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Towards a Shared Prosperity

Posted by Art Eggleton on November 15, 2012 | No Comments

Dear Liberal Friends,

The Liberal Social and Economic Policy Caucus has been meeting to discuss the way forward on some of the key social issues we are facing in Canada today.  They are: income inequality, poverty, housing and homelessness and early childhood education.  In a very real sense, the future level of our prosperity depends on addressing these defining issues of our time.

We want to hear from you. Attached is a discussion paper outlining these important issues and some possible solutions.  Some options outlined are bold and some are incremental.  Maybe the solution you prefer isn’t here but in either case you can tell us about it.   We are looking for your input in both the current Parliamentary context and for future platform development.

You can write us at policydiscussion@sen.parl.gc.ca, or engage in an open dialogue here on this blog. We look forward to reading your comments.

Thank you.

Art Eggleton
Co-Chair, Social and Economic Policy Caucus

Maryanne Kampouris
LPC National Policy Chair

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Please note that comments are moderated with the goal of stimulating an intelligent and fruitful discussion. As such, we ask that you use language that is civil and respectful, and refrain from attacks of any kind. We reserve the right to remove or not post any comments or information that does not meet these requirements.
  1. Avatar of fred madwid fred madwid said on

    First I wish the parties would co operate. If we don’t just look to the States. Our economic prosperity should be decided by Canadians not Corporations. STOP FRACKING. No partnerships with Communist Countries. We should leveraging ourselves to encourage others to be more Democratic, inclusive, fair and so on. Focus on our issues and needs first.

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    • Avatar of said on

      Frederick, to your very arbitrary mention of “fracking”. Give this a thorough look through: I think fracking, as opposed to other resource extraction, is a very misunderstood issue, with a liberal degree of regulation, enforcement of existing regulation, and empowerment of researchers, could be much better. North America is also seen as the safest place to do it according to all experts. http://www.epa.ie/downloads/pubs/research/sss/UniAberdeen_FrackingReport.pdf

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      • Avatar of john sobocan john sobocan said on

        if fracking is so safe allow it in your back yard..
        a stray from the topic to say the least…

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  2. Avatar of Mariette Vautour Mariette Vautour said on

    #1Will you be putting the retirement age back to 65 or 63 in your election platform? I think this would leave room for the younger people to step into these positions, thus, creating more jobs.

    #2 Will you get rid of Monsanto products? They are poisoning us with GMO and chemicals in our foods.

    #3 As Bob Rae mentioned, developing our natual resources, instead of shipping them raw is a very good way to create more jobs for everyone.
    These are two big issues that people are very concerned about.
    I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thank You

    Mariette Vautour

    PS. Good speech Bob Rae

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  3. Avatar of Craig Farlinger Craig Farlinger said on

    Income inequality is two problems- poverty and the disappearing middle class. Poverty reduction requires government money to fix and that money should be disproportionately targetted to parents with children and the disabled. Able bodied single people only require an adequate social safety net and the federal government should get involved in ensuring a uniform and adequate social safety net across the country in addition to subsidized housing so they can afford to live somewhere. The second problem of the disappearing middle class is more complicated and I believe is more closely related to globalization. That is a discussion that is more appropriately held behind closed doors because of the complexity and emotions involved. I would love to be part of that discussion within a Liberal Party committee designated to research solutions.

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  4. Avatar of Craig Farlinger Craig Farlinger said on

    I say that income inequality is only two problems – poverty and the dwindling middle class – because I don’t regard people making a lot of money as a problem. If the government has created the situation that is being exploited for outrageous compensation – as they have with the banking industry – then yes the government should put a stop that. A Corporate Social Responsibility requirement should be standard for all government suppliers and should include a compensation cap as well as environmental standards. However adopting a vocal Marxist “make the rich pay” policy approach to combat income inequality will alienate business people from the Party and is not Liberal. It won’t get us elected and treating successful business leaders like that will only turn out bad in the long run. Just fixing how we govern will go a long way.

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    • Avatar of said on

      Remember, the majority of jobs in this country are still maintained and created by small and medium-sized businesses. Liberals can be the champion of keeping local to medium-sized businesses open & growing. We don’t need to fight big business, we support them being successful because they do employ a lot of people and play a key part in the success of our economy, however, subsidizing them in any fashion is not necessary. *Their* success is supported by us. It’s called a “Free Market”, not a government-underpinned superstructure of corporations… why, in HarperLand, isn’t that getting quite close to socialism?? Shame. All spin aside, small and medium-sized businesses have rising costs, are hiring less, and not being given the help up they need. That is where the Liberal Party can find its way in my view.

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    • Avatar of Wolfgang Braun Wolfgang Braun said on

      William Farlinger writes: ” Just fixing how we govern will go a long way. ”

      I agree.

      Where would you start?

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      • Avatar of Craig Farlinger Craig Farlinger said on

        Hi Wolfgang – First the divisive rhetoric like in this thread has to stop. Natural resources revenue sharing is a done deal and can’t be changed without dividing the country. Alberta is going to get the big bucks from the tar sands and trying to claw some away will be very negative for the Liberal’s election chances. Second increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of government to deliver services has to be made a priority. Thirdly, and this is the big change, the government has to adopt as the ultimate aim of all monetary and fiscal policy to protect and increase the wealth of as many citizens as possible.

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        • Avatar of Wolfgang Braun Wolfgang Braun said on

          Hello William Farlinger. Again I agree with your 3 objectives. How would you suggest the LPC and the Government achieve them. In other words, what must be done? Also, what must be done to ensure that government ” increase the wealth of as ALL citizens? Rather than as many as possible. Shouldn’t the goal be to enhance the life of ALL Canadians? …. Wolf

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          • Avatar of Craig Farlinger Craig Farlinger said on

            Yes, of course, in different ways you could assist all Canadians. Monetary and fiscal policy however, under the Conservatives, has been all oriented to corporate interests and the top earners. I don’t think discussing unratified details about how to benefit most Canadians through changes to monetary and fiscal policies is appropriate for a public forum though sorry. I have speculative ideas but some research and study is required. I am a research scientist not a philosopher.

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            • Avatar of Wolfgang Braun Wolfgang Braun said on

              William wrote: ” I don’t think discussing unratified details about how to benefit most Canadians through changes to monetary and fiscal policies is appropriate for a public forum though sorry. I have speculative ideas but some research and study is required. I am a research scientist not a philosopher. ”

              Again, I agree. Having a discussion on details without some discussion on purpose and principles is meaningless. So that begs the question “what is the purpose and principles of government”. With that comes the question, “what is purpose and principles of the LPC? That’s not a philosophical question. :-)

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              • Avatar of Craig Farlinger Craig Farlinger said on

                An overall statement of “purpose and principles for government” sounds too general for me but if you have something worked out please let me know. As I said I think there is a general statement to be made about the aim of monetary and fiscal policy. I have my areas of focus based on where I think positive changes can be made that would benefit many citizens. Other people have different areas of focus and probably are more knowledgeable and experienced than I am in suggesting policy changes in those areas. My ideas are mainly in efficiency, effectiveness, monetary and fiscal policy where I think incredible things can be done.

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  5. Avatar of Peter Skipper Peter Skipper said on

    I support the national child care program to provide parents with an opportunity for quality care if they so choose at affordable rates. This is a public investment in improving society and the economy. It is also an individual benefit as the pre-school child receives an enriching care, play and learning experience at the hands of well qualified early childhood educators. Win for society and win for individual families. As the analysis shows, it more than pays for itself over time. Put this policy plank back on the Liberal agenda.

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  6. Avatar of Jane Philpott Jane Philpott said on

    On behalf of the Policy Committee of the Oak Ridges – Markham Federal Liberal Association, I am pleased to provide some feedback to your discussion paper “Towards a Shared Prosperity”.

    We hope you will be pleased to know that we used your paper for discussion in our riding’s first-ever Facebook Policy Chat. I led the online discussion by posting some of your policy options and inviting feedback. It was a very successful and lively virtual discussion. We hope to continue a similar tradition on a monthly basis to show our community that the Liberal Party of Canada encourages the democratic tradition of listening to ordinary Canadians.

    We would like to commend you for your excellent paper and for highlighting these important topics that combine both social and economic concerns in Canadian society. You should know that these topics are being discussed in our local newspapers including a piece from last weekend which notes that “Despite being known as an affluent region, almost 15 per cent of York Region’s children live in poverty.”

    Via email I will submit a transcript of many of the comments that were made in the online discussion. We hope you will read them and enjoy the candid discussion that took place online. The topic that resonated most strongly with the group was the idea of supporting a National Daycare Strategy.

    We hope that you will see that our members are seriously engaged in considering these issues. Please keep us informed about further changes to the document.

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  7. Avatar of fred madwid fred madwid said on

    The last Bi Election proved that all parties on the left MUST cooperate or else Harper will win another mandate. Something many Canadians cannot and will not tolerate.

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    • Avatar of john sobocan john sobocan said on

      agreed!!! considering only 30% of eligible voters voted and the Con. ‘victor’ walked away with 34% of the vote. that means he only received around 12%!!!!!! of the eligible votes!!!!!!
      how is that a victory? considering between NDP and Liberal votes they doubled the Con. total…
      12% !! and harper does what he wants…

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  8. Avatar of Wolfgang Braun Wolfgang Braun said on

    William…. I’ll reply by unpacking a bit of what you wrote. Hope you won’t mind.

    >> I have my areas of focus based on where I think positive changes can be made that would benefit many citizens. Other people have different areas of focus and probably are more knowledgeable and experienced than I am in suggesting policy changes in those areas. My ideas are mainly in efficiency, effectiveness, monetary and fiscal policy where I think incredible things can be done.

    When different people have different areas of focus they need to be combined under one common purpose and a set of principles in order for them to impact all Canadians positively. If they’re not, then only some policies get implemented.

    There is certainly a lot within government and government agencies that can be done to improve efficiency and effectiveness. I’ve seen it first hand. However, unless ‘we the people’ decide and agree on purpose and principles of government not much will get done. I use the term “we the people” not because I’m a believer in the U.S. Constitution… I just like the phrase. There’s a lot wrong with the U.S. Constitution, but that’s another story. :-)

    When I read in the news papers that “more and more Canadians believe that politicians, regardless of their party affiliation, don’t listen to them, don’t care about the issues that really concern them and aren’t willing to act to preserve and improve our democratic institutions and traditions” that tells me that our elected officials are operating without a purpose and a set of principles that can impact all Canadians.

    We can tinkering with policies all we want but that’s not going to create the necessary changes that Canadians want from their politicians.

    Bob Hepburn, who I quoted above, asked the question in today’s Toronto Star “how to reverse this downward spiral in confidence of our politicians”. He goes on to quote Preston Manning who suggests the solution to this is “to rebuild civility in politics, which is appalling”. We don’t know if Hepburn asked Manning how that would be done. There’s no mention in the article. Both Hepburn, who represents the media and Manning need to have an answer to how civility would be restored. I believe that can be done if we had a clear, concise purpose and principles of government that everyone understood and agreed upon. More importantly, all elected officials and bureaucrats would have to sign on for such purpose and principles to hold office or a job.

    Hepburn also quotes Michael Ignatieff on this downward spiral of confidence to which Ignatieff suggests that “politicians must stop treating MPs in other parties as “enemies” and work together in a bipartisan manner to reach compromises that recognizes the concerns of all Canadians”. Sounds good to me. But again, we don’t know if Hepburn asked Mr. Ignatieff how that would be done. Again, I put forth that without demanding that our politicians adhere to a purpose and set of principles that ‘we the people’ draft not much will change.

    Or as Hepburn suggests in his article “For too long, politicians at all levels of government have taken the public for granted, ignoring their pleas for civility and respect for our democratic values and institutions” not much will change. I say it’s up to all Canadians to begin to discuss what we want the purpose and principles of government at all levels to be.

    Lastly, if you read the Constitution of the LPC, you will find 5 purposes. Most of them serve only the Party, and not Canadians. That needs to be changed. I’ve yet to find what the principles of the LPC. I’ve yet to get an answer from some of the candidates running for the leadership of the party when I asked them what their beliefs, values and principles are. I get a blank stare when I ask people in our local riding the same question.

    Surely, we need to have a clear purpose and principles as a party if we want to reverse this downward spiral of confidence that Canadians have in our party and government. If we elect a leader just on charisma alone we deserve to have much of the same. This disillusionment with the state of our democracy started under the Liberal governments long before Harper took power, but it has accelerated under his watch. The proof is that the LPC of now in third place.

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    • Avatar of Wolfgang Braun Wolfgang Braun said on

      I just want to make one more comment William as to where I come from….

      How can a society make sense if the people are afraid of the government and the government is afraid or beholden to corporations/banks?

      Yet, this is what’s happening all over the western world. Our governments have to be looking out for the interests of ALL people instead of more the banks and corporations. If they do that (by adhering to Purpose & Principles) they (the government and the people) will be rewarded indefinitely for that. Policies come and go. Purpose and Principles last much longer. Sometimes indefinitely.

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      • Avatar of Craig Farlinger Craig Farlinger said on

        Sounds reasonable Wolfgang and I agree. I’m a bottom-up thinker myself not a top-down philosopher so i deal with solutions to specific problems. I do think that the 5 policies I’ll be advancing as a policy delegate for West Vancouver at the next policy conference are a start toward being able to construct an overall statement of purpose. I worry about it being a cliche when we need to advance credible solutions. I’m on holiday in Kauai right now until Dec. 6.

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  9. Avatar of Wolfgang Braun Wolfgang Braun said on

    Enjoy the warm weather in Kauai William. It’s -8C right now in Eastern Ontario… at least where I am. :-(

    And thank you for continuing the discussion while on holiday. :-)

    >> I do think that the 5 policies I’ll be advancing as a policy delegate for West Vancouver at the next policy conference are a start toward being able to construct an overall statement of purpose.

    Policies are very important. But policies that are not directly linked to Purpose and Principles carry a higher risk of failure. One of the weaknesses of government policies, in general, is that our elected officials and bureaucrats come up short on measurement. So often we don’t have measurement of effectiveness and efficiency nor transparency on government policies. And a lot of scarce money gets wasted.

    I’ve learned over the years that when an organization has a clear, concise and agreed upon purpose and principles there is a much greater probability of measurable success. It’s more than just instinct that tells me that what our governments stand for is as important as their policies.

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  10. Avatar of Francesca Dobbyn Francesca Dobbyn said on

    - Food insecurity is a major issue – do not allow provinces to clawback federally provided benefits
    - CPP pensioned seniors have no access to affordable drug coverages
    - Desperately need affordable dental for adults
    - To break cycles of generational poverty, programs need funding that can be 10 to 20 years in length, significantly longer than any political cycle
    - “shaming and blaming” the poor results in greater poverty as those in need won’t reach out for services “I’m not one of THOSE people”
    - Encourage unionization – raises wage rates and enables benefit programs
    - incentives for businesses to employ people full time – rather than McJobs, part time minimum wage
    -

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