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  1. Skilled migration, a mainstay of Australia’s economic and population policies, should be a win-win. Federal and state governments are looking for migrants to meet skills shortfalls and keep the economy growing. Migrants are looking for a better lifestyle and economic opportunities. But our research suggests the skilled migration program is failing to achieve its full economic potential, dashing personal dreams in the process. Many skilled migrants are simply not finding the opportunities they anticipated. Our survey of more than 1,700 skilled migrants living in South Australia found 53% felt they were not utilising their skills and abilities, with 44% working in a job different to what they nominated in their visa application. About 15% reported being unemployed at the time of the survey or for most of their time in Australia – double the South Australian jobless rate. This was despite having skills deemed by government planners to be in short supply. Our results indicate a big mismatch between the expectations of new migrants and the reality of the labour market – in the jobs available and in employer expectations. In short, the skilled migration program simply isn’t working the way it is supposed to. theconversation.com
  2. Meanwhile, Trudeau has been forced to swap his lofty rhetoric of 2015 for centrist pleas to voters – disheartening those who supported his first bid. “A lot of us really saw him as like a different kind of politician and then ended up being very disappointed – almost lied to by – how he turned out” said Rayne Fisher-Quann, a youth activist in Vancouver who, at 18, will be voting in her first federal election. “He seems very performative, especially when you look at the huge discrepancies between his words and his actions.” She points to a string of disappointments: Trudeau’s nationalisation of the controversial TransMountain pipeline to ensure its construction despite opposition from environmentalists and some First Nations groups; his decision to boot out two high-profile women from his caucus; and his failure to meaningfully improve the country’s the fraught relationship with Indigenous peoples. These unfulfilled promises, she said, made it feel as though Trudeau was “putting on a show of being progressive” for younger voters. In the final days of the campaign, the prime minister has relied heavily on the slogan “Choose Forward”, warning that a vote for anyone but his party clears a path for a Conservative government. For voters like Pedican, the strategy has resonated. “I get that change is slow and takes time,” she said. “[Trudeau’s] not the ideal candidate. But I would prefer to see him in office than Andrew Scheer.” If, as predicted, neither the Liberals or the Conservatives win enough votes to command a majority of the House of Commons, all parties – including the Greens and the separatist Bloc Quebecois – could emerge as kingmakers in post-electoral negotiations. While pollsters caution that a split on the left could open a path for the Conservatives to emerge victorious, the idea of voting strategically is often anathema to a generation that rejects the status quo of politics. And for those unwilling to forgive the prime minister for broken campaign promises, Singh and the New Democrats – who could wield immense power in a minority government situation – are seen as an attractive alternative. “Right now a lot of people – especially young people – don’t have a whole lot of hope,” said Fisher-Quann. “It’s always very heartening to see when a candidate is able to tap into hope – and make people feel like their voices can matter.” theguardian.com
  3. Four years on, frustration and apathy could alienate young people in a campaign marked by sniping, absence of bold policy and the blackface scandal In an election defined by mudslinging and racist dog-whistling, Justin Trudeau stood apart. In a country weary of nearly a decade of Conservative rule, Canada’s Liberal leader was a sunny optimist promising change. And his refusal to play dirty politics – in contrast to the veteran politicians he was facing off against – inspired young voters to come out in record numbers. “We were looking for a leader that would be our person,” said Aisha Pedican, a Toronto-based film-maker who was in her mid-20s the last time Canada went to the polls. “I just remember thinking, ‘Oh, this guy has a younger voice, I can relate to this.’” Pedican recalls an electricity surrounding Trudeau’s 2015 candidacy; he was a proudly progressive candidate who promised to fight climate change, repair a broken relationship with Indigenous people, resettle Syrian refugees – and do politics differently. But four years later, the excitement surrounding the prime minister has matured into frustration and apathy. Ahead of Canada’s general election on Monday, Trudeau has been robbed of the many tools he effectively deployed in his last campaign. As the incumbent prime minister, he’s no longer the underdog promising to shake up Canada for the better, nor is he even the youngest party leader. And the stunning rise of Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic party, threatens to steal away young voters at a time when Trudeau needs them most. Trudeau’s progressive shine is looking tarnished and shop-worn, and – despite a surprise last-minute endorsement from Barack Obama – the prime minister is now in the fight of his political life. Polling shows Trudeau essentially tied with his Conservative rival, Andrew Scheer. Despite spending weeks criss-crossing the country to pitch their vision of the country, neither party has successfully swayed voters. Facing the prospect of losing his parliamentary majority, the prime minister has been forced into attack mode, trading barbs with both Scheer and Singh. But the strategy – a far cry from his previous “sunny ways” campaign – could alienate the young voters, warned Shachi Kurl, executive director at the polling firm Angus Reid. If Trudeau hopes to emerge victorious on 21 October, he desperately needs to excite millennials, such as Pedican, who came out in record numbers for the prime minister in 2015. “Negative campaigns can have the effect of increasing cynicism – and can have the effect of suppressing voter turnout,” said Kurl, who argued that Trudeau’s previous optimism had clouded over in an election defined by personal attacks and an absence of any bold policy discussions. “Most devastatingly, [Trudeau] has failed to live up to his own standards around ethics and around doing politics differently,” said Kurl – a reference to both the recent blackface scandal and a damning ethics commissioner report which found Trudeau had broken the law when he tried to prevent a large engineering company from facing criminal prosecution. Complicating the picture for Trudeau is Singh, who has run an unflinchingly optimistic campaign, often in the face of overtly racist incidents. The first person of color to lead a federal party, Singh’s early candidacy was marred by a series of stumbles, including the exodus of several senior lawmakers from the party. But after successful debate performances, he has surged in the polls and achieved something which now seems out of reach for Trudeau: inspiring young voters with the prospect of change. At a recent campaign visit in Toronto, Singh posed for photos as he danced his way through the crowd to an impromptu stage. “Together, we can build a brighter future. We’re not stuck with choosing between bad or worse. We’re not stuck having to settle for less,” he said to cheers. “Ask your friends, ask your neighbour, ask your family to dream big. Because you deserve it.” theguardian.com
  4. The Liberals’ inflated rhetoric against the Conservatives also disguises just how comfortable they are swapping power. They consistently propped up former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper’s minority government, though they could have toppled him by forming a coalition that included the social democratic New Democratic party (NDP). And when the NDP itself contended for office in the 2018 Ontario provincial election, the Liberals attacked it ferociously, enabling victory for the reactionary Conservative leader Doug Ford. Liberals have always been more afraid of a challenge from the left than the right. But if Canadians want the kind of country that reflects their progressive views, the choice in this election is clear: vote for the NDP. The overlooked story of the election is the surge in the party’s popularity, which has come at the expense of both the Liberals and Conservatives – and in spite of the media’s efforts to write it off. Under the leadership of Jagmeet Singh, the NDP has finally halted its right-ward slide – which allowed Justin Trudeau to outflank it to the left in 2015 – and is offering its most progressive platform in a generation. State-funded dental care and prescriptions, 300,000 green jobs and free public transit, paid for by a wealth tax on the ultra rich: the sort of the ambitious leftwing policies that polls consistently show Canadians are hungry for. In an age of turmoil, it is this kind of politics, rather than establishment Liberalism, that can hope to stem the tide of an increasingly xenophobic right. Pervasive insecurity and discontent in Canada, fundamentally unaddressed by Liberal policies, have been capitalised on by rightwing politicians to scapegoat migrants and Muslims – followed closely by openly white supremacist groups, whose numbers have nearly tripled since Trudeau came to office. This week’s endorsement of Trudeau by Barack Obama underscores the dynamic: both are defenders of a bankrupt, corporate-friendly centrism that has demonstrated it is no match for rightwing faux populists such as Donald Trump. This is what gives the ultimate lie to the promise of “strategic voting”. The politics of the Liberals aren’t a lesser evil – they are the surest path to greater evil. The only answer to a rising right will come from a left courageous enough to take on vested interests, rather than the vulnerable – and to redistribute obscene levels of private wealth in the service of the public good. The NDP is not going to win this election. But if Canadians elected enough of its MPs, a minority Liberal government might be forced to rely on the party to pass legislation: this would provide powerful leverage in parliament to push for vital new social programs and a transformative approach to the climate crisis, with social movements pressuring from the outside. Universal healthcare, public pensions, the 40-hour work week, same-sex marriage: all were won under previous minority Liberal governments when the NDP held the balance of power. But for that to become possible after Monday, it will take voting from hope, not fear. In this election, Justin Trudeau isn’t Canada’s real progressive choice – nor the politician to stop the rise of an ugly right. theguardian.com
  5. Ahead of Monday’s election, little divides the Liberal prime minister and the reactionary Conservatives. But there is an alternative How far Justin Trudeau’s star has fallen. In 2015, the rise of this hopey-changey wunderkind was supposed to usher in a bold new Canadian era: democratic reform, ambitious climate action, a plan to tackle inequality, and a new, respectful relationship with Indigenous peoples. But his Liberal party’s bid for re-election, ahead of the election on Monday, looks altogether different: this campaign is dominated by warnings, in ominous tones, about the threat posed by a resurgent, rightwing Conservative party. It’s not hard to understand why. Trudeau’s leftwing posturing has been exposed as a sham. His widely hyped tax hike on the richest 1% was actually a giveaway to the next richest 10% of Canadians. His embrace of a carbon tax became a cover for frenzied approval of fossil fuel projects, culminating in his purchase of a C$4.5bn (US$3.45bn) tar sands pipeline. He dispatched heavily armed police to violently dismantle a peaceful blockade of Indigenous land defenders. He made Canada the second largest weapons dealer to the Middle East, arming the Saudi war on Yemen. And he pressured his own justice minister to exempt a well-connected and corrupt engineering giant from a criminal trial. Beholden to powerful vested interests, Trudeau promised big but delivered small. And so the energy he rode to power has evaporated. Trudeaumania, as one analyst put it, has been replaced by Trudeau-meh-nia. Now that the shine has worn off the Liberals’ formula of fake progressivism, we’re being treated to the party’s perennial fall-back: exhortations to back them “strategically”, lest the Conservatives come to power. Trudeau’s pledge to “do politics differently” has devolved into straightforward moral blackmail. Of course, it’s true that a government under Conservative leader Andrew Scheer would be a frightening ordeal: C$35bn (US$26.6bn) in spending cuts, tax giveaways to the wealthiest, climate change denialism, and a potential erosion of abortion and LGBTQ rights. But the Liberals’ invocation of this rightwing threat is hardly in good faith. It’s something they have done time and again to muzzle the political imagination of Canada’s progressive majority of voters. Artificially shoring up the idea that the country is stuck between two parties has one main objective: scaring Canadians into settling for the pipeline-buying establishment Liberals. This fearmongering distracts from just how many economic policies Liberals share with Conservatives – corporate tax cuts, creeping privatisation, attacks on worker’s rights and relentless resource extraction on Indigenous peoples’ lands. The two parties’ implementation of this free market agenda has resulted in a wildly unequal social order: stagnating wages, unaffordable housing and skyrocketing corporate profits stashed away in offshore tax havens. It’s no wonder that 67% of Canadians, according to a poll last month, believe correctly that the “economy is rigged to advantage the rich and powerful”. theguardian.com
  6. In 2015, Justin Trudeau said that wealthy families like his should pay more taxes. Now, Justin Trudeau thinks millionaires are already paying enough taxes. But that hasn’t stopped him from campaigning on it. Last night, he said the Liberals believe in giving “less help to millionaires.” He bragged about giving “nothing to the 1%.” But his platform contains no measures to raise revenue from Canada’s ultra-rich. Who else is getting nothing new from Trudeau? Canadians struggling with the cost of prescription drugs, dental care, and housing. Jagmeet Singh has made implementing a super-wealth tax on fortunes over $20 million an urgent priority in the next Parliament. With so many Canadians who need help with rising costs, why won’t Justin Trudeau tax multimillionaires? ndp.ca
  7. In June, the independent Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) found that Canada is losing up to $25 billion in revenue every year from offshore tax havens. That’s nearly $700 for every Canadian. The PBO report also indicates that provisions in the Income Tax Act prevent the Canada Revenue Agency from disclosing relevant tax data for individual companies, making it impossible for the PBO or the public to assess whether individual companies are avoiding Canadian taxes. Currently, corporations have no obligation to prove that transactions to transfer funds between Canada and other jurisdictions have an economic purpose aside from reducing the amount of taxes owed in Canada. The NDP attempted to fix this by introducing legislation that would require companies to demonstrate that such transactions have an economic substance. Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have refused to address this problem. While these companies avoid billions in taxes, Canadians are struggling with rising costs like prescription drugs and housing. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh: “Justin Trudeau has chosen the rich and powerful over everyday Canadians. He’s refusing to crack down on big corporations that aren’t paying their share of Canadian taxes. Meanwhile, he’s telling people that he can’t afford to make housing and prescription drugs more affordable. Justin Trudeau has made his choice. I choose Canadians.” ndp.ca
  8. OTTAWA – With the NDP’s New Deal for People, families will get the medicine and dental care they need, lower cell phone bills, homes they can afford, an end to interest on student loans, and concrete advances on the climate crisis. And to pay for it, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and the NDP will stop letting the super-wealthy get away with not paying their fair share of taxes. “The system is rigged. And the NDP is going to un-rig it to work better for everyday people,” said Singh. “With Justin Trudeau in charge, the economy works great for the big pharma companies who are making record profits, but it’s not working for families paying sky-high prices for prescription drugs. It works great for the rich and the powerful who got a $14 billion tax break, but not for people struggling to find an affordable place to live. And it works great for the big polluters, but not for the young people who are worried about what kind of earth they’re being left to live on. I’m going to fix that. My plan is all about changing who Ottawa works for, and I choose you.” On Thursday, Singh revealed the NDP’s six priorities the NDP will ensure the next government delivers. A national universal pharmacare plan and a national dental care plan, delivering affordability and better health to Canadians. A home people can afford, including massive investments in housing, real action on money laundering and a tax on foreign speculators. Beginning to tackle student debt, by taking all interest off of student loans, current and future. Lower cell phone and internet bills, by capping prices. A bold plan and concrete action to fight the climate crisis, ending the subsidies to big oil companies, committing to science-based targets and helping workers during the transition from fossil fuels. Ensuring the super-wealthy are paying their fair share by introducing a super wealth tax, closing tax loopholes, and ending giveaways for the richest companies and individuals. Singh’s platform includes a Super-Wealth Tax on fortunes over $20 million; an end to offshore tax havens, legally used by the wealthy to avoid paying Canadian taxes; ending all fossil fuel subsidies; and ending tax loopholes. These measures raise progressive new revenues and ensure a declining debt-to-GDP over the four-year plan. Quick Facts Everything in the NDP plan is additional to existing spending and programs. The NDP plan does not raise taxes on middle or lower-income Canadians. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has costed all the NDP’s revenue measures. Debt-to-GDP ratio falls every year under the NDP’s four-year plan. The NDP plan includes a Contingency Fund, equal to 15% of revenues every year. This is to make up for any shortfalls in revenue. ndp.ca
  9. This morning, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called out Justin Trudeau for rejecting a wealth tax on multimillionaires with fortunes over $20 million: “We know that Mr. Trudeau is not willing to tax the richest Canadians. We put it to him, and people have asked him, would he be willing to put in place our wealth tax on the super wealthy? He hasn’t said yes. “No other party is willing to say we’re going to make sure that the richest Canadians, those who have fortunes of over $20 million, pay their fair share. Everyone else, Canadians, hardworking families, middle-class families, they’re paying their fair share. They don’t need to pay any more of the burden. “We’re not going to raise taxes on middle-class and working-class families. But we’re asking the richest to pay their fair share. Mr. Trudeau is not willing to do that.” After Trudeau was dubbed “Robin Hood” in the last election, his 2019 platform lets the top 1% completely off the hook while offering nothing for Canadians struggling with rising costs like housing and prescription drugs. Canada’s 87 richest families hold as much wealth as 12 million Canadians. Singh has made implementing a super-wealth tax on fortunes over $20 million an urgent priority in the next Parliament. The PBO ( Parliamentary Budget Officer ) estimates it will raise $5.6 billion in its first year to spend on priorities like pharmacare and dental care. ndp.ca
  10. More than new ministers, Liberals need to change who they're working for: Singh OTTAWA – Today, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh responded to the Prime Minister's new cabinet by reminding him that no matter who is assigned to a particular file, the real change needed is for the Liberal government to start working for Canadians. "I'm not particularly concerned with whoever gets whichever cabinet post," said Singh. "What matters is that they stop working to make life easier for the ultra-rich and big corporations and start working with our team to make life better for families." In the last Parliament, issues like the SNC-Lavalin scandal made it clear that the Liberal government was controlled from inside the Prime Minister's Office and not by individual ministers. Since Trudeau and his office make the decisions, Singh says the person appointed to a particular ministry is less important than the priorities they dictate. "What this government needs more than new ministers is a new commitment to working with us to deliver for Canadians," said Singh. "When they're ready to work to protect and create jobs, make life more affordable, invest in the services people need, and ensure real steps are taken to fight the climate crisis – New Democrats will work with the Prime Minister and his new cabinet." ndp.ca
  11. MP Peter Julian Named House Leader and MP Rachel Blaney Named Whip Today, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh announced Peter Julian (New Westminster-Burnaby) and Rachel Blaney (North Island—Powell River) were appointed to the positions of NDP House Leader and Whip respectively. “Peter is among the most experienced and committed caucus members we have, and Rachel has earned the respect of people in and out of our caucus,” said Singh. “I will be relying on both of them in these important leadership roles as New Democrats work to deliver for Canadians in this minority parliament.” This appointment marks the fifth time Julian has acted as the NDP House Leader in Parliament. “I’m honoured to be trusted with this key role in a minority parliament,” said Julian. “We will stand up for fairness and affordability while pressing the Liberal government for a bold, realistic plan to fight the climate crisis.” Blaney, who served as Deputy Whip in the previous parliament, says she is eager to take on the important role and looks forward to working with her colleagues for all Canadians. “Helping to keep our caucus focused in and out of the House of Commons and pushing to make sure we’re getting results for all Canadians is something I take very seriously,” said Blaney. “By working together, we can force the government to not serve the rich and powerful but actually help us tackle big issues like the climate crisis and keep people healthy with universal pharmacare for all.” Singh made the announcement while speaking at the BC NDP convention in Victoria, noting the strength of the NDP team in British Columbia and the example that John Horgan’s government is showing of what can happen when a government genuinely puts people first. Other members of the NDP Shadow Cabinet will be announced in the coming days. ndp.ca
  12. OTTAWA– Today, while speaking at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh announced that he has named MP Taylor Bachrach (Skeena—Bulkley Valley) as Critic for Infrastructure and Communities in the NDP Shadow Cabinet. “As families struggle to make ends meet, municipalities are being asked to do more and more with fewer resources. New Democrats will be partners in helping deliver for communities across the country,” said Singh. “As a former mayor for a rural community, Taylor understands first-hand the struggles municipalities are faced with in delivering for their residents. As our new Critic for Infrastructure and Communities, I’m confident that Taylor will be a champion in this important work.” Despite being a first time MP, Bachrach brings years of experience working on municipal issues having served as Mayor of Smithers in Northern British Columbia. "I’m honoured Jagmeet has selected me for this important role. I’m looking forward to working with all levels of government to ensure communities have what they need to thrive, and that Canada tackles the climate crisis, provides affordable housing, and creates opportunities through smart infrastructure investments.” Singh said he will announce the rest of his Shadow Cabinet roles tomorrow. ndp.ca
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