Causes

[:en]Some of my side projects…

Affordable Housing

We spend most of our lives in buildings and we spend a sizeable portion of our money on housing. What is Housing – an investment? a shelter? an expression of oneself?

I believe that housing should first and foremost be affordable, healthy an inspiring. To help address the affordability element, we created MonLoyer.Quebec, a site that helps enforce rent control laws in Québec.

Basic Income

In 2015, we started Revenu de Base Québec to advocate for Basic Income in Québec, Canada.

I am also a big support of UBIWorks – a Canadian advocacy group for basic income in Canada.

Under the model referred to as Universal Basic Income,  all citizens would receive a monthly cheque for a reasonable amount of money (say $1,000 to $2,000). The amount would cover basic needs – food, shelter – allowing you to survive, but not stay idle. Citizens would still need to conduct some form of work and those that earn enough would ultimately pay-back this stipend through various tax reforms.

This policy proposal is gaining increased interst in these times of Coronavirus and economic turmoil. Personally I prefer a divident form for creating and distributing the money. The revenues would common from common assets such as land tax, telecommunications spectrum sales, crown corporations and other “commonly” owned assets and enterprises. This is well outlined in Peter Barne’s book, Liberty an dividends for one and for All.

Here are some of my posts on the subject:

COVID and Basic Income

Basic Income as a Problem to  Capitalism’s Structural Problems

How to Build a Citizen Movement for Basic Income

On Basic Income

Transparency

The possibility to change institutions is only possible if we can mobilize people. To mobilize people, we need to demonstrate the true inner-workings of certain institutions – corruption, manipulation and a desire to retain power. That is why government and corporate transparency are so important.

In Canada, we were largely behind the United States and the United Kingdom, but thanks to the hard work of many we are slowly catching up. My hometown of Montreal was also a laggard in Canada, but is slowly catching up too.

From August 2010 – 2014, we created and ran Montréal Ouvert a citizens’ action group that successfully pressured the City of Montreal to establish an Open Data Policy and office.

I was the co-founder Open North, which began in 2011 to improve government transparency and citizen engagement. I served as Chairman of the Board of Open North from 2011 – 2019.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The conflict started in the late 19th century with the influx of Jewish settlers, hoping to start a better life outside of (mainly) Europe. The flow of immigrants increased and shortly after the second world war and in 1948, the Jewish immigrants declared themselves to be an independent state, Israel. Ever since, conflict with both the local Palestinian people and neighbouring nations has threatened the lives of all involved. As a Canadian Jewish person I decided to become involved with Independent Jewish Voices (Canada) that advocates for equitable peace in Israel and Palestine. There are equivalent organisations in other countries such as Jewish Voice for Peace in the United States.

Education

H.G. Wells once said, “Human history has become more than ever a race between education and destruction”. I firmly agree.

The question has become whether we can educate the world about civil liberties, agriculture, technology, infrastructure and education fast enough to remove dictators, solve environmental problems and remove the oppression of woman and minorities.

Ted Talk: Clifford Stoll on Education

TED Talk: Ken Robinson on how schools kill creativity

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Published on March 15, 2009