Syria: The questions remainSelected and edited from the listserv in Inroads #34 by Bob Chodos The Inroads listserv began in 1997 as a means to link Inroads readers and others interested in policy discussion. With nearly 130 subscribers, it offers one of the few chances for people of diverse views to grapple with social and political issues in depth. download document
How can good intentions be translated into effective antipoverty policies?
For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.
— Deuteronomy 15:11 (King James Version)
There is fatalism implicit in the above verse, combined with an instruction to the non-poor to be generous. All the contributors to this section are prepared to be generous or, more precisely, to have the state be generous. But that is only the beginning of their deliberations.
John Myles begins with an illustration that, in Canada as elsewhere, income distribution has become more polarized over the last four decades. The overwhelming majority of Read more
A main theme of this issue is immigration. We feature two articles that shed light on diametrically opposed approaches to immigration, one by Elin Naurin and Patrik Öhberg from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, the other by Herbert Grubel based on a report he wrote for the Fraser Institute.
The contrast is stark. Without much overstatement we can say that, according to Naurin and Öhberg’s description of the principles underlying Swedish policy, the primary if not sole criterion is the welfare of the immigrants. For Grubel, however, the primary if not sole concern should be a net benefit for the people in the receiving country, in this case Canada. He calls for significant changes in Canadian policy so as to Read more
After the Parti Québécois under Pauline Marois slipped into office with a minority in the fall of 2012, there was a curiously muted reaction both in Quebec and the rest of Canada – unlike the mingled expectation and dread that followed the first PQ victory in 1976 and the PQ’s second coming in 1994. In their initial instances, Péquiste victories bore the seeds of potential sovereignty and the breakup of Canada. Premier Marois rouses few expectations and even fewer fears. The PQ is no longer the flag bearer of a radical project but just another political party, one that bears the same scars of popular distrust that afflict all parties these days.
Once in office, the Marois government did set about trying to poke the slumbering dragon of English Canada. Presumably this was on the principle that provoking Anglo anti-Quebec sentiments is the best (or only?) way of rousing its own sovereigntist base at a time when the sovereignty option has been sinking in public enthusiasm. But most English Canadians now seemingly Read more
1. We need to have a public discussion about immigration and religion
During several visits to Europe over the last 25 years, friends on the left would tell me, in hushed voices: immigration is a big problem, but you’re not allowed to talk about it, because if you mention it, it means you’re a racist. Since that time, the far right has grown, largely on the basis of fighting immigration. I’d say it’s better to discuss difficult questions openly, because if we don’t, the situation will fester and the far right will grow.
2. Our understanding of the implications of immigration and/or religious practice needs to become more sophisticated
We need to stop relying on slogans like “freedom of religion” and “freedom of expression.” They’re excellent principles and good slogans, but they don’t replace discussion, and they’re not the solution to all problems. We need to stop calling people who disagree with us racists and xenophobes.
3. I don’t want people with extreme views to have power over me or Read more
by Stéphane Dion
To have a useful discussion on Senate reform or improvement, we must face the elephant in our Red Chamber – the place where senators sit. I am amazed by the number of writings on the Senate, including Professor Tom Flanagan’s, that don’t even mention this pachydermic problem. Yet this is the fundamental reason why, almost 150 years after Confederation, our senators are still being appointed rather than elected.
This elephant is the huge imbalance in the number of senators per province. How can we not see this beast? While New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have ten senators each representing them, Alberta and British Columbia have but six each, even though their populations today are five to six times larger.
There is no obvious logic to this imbalance, contrary to the equal number of senators per state in the United States or Australia. The unfair distribution of senators among Canadian provinces is the somewhat incidental result of east-to-west migration and settlement of European immigrants since Confederation. This is why New Brunswick Read more