Sunday, June 11, 2017

Meanwhile in Ottawa

In the Middle of the Road we have Justin Trudeau, who seems to be disappointing everyone except his mother.  On the far Right we have Andrew Scheer, a name and face unknown to probably 98% of Canadians, now leader of the Conservative Party.

And on the Left* there's another leadership campaign, except that probably 85% of Canadians don't know about it, in large part because the media doesn't seem all that interested.  My vote, if I were a member, would be for Chuck Angus, but that's mostly because I'm a major fan of his old band, the Grievous Angels.

Still though, I thought I'd toss up some tweets from some of  the other contenders:

Niki Ashton is probably too far left for the contemporary NDP, but hope springs eternal.
Apparently Atlantic Canada is the place to be for aspiring NDP leaders.  Just avoid Barrington Street.

I'm guessing that the "bilingual" comment is a thinly veiled reference to Kevin O'Leary?

With the next federal election coming up just another couple of years I have to wonder what the next campaign season will bring us.   Anyone care to guess?

(* The NDP of today steers clear of "controversial" positions, support Free Trade and Israel, and you would be hard pressed to find the word "union" on any of their campaign materials.  They may be "left" of the Tories and Liberals, but many people don't see them as anything but centrist.)


Anonymous said...

The NDP socialist utopia in BC started with 'You will now buy your auto insurance from us and us alone, we don't care if you don't like that.'

That's worked out well huh?

Anonymous said...

I am a conservative, but I can still see the benefit in some national programs. I have looked at the free tuition issues quite a bit and would meet you half way. Programs that are in demand by the marketplace should be subsidized to the point that they are free. We really don't need a bunch of unemployable people who may be debt free, but only have job prospects that pay $30,000. If you really really really want to study archeology, you can do it by incurring debt, or by scholarship.

Anonymous said...

Our opinions reveal our bias. Mine are as follows.

Erroneously branded "Far Right" Andrew Scheer was elected as leader of the Conservatives precisely because he was, in contrast with some of the other candidates, not "far right". He, in fact, is centrist and represents the "middle of the road."

Trudeau's policies tend to fall from centrist to left of centre.

The NDP represent a spectrum from left of centre to the "Far Left" but always represent the views of the left.

In contrast to many of our American cousins, Canadians generally support public health, education and assistance to seniors regardless of their political preference. The type and extent of that support tends to vary by political choice.

Lyle Craver said...

I'm a capitalist small business owner and make no bones about it but the bottom line is that there are several goods and services where the fundamental assumptions of free market economics simply don't hold.

Economics 101 teaches us that a free market can only exist when:
- there is a reasonable balance between purchasing power and selling power
- firms can enter and exit the market fairly readily
- no one provider or purchaser is big enough to dominate the market

That kind of balance doesn't and can't exist in:
- the public sector
- health care
- education

In these areas both the cost of services (for instance in the public sector taxes on the one hand and public sector wages and benefits on the other) don't and by definition can't exist. Similarly in health care if you need a service you typically don't have time to shop around for it - nor are you free to enter the market as a provider freely (which is a good thing!) As such I don't believe there is or can be a free market in these services.

With respect to the public sector there does need to be periodic examination of services provided: (A) is this service still necessary? (B) is the level of government currently providing it the best way to deliver the service in question? (C) can it be better done by someone else? I do think these questions need to be asked and acted on at least every 5-7 years. (The classic case is the story of the Dover lighthouse keeper who in 1805 received a bonus to the usual British salary to ring the bell if an invading French fleet was spotted ... no one ever examined why this bonus was being given until an auditor spotted it - in 1931! Of course by that time the French and British were best of friends and had fought two wars together as allies)

While my personal view is that public and quasi-public wages and benefits are substantially out of balance with the private sector (and that's for a different discussion!) the payroll processing problems the Federal government has been having for more than a year getting their people paid is offensive.

When a pay cheque is earned you pay it promptly with a minimum of muss and fuss. This isn't capitalism or socialism - it's basic decency.

Anonymous said...

Just to keep a conversation going...

According to the OECD, Canada already has the highest percentage of 25 - 65 year olds with completed post secondary education including both college vocational and university. So why do we need to bring in skilled immigrants? Because they have Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math degrees, while we keep pumping out BA's. Making all university tuition free will not adjust our labour supply in our favour, but if we prorate tuition based on market demand students will migrate to higher productivity jobs. French Lit may make for some educated conversations, but it doesn't add a dollar to our GNP.

Anonymous said...

What percentage of graduates are coming out of school with just a BA (broad range of majors are possible under that designation, by the way). And how many are going on to specialize? Most professional degrees require a BA or B.Sc. as a prerequisite.

Anonymous said...

The OECD report didn't break it down that far, but there are other reports that cover the topic. MacLean's had a report that said that even with the low enrollment in STEM degrees, the dropout rate was double that of arts degrees. Workopolis does an annual study of employment rates and annual pay and regularly promotes Healthcare (Physio/RN/LPN), HR, and STEM degrees as being the easiest to find jobs with no other experience and a higher than average pay rate. They also noted that over the adult life a man with a degree earns $750,000 more than their non-degree competitor and a women earns $440,000 more than their non-degree female competitor. (I realize it is a distraction from the topic at hand to split the genders, but as you can see it is stark). In either case it is a tremendously good investment even with the debt a person may incur.

Anonymous said...

Ontario has some great studies on student outcomes...

Council of Ontario Universities