Joel CeausuJoel Ceausu confirms taxes take greater bite than food, clothing and shelter combined you're like most people, you probably suspected it all along, even joked about it come tax time, bill time, paycheque time, heck anytime at all. But the Fraser institute in its most recent report confirms it:The average Canadian family paid more in taxes last year than for food, clothing and shelter combined.  According to the Vancouver-based think-tank, families spent $33,272 (42.1%) of income to the federal taxman and his provincial, municipal, and school board minions compared to $28,887 (36%) on basic necessities last year. Joel CeausuSun, 30 Aug 2015 19:16:00 -0400New income security coalition unites left and right things unite the right and left in Canada, Tim Hortons and hockey notwithstanding, but a not-so-radical idea might be one of them.Mention “guaranteed income” and most people think “handout.” But there’s a lot more to it, says Jonathan Brun, spokesperson for the Basic Income Canada Network and co-founder of Revenue de base Quebec, working to get Canada to adopt a basic income scheme. “It appeals to everyone because it addresses the burgeoning government bureaucracy and maintains a solid social safety net while changing the way government transfers wealth between taxpayers.”Joel CeausuMon, 16 Feb 2015 21:20:00 -0500“Counter-productive” Groups denounce welfare reform“There’s still time,” says Clement Citeya of the Comité des Personnes Assistées Sociales de Pointe-Saint-Charles (CPAS). Still time that is, for the province to reconsider its welfare reforms that the groups calls counter-productive and shows “shocking contempt for welfare recipients and are based on a false understanding of the welfare system.” Quebec is applying its austerity belt cinching to welfare rolls as well, affecting many of the nearly half-million Quebecers receiving social assistance.CPAS along with Côte-des-Neiges based Project Genesis and other groups held a press conference last week to denounce the changes and Employment Minister François Blais’ “spreading false ideas rather than dealing with real social assistance issues.”Joel CeausuTue, 03 Feb 2015 16:00:00 -0500What Are You Doing Sunday?’ve read the headlines. Here, in other papers, saw TV reports and heard it on the radio.You get it; the game is stacked against English participation in school board elections. Unless you have a kid in English school, you should never have assumed you have the right to vote for English boards, because for years the English boards have been double-teamed: Names summarily yanked off English rolls by an electoral system designed to minimize the Anglo franchise, while language laws choke off enrolment.Nice talk of collaboration, lobbying and consultations has not amounted to a hill of beans over the years. That’s not my opinion:Joel CeausuThu, 30 Oct 2014 11:21:00 -0400Taxes surpass housing as main family expense you are an average Canadian family, you need not worry anymore about government picking your pocket: you now need to be concerned about your pockets.“If you asked people to name their household’s biggest expense, many would likely say housing,” says Charles Lammam, co-author of the Fraser Institute’s Canadian Consumer Tax Index. “In reality the average Canadian family spends more on taxes than all basic necessities, including housing.”The study found that the average Canadian family earned $77,381 and paid almost 42 percent – $32,369 – in total taxes, compared to 36.1 percent for food, shelter and clothing combined.Joel CeausuWed, 20 Aug 2014 11:52:00 -0400Axe falls on English social service team I am tired,” says André Gagnière, director-general of the Centre de santé et de services sociaux de la Pointe-de-l’Île. “I am tired of fighting for the Pivot by myself. I can’t do it anymore.” And with that, it’s seemingly a done deal as the Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal brings the axe down on a team of social workers that for years had ensured access to English services in the east end for a host of clients including children with intellectual disabilities.  Joel CeausuWed, 18 Jul 2012 18:30:00 -0400Notes from the Sinkhole of our discontent  I held my son’s chocolate peanut-butter ice cream slathered hand and looked at that nice strip of fresh black bitumen over the former sinkhole that opened up on Ste. Catherine St. last week and wondered like many others in our city, what if?What if it happened in front of my house? What if it swallowed a car? What if some protesting window-smashing “anarchist” had taken a journey down that rabbit hole?  Joel CeausuWed, 18 Jul 2012 15:00:00 -0400Shame! I’ve walked by the home a thousand times. I’ve parked in front of it; knelt by its driveway to readjust heavy grocery bags in my hands; stopped my bike to tighten my kids’ helmet; and dragged my children on their sleds over the mounds of snow that lay in front of it.In a neighbourhood that has seen its share of tragedies – albeit mostly of the règlement de comptes and the occasional corpse-stuffed-in-trunk types – this one has shaken the reserve of Canadians beyond the H1P postal code. Joel CeausuThu, 06 Aug 2009 14:00:00 -0400