Michael Van Pelt on Cross Country Checkup: Mediating institutions are essential

May 17, 2015
CBC Cross Country Checkup

On Sunday's Cross Country Checkup, Cardus president Michael Van Pelt discussed the character of the social safety net and how stronger social architecture can improve Canada (from 1:16:29).

I think the central question around the future challenge to our "safety net" as we call it is actually a structural challenge about how society is organized. Cardus, for the last ten years, has talked about renewing Canada's social architecture. And the root to that question really is our impulse over the last number of decades to default to fewer and fewer institutions to solve our problems.
So on the one hand, if you're on the left, and you have a problem, who do you call? You call the state to solve your problem. On the other hand, if you're on the far right, you just leave it up to the individual or the market and just let it take care of itself.
In the middle, what you have then, is many of these institutions—you may call them mediating institutions or civil society institutions—that are no longer as vibrant as they either historically were, or what they need to be to meet the needs of a flourishing society.

The program also featured Sunil Johal of Renewing Canada's Social Architecture, a collaborative project involving researchers from the Mowat Centre, the Caledon Institute of Social Policy, the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity and the Institute for Research on Public Policy.

You can listen to the entire program at the CBC website.