The free market is notorious for its contradictions and inequities. Competition tends towards monopoly. Owners accrue capital at the top but extract it from labour at the bottom. Large enterprises enter, disrupt, and even decimate communities, often leaving workers holding the bag, worse off than they were before.
It doesn’t have to be this way. There are alternative economic systems to capitalism; there are also alternative market arrangements within capitalism--or something like it. One such model sees workers as the owners and beneficiaries of enterprise. So, we ask: What’s the case for employee-owned businesses?
On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Jon Shell, managing director and partner of Social Capital Partners.
Despite a steady stream of news about the politics of the day, each of us might be forgiven for being unsure what a member of Parliament actually does. Even members themselves, from time to time, seem unsure. Are they lawmakers? Government foot soldiers? Opposition sentries? Committee investigators? Community service-persons? Issue advocates? An admixture of each?
The fact is that the role of an MP often depends on the member, the party, and context of the day. But as elusive as a simple rundown of the gig may be, it’s still worth asking: Can members of Parliament break the mold?
On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, member of Parliament for Beaches-East York and member of the Liberal Party of Canada.
In 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States recognized same-sex marriage in the country as a fundamental right protected by the Constitution. The ruling was the culmination of decades of legal battles and advocacy labour by the gay rights community and their allies.
The story of same-sex marriage in the United States is long and complicated. But one author has distilled this history into an accessible and engrossing tale of policy, legal, and personal battles. Yet while the book ends in a ruling for justice and equality, the story of 2SLGBTQ+ rights in the United States continues. And so do the battles. So, we ask: What is the future of same-sex marriage in the United States?
On this live episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Sasha Issenberg, American journalist and author of four books, including his latest, The Engagement: America’s Quarter-Century Struggle Over Same-Sex Marriage.
June is Pride Month. For decades, the 2SLGTBQ+ community and their allies have been advocating and organizing for rights recognition. This month is both a celebration of that community and a remembrance of the struggle for justice and equality. A struggle that is ongoing.
Even as we celebrate Pride, the Canadian government is fighting to uphold a discriminatory policy that requires men who have recently had sex with men to wait three months before they can donate blood. The state’s intransigence reminds us that political sloganeering is one thing, but true and complete equality in practice is another. So, we must ask: What is the state of 2SLGTBQ+ rights in Canada?
On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Chris Karas, a human rights advocate who is challenging the blood donation deferral policy that applies to men who have sex with men, and Gregory Ko, a human rights lawyer at Kastner Lam LLP who represents Karas.
There are plenty of criticisms of democracy in Canada. While the country ranks in the upper echelons of mainstream reviewers concerned with global comparisons, there are disconcerting cracks in the foundation of our self-government.
Indeed, the foundation itself is fundamentally flawed. One could—and should—point out the country’s inequities and inequalities, embedded colonialism, vestigial electoral system, and so forth. But on this episode, our focus is on a sort of immanent critique of Canada’s Westminster system itself, on its own terms. And so we ask: What’s wrong with Canada’s democracy?On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Emmett Macfarlane, associate professor of political science at the University of Waterloo and author of Constitutional Pariah: Reference re Senate Reform and the Future of Parliament.
In March of last year, David Moscrop spoke with feminist theorist and friend Amanda Watson about managing life during the pandemic. The conversation included thoughts about compassion, care, inequity, resistance, and, of course, anxiety.
Just over a year later, as the end of the pandemic begins, the two revisit that conversation. This time the focus is on processing...all of this, with special attention given to the question: How are we managing late-pandemic anxiety and what will a return to “normal” look like?
As mentioned, on this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Amanda Watson, feminist theorist, lecturer at Simon Fraser University and author of The Juggling Mother: Coming Undone in the Age of Anxiety.
In Canada and around the world, anxious, weary populations are looking forward to returning to something that will approximate normal life. That return is predicated on, among other things, mass Covid-19 vaccination efforts that continue along slow and steady.
As more of us get the jab, states, including Canada, are considering vaccine certification programs for domestic use, foreign travel, or both. But concerned individuals, including health, privacy, and social science experts, are raising a number of concerns with the idea. While a vaccine “passport” might intuitively seem like a good idea, it’s fraught with risks and trade-offs, leaving us to ask: Should we adopt vaccine certification programs?
On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Françoise Baylis, University Research Professor, bioethicist, and author of Altered Inheritance: CRISPR and the Ethics of Human Genome Editing.
In Canada, wireless and broadband prices are too damned high. Why? The recent news of a merger attempt by Rogers and Shaw gives us a hint—and a look into the world of telecom strategy and oligopoly. Indeed, observers would be forgiven for thinking the country is a handful of telecom companies in a trenchcoat, perhaps with an airline or two crammed in there. But there’s more to it than that—a bit more, anyway.
Understanding wireless and broadband policy requires us to dig into the state of the industry, competition or a lack thereof, the question of nationalization, the role of the Competition Bureau and the CRTC, and more. Eventually, we get to answer the big question: Why are our wireless and broadband bills so high?
On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Michael Geist, Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa and Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law.
Canada’s political left is facing a series of choices. What kind of movement should it pursue in the face of contemporary challenges at home and around the world? How can left-wing parties win at the local, provincial, and federal orders of government? Should communists, socialists, and social democrats work together -- and, if so, when and how? Also, to what extent does the leading social democratic party in Canada, the NDP, serve as a vehicle for successful left politics?
Answering these questions requires us to start by understanding what it even means to be “left-wing.” It requires us to trace the history of Canada’s left, to look around the world, and to embrace the tensions, even contradictions, of contemporary left politics. It also requires us to ask: What is the future of Canada’s left?
On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Christo Aivalis, historian, writer, left YouTuber, host of the podcast Left Turn, Canada, and author of The Constant Liberal: Pierre Trudeau, Organized Labour, and the Canadian Social Democratic Left.
In early March, Ontario surpassed 7,000 Covid deaths, over 3700 of which occurred in the province’s long-term care facilities. Around the country, suffering and death in care homes is part of an emergency that has long been ignored -- an emergency that pre-existed the pandemic.
Precarious work, low pay, inadequate staffing, neglect, abuse, unreasonable waitlist times, poor communication, and the urge to put profit before people condition much of the long-term care sector. Because of that, the most vulnerable among us suffer and die. Things could be different. So, how can we solve our long-term care crisis?
On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Vivian Stamatopoulos, associate teaching professor at Ontario Tech University and LTC advocate.
We have been at...all of this for about a year now. Maybe it feels longer for you. Maybe it feels shorter. Maybe time has lost all meaning. Whatever the case, on this episode of Open to Debate, we are taking a deep breath and mixing things up as we celebrate our 40th episode and process 12 months of pandemic life.
How do we simultaneously celebrate this podcast and process what the last year has meant? Well, mostly we make jokes for about an hour. And talk about trains. How else would we proceed?
So, without further delay: How are you doing?
On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Brittlestar -- Stewart Reynolds -- comedian, video-maker extraordinaire, and, according to his website, The Internet’s Favourite Dad* (*unproven).
Throughout the pandemic, the quality and success of communications from government, public health officials, elected representatives, and others tasked with keeping us in the loop have been, let’s say, inconsistent. There have been highs and there have been lows. Quality has varied across jurisdictions. And it shows.
While approaches to good communication work may vary, there are some strategies and tactics that ought to be more common. For instance, meeting people where they are, rather than expecting them to come to you. That is precisely what this week’s guest does. He answers the question: How should we talk about public health during a pandemic?
On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Dr. Naheed Dosani, palliative care physician, Lecturer in the Department of Family & Community Medicine at the University of Toronto, Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University and health justice activist.
In late January, the House of Commons unanimously voted on a resolution, proposed by NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, to call on the government to “use all available tools to address the proliferation of white supremacists and hate groups.” The motion included a specific focus on designating the Proud Boys as a terrorist organization. .
The rise of white supremacist and hate organisations poses a threat to Canadaians. These groups and their members must face consequences for their actions. They ought to be resisted and, ultimately, dismantled. But how should that be done? What risks attend to the expansion or further entrenchment of the national security state? Should white supremacist groups be designated as terrorist organizations?
On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Harsha Walia, director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and author of the forthcoming book Border and Rule: Global Migration, Capitalism, and the Rise of Racist Nationalism
Lady A has been in the music industry for decades. In recent months, she has been in the national spotlight in the United States for reasons other than her music. After the band Lady Antebellum shortened their name to “Lady A” in the wake of the death of George Floyd to dissociate themselves from the “Antebellum South” and the racism bound up with that phrase, the band and Lady A entered into lawsuits over the use of the name. In December, she released the track “My Name is All I got.”
This episode is not about names, but about histories, experiences, power, and the question: How does institutionalized racism shape the music industry?
On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Lady A, a blues, soul, funk, and gospel singer who has released five solo albums, the latest of which is Lady A: Live in New Orleans. We also hear from John Oliver III, Lady A’s Seattle based producer.
For as long as anyone can remember, talk about deficits and the debt have been central to political life. How much can we spend? On what? What are the trade-offs? What will it cost? I mean, what will it really cost. If politics is about choosing, if it is about, as the classic phrase goes, “Who gets what, when, and how?” then spending constraints are central to what makes it so.
But what if deficits and the debt did not induce the constraints we thought? Modern monetary theory invites us to think about money and government spending in a new way, opening up possibilities that were seemingly out of reach before. But is the promise too good to be true? On this episode we take a look and ask: Who’s afraid of modern monetary theory?
On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Stephanie Kelton, Senior Fellow at the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Stony Brook University, and author of The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy.
Throughout the country, politicians and policymakers routinely talk about the need to address Canada’s historic and ongoing colonial practices. Talk is plentiful. Action, less so.
Among the many manifestations of Canada’s legacy and present-day colonialism is a healthcare and healing crisis in which Indigenous Peoples are overrepresented among those struggling. The challenge calls for decolonization, including robust, structural changes informed by the answers to the question: How we can re-imagine Indigenous healthcare and healing?
On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with elder Alma Brooks of the Native Women’s Association of Canada.
Around the world, the calls have begun to “build back better.” The slogan, or some variant of it, is ubiquitous. Even as we continue to manage life during the pandemic, we start to look beyond it, towards something better, we hope.
In Canada, the idea of a universal basic income has been circulating for decades. However, as the discussions and debates around our post-pandemic world pick up, it’s an idea that is enjoying a moment. And so on this episode, we ask: Should Canada adopt a universal basic income?
On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Armine Yalnizyan, Atkinson Fellow on the Future of Work at the Atkinson Foundation.
Around the world, the race is on to develop a Covid-19 vaccine. So far, nearly 200 candidates are in the works, including dozens at the human-trial stage. The optimistic experts tell us that a vaccine could be ready this year or early next, and set for distribution by mid-to-late 2021. The pessimists suggest it could take longer. But few doubt that we will be able to produce a vaccine.
The question of concern, therefore, is not whether we’ll develop a Covid-19 vaccine or whether it will be safe and effective. The question of concern is ‘Who will get the Covid-19 vaccine--and when?’
On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Dr. Alan Bernstein, president and CEO of the Canada-based global research organization CIFAR and member of Canada’s Covid-19 vaccine task force.
In the United States, the votes have been cast. In some jurisdictions, they are still being counted despite the best efforts of President Trump to stop it. But counted they will be.
The presidential election was closer than many expected, despite Joe Biden winning more votes than any contender in U.S. history. We are left with questions about the Biden campaign strategy, polling, and the state and future of American elections and democracy. For now we ask: What just happened, America?
On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Steven D’Souza, New York correspondent for CBC News.
On Tuesday, November 3rd, Americans will head to the polls in the country’s 59th election. After four years in power, Donald Trump’s presidency is on the ballot and on the ropes—things are not looking good for the incumbent.
But will the US election be free and fair? For years, Trump has been working to undermine the integrity of American electoral institutions. He has refused to say whether he’ll recognize the results of the vote. He has attacked the postal service and postal balloting. He has made unfounded and incorrect claims of voter fraud. When stacked alongside gerrymandering and long waits to vote, there are more than a few reasons for concern.
On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Adam Gopnik, staff writer with the New Yorker and author of, among many other books, A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism.