Category Archives: video

(1121) Basic Income [Book review]

Basic Income: How a Canadian Movement Could Change the World
Roderick Benns, 2016
Fireside Publishing House, Cambridge, ON
289 pages
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s announcement this morning of a three-community basic income pilot project would seem to move us happily to the forefront of one of the most interesting social policy developments in ages.  It also attaches some extra timeliness to an encounter with activist Roderick Benns’s book on the topic.
Basic Income is a compendium of interviews, short articles and Q&A sessions on basic income.  Benns supports a model based on a negative income tax in the amount of fifteen- to twenty-thousand dollars a year.  (The Ontario pilot looks set to utilize an amount of seventeen-thousand dollars annually)  A number of delivery models are possible for a basic income and the idea is to reform a patchy, outdated welfare system and place a minimum economic floor underneath all Canadians.  The book functions as an intellectual diary logging the upward curve of interest basic income has enjoyed in Canada (and globally) over the last two years.
Benns is a true believer in the nicest sense of the term.  His efforts are from the heart.  Basic Income is peppered with the names of patient activists and the high profile Canadian political figures being drawn to this topic.  Words from people in social difficulty describe how their lives might have been improved upon by a basic income and add some moral urgency to this policy matter.
Canadian mayors appear very frequently in Basic Income.  Their words lend this book, and the concept, great strength.  Mayors all over the country were canvassed by Benns in regard to a citizen’s income.  Many weighed in with full enthusiasm, providing supportive quotations based on direct community knowledge.  Indeed, the testimony of mayors from every corner of the country is the strongest component of this book.  The municipal level of government is the one closest to the daily lives of people and who better than mayors to advocate common sense approaches to poverty and hardship?
The age of Internet search engines makes the lack of a table of contents or index somewhat excusable.  The page at the end for further resources is a slim offering, however, considering the importance of social media and the Internet to activism.  Basic Income is very important for content over format, even if the latter could be improved upon cheaply and quickly, in our opinion.
Three years is the length of the basic income pilot confirmed today for Ontario.  Benns’s book offers readers a good tool for understanding and measuring this pilot and the progress of basic income around the world.  No doubt Benns will be watching closesly and sharing insights.
Buy his book and visit his online project: precariouswork.com
Giving more people an opportunity to get ahead and stay ahead.  Ontario basic income pilot to launch in Thunder Bay, Hamilton and Lindsay
news.ontario.ca
Want to end poverty? Let’s talk about a maximum income for Ontario. Anti-poverty groups handed out pamphlets outside RBC’s annual general meeting
torontoist.com

(1119) 5 signs of real estate mania

You know you are in a bubble when you are completely surrounded by people totally convinced you aren’t in a bubble.  Things seemed to be heating up in the late 1980s, but that’s nearly a generation ago now…
How Canada completely lost its mind over real estate
Canada’s totally out-of-control real estate market has now gone completely mad – and there’s no turning back
macleans.ca
(video 1:46 & numerous links)

Who’s to blame for Toronto’s housing crisis? This is a government policy problem. Taxes won’t fix this
ipolitics.ca

image: Correy Dantzler via Flickr/CC

(1113) Living wage Ontario: treat your staff well


A business of any size should be able to realize a benefit in worker behaviour and community image by paying a little more than minimum wage.  That’s the simple (and lovely) idea behind the living wage movement, represented in Ontario by a non-profit advocacy group or two and, it would seem, a small-but-growing number of employers. This can only be a good thing.

No, the beer isn’t free yet, but for Canadians, it’s only fitting that a brewery is among the early adopters of living wages!  Now to get the big players in every sector doing this.  If someone works forty hours a week and is still in poverty something is wrong.

‘Treat your staff right’: pay employees a living wage, new business alliance says
ctvnews.ca
with 2 videos
Better Way Alliance
Ontario Living Wage Network

(1105) The unconsulted end users of public housing & modernism

Michael Ford’s treatment of modernism is pretty cool: towers in a park through a hip hop lens.  Brainy and fresh, a TEDx talk really worth your time.
The Future of ‘Hip-Hop Architecture’. Michael Ford explains how he’s building a movement to reclaim urban design from the failures of the 1970s
citylab.com
See also:
(975) 1980s social housing [Excerpt from Subdivided]
image: Plan Voisin, 1925 via Wikimedia/CC

(1096) CEO victory day [CCPA report]


Today is the day when Canada’s chief corporate executives blow past the rest of us in earnings for the year.  They must be a very talented, special gang making between 3 and 183 million dollars a year. Wow.
Top CEOs earn more by today than average Canadian does all year: report
ctvnews.ca (video 3:38)
Throwing money at the problem: ten years of executive compensation
policyalternatives.ca
Canada’s top 100 paid CEOs: Canada’s top paid CEOs now take home 193 times what an average Canadian worker does. That’s not the only wage gap visible in this ranking
canadianbusiness.com
image: Flickr/CC

(1044) The G-word

2471424662_fa05ac9659_z
Oh dear, we admit we’ve dodged directly addressing gentrification at suburban-poverty.com for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, it’s more  often attached to the core of a given city than its suburbs.  Also, the g-word seems to shut conversation down because of its controversial dimension.  These two items might help us unpack things, at least a bit.
Gentrification and the suburbs.  Tear-downs and McMansions in inner ring suburban neighbourhoods
Simon Fraser University Urban Studies talk
(video 1:32:06)
Beware the vibrant, emerging, misleading language of gentrification
theguardian.com
(see other items under left hand link gentrification)

image: What What via Flickr/CC

(1039) Decent Work Day & precariousness in the Toronto Star

blue-sky-thanksgiving
The Toronto Star
surveys the general picture for Ontario’s workers as Decent Work Day (Oct 7th) and the conclusion of public consultations within the province’s Changing Workplaces Review coincide with what has been a blue sky Thanksgiving weekend.
Advocates demand better protection for Ontario workers. Is Ontario turning into a low-wage economy?  Research shows over half of Toronto jobs are considered precarious
(video 2:32)
Interim report (2015) – Ontario Ministry of Labour
see also:
(784) Precariousness up in the GTHA [Report]
(62) Poverty in Canada [Book review]

image: Hope Abrams via Flickr/CC

(1025) Comedy host John Oliver gets it

6157434350_4244014a27_z
If this blog had a board of directors we would appoint Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver to upon it sit.  He looked right into the dark heart of suburban poverty and social difficulty in a recent episode of his popular show to razor sharp effect.  How so?  He took the American sub prime auto loan industry out for a run, that’s how.

Oliver starts with the difficulty faced by many of his adopted country’s working poor: that trap between horrendously long commutes through the sprawl via public transit or buying some nasty set of wheels from a self-financing used car dealer.  There’s some impressive research and real world tales of woe brought out and then capped off with a hilarious skit spoofing the whole sad machinery of extortionate high interest loans, overpriced shitboxes and repossessions.  It has gotten so out of hand of late that some observers are seeing a repeat of the mortgage crisis of 2008 taking shape in US auto financing.  We’ll see soon enough.

image: staci myers via Flickr/CC