By Aaron Wherry - Friday, November 9, 2012 - 0 Comments
Diane Finley is moving forward with the Harper government’s plans for “social finance.”
Ottawa is making a bold push to have business play a bigger role in funding government social programs – asking Canada’s corporate and charities sector to submit ideas that could ultimately form part of the 2013 budget.
In an interview with The Globe and Mail on Thursday, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley said interest in the emerging field of social finance is “very high,” pointing to multimillion-dollar investments from the Royal Bank. “We need to make sure that we’re not only not getting in the way, but we’re helping them advance their efforts to improve the outcomes in things like homelessness and literacy and other community challenges,” Ms. Finley said.
The prepared text of Ms. Finley’s speech is here. The plan is reminiscent of David Cameron’s Big Society, which has been met with mixed reviews. The Star looks at some of the criticisms of Ms. Finley’s plan. The NDP was unimpressed during QP yesterday.
By Leah McLaren - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:45 AM - 3 Comments
The British PM is promising to fix his country’s ‘broken society’—and Britons are listening
Last week, at a youth centre in the village of Witney, Oxfordshire, British Prime Minister David Cameron stood in front of a wall of messy graffiti and pledged to put his country’s “broken society” back to the top of his political agenda. It must have been a vindicating moment for a leader who has been roundly mocked, at times excoriated, for his long-held insistence that British youth are suffering from a moral malaise that would best be cured, not by increased social spending, but a bracing dose of good old-fashioned community involvement. Picking up litter in a local park, perhaps, followed by a vigorous round of neighbourhood pickup soccer.
In fact, in the wake of the recent riots that have shocked Britain, these were just some of the solutions Cameron was laying out in Oxfordshire that Monday, to an anxiously receptive public. It is all part of his planned “national citizen service,” a kind of voluntary-sector answer to Britain’s formerly mandatory military service—which, in the aftermath of the violence, there was some outlandish talk of reinstating. Paired with his carefully scripted tough talk of social and security “fight-back” and a major crackdown on gang crime, Cameron’s obsession with civic engagement, which seemed hopelessly quaint just weeks ago, is starting to look altogether more prescient. Indeed, his much-scoffed-at idea of a Big Society—the Tories’ flagship platform that, among other things, emphasizes smaller government, a bigger voluntary sector and devolution of power from Whitehall to councils—has never seemed more relevant.
After several days of making conciliatory noises, opposition Labour Leader Ed Miliband was back on the attack last week, trying to take hold of the crisis for himself. He mocked the Prime Minister in front of an audience at his alma mater, a public high school in north London, not far from where the riots began. Dismissing as “gimmicks” Cameron’s threats to harass gang leaders in their homes and adopt an American-style “zero tolerance” approach to policing, Miliband tried to paint the new “tough on crime” Cameron as a hypocrite. “A Prime Minister who used to say we ought to ‘hug a hoodie’ now says we ought to reform health and safety laws!” Miliband groused, referring to Cameron’s famous 2006 speech in which he urged an audience, “when you see a child walking down the road, hoodie up, head down, moody, swaggering, dominating the pavement—think what has brought that child to that moment.”
By Leah Mclaren - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 10:52 AM - 10 Comments
PM David Cameron wants to remake Britain. Critics say his plan will end up destroying the United Kingdom.
It’s been a difficult few weeks for David Cameron’s much vaunted Big Society.
The concept behind the British prime minister’s plan to rejuvenate the economy is either the great hope for modern Britain or a puff of political hot air, depending which side of the debate you fall on. As the initial round of deep public spending cuts approaches later this spring—the first of a planned $130 billion through 2015—some former champions are backing away from the notion of what Cameron calls the “plan to dismantle Big Government and build the Big Society in its place.”
So what exactly is the “big society” anyway? In the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition agreement, it is described as a plan to “take power away from politicians to give it to people.” Labour MP Ed Balls, on the other hand, has dubbed it “the big con.” Three points are certain: it seems to involve less government, more civic engagement, and the PM is very, very excited about it.
Others less so. Lord Wei, a consultant tasked by Cameron with pushing the Big Society agenda, revealed last month he would be scaling down the amount of time he devotes to the project (the irony of having a key volunteer abandon the volunteering bandwagon has been giddily noted in the country’s left-wing press). And in the same week, Liverpool city council, which was a test case council for one of four pilot volunteer schemes, announced it was pulling out and no longer supports the Big Society, as a direct result of the Tory-led government’s funding decisions.
By Peter Shawn Taylor - Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
The new PM wants to change the relationship between government and the public, with more local participation
British Prime Minister David Cameron has gone to great lengths to convince voters he’s taking his country’s massive $250-billion deficit seriously. Among his more symbolic austerity measures, he abolished limousines for cabinet ministers and, when he visited U.S. President Barack Obama last month, he flew commercial. Cameron is, however, allowing himself one grand, legacy-style project out of his election platform. But he plans to pay for it with found money.
“Big Society” is an intriguing attempt by Cameron to alter the relationship between government and its public by putting a greater emphasis on local participation and problem-solving. “For years there was the basic assumption at the heart of government that the way to improve things in society was to micromanage from the centre. But this just doesn’t work,” he said last month in launching his Big Society plans. “Over the past decade many of our most pressing social problems got worse, not better. It’s time for something different.”