Canadian Social Research Newsletter
December 31, 2012

Welcome to the weekly Canadian Social Research Newsletter,
a listing of the new links added to the Canadian Social Research Links website in the past week.

This week's issue of the newsletter is going out to 2,600 subscribers.

All the best to you and yours in 2013...

Scroll to the bottom of this newsletter to see some notes, a disclaimer
and other stuff that has nothing whatsoever to do with social policy...


NOTE: I almost took a pass on this week's newsletter because of family time and other commitments, in addition to the fact that many organizations close their doors during the holidays for a well-deserved break. There were, however, a few noteworthy offerings from the Toronto Star, the Tyee, the Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation and StatCan that I couldn't wait to share with you...

Canadian content

1. Why the 99 per cent still matter in Canadian politics (Hugh Mackenzie in the Toronto Star) - December 30
2. Time for a CBC Right to Food Day (Graham Riches in The Tyee) - December 28
3. Ed Broadbent on rising inequality and the threat to the Canadian dream (Toronto Star) - December 26
4. Back to Basics: The Future of the Fiscal Arrangements (Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation) - December 2012
5. What's New in The Daily [Statistics Canada]:

--- Canada Year Book 2012 - December 24
No Childcare Resource and Research Unit this week
No international content this week.

[ ]
[ ]


Go to the home page of the
Canadian Social Research Links website:

1. Why the 99 per cent still matter in Canadian politics - December 30
Hugh Mackenzie in the Toronto Star)

Why the 99 per cent still matter in Canadian politics
December 30, 2012
By Hugh Mackenzie
A year after the Occupy movement focused public attention on the income, wealth and opportunity gap between the top 1 per cent and the 99 per cent, the issue is attracting the attention of conservatives in Canada. Quite simply, they want the problem to go away. So they’re intent on a simple message: chill out, Canada, inequality isn’t the problem.

Two reports — one by the Fraser Institute [ ], the other by TD Economics [ (PDF) ] — illustrate the attempt to spin the issues as nothing to worry about. They also have another thing in common. Their results don’t support the headlines they gave their own reports. The Fraser Institute study purported to demonstrate that economic mobility is still strong in Canada. In reality, it only demonstrated mobility at the bottom end of the income scale. People tend to move back and forth between poverty and the middle class, but less so at the top end of the income scale where the Horatio Alger myth resides.

TD got a lot of mileage from its claim that income inequality in Canada hadn’t changed since 1998. In fact, the report showed income inequality remained steady in the 2000s, but that it had continued to widen at the bottom and the top of the income distribution — precisely the concern of the Occupy protests. The TD results contrasted sharply with the more balanced view of the Conference Board, which gave Canada a “C” for income inequality among OECD countries, making the point that Canada looks good only in comparison with the United States, which displays among the most extreme inequality in the OECD.


It would be unwise for those who are benefiting from growing inequality to adopt the complacency encouraged by reports like those of the TD Bank and the Fraser Institute. If we have learned anything from the Arab Spring and the European responses to deadening austerity, it is that the consequences of a breakdown of social cohesion can be unpredictable. And that can create widespread social unrest that no one can escape — not even the gated 1 per cent.

Author Hugh Mackenzie is an economist with the
Growing Gap project
[ ]
of the
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
[ ]

Toronto Star


- Go to the Income and Wealth Inequality Links page:

2. Time for a CBC Right to Food Day - December 28
(Graham Riches in The Tyee)


Time for a CBC Right to Food Day
Public broadcaster should launch it instead of pushing the failed food bank charity model.
By Graham Riches
December 28, 2012
Now that this year's CBC's Food Bank Day in B.C. is over surely it's time to rethink this annual event stretching back more than 25 years. In light of persistent and growing hunger in our affluent province, there's a compelling argument to reconsider our national broadcaster's decades long public support for charitable food banks. This year the CBC raised a record setting $567,085 to be distributed to food banks across the province. In appreciation, CBC studios in Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Kamloops and Prince George opened their doors to donors, of whom 5,000 in Vancouver met national and local broadcasting personalities, billed as stars, including Peter Mansbridge and George Stroumboloupoulos, the first Canadian Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations World Food Program. A fun time to be sure, not bad for the ratings and all for a very good cause. What's not to like?
The problem is that food banks have become the publicly accepted way of meeting this basic human need, with the CBC over the years fostering this widely held perception. How has this come about when food poverty remains deeply entrenched and widening income inequality, grossly inadequate welfare benefits and social program cutbacks highlight the continuing failure of public policy and government accountability for addressing domestic hunger?
If overcoming food poverty is the goal, hungry people require adequate purchasing power to go into a store like anyone else and buy the foods of their choice. Why not income security, a rebuilt social safety net and a Poverty Reduction Plan for B.C as the focus of next year's CBC Right to Food Day?

[ Author Graham Riches is director of the UBC School of Social Work and Family Studies with an interest in food security, welfare policy and human rights. ]


NOTE: This is the eighth of The Tyee's Inspiring Ideas for 2013 series:
[Click the link above to access all of the following ideas.]
Idea #1: 'MOOC': Saviour of Higher Ed?
Idea #2: Turn Complex Problems into Games
Idea #3: Want to Defeat Harper? Force Cooperation
Idea #4: Teach Teachers How to Be Advocates
Idea #5: 'You Are Not a Loan'
Idea #6: Assess the Public Health Impact of New Laws
Idea #7: Make 'Affordable' the New 'Livable'
Idea #8: Time for a CBC Right to Food Day


The Tyee


- Go to the Food Banks and Hunger Links page:

- Go to the Non-Governmental Sites in British Columbia (D-W) page:

3. Ed Broadbent on rising inequality and the threat to the Canadian dream - December 26
(Toronto Star

Ed Broadbent on rising inequality and the threat to the Canadian dream
December 26, 2012
(...) The political decisions and investments we made decades ago not only in public education but in health care, pensions, employment insurance and progressive income taxes made all the difference. By reducing real inequalities in life we laid the foundations for a society with genuine equality of opportunity — one where it didn’t matter that much on which side of the tracks you were born. But we have recently been moving in the opposite direction, toward a less equal society.
Canadian values demand that we do something about rising inequality before we turn into a winner-take-all society with a permanent underclass. We are in this together, and that means we must once again care and share.

NOTE : this article includes links to recent discussion papers and commentaries by the Broadbent Institute, the Fraser Institute, Miles Corak (University of Ottawa) and Michael Veall (past president of the Canadian Economics Association)

Toronto Star


- Go to the Income and Wealth Inequality Links page:

4. Back to Basics: The Future of the Fiscal Arrangements - December 2012
(Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation)

Back to Basics: The Future of the Fiscal Arrangements (PDF - 1.6MB, 32 pages)
December 2012
By Matthew Mendelsohn
In the fifth paper in the Fiscal Transfers Series, Matthew Mendelsohn argues that Canada’s system of fiscal arrangements is misaligned with current economic realities. In particular, the system transfers funds from Ontario for redistribution at a time when Ontario’s fiscal capacity is below the national average. This is not sustainable for Ontario and violates the most basic understandings of equity built into the system. The paper documents how this situation arose and makes recommendations to fix it.

Mowat Centre Fiscal Transfers series
Every year, the federal government transfers over $50 billion to the provinces and territories. These funds help provinces and territories deliver the services Canadians count on. The major agreements that underpin these transfers are set to be renewed by 2014. There is broad consensus that the transfer system could improve.
The Mowat Centre has released a series of research papers outlining options for reform of the fiscal transfer system—reforms that offer a more principled approach to federal redistribution and reflect a dynamic, evolving federation.

Earlier titles in the Fiscal Transfers Series:
[Click the link above to access all of these reports.]

* Expenditure Need: Equalization’s Other Half by Peter Gusen
* Equalization at Arm’s Length by Daniel Béland & André Lecours
* Alberta and Equalization: Separating Fact from Fiction by Melville L. McMillan
* Fiscal Problems, Taxation Solutions: Options for Reforming Canada’s Tax and Transfer System by Jean-François Tremblay

Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation
The Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation is an independent, non-partisan public policy think tank. We were established in 2009 with seed money from the Ontario government. We undertake applied public policy research and engage in public dialogue on federal issues important to the prosperity and quality of life of Ontario and Canada.


- Go to the Canada Assistance Plan / Canada Health and Social Transfer / Canada Social Transfer Resources page:

5. What's New in The Daily [Statistics Canada]:
--- Canada Year Book 2012 - December 24

What's new from The Daily:
[Statistics Canada ]


Canada Year Book 2012
December 24, 2012
The 2012 edition of the Canada Year Book was posted (in PDF and HTML formats) to the StatCan website on December 24, 2012.
Presented in almanac style, the 2012 Canada Year Book contains more than 500 pages of tables, charts and succinct analytical articles on every major area of Statistics Canada's expertise. The Canada Year Book is the premier reference on the social and economic life of Canada and its citizens.

[Includes an HTML table of contents + links to an HTML file for each chapter]

[Includes an HTML table of contents + links to a PDF file for each chapter]

NOTE : The print version of the 2012 Canada Year Book was released on November 14, 2012; to order a printed copy of the 2012 Canada Year Book ($24.95 + tax), go to:

Canada Year Book
First published in 1867, the Canada Year Book (CYB) charts key trends and indicators in the nation's economy, population, society and environment.
The 31 almanac-style chapters contain charts, tables, maps and easy-to-read articles that feature the latest statistics from Canada's economic, political and social life. The Canada Year Book is the premier reference on the social and economic life of Canada and its citizens.

[Click the HTML or PDF link above
to access links to the individual chapters.]

* Aboriginal peoples
* Agriculture
* Business, consumer and property services
* Business performance and ownership
* Children and youth
* Construction
* Crime and justice
* Culture and leisure
* Economic accounts
* Education, training and learning
* Energy
* Environment
* Ethnic diversity and immigration
* Families, households and housing
* Geography

* Government
* Health
* Income, pensions, spending and wealth
* Information and communications technology
* International trade
* Labour
* Languages
* Manufacturing
* Population and demography
* Prices and price indexes
* Retail and wholesale
* Science and technology
* Seniors
* Society and community
* Transportation
* Travel and tourism

NOTE : In addition, the PDF version also includes a list of maps, charts and tables, a list of sources and an index

Related products:

Canada at a Glance 2012
April 4, 2012

HTML version:

PDF version (3MB, 27 pages)

Canada at a Glance presents current Canadian demographic, education, health and aging, justice, housing, income, labour market, household, economic, travel, financial, agricultural, foreign trade and environmental statistics. This booklet also includes important international comparisons, so that readers can see how Canada stacks up against its neighbours. Updated yearly, Canada at a Glance is a very useful reference for those who want quick access to current Canadian statistics.
- includes links to information about:
* Population * Health * Education * Crime * Housing * Income, Spending * Government * International comparisons * Labour * Economy * International trade * Energy * Manufacturing * Agriculture * Travel, Transport * Environment

Canada at a Glance - Product main page
Click View for the latest edition of the publication; click Chronological index for earlier editions (back to 2000).


Summary tables


* Statistics by subject

Canada Year Book Historical Collection (1867 to 1967)
"..., a wealth of historical data in digitized format compiled from 100 years of the Agency's annual Canada Year Book (CYB).This new module, available free of charge on our website, covers the first century of Canadian history following Confederation in 1867, through to 1967, with historical text, tables, charts and maps. It is supplemented by interconnected learning resources for students and teachers.
- contains 100+ photos and nearly 50 maps dating back to 1868, as well as over 75 charts and 1,200 tables. Completing the picture are multimedia extras, such as newspaper clippings, video clips and posters. There are details on the lives and work of politicians, industrialists, scientists, agriculturalists and others who shaped the land, economy and society of Canada."

Browse the collection by year - 1867 to 1967

Browse the collection by topic
- Changing families and households - Lives of men and women - Occupations - Economic gains - The Great Depression - Communications - Ethnocultural diversity - Provinces and manufacturing - Immigration and emigration - Canada at war

Canada Year Book - Product main page*
Presented in almanac style, the Canada Year Book contains more than 500 pages of tables, charts and succinct analytical articles on every major area of Statistics Canada's expertise. The Canada Year Book is the premier reference on the social and economic life of Canada and its citizens.
[ * On the product main page, click "View" to see the latest issue of this report online; click "Chronological index" for earlier issues. ]


- Go to the Social Statistics Links page:

Check past issues of The Daily:
Select a month and year from the two drop-down menus to access all issues of The Daily for a particular month.

The Daily
[Statistics Canada ]


- Go to the Federal Government Department Links (Fisheries and Oceans to Veterans Affairs) page:

Disclaimer/Privacy Statement

Both Canadian Social Research Links (the site) and this Canadian Social Research Newsletter belong to me, Gilles Séguin.

I am solely accountable for the choice of links presented therein and for the occasional editorial comment - it's my time, my home computer, my experience, my biases, my Rogers Internet account and my web hosting service.

I administer the mailing list and distribute the weekly newsletter using software on the web server of the
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
Thanks, CUPE!


If you wish to receive this weekly newsletter by email, go to the Canadian Social Research Newsletter online subscription page:
...or send me an email message.

You can unsubscribe by going to the same page or by sending me an e-mail message [ ]


Privacy Policy:

The Canadian Social Research Newsletter mailing list is not used for any purpose except to distribute each weekly newsletter.
I promise not share any information on this list, nor to send you any junk mail.

Links presented in the Canadian Social Research Newsletter point to different views about social policy and social programs.
There are some that I don't agree with, so don't get on my case, eh...

To access earlier online HTML issues of the Canadian Social Research Newsletter, go to the Newsletter page:

Feel free to distribute this newsletter as widely as you wish, but please remember to mention Canadian Social Research Links when you do.




Happy New Year

New year is the time to bid farewell to the old
Year and welcome the coming year.
It is the time to forget and get past memories
That are no longer useful or worth pondering upon.
Let us Forget and forgive.


"Let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.
And we’ll change the world."
(Jack Layton)

Gilles Séguin
Canadian Social Research Links


And, in closing...


The Funniest Moments in Canadian Politics, 2012 edition
By Sonya Bell & Jessie Willms
December 24, 2012
If you like a good helping of humour in your federal politics, it doesn’t get much better than 2012, the year of the boxing match, a naked painting of the prime minister and a top-secret operative called Pierre Poutine.


Saxophone vs. Violin, with Pedro Eustache and Sayaka Katsuki (video, duration 2:44)


In the Land of Northern Lights (video, duration 4:28)


25 Hottest Urban Legends
This page compiles the 25 urban legends currently circulating most widely, as determined by frequency of access, user searches, reader e-mail, and media coverage.