France and Québec have sealed alliances in the past to defend the principle of cultural exception. It essentially aims at limiting the effects of globalization within the cultural industry, already under anglo-saxon domination. State funding of the film industry has sparked a number of debates within both societies. We shall first identify what triggered these controversies on each side of the Atlantic before turning our attention more closely to the various issues debated in Québec.
It is worth first remembering that, in 2012, the people of both France and Québec rid themselves of right-wing governments and replaced them with centre-right (or left-wing neoliberal) political parties. In both cases, a fierce debate regarding rich tax exiles ensued. ...Read more
Tags: Association of Theatre Owners of Quebec·Film Act·film industry·Guzzo·Quebec cinema·Société de développement des entreprises culturelles
The government of Saskatchewan is currently undertaking a controversial overhaul of the province’s labour legislation into the mammoth omnibus Bill 85. But those that might be concerned about the rather rash decision to overturn 107 years of labour legislation in the period of a few months need not worry, because what the Saskatchewan government is actually doing is modernizing our labour laws. That’s a relief, “modernizing” has such a new shiny ring to it! Who could be against “modernizing” anything? This legislation must really be cutting edge stuff, thinking outside-the-box, labour legislation 2.0 and all that! So what innovative and pioneering changes are in this legal basket of advanced modernity? ...Read more
Tags: Employment and Labour·Saskatchewan
On Monday, the Parti québécois government announced a new mining royalty regime. Its hybrid proposal combines aspects from two types of royalty systems: profit based and ad valorem royalties. In this blog post, we will demystify these ways of calculating royalties in order to best analyze the government’s choice as well as what its implications are.
Let’s start with a small yet important clarification: all mining royalty regimes must deal with the cyclical nature of metal markets, which periodically increase and then decrease. When metal prices are high, mining companies naturally tend to generate more profits than when prices are low. These fluctuations obviously affect royalties. ...Read more
Tags: extractivism·mining royalty regime·natural resources·quebec
The real unemployment rate for Canadians over 25 was 8.8% in April. Not great, for sure, but slightly better than it was in 2009.
For youth 15-24, it was up from last April – to 20.9% – so more than 1 in 5 youth are looking for work and can’t find it. In Ontario, it’s closer to 1 in 4, and in PEI it’s 1 in 3.
If we look at the participation rate of youth aged 20 to 24, we see that it’s actually fallen by 2 percentage points since the trough of the recession in July 2009. During the recovery, young people have been leaving the labour force. ...Read more
1. He’s Number Two: Stephen Poloz was widely acknowledged in economic and political circles as the second-best choice for the top job at the Bank of Canada. So the surprise was not that he was chosen. The surprise was, Why Not Tiff Macklem? Will someone please find out and tell the rest of us?
2. Doctrinaire [or not?] on Inflation Targeting: He thinks it’s “sacrosanct.” Having studied with monetary policy guru David Laidler at the University of Western Ontario, and been part of the Bank of Canada team that brought inflation targeting to a neighbourhood near you, he got the religion all right. Believers are more inclined to see a “rising inflation” problem that isn’t there. The hazard: Pulling the rising-interest-rate trigger too soon and choking off recovery. ...Read more
True confession time, people.
I commit sociology.
And not just as a one-off.
You might say—all right, I will say it—that I’m a repeat offender. In fact, I’m practically addicted. Scarcely a minute can go by without my synapses looking for their next fix.
That might not be a politically correct admission. After all, this is tough-on-crime Canada, where such wanton disregard for Father-Knows-Best-ology and doing the “right” thing (and not in that perilously-close-to-committing-sociology Spike Lee kind of way) seems almost, well, unpatriotic. ...Read more
By Hugh Mackenzie and Trish Hennessy
All budgets are political in nature, but Ontario’s 2013 budget – tabled by a minority government with a new leader – stands out as a case in point: it is carefully designed to survive a non-confidence vote.
It extends a few olive branches to the opposition NDP. A promise to reduce auto insurance premiums by 15%. Increases in spending on home care, youth unemployment and infrastructure in rural areas and the north. Restructuring the Employer Health Tax to claw back the small business reduction from large corporations. ...Read more
Tags: Austerity·Ontario·Ontario budget
How much would you give up to get a university education? For most of us, four years of work, study, investment and anxiety are the costs we are willing to pay to secure the benefits and opportunities of a university degree. But is a university degree worth so much to you that you would allow yourself to be confined in a church basement, cut off from physical contact with friends and family for almost a year of your life all while under constant threat of arrest and deportation? Most of us would balk at such an ordeal, but for two University of Regina students facing deportation orders for their honest mistake of working off-campus at a local Wal-Mart, this is exactly the extent they are willing to go advance their education. ...Read more
Tags: Canadian Border Services Agency·Jason Kenney
Federal Natural Resource minister Joe Oliver stopped by Montréal on 11 April to promote tar sands and closed the door to any strict greenhouse-gas ceiling. He claimed that, according to scientists, our fears regarding climate change are “exaggerated.” He refused to retract his statement the following week before the federal natural resources committee.
His declaration could not be any further away from the truth. Even though the most recent data reveals that global warming has slowed down slightly since 2005, greenhouse gas emission trends point towards a catastrophic runaway climate change. Still, Canada continues to skate away from history and blindly attempts to expand tar sands, despite the fact that a grave planetary crisis is imminent. ...Read more
Tags: Climate Change·greenhouse gas·Joe Oliver
Weekends aside, there’s still a lot to thank unions for.
Maternity leave top-up. Employment Insurance. Child labour laws.
Numerous studies—past, and more recent—have identified the degree to which unions have contributed to more equitable, safer societies, and jobs where the normally stubbornly persistent gender pay gap has been virtually eliminated.
But on the eve of the National Day of Mourning for persons killed or injured in the workplace, it’s important to address in very concrete terms why unions are so important.
Because they save lives. ...Read more
Tags: Employment and Labour·Unions