(1310) Living wages vs the wages of death

No matter how fractured our collective political lives become most of us would still tend to agree that preventing premature death by any cause is a good idea. Recent data from the United States should therefore interest all of us, regardless of how entrenched in total ideology or total indifference.

Want to decrease suicide? Raise the minimum wage, researchers suggest
cbsnews.com

image: 52Shoes via Flickr/CC

(1307) Good work, Canada!

Some news we can revel in. A retreat in poverty levels in Canada, especially for children, has come about. Considering what it’s like to delve into issues of poverty and social difficulty most of the time it should be hard to find anyone unhappy with this. Credit goes to a revamping of child tax benefits at federal level. This has not been picked up as robustly as we thought it would have but it is so encouraging to see that people can change systems and circumstances. Yes, there is work and research to be done. Nova Scotia seems to have been left out of things for some reason and there have, apparently, been changes made to methodology when it comes to officially counting child poverty which urges some caution. Nontheless, we’ll take it and the politicians on side with this should feel a sense of reward.

Benefits help slash Alberta’s child poverty rate
cbc.ca/news

Liberals bump in child benefits fuels poverty rate drop, Statistics Canada says
nationalpost.com

image: Nate Borchers via Flickr/CC

(1306) We are what we can afford to eat


We are what we eat.  The Canada Food Guide has been around pretty much forever and the latest iteration offers a chance to reflect.  It’s a well-meaning attempt to, well, make life better.  Over the years it has been adjusted to reflect medical findings about sugar and fat, portion sizes and such.  What we really need to get our heads around is that poverty interferes with good eating.
The new Canada Food Guide highlights the biggest obstacle to healthy eating—poverty.  Opinion: The nutritious diet recommended by Ottawa is out of reach for millions of Canadians. The next, obvious steps are decent living wages and fairer social benefits
macleans.ca

(1305) Transit freedom in Luxembourg


Tiny ( and rich ) Luxembourg made mass transit free at the point of use for the entire country last month.  Vehicular congestion and air pollution is cited as the primary motivations for this undertaking but we like to see it as a healthy example of social democracy in action.  This is a systemic gift to ordinary people in the heart of a continent that has seen a strong general trend in the opposite direction, toward inequality and the running down of public services.  Next? Greater Toronto?
Free public transit! (sorry, it’s in Luxembourg)
streetsblog.org
image: Gerard-Nicolas Mannes via Flickr.com

(1304) Canadian transport poverty


We first came across detailed recognition of transportation poverty in the form of reports from non-profit and academic sources in the UK.  Canadians need not feel left out when it comes to our lived experience of this particular social difficulty.  Just look at the first map of Canada’s business capital, a place run by a suburban millionaire who despises public services.
Stranded without transit? Researchers say 1 million Canadians suffer from “transport poverty”
phys.org

(1303) Every day is executive payday


Today is a brutal one when you consider that by noon-ish the bigger dollar Canadian CEOs will have blown past the wages of their workers on average pay – FOR THE YEAR.  Wow.
Canada’s highest-paid CEOs will earn what the average worker makes in a year by lunchtime today. A report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives also reveals the gender pay gap is widest for women at the top of the corporate ladder
financialpost.com
image: Money Metals via Flickr/CC