Toward a Healthy Society
 

Conversation Starter

From the Archived "Cardus Policy in Public" Series

Cardus, formerly the Work Research Foundation, claims roots in the alternative union movement, originally organized by a group of post-World War II immigrants to Canada from The Netherlands. They sought to promote a view of work and society that saw justice pursued through a plurality of social institutions, organizations, and associations. Their program was to pursue public justice – justice pursued in public.

Cardus, formerly the Work Research Foundation, claims roots in the alternative union movement, originally organized by a group of post-World War II immigrants to Canada from The Netherlands. They sought to promote a view of work and society that saw justice pursued through a plurality of social institutions, organizations, and associations. Their program was to pursue public justice – justice pursued in public.

This, too, is the vision and program of Cardus. For the past nine-going-on-ten years, a new generation of this movement, represented in Ray Pennings, Michael Van Pelt, and Gideon Strauss, have sought to take this vision forward by building the capacity of Cardus to pursue justice – in public. That is why Cardus now launches a new journal of public policy, Cardus Policy in Public. To begin with, Cardus Policy in Public will be published as an “occasional paper” featuring the policy development and analysis of Cardus.

But Cardus Policy in Public won’t operate in a vacuum, and we want to reflect that in format and content. As a result, each issue will feature a major piece on some dimension of public policy and a response from someone who takes a different view of the public policy area under discussion. We want Policy in Public to serve as a conversation starter.

We think it is fitting that this inaugural issue of Cardus Policy in Public features a conversation starter from Ray Pennings, a Cardus Senior Fellow with deep roots in the alternative union movement. Just as appropriate is the response to this starter from Bob Blakely, a leading figure in the Canadian Building Trades, a traditional, craft-based union. Both recognize that the ways things have been done to date are inadequate to address the challenges of the construction trades in Canada. Both bring deep knowledge and first-hand experience of what confronts organized labour vis à vis contractors and owners in Canada: competition, labour shortages in the skilled trades, apprenticeship, and labour mobility, among others. That said, each has a defined perspective that differs from the other.

We won’t pursue controversy for controversy’s sake. But we do think healthy debate on public issues in public can lead to better public policy and a healthier society for all. And so, we invite you into this conversation and debate by contributing your reactions, critique, and comments to our mailbox at cpip@cardus.ca.
Each issue of Policy in Public will also feature at least one major book review. In this issue is a critical review of the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin, Jr.’s recently published autobiography and account of his federal, Canadian premiership, Hell or High Water: My Life in and out of Politics. And, finally, each Cardus Policy in Public will include a survey of reports and studies selected from Canadian “policy shops” and “think tanks” across the policy spectrum.
Now, won’t you join our conversation? Jump in.