A few weeks ago I had a rant about an utterly attrocious story in the Toronto Star reporting wholly uncritically upon a Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives study which purported to show (but, in fact didn’t) that low-wage employment had increased in Ontario. I had thought it was something of a low point for critical journalism, until I read Mark Sarner’s op-ed piece on ending poverty in Saturday’s Star. Good Lord, if this is the public face of progressive policy, progressives are doomed.
The gist of Mark Sarner’s piece is that we can end poverty with a guaranteed annual income for all. OK, that’s a fair a point, but he goes disastrously off track from there. He proceeds to make the unsupported claim that it would only cost $16 billion to implement such a proposal – less, he claims, than Canadian governments currently spend on social assistance and EI:
The assumption is that we can’t afford to. Are we sure? What would it cost exactly? Answer: about $16 billion a year in today’s dollars. Big money. Yet nowhere near as much as it is costing us now to keep it going.
In total, governments spent $13 billion in welfare payments in 2009, the last year for which numbers are available. Say $15 billion in today’s dollars. Those on EI who are classified as poor account for another $3 billion a year or so. Now add the costs of administration — about $4 billion. All to keep the wheels of the system turning. And turn they do, without end, and without ending poverty.
In other words, we could reduce the societal cost of poverty by $6 billion per year by replacing the existing anti-poverty programs with a guaranteed annual income for all
Continue reading “Good Lord, It’s depressing to read the Star these days – more pathetic progressive policy pieces”
I know I shouldn’t read the Star. Especially not when it’s reporting on the latest report from the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (the “CCPA”). Not because I don’t agree with them (it’s no fun reading people you agree with), but because the degree of stupidity and ignorance which oozes from their writing is just traumatizing to the brain of a thinking person.
Consider this story from today’s Star about the CCPA’s latest report about the ‘eye-popping’ shift to “low-wage” work:
The research compiled by the left-leaning think tank shows that the share of Ontario workers labouring for the minimum wage is now five times higher than in 1997. It rose from less than 3 per cent of all employees to about 12 per cent in 2014.
The share of low-paid work has also ballooned: almost a third of all employees in the province are now making within $4 of the minimum wage, compared with less than 20 per cent of the workforce in 1997.
Oooh, that sounds bad, the number of people working for minimum wage has increased 5-fold, surely this is the end of capitalism.
Continue reading “This is Why No One Takes the Toronto Star and the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives Seriously”
As if the Rob Ford gong-show couldn’t get worse, we have breaking news that both of his press-secretaries have quit, citing ethical concerns about continuing to work under the Ford administration. According to the Star:
George Christopoulos, Ford’s press secretary, and Isaac Ransom, Ford’s deputy press secretary, both resigned and walked out of city hall Monday, a source with knowledge of their departure told the Star.
So, after 8 days of sitting on his ample backside, Rob Ford has finally gotten around to making a statement about his alleged crack use. Boy, and what an utterly fucking useless statement it is too. He might as well have confessed.
Here’s the money quote (the rest of the statement being self-serving hand-waiving):
“There has been a serious accusation from the Toronto Star that I use crack cocaine. I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine. As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist. It is most unfortunate, very unfortunate, that my colleagues and the great people of this city have been exposed to the fact that I have been judged by the media without any evidence.
This past week has not been an easy one. It has taken a great toll on my family and my friends and the great people of Toronto. For the past week, on the advice of my solicitor, I was advised not to say a word.” Continue reading “Rob Ford’s “Denial”: THAT’s The Best He’s Got, He Might As Well Have Confessed.”
Unlike many Torontonians (yeah, yeah, I’m a suburbanite asshole now, but once a Toronto boy always a Toronto boy) of my class and background, I don’t have a hate-on for Rob Ford. On the contrary, compared to the NDP assholes who used to run this city, his administration has been a refreshing breath of fresh air, and a significant improvement over that of his predecessor, David Miller. If nothing else, the fact that he started privatizing garbage pick-up – ensuring that Torontonians won’t be held hostage by their public “servants” every few summers – represents a real win for the City (a point conceded by even his fiercest critics at the Toronto Star). That he drives the editorial board at the Star and the downtown cognoscenti nuts, well, so much the better. Sure, he’s boorish and stubborn and he might over-indulge in fried chicken and booze (although I can’t criticize on that last point), but compared to the usual blow-dried and manicured phonies who pass themselves off as politicians, those rough edges contribute to his appeal. In short, I’m a member of Ford Nation.
Continue reading “This is where I get off the Rob Ford train”
Did anyone else catch this seriously weird piece by Thomas Walkom in the weekend’s Star? Titled “It’s time to end the Korean War” it offers Walkom’s penetrating insight that the only way to defuse the tensions on the Korean Peninsula is to “negotiate and sign a real peace treaty with Pyongyang”. Isn’t that brilliant? Thank Christ we have Thomas Walkom arround to give us such pearls of wisdom. Do you think the Nobel Prize committee is accepting nominations yet, because surely Walkom is a contender? (Although, given some of the past winners, that isn’t saying much).
Continue reading “What colour is the sky in Thomas Walkom’s world?”
For most Canadians, the Canadian government’s decision to cut off diplomatic relations with Iran is a no-brainer. Iran does, after all, have a long record of abusing the human rights of its own citizens and sponsoring terrorism internationally. It steadfastly refuses to comply with its treaty obligations in respect of its nuclear program and is widely (and credibly) believed to be trying to build nuclear weapons. It has repeatedly and publicly called for a genocidal war against Israel, famously threatening to “wipe” it “off the map” and has recently supported the odious Assad regime in the ongoing murder of Syrian civilians. And, of course, as I reminded readers earlier, members of its security apparatus tortured, raped and murdered a Canada citizen – Zahra Kazemi – an atrocity for which no one has ever been brought to justice. Need I go on?
Apparently, though, that isn’t enough for Tony Burman, former editor-in-chief of the CBC News and now a professor of journalism at Rye-high. No, in his mind the only possible explanation for Canada’s “abrupt action” against Iran is the “Harper government’s outsourcing of Canada’s Middle East policy to Jerusalem is now complete.” Yes, that’s right folks, our government works for Israel, at least in the fevered mind of Tony Burman.
Continue reading “Tony Burman on Canada’s decision to break ties with Iran – Where does the Star get these lunatics?”