March 12, 2020

Ahead of the Curve, On the Leading Edge, at the Next Frontier, Marc Lee Is Looking There

Marc Lee has a sort of duality imbued in him that gives him a unique perspective on the world. Raised by a single mother who put him through private school at the prestigious Upper Canada College, Marc developed a perspective on both sides of the spectrum. His work as Senior Economist at the Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives has taken him from the trade agreements, Globalization and Neoliberalism of the 90s, to today’s housing crisis, and on to looking at the growing precarity of the gig economy. In this episode Gord talk’s with Marc about his research at CCPA, the need for more social housing, climate justice, the shifting Overton Window, complete communities, political will, and more.

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“There is a time coming, in our lives, when the tap of natural gas into our homes and into our city is going to be turned off. It’s not tomorrow — we have time to make adjustments.”

As follow-up to his interview with Vancouver City Councillor Christine Boyle (Episode 19) — mover of a unanimously-approved motion to declare a climate emergency — Gord wanted to speak to one of the ‘generals’ working on a solution to coming disaster. Someone with the knowledge, experience, and character to not just define the nature of the challenge we face in the coming decades, but to take on the mantle of leadership.

Whether Seth Klein is one of those generals is not yet clear, but he certainly seems to be writing the battle book.

The now-former BC Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives —he actually founded the progressive think tank’s west coast chapter in 1996 — Klein has identified some compelling parallels between the effort made by the Canadian government and industry between 1939 and 1945 to mobilize behind the war effort, and what may be required to keep this ship we call Western civilization afloat today.

With little doubt that drastic measures are needed, Klein believes the responses of countries like Canada during the Second World War are not just instructive, but likely instructive and maybe even necessary in this time of existential crisis.

What were those responses? There were many. They were mandated, legislated. And no person, no institution, was immune.

This conversation isn’t just a sneak preview of his upcoming book — it’s a conversation about a similar challenge we faced 80 years ago, how we faced it, and whether we can do it again today.

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Call for Nominations: 2014 Power of Youth Leadership Awards

The Power of Youth Leadership Awards recognize and celebrate young progressive leaders in BC who are driving change towards a more socially, economically and environmentally just society. The award is given in two categories to recognize the vision and leadership of young people in different areas:
•    Engaging in research, analysis, and the development of solutions to key issues facing British Columbians, and
•    Contributions to social movement building.

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There’s so much great research done by students in our academic institutions that too often never gets beyond the library shelf – or the digital equivalent.  Why not at least give a teaser and a link to some of these theses and papers being done here at SFU (and other schools) when they’re touching on issues relevant to Vancouver?

So here’s the first: from Diana Guenther – BSc, MSc MURB (candidate).

Services for Street-Involved Youth in Vancouver:

Having worked in the social service sector for nearly 20 years and in three different countries, I’ve always been quite puzzled about the services for at risk and street-involved youth in Vancouver. Services seemed fragmented, semi-professionalized, privatized/contracted out to the non-profit sector and not adequately funded..

I researched the following questions;

·  What is the social problem labeled street youth and how has the issue changed over the decades?

·  What is the service delivery model of this sector and how has the model changed over the decades?

·  Who are the important stakeholders in the sector – are they able to influence policy-making?

The most pertinent finding of my research was that there is a fragmentation of stakeholder voice.  Many important stakeholders who were knowledgeable about street youth issues (impacted youth and families, frontline professionals, communities etc.) simply have no voice in the policy arena. The feedback loop has been disconnected. The democracy deficit in this sector was related to the restructuring of the sector along neoliberal lines (e.g. privatization, contracting out, business model logic, cuts, centralized policy-making and decentralized service delivery etc.).

The full text of this project can be found here: How have neoliberal shifts from the 1980s to the present day in social welfare delivery changed the services provided to street youth in Vancouver?

Related policy suggestions/discussion can be found at the CCPA Blog.

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