Ontario, Canada: Portrait series of people taking part in the cancelled Ontario Basic Income Pilot

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 22/09/2018 - 2:52am in



Jessie Golem, a photographer from Hamilton, is one of the 4000 people who were taking part in the Ontario Basic Income Pilot, which was cancelled earlier this year.   Golem has created a series of portraits called Humans of Basic Income, a collection of portraits taken of the people who were affected by the cancellation of the pilot, and has

The post Ontario, Canada: Portrait series of people taking part in the cancelled Ontario Basic Income Pilot appeared first on BIEN.

Jimmy Dore and Secular Talk Tear Apart anti-Corbyn Smears about Bankers

Mike on Pollard’s Smears

On Monday, Mike put up a piece attacking the latest anti-Semitism smear against Jeremy Corbyn by the hard-right editor of the Jewish Chronicle, Stephen Pollard. Corbyn had made a video describing how the banks were propping up the Tory government, because they protected and supported them at the expense of ordinary working people. Ten years ago the banks caused the massive crash, which led to the Tories pushing their austerity programme, which is cutting services and pushing ordinary folks into poverty. But while millions of people, including nurses and other vital workers and employees are finding it difficult to make ends meet, the chief of Morgan Stanley last year gave himself a 21.5 million pound bonus, and the banks together have given themselves 15 billion pounds in bonuses. Corbyn concluded his piece by saying that when these people called Labour a danger and a threat, they were right: Labour is a threat to a rigged system. The party now has well over half a million members, and will work for the many, not the few, and Socialist Voice. They pointed out that it was Pollard, rather than Corbyn, who was the anti-Semite. Corbyn said nothing about bankers being Jewish. Pollard did. Therefore, it’s Pollard who believes the anti-Semitic lie that all bankers are Jewish.

Pollard and a number of other gullible bigots immediately blew their tops and decided that when Corbyn talked about ‘bankers’, he was really using dogwhistles to express his hatred of the Jews.

Pollard’s comment was immediately ripped apart on Twitter by David Rosenberg, Another Angry Voice, Kerry-Ann Mendoza, Chelley Ryan, Curious Chak, Martin Frowd, Revolution Breeze, and The MANY versus the Few.

After being torn to shreds, Pollard issued a non-apology. He sort-of admitted that his comments may have been way off beam, but that was what happened when anti-Semitism was allowed to flourish: you saw everything through its prism.

Mike pointed out that this changed nothing, that Pollard still held anti-Semitic views in that he considered bankers to be synonymous with Jews, and that he had claimed that Corbyn was an anti-Semite, even though he stated that he had no evidence to support it.

So the left-wing twitterati returned to the job of tearing bloody chunks out of him, metaphorically speaking. Vote Labour to save the NHS, Audrey, Kerry-Ann Mendoza, and Hajo Meyer’s Violin. They pointed out that Pollard hadn’t apologized and was still showing his own anti-Semitic prejudices. Another Angry Voice tweeted a speech by Marie van de Zyle at a ‘Say No to Anti-Semitism’ event in Manchester, which was a pack of lies from one end to the other. Kerry-Ann Mendoza also tweeted about how she had been accused of anti-Semitism at an event. She described how IDF soldiers kidnap and torture Palestinian children. So she was accused of using the anti-Semitic trope that Jews eat babies. Sara tweeted that she wished to send a message of solidarity to Corbyn, and Tom London said that the schism between the two sides of the Jewish community could be mended if they were prepared to meet in good faith.

Mike concluded his article by stating it was worth a try.

Secular Talk and The Jimmy Dore Show

The accusations have crossed the Atlantic. They were repeated in the American Jewish newspapers, the Forward. And the American progressive news shows Secular Talk and the Jimmy Dore Show weighed in to rip Pollard and the other fanatics claiming Corbyn was an anti-Semite apart.

Both Secular Talk, fronted by Kyle Kulinski, and Jimmy Dore and his guests, Ron Placone and Steffi Zamorano, play Corbyn’s speech. Kulinski hows some of the twitter comments from ordinary Jews smearing Corbyn as an anti-Semite. He states that this is what happens to Progressives. Like they tried smearing Bernie Sanders as a sexist and racist, but they couldn’t smear him as an anti-Semite, because he was Jewish. But this didn’t apply in Corbyn’s case. He points out that they’re doing it to the BDS movement. And they’re only using the anti-Semitism smear because they have no real arguments against what he says.

Jimmy Dore and his friends say the same thing, though they take square aim at Stephen Pollard. One of the tweets they show asks how it is that the Jewish Chronicle in London and the Forward in New York say exactly the same thing, on the same day. It’s a good question. The answer is probably that both newspapers are running the same stories because they’re collaborating with the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs, which has been exposed as organizing the campaign of anti-Semitic smearing against pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist activists. Dore makes the same point as Kulinski, that these tweets don’t show that Corbyn is an anti-Semite because he never mentioned the Jews. All he mentioned was Morgan Stanley. Which doesn’t have a Jewish name. But it does show how Pollard and the other tweeters do believe the anti-Semitic lie that all bankers are Jewish.

Dore also makes the point that this attempts to stop any criticism of the banks, or income inequality or indeed any left-wing issues, because if you do so, you’re an anti-Semite. It’s crying wolf.

And worse, it reduces the value of real accusations of anti-Semitism. Because if you accuse Jeremy Corbyn of anti-Semitism, who stands up for working people, then obviously anti-Semitism can’t be a bad thing. Just like the attacks on Bernie Sanders undermine real accusations of sexism, because if he’s sexist and works for ordinary people, then similarly sexism can’t be all bad.

Here are the videos.

The Jimmy Dore Show.

Secular Talk

I am not at all surprised that they tried attacking Corbyn on the grounds that talking about bankers must be left-wing code for Jews. I’ve seen it done before on Kathy Shaidle’s extreme right-wing blog, Five Feet of Fury. Shaidle’s from the other side of the Atlantic, but her blog is aimed at Conservatives in America, Canada and Britain. She used the accusation to attack American and Canadian critics of the banksters, who cause the crash. I suppose it was only a matter of time before Conservatives and the Israel lobby over here used the same smear.

Ontario, Canada: Reactions to Ontario Basic Income Pilot Cancelation

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 19/09/2018 - 3:50am in


News, Canada

Anonymous recipient of the Ontario basic income experiment. Photo credit: Jessie Golem, photographer responsible for the Humans of Basic Income project   The Ontario Basic Income Pilot, started by a liberal government, was canceled on July 31st 2018, by the newly elected Ford administration. The conservative government has announced that the last payment to the 4000 recipients that were part

The post Ontario, Canada: Reactions to Ontario Basic Income Pilot Cancelation appeared first on BIEN.

Canada: An Open Letter to the Ontario Government

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/09/2018 - 4:29pm in


Op-ed, Opinion, Canada

The Ontario pilot is a world-leading test of how basic income can transform lives for the better.

The post Canada: An Open Letter to the Ontario Government appeared first on BIEN.

Should Canada Concede to Trump in NAFTA Renegotiations?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 29/08/2018 - 7:51am in


Canada, trade

So, Trump has been renegotiating NAFTA. Not necessarily a bad thing. He’s cut a deal with Mexico, says he’ll sign it without Canada.

Canada has three main sticking points.

It wants to keep the Chapter 19 dispute resolution system so that the US can’t unilaterally impose dumping and anti-subsidy penalties. This is a big deal, because the US is prone to do this stuff due to domestic pressure from industries, and with no check, it will do them more often. Not that Chapter 19 is that great; when the US loses Chapter 19 rulings it tends to just ignore them and impose duties anyway, as it did in the 2000s on lumber. Still, even a delay is good, and that delay has likely stopped a lot of tariffs over the years.

The second issue is IP.

Other hurdles include intellectual property rights, such as the U.S.-Mexico ten-year data exclusivity for biologic drug makers and extensions of copyright protections to 75 years from 50, all higher thresholds than Canada has previously supported.

Yeah, that’s just fucking awful. No thank you. 50 years is already way too much and who wants even higher drug prices in Canada. (US pharma, yeah.)

Finally there is the Canadian milk production system, which is horribly protective and freezes American milk out of Canada. But, well, our standards are higher for milk production, and as such, no, I don’t want change.

If Trump doesn’t get this, he promised auto tariffs, which will hit Southern Ontario hard.

I’m going to say that Canada shouldn’t give in on these issues. It’s not clear that Trump has the votes in the Senate to pass his bilateral Mexico-US deal, and even if NAFTA is lost, well, whatever. Being subject to American tariffs at the whim of any sitting President is not acceptable, nor are higher drug prices and shitty milk.

Canada gave up our world-leading aviation industry in the 50s, in essence, for the right to be part of the US automobile industry. It was a shitty deal then, because it made us dependent, and we are seeing that dependency now.

We’ll see how this plays out. I don’t know if Freeland and Trudeau have the guts to walk away and there certainly would be a cost. But Trump is not certain to be forever, and anything we give up now we are unlikely to get back in the near future.

There was a possible NAFTA renegotiation which would have been a win for all three countries, dealing with issues such as the right of private investors to sue governments for doing perfectly reasonable things like banning anti-cancer additives in oil, but that’s not the renegotiation Trump has chosen to do.

As such, I hope Trudeau holds the line.

Also, there are ways for Canada to retaliate. They are counter-intuitive, but real. I would start by slapping a huge export-tax on all wood products, and watch the US housing industry fall to its knees and the US economy tremble. That would involve some pain at home, but frankly, we can tax a little higher and subsidize those who lose, it’s not a big deal.

Trump’s the sort of person who only respects hardball. Play it, or crawl on your belly.

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.



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How Democrats’ NAFTA-Love Lost The Working Class

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 29/08/2018 - 7:15am in

Al Gore said, in selling NAFTA, "We can create hundreds of thousands more [jobs]. We know this [free trade] works. If it doesn’t work, you know, we give six months’ notice and we’re out of it."

The post How Democrats’ NAFTA-Love Lost The Working Class appeared first on Greg Palast.

Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy adopts the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal to end poverty

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 22/08/2018 - 3:51am in

The targets to reduce income poverty in Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy take an important step toward the first UN Sustainable Development Goal addressed to ending poverty, but progress will fall short without all Canadian governments—not just the federal, but also provincial, and municipal governments—adopting coordinated policies to eliminate deep poverty.

The first UN Sustainable Development Goal is to “End poverty in all its forms everywhere,” and has explicit targets associated with it.

Two of these targets are particularly relevant for Canadians. They speak to ending income poverty, and are:

By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, measured as people living on less than $1.90 a day

By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy is informed by both of these targets, setting a nationally appropriate poverty line, and using it to explicitly adopt the second target. However, it addresses the first UN target only partially: offering an appropriate definition of extreme poverty, but not adopting an explicit target.

Eradicating extreme poverty will require all governments in the Canadian federation—not just the federal—to pursue consistent and coordinated policies. Significant progress will only happen with the partnership and commitment of the provinces and municipalities.

The Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy takes a major step

The United Nations uses the proportion of the population with less than $1.90 a day as the indicator to monitor progress in meeting the End Extreme Poverty target. While this poverty line may or may not be a useful standard for countries with higher incomes per person, the notion of extreme poverty is still important and useful.

The United Nations calls on countries to monitor the second goal by using the “Proportion of population living below the national poverty line, by sex and age.” Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy follows this recommendation, and establishes an official poverty line for Canada that can be used to monitor progress with sufficient demographic detail.

The Strategy sets a pair of Canadian targets that are directly informed by the second of the two UN income poverty targets:

By 2020, reduce the rate of income poverty by 20 percent

By 2030, reduce the rate of income poverty by 50 percent

The first Canadian target is an immediate goal, corresponding roughly to the five-year horizon of a federal government mandate. It is meant as a way of holding the current government to account. The second target is exactly inline with the UN 2030 goal.

Click on image to enlarge

The baseline for these targets is the poverty rate during 2015, when Canada adopted the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the year in which the current federal government was elected.

Extract from UNICEF, ‘Child Poverty in Rich Countries, 2005’, Innocenti Report Card No.6. UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence.

A 20 percent reduction in the Official Rate of Income Poverty from its baseline rate of 12.1 percent during 2015 implies a target of 9.7 percent, or essentially 10 percent given the inherent statistical noise. A 50 percent reduction implies a target of 6 percent.

If subsequent governments adopted the same immediate goal and were to lower the poverty rate prevailing at the beginning of their mandates by 20 percent, then the UN 2030 goal of reducing the poverty rate by half will pretty well be reached within three political mandates.

Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy is, in this sense, a major step forward in Canadian public policy addressed to income poverty.

Past governments may seem to have been more ambitious. After all, the House of Commons passed a resolution in November 1989 that received unanimous support from all parties, and committed the federal government to “seek to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000.”

But this can at best be described as an “aspirational” target. In 2005 UNICEF reviewed Canada’s progress saying the promise “has not been kept, nor has any official definition or measure of child poverty been adopted.”

Instead, Canadians fell into a trap of picking, choosing, and debating statistics, rather than monitoring progress in people’s lives. UNICEF summarized the experience by saying “Amid these definitional uncertainties, Canada’s target year 2000 came and went without agreement on what the target means, or how progress towards it is to be measured, or what policies might be necessary to achieve it.”

What is different now?

The federal government seems to have learned from this experience. Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy recaptures a bold vision, but recognizes that vision is not enough and also offers a roadmap with clear signposts to monitor progress.

The Strategy also defines and uses extreme poverty as an important signpost

Canada’s strategy recognizes the importance of giving priority to the poorest of the poor, and offers a nationally appropriate definition of “extreme poverty” that it calls “deep poverty.”  The Deep Income Poverty line is associated with the cost of a minimally acceptable basket of goods appropriate for Canadians, amounting roughly to 75 percent of the official income poverty line.

It is very important to give priority to Deep Income Poverty for at least two reasons.

First, Deep Income Poverty is directly associated with the basic needs that the UN Sustainable Development Goals have in mind when they speak to extreme poverty. Canadians in Deep Income Poverty face much higher risks of having to make difficult choices between food, health care, housing, and other necessities, … between paying the rent or feeding the kids.

Click on image to enlarge

Valerie Tarasuk, who regularly reports on food insecurity with her colleagues at the University of Toronto, has said that “… food insecurity in Canada is unrelated to individuals’ skills in grocery shopping, food preparation, or cooking. Food insecurity is not a food problem, but rather an indication of profound material deprivation.”

The second reason to give priority to Deep Poverty is that it is an important complement to the income poverty target, keeping a check on perverse policy actions.

After all, the government could meet its target by taking money away from Canadians living in deep income poverty, driving them into even deeper poverty, and transferring it to those living just below the official poverty line. Moving all those living just a bit below the poverty line a bit above might be the quickest way to lower the rate of income poverty and hit the target. So, if we observe that a fall in the Rate of Income Poverty is accompanied by no improvement, or even a rise, in the rate of Deep Income Poverty, we might question the underlying moral purpose of having achieved the target.

But the Strategy does not set explicit targets for extreme poverty

The Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy sets no explicit targets to eliminate what the UN calls “extreme poverty.” In this way it does not line up with the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Rate of Deep Income Poverty stood at 6.3 percent in 2015. If Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy had applied the 20 percent–50 percent rule to reducing it in two stages, it would have set targets of 5 percent for 2020, and 3 percent in 2030. A Deep Income Poverty Rate of 3 percent essentially means eliminating this type of poverty, given statistical noise in the data, and some continual but transitory inflow to and outflow from low income.

The Strategy recognizes that extreme poverty is not just about a lack of money, proposing to directly track food insecurity, unmet health needs, and inadequate and inappropriate housing in addition to very low incomes. All these dimensions are important to Canadians living in more challenging circumstances, but they also underscore that progress will require more than just federal government involvement: health care, housing, and basic income support falling in the jurisdictions of provincial and municipal governments.

These extreme poverty signposts need to be used to monitor the priorities, policies, and progress of all three levels of government. But there is no target to keep their priorities aligned. At the same time there is an unfortunate risk that any progress the federal government makes in dealing with aspects of the problem for which it has the tools—mostly income transfers and taxes—will lead provincial premiers and city mayors to take their foot off the gas pedal, implicitly accepting credit for seeing one poverty target achieved without paying attention to those living in the most extreme circumstances, who should in a sense be the top priority of all governments working together.


[ I was the Economist in Residence at Employment and Social Development Canada during the 2017 calendar year, working in the Deputy Minister’s office as a member of the team of public servants helping to develop Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy. During 2018 I continued to serve as a part-time advisor in the Deputy Minister’s office on this and other files. Though this post draws closely from my reading of Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, the views expressed are entirely my own, and in particular should not be interpreted as reflecting the positions of Employment and Social Development Canada, nor of the Minister and his staff. ]

After New Mass Shooting, Canada Mourns Loss of High Moral Ground

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 16/08/2018 - 3:00pm in


World, america, Canada, Guns


Another mass shooting in Canada has sent the nation into grieving for the further loss of the moral high ground it enjoys over its America..

The fatal shooting of four people in eastern Canada on Friday has rocked the nation, coming  on the heels of a series of mass fatalities in public acts of violence undermining the nation’s sense of pride in being as insane as its southern neighbours.

“Obviously, we are still way ahead of the Americans, eh,”  Brian Maple, an off-duty Mountie from Vancouver told The (un)Australian at an ice hockey game that featured several goals and more broken jaws. 

“But,” Mr Maple said, “this is our second mass shooting in a fortnight. Our most sacred tradition of feeling smugly superior to America while pretending not to because we also like to pretend to be polite is under threat.”

Mr Maple said: “This rise in mass shootings isn’t even the end of it.We’re approving mega-planet destroying pipelines in defiance of Indigenous opposition and common sense like we’re governed by some Texas Republican cowboys.

“Luckily we have socialised medicine and they don’t eh? Given how giant pharmaceutical corporations own their politicians from both parties, we’ll should have access to decent, affordable health care over them for some time, thank God,.”

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ONTARIO, CANADA: Project Advisors Oppose Termination of Pilot Study

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/08/2018 - 7:51am in


News, Canada

Project advisors Hugh Segal and Kwame McKenzie and other researchers speak out against the early end of the province's guaranteed income trial.

The post ONTARIO, CANADA: Project Advisors Oppose Termination of Pilot Study appeared first on BIEN.

ONTARIO, CANADA: New Government Declares Early End of Guaranteed Income Experiment

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/08/2018 - 5:26am in


News, Canada

Progressive Conservatives backpedal on campaign promise not to cancel payments to 4000 low-income Ontarians in three-year pilot program.

The post ONTARIO, CANADA: New Government Declares Early End of Guaranteed Income Experiment appeared first on BIEN.