March 14, 2016 - In my February column, I talked about how shifting to proportional representation in place of our current first-past-the-post electoral system could give Northern Ontario more clout in the halls of power down there in Ottawa. Interestingly enough, as I was crafting that piece someone else was reviving another idea meant to give Northern Ontario more power over its own future right here at home: Separation! Vive la Northern Ontario libre!
February 29, 2016 - Shannen Koostachin’s personal odyssey is a deeply moving story. Her 2007-10 children’s campaign for a ‘safe and comfy’ school in Attawapiskat First Nation spawned “Shannen’s Dream,” a Canadian youth-driven movement identifying glaring educational inequities and alerting us to the urgent need to improve funding of on-reserve First Nations education.
February 22, 2016 - There is a growing national debate about electoral reform in Canada. Putting aside issues of democracy, representativeness, fairness and government stability for a moment, let’s focus on what is known as “realpolitik.” Which electoral system would give those of us here in the North the biggest say in national policy-making?
February 16, 2016 - The entrepreneurial spirit of Carcross, Yukon should not be underestimated. It was the community’s Tlingit people who first struck the gold that sparked the Klondike Gold Rush, after all.
January 18, 2016 - It was a banner year for Northern Policy Institute in 2015. After ringing in the New Year, we hit the ground running and we are already hard at work on new research projects, collaborative efforts, and events for 2016. But before we focus on what’s down the road for us and Northern Ontario, we wanted to take a look back on our highlights from last year and review our work and its impact in the region.
January 11, 2016 - Evidence-based decision making is all the rage nowadays. Everyone, of every political stripe and in favour of every cause, claims to be advocating that decisions should reflect the “evidence”. Of course, they tend to be a little picky about what they choose to cite as evidence and even more particular about how the evidence is presented. While governments at all levels are to be applauded for at least stating their intent to be driven by data and evidence, the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.
December 14, 2015 - The holidays are fast approaching, which means friends and family will be travelling to celebrate the season. You may even have a child away at college or university who will be making the trip home as soon as they have completed their exams. In years past, it was pretty common for postsecondary students to hop on a bus to get home for the holidays. However, will cuts to providers such as Greyhound and Ontario Northland over the past year make returning home more difficult? In the short-term, no. Your post-exam, sleep deprived son or daughter, who has subsisted on coffee and makeshift meals to fuel their studying habits, will certainly exhaust every option in order to find their way back for clean laundry, home cooking, and festive libations. But the reduction in service could deleteriously affect some holiday travelers. Christmas comes just once a year, but what about the other 364 days? What are the long term impacts and what does it mean for the people of Northern Ontario?
December 11, 2015 - “A warm wind is blowing across Canada,” Assembly of First Nations Grand Chief Perry Bellegarde is fond of saying, and the roles have reversed. After a so-called “decade of darkness” in First Nations-Ottawa relations, it’s time for First Nations to come up with “a plan” of their own.
December 7, 2015 - The demographic shift is upon us, and has been for a while. Our overall population is falling and our total population is aging. Indigenous population is on the rise but, even there, we see early indications that as economic and social improvements occur population growth slows.
November 30, 2015 - Northern Policy Institute exists to educate and engage all stakeholders interested in the future of Northern Ontario. We seek to encourage informed and respectful policy discussion and debate on issues impacting our region.