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The Economic Statement that Wasn’t

On November 27th, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty rose in the House to deliver the government’s Economic and Fiscal Statement…but then didn’t. Rather than granting reprieve to Canadians struggling with the uncertainty of a gloomy economic scene, the Conservatives announced the government’s intention to end subsidies to political parties, end pay equity bargaining, legislate future salary levels and suspending public servants’ right to strike. While many of the more contentious issues have since been withdrawn, Canadians are still left looking for a stimulus package that will serve, not only to boost the economy, but also respond to the needs of those living in poverty.

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“Protecting Canada's Future” Needs more than Security

Entitled “Protecting Canada’s Future,” the Speech from the Throne named security as the government’s fundamental duty. But what about responsibilities like justice and seeking the common good? CPJ believes that public justice is the primary duty of government. From a public justice perspective, this speech offered some small progress but also considerable issues of concern. We applaud the government’s conciliatory tone, willingness to run a deficit if necessary, and recognition that the environment and the economy are linked. However, the absence of any mention of poverty and the government’s approach to energy and security are cause for serious concern. Protecting Canada’s future requires much more than a commitment to security.

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Throne speech an opportunity for public justice

The Speech from the Throne outlines the federal government's vision for our country, highlighting their plans, and setting direction and tone for Parliament. With key public justice questions confronting Canadians, the decisions of this government are important for our common future. CPJ would like to see the throne speech set the tone for a more conciliatory, democratic Parliament. We also want to see commitment to a poverty reduction strategy, including reform of Employment Insurance. We believe the time has come for urgent action on climate change. We hope the government will offer a vision that inspires all Canadians to work for the common good.

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The Growing Income Gap: Education as a Factor

Canada's growing income gap is an issue all Canadians should feel concerned about, no matter where they are on the wealth spectrum. The income gap impacts health and social costs, as well as threatening notions of justice and equality. Education is an important contributing factor to the growing gap: not everyone has access to the education that will help them succeed in our knowledge economy. A majority of Canadians believe that the government must work towards reducing the gap. Decreasing tuition and increasing the number and amount of student loans is one way the government can help all Canadians have access to higher education.

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Faith and Diversity in the Public Realm: An Ongoing Dialogue

How can the rights of religious groups to live out their beliefs be respected while also ensuring protection for individual rights? What is the place of faith in public life? How do we accommodate diversity while still maintaining common values? Some of these questions were addressed last Tuesday, October 28th, when CPJ hosted a lecture by Dr. Jonathan Chaplin at the Institute for Christian Studies (ICS) in Toronto.

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A Deeper Look at GLI: But will they work?

One of the questions people often ask about guaranteed livable income is whether people will work if they have income security. But what do we really mean by this question? This question assumes that the only motivation for work is money, and that only paid labour is valuable work. Deconstructing these assumptions reminds us that work is about more than wages.

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How Can We Measure Poverty in Canada?

Measuring poverty in Canada is a significant challenge because of Canada's diversity.  How then can we hope to create an adequate poverty indicator to accurately measure poverty and ensure the success of a poverty reduction strategy? We need a number of poverty indicators that will reflect the diverse experiences of poverty in Canada, including measures of low income, health, education housing and employment.  When all those indicators are moving in the right direction, we will be achieving change on poverty.

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Election 2008: The Importance of Active Citizenship

Election Day is Tuesday, October 14, 2008. It is important that, as Canadian citizens, we all exercise our right to vote. It is also important that we remember that active citizenship is about more than voting. Once the election is over, we need to engage the government, cultivate relationships with our local MP, and raise issues with opposition members and civil servants. We must continue to be active citizens.

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Press Release: CPJ launches new website and advocacy toolkit


Ottawa, ONOctober 9, 2008 – Citizens for Public Justice today launched its newly redesigned website cpj.ca, an interactive and accessible platform for increasing public justice dialogue and encouraging hopeful citizenship. Exciting new features include a blog, with daily postings from policy staff on current justice issues, bookmarking tools, and a thorough search engine.

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Election 2008: A Public Justice Vision for Canada

Throughout this election campaign, many issues have competed for our attention in the media and in local ridings across Canada. But it can be difficult to gain a wider perspective as to how these individual issues are connected and form a larger picture of the kind of society in which we live. By asking ourselves, our friends, and our neighbours what kind of vision we have for our country, we can be challenged to vote according to our values and in support of a better Canada.

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