’s housing market – and how the limited data available through the National Household Survey offers plenty of reason for concern.
How two landmark apartment complexes helped Toronto face one of its earliest housing crises.
“This is not a company; it is a cause.” When the Toronto Housing Company issued its first annual report (quoted above) in 1913, its directors saw themselves as more than a private-public partnership dedicated to building affordable worker housing. They adopted a crusading tone in order to help spread across the country the gospel of [...]
As more and more Canadian politicians adopt the mantle of the middle class, you’d be forgiven for thinking the suburban white-collar worker is a newly endangered species. The reality, population experts say, is that the squeeze on the middle is […]
Bob Ransford has recently published yet another article in the Vancouver Sun repeating his mantra that the affordability crisis in Vancouver is caused by a lack of private development. The logic goes as follows: Demand for new housing is exceeding supply, yet the people of Vancouver are preventing affordability by fighting against the development industry’s bid to add more supply. “The solution is simple,” writes Ransford, “more supply equals more affordable housing.”
Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.
- Dan Leger points to the Lac-Mégantic rail explosion as an all-too-vivid example of the intersection of privatized profits and socialized risks:
Are we tough enough on corporations that destroy, burn and kill? What’s happening at Lac-Mégantic suggests we aren’t. There’s a scramble on now to stop the company responsible for Canada’s worst rail disaster from walking away with little more than an aching bank account.
The infamous Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway filed for bankruptcy protection last week in Canada and the U.S. It’s a clear attempt to fade into the background while survivors, families and the shocked community of Lac-Mégantic face a lifetime of struggle and grief.
Years of litigation lie ahead, but the railway seems to think the victims and their neighbours should pay the bills; not shareholders or its bizarrely tone-deaf chairman, Ed Burkhardt. Taxpayers will share the recovery costs, which will run to the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Forty-seven people are dead, their families and their community permanently scarred. And the company gets to walk away? It seems impossibly wrong, but it could happen.
At the bankruptcy hearing, Justice Martin Castonguay said he was “not impressed” with what he called MM&A’s “lamentable behaviour.” He suggested MM&A’s directors should be held personally responsible.
And so they should. Lac-Mégantic has demonstrated that we need tougher laws in Canada, ones that will bring the pain of the next industrial disaster right back to the corporate boardroom.
- Meanwhile, Charles Pierce rightly notes the media’s painfully short attention span when it comes to stories of high-risk corporate malfeasance – with the ongoing flow of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant (contrary to the false assurances of the operator) serving as an example.
- Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas survey a range of sources on the link between political inequality and economic inequality – including some evidence that the views of poorer constituents have precisely zero effect on the actions of elected representatives. And in that vein, Cathy Davis discusses how the UK’s Con-led coalition is attacking the availability of housing for the people who need it most.
(T)axes are not the prohibitive political taboo they were before the 2008 financial meltdown. A recent Environics survey showed that 64 per cent of Canadians say they would pay a bit more to fund health care, pensions and higher education, while 83 per cent favour a tax hike on the very rich. Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama and Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath both pushed through new taxes last year without suffering any apparent political injuries.
Politicians across the spectrum typically view taxation as a last resort. And that’s probably a good thing. But Mulcair can’t be certain of what, in perpetuity, we will collectively be willing to pay for. By taking possible tax increases off the table, we blinker our vision of what’s possible. The leader of the New Democrats, of all people, should know that.
Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.
- Dan Leger points to the Lac-Mégantic rail explosion as an all-too-vivid example of the intersection of privatized profits and socialized risks: Are we tough enough on corporations that destroy, burn and kill? What’s happening at Lac-Mégantic suggests we aren’t. There’s a scramble on now to stop the company responsible for Canada’s worst rail disaster from walking away with little more than an aching bank account.
The infamous Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway filed for bankruptcy protection last week in Canada and the U.S. It’s a clear attempt to fade into the background (Read more…)
This and that for your Sunday reading.
- Simon Lewchuk makes the case for genuine participatory budgeting in contrast to the little-known and unduly-narrow means for Canadians to even make suggestions for our country’s public spending priorities:
Operating under the guise of “consultation,” in June the federal finance committee announced its annual pre-budget process (don’t worry if you missed it, most Canadians did too). People were invited to “share their priorities for the 2014 budget” via an online form but, with an Aug. 5 deadline, it was unlikely that many Canadians were able to take the committee up on its offer (even if they were aware of it).
The parameters of the pre-budget consultation process are becoming increasingly narrow. In 2011, for example, respondents were asked to provide their views on how to “create quality, sustainable jobs, ensure relatively low rates of taxation and achieve a balanced budget.” To start from the premise that low taxes are non-negotiable doesn’t leave much room for an honest, frank discussion.
Not that the real decision-making power rests with the finance committee: our current government has been criticized for shrouding the budget process in secrecy, something they explicitly campaigned against in 2006. Budget decisions are being made behind closed doors and forced through the House of Commons as part of massive omnibus legislation.
It all leaves one seriously doubting the value and integrity of the current budget consultation process.
What we do with our money — as families, communities or countries — reflects our priorities, commitments and vision of the sort of world we want to live in. Budget decisions demand a broad, inclusive decision-making process.
- Sarah Frank highlights the consequences of a budgeting process utterly disconnected from representatives and citizens alike, finding Dean Del Mastro telling the City of Peterborough to apply for funding under a program which his own government eliminated last year. But considering the Cons’ well-established practice of bombarding Canada’s airwaves with advertising for programs past, future or outright imaginary, I’m only surprised their MPs haven’t been caught more often doing the same in person.
- Susan Delacourt discusses housing as a matter of public policy – with particular reference to the Cons’ lack of interest in acknowledging the importance of rental housing even as they make home ownership less affordable.
- Jody Porter reports that the Cons aren’t the least bit sorry for the use of hungry First Nations children as involuntary test subjects.
- Meanwhile, the Hupacasath First Nation is rightly challenging the Cons’ disregard for Canada’s duty to consult in negotiating the FIPA.
- Finally, Graham Thomson discusses the effect the Cold Lake blowout is bound to have on attempts to greenwash the tar sands:
For the last three months, 7,300 barrels of bitumen have uncontrollably bubbled to the surface from deep underground and seeped into muskeg and water on four sites at the company’s operations, creating an ecological mess, killing wildlife and damaging the reputation of CNRL in particular and the oilsands industry in general.
The company has cut down trees, hauled away tons of oily muskeg and put containment booms on a contaminated lake. But the bitumen keeps coming, seeping out of the ground through long, narrow fissures. Not only has CNRL been unable to stop it, the company doesn’t know for sure why it keeps coming.
The Pembina Institute based in Calgary disturbingly describes the leak as an “uncontrolled blowout in an oil reservoir deep underground.”
There remains the possibility the problem was the result of a crack in the overlying cap rock created by the high-pressure steaming process. That would be a much larger problem for CNRL. It’s one thing for the company to plug up an old cracked well bore, but quite another to deal with cracks in a geological formation.
It would also be a much larger problem for the oilsands industry that is moving away from open pit mining to in situ methods designed to be less environmentally disruptive. The CNRL incident is raising troubling questions and providing ammunition for environmental groups to once again attack the industry.
Also troubling is the fact this is the second CNRL leak in the same area. In 2009, 5,600 barrels seeped into the environment. A cause was never conclusively reached, but the provincial regulator said “geological weakness, in combination with stress induced by high pressure steam injection” may have contributed to the incident.
It doesn’t matter if you call it a leak or a spill or an underground blowout — we need to know what caused it and what it means to the integrity of the oilsands industry.
And it’s of course always worth a reminder that the Cons have gone out of their way to make sure that Cold Lake-style disasters can happen without any warning or mitigation strategies – having excluded in situ steam injection projects (geological implications and all) from any environmental assessment.
This and that for your Sunday reading.
- Simon Lewchuk makes the case for genuine participatory budgeting in contrast to the little-known and unduly-narrow means for Canadians to even make suggestions for our country’s public spending priorities: Operating under the guise of “consultation,” in June the federal finance committee announced its annual pre-budget process (don’t worry if you missed it, most Canadians did too). People were invited to “share their priorities for the 2014 budget” via an online form but, with an Aug. 5 deadline, it was unlikely that many Canadians were able to take the committee up on its (Read more…)
Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are making the cost of living unsustainable for families in Canada’s North, according to Yvonne Jones, the Liberal MP for Newfoundland and Labrador.
The post Conservatives ignoring housing, food security needs in Canada’s North appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
Hugh Podmore knows what he wants in a roommate
There is a theory that millionaires from Asia buying up housing in Vancouver are the cause of the affordable housing crisis in Vancouver. Jackie Wong, Pablo Mendez and Henry Yu disagree. They spoke at a panel on June 10 organized by the Tyee. The panel…