Getting on Track

9780773508958: Hardback
Release Date: 23rd January 1992

9780773508972: Paperback
Release Date: 28th January 1992

Number of Pages: 256

Series Critical Perspectives on Public Affairs

McGill-Queen's University Press

Getting on Track

Social Democratic Strategies for Ontario

New Democratic Party governments in Canada have always been strongly committed to redistributing wealth and stabilizing the economy, but present conditions require that they broaden their perspective. They must also find ways of generating wealth if they expect to finance new social programs or protect existing ones. As global pressures intensify, Bob Rae's Ontario NDP government needs to rethink many of its traditional approaches to public policy and discover new policy instruments to tackle the five principal agendas of social democracy: social welfare policy, labour market adjustment, employment equity, industrial strategy, and environmental recovery.
Hardback / £91.00
Paperback / £27.99

Social democrats have always understood that business will act differently if the rules governing economic life are changed: it is not because they share a commitment to gender equality that Scandinavian employers pay women and men wages that are virtually equal -- they do so because those are the rules. A modern NDP government must take immediate steps to define a coherent industrial strategy. It must devise new policies and develop industrial arrangements to change the ways firms behave, corporations invest, labour markets function, and companies compete. Piecemeal measures, the contributors to this collection insist, are not going to make the industrial sector more efficient. According to them, a redefinition of industrial strategy will only work if higher rates of growth in productivity are institutionalized and entire sectors produce differently than they do now -- without cutting wages or making labour markets more competitive than they already are. The social determinants of productivity, the contributors argue, are key to a different future -- especially in light of the wide range of issues exposed by the feminization of labour markets, the rise of the service industry, and the decline of the welfare state. The authors emphasize the continuing importance of a full employment strategy and the urgent need for income security for workers in highly fragmented labour markets, and outline tough new measures designed to close the wage gap between men and women. They delineate a fresh perspective on dealing with deficits, make a strong case for wide-reaching social welfare reform, and propose a framework by which Ontario can rebuild its shattered industries. Getting on Track convincingly demonstrates that if a modern social democratic administration expects to be dynamic and socially effective it has to have an economic strategy to restructure the economy while upholding its traditional commitment to social equality.

"This book is filled with insights and analyses that can help current decision-makers in Ontario articulate a social democratic policy agenda in tune with the reality and exigencies of the present situation ... It is first and foremost a cogent political statement aimed at making the social democratic alternative viable and durable ... the contributions are good, articulate, and to the point ... Drache's work and positions are really at the forefront of what is `hot' right now in the academic community." Daniel Salée, Department of Political Science, Concordia University.