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Monday October 28th 2013 Social Policy of Canada Poli 2P99.docx

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Political Science
Charles Conteh

Monday October 28 2013 Poli 2P99 Lecture 2 of 2 Social Policy in Canada - democracy (becoming global) o cooperation o accommodation o collectivism o equality o inclusion - capitalism o competition o discipline o individualism o unequal o exclusion Slide 1: Introduction - social policy consist of systematic state interference with the operation of market forces in order to protect (or promote) the material well-being or welfare of individuals, families, or groups on grounds of justice or compassion - social policy is largely the result of efforts by nations to resolve the age-old tension between capitalism and democracy - nations that manifest tendencies towards pervasive social policy intervention are commonly referred to as “welfare states” - but the term itself now has negative connotations Slide 2: Canada in a comparative setting - social policy is Canada as we know today can be traced back to the early 1960s - this period was marked by competing visions of the Canadian society – as individualist, entrepreneurial and efficient, or as compassionate, kind and collectivist - like other industrialized nations recovering from the horrors of the great depression, (and later, the emergence of a counter-culture movement in the 1960s), Canada was swept in the wave of demands for a “just” or “great” society - although the “collectivist” view of society has largely prevailed in Canada, the notion of ‘welfare’ still carries negative connotations in North America (while viewed more favorably in Europe) - Canada’s welfare state ranks just below the average of OECD countries; more generous than the US, but less generous than most Western and Northern European Countries - Canada’s relatively slower rate of social policy expansion (compared to the Europeans) has been attributed to the following: a. weakness of the labour movement in this country b. the absence of an electorally strong left-wing party on the national stage (although this seems to be gradually changing with the NDP’s recent surge) c. the construction of policy agenda in non-class terms (note our discussion of the most important contextual forces shaping policy choices in Canada – namely regionalism, culture and language) d. the institutional fragmentation created by the constitution, putting some checks on the social policy ambitions of both the central and provincial governments Slide 3: Explanations for the Rise of Social Policy - general consensus exists about the growth of the welfare state but considerable dispute continues over its causes a. socio-economic pressures of industrialization and urban
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