British Government Says Sorry to Child Migrants

25 02 2010

The British government has apologized to the children who were sent to live in the Dominions before 1967. The lion’s share of these children were sent to Canada, where they were known as “Home Children.” Some of these children were adopted into loving homes, while others suffered terrible abuse.

Canada’s government has announced that it will not be giving an apology to the Home Children. I agree with this decision. In many ways, the Home Children were the beneficiaries of the racism of the erstwhile Dominion of Canada. In the Dominion’s racial pecking order, Britons were at the top and were given privileged access. Would-be Chinese migrants, on the other hand, were discouraged. Canada recently apologized to the Chinese for the head tax and the subsequent policy of total exclusion. Surely it would be inconsistent to apologies to the whites who were the beneficiaries of the racist policies.

The Ottawa Citizen recently carried a story of uncharacteristically good quality on the Home Children. Even though the CanWest newspaper chain is bankrupt, this story was lengthy and based on extensive research.

The BBC’s Today Programme, the morning drive-time show on Radio 4, carried this story about the child migrants.

Krugman on the Tobin Tax

28 11 2009

The Nobel Laureate economist Paul Krugman has come out in favour of imposing a small tax on each financial transaction. The tax, which would be a small fraction on one percent of the value of each transaction, would have a trivial impact on long-term investment but would discourage short-term speculation on the price of stocks, currencies, and other assets.  Krugman’s proposal has been inspired by the work of the deceased economist James Tobin and by Gordon Brown, who recently mused that a Tobin Tax would be a good idea. CNBC’s Jim Cramer, who is neither a Nobel Laureate nor a world statesman, has also endorsed a sort of Tobin Tax.

I suspect that if all of the world’s actual and potential financial centres implemented such a tax, large financial institutions would have no choice but to pay. But   what if one or two countries refused to implement this tax? Wouldn’t currency speculators move to that country?  Financial services are highly mobile. After all, the SarbOx legislation in the US caused much business to shift from Wall Street to the City of London.

Toronto's Financial District Today

It seems to me that if the other Western countries implemented a Tobin Tax, there would be a golden opportunity to make Toronto a global financial centre. The Canadian government could simply announce that is had no intention of imposing a Tobin Tax.

For more on this issue see here, here, and here.

Article in Guardian About Ignatieff

2 06 2009

Yesterday’s Guardian carried a piece by Michael White comparing current Canadian and British politics. It is rare to find an article that comments on both the UK MP expenses row and the Tory attack ads.

If only Ignatieff had a moat that needed cleaning, that would make for a great attack ad.