'Social finance' - Macleans.ca

‘Social finance’


Diane Finley is moving forward with the Harper government’s plans for “social finance.”

Ottawa is making a bold push to have business play a bigger role in funding government social programs – asking Canada’s corporate and charities sector to submit ideas that could ultimately form part of the 2013 budget.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail on Thursday, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley said interest in the emerging field of social finance is “very high,” pointing to multimillion-dollar investments from the Royal Bank. “We need to make sure that we’re not only not getting in the way, but we’re helping them advance their efforts to improve the outcomes in things like homelessness and literacy and other community challenges,” Ms. Finley said.

The prepared text of Ms. Finley’s speech is here. The plan is reminiscent of David Cameron’s Big Society, which has been met with mixed reviews. The Star looks at some of the criticisms of Ms. Finley’s plan. The NDP was unimpressed during QP yesterday.


‘Social finance’

  1. “Hi. If you have a scheme for getting rich while supplying dwindling services to Canada’s poor, we want to hear from you.”

  2. We live in fascist state – it is not possible for companies to play a bigger role in funding government programs because they already provide 100% of government $$$. And companies already do plenty of ‘social finance’ – me niece and nephew play in tim horton’s soccer league and I take them for free food at Harvey’s after a match – but now companies are also expected to provide welfare services. Will Royal Bank be creating its own homeless shelters or will they just be sponsoring shelters like a stadium or theatre?

    Why does government revenue and spending increase year after year but it’s ability to deliver services decrease? Bureuacrat salaries hoover up the money and government can’t afford its responsibilities. Canadian taxpayers are paying more, for less.

    • Firs of all I suggest you educate yourself about the meaning of the word fascism. Fascism is characterized by a state controlled economy with protectionist and interventionist policies. It promotes rule by people deemed naturally superior while advocating the purging of those considered naturally inferior which is clearly not the case in Canadian society. Knowing these facts it should now be clear to you that as we live in a democratic, free market, non-protectionist country we do not “live in a fascist state”. 

      Secondly, corporations do not provide even close to all government revenue. In fact, in the 2011-2012 fiscal year corporate tax revenue only represented $31.7 billion or 12.9% of total government revenue. The largest source of government revenue, representing $119.3 billion (or 48.6%), was from personal income tax. 

      If your interested here is a link to the governments annual financial statements so that you can refrain from post such blatantly false information in the future. 


      • This personal income tax that people pay—-where does it come from?

        Let`s pick a typical Canadian worker making $90,000 a year and paying $20,000 income tax—-if that person is employed by a private corporation, then the profits from the corporation pay her salary including her income tax—if that person depends on any form of government to make her pay cheque then her salary including her income tax is paid from proceeds that government received from corporate tax, from capital gains tax, from dividend tax, from royalty tax, from export tax, from import tax, etc. Governments have very little ability to generate income except from taxes and fees.

        Fascism is a bit strong to describe our system, but without a strong and willing to invest corporate sector then you will not have a strong economy—ask Obama.

        • Um…once a person earns his/her salary or wages, it’s not the corporation’s money anymore, it belongs to the wage earner. Therefore, personal income tax comes from citizen taxpayers, not corporations.

          • Try to see past the end of your nose.

            If the corporation cannot operate profitably in Canada it will either move to another, shut down business, or as you mention below, they will become stagnate and hoard their cash—either way, there will not be healthy wage earners paying taxes without healthy corporations.
            If you advocate corporations should not be able to do this then maybe you agree with Tony about the fascist state.

          • If you could see past the end of your own nose, you’d realize that has absolutely nothing to do with the point of my comment. I wasn’t questioning the integral role of corporations in the nation’s economy, at all.

            Pay attention.

        • And that corporate money that they pay people with—-where does it come from?

    • How much income tax would government collect if companies didn’t exist?

      “Fascism is characterized by a state controlled economy with protectionist and interventionist policies …. we live in a democratic, free market, non-protectionist country …”

      1) Canadian Press ~ “Minimum prices for beer and spirits sold in Ontario are going up starting March 1 … The Crown corporation is required to set minimum prices as part of its commitment to social responsibility.”

      2)NatPost ~ But the real culprit is Canada’s system of supply management, which ensures the domestic price of eggs is far higher than the international market price. A carton of eggs in Vancouver, for example, costs about $3.19, while a similar product in Washington state retails for $2.09.

      3)Reuters ~ The Canadian government on Wednesday blocked BHP Billiton’s $39 billion bid for Potash Corp, the world’s biggest producer of a key crop nutrient, halting what had been the world’s biggest takeover attempt this year and sending Potash Corp shares tumbling.

      • Tony’s just getting himself cranked up for a lonely march
        in honour of the Mac-Pap Brigade on Nov. 11.

  3. Let business do what it does best, provide services and products for profit. Their responsibility is to their shareholders, board of directors or owners; not to tax payers, not to any particular Government and certainly not to the welfare of Canadians or the Gov. services they depend on. And no, there’s no way to design a system that would insulate Government and tax payers from bad deals, any “investment” will be insured by the Government and provide a set return well above inflation.

    There’s always someone out there willing to stretch the limits to turn a profit but in their quest to eliminate these social programs from being funded (they are Neocons after all) they will allow these corporations and foreign entities to see such returns at no risk. These are no different then extremely costly (for us) high return Government bonds given to an exclusive number of entities (mainly multinational corps) that only allow Government to spend cash on slush funds and pet projects, not actual social programs.

    These bankers and economists don’t see a problem with nearly destroying the world economy; what’s the welfare and social programs of one country with that in mind? Added to that the systematic destruction of our ability to gauge the effect of and the need for policy via the elimination of the long form census, only compounds this extremely bad exercise in corporatism.

    Leave the marketeering at the door, you’re the Government of Canada.

  4. Seems like foolish ideology winning out over practicality. I suspect only two things can happen – 1) Middle-class workers get shorted as businesses hire cheaper labour to provide the same services governments were, or 2) it’s a failure

  5. Wasn’t the little leprechaun, Flaherty, recently pleading with corporations to stop hoarding their billions of investment capital? Now, these clowns a trying to inveigle the same corporations into indulging in some scam they’ve recently heard about called “social finance”?

    Honest to gawd, do the Cons live in the same universe as the rest of us?

    • Honest to Gawd, do you govmint workers understand absolutely zero about taxes corporations and government services.

      • I’m not a government worker, Andy, m’boy. Do you need to invent these uninformed little narratives about those with whom you differ in order to justify your sanctimonious little rants?

        By the way, what credentials give you the wisdom, knowledge and authority to judge others’ understanding about taxes corporations and government services?

  6. Social finance is a means to promote experimentation in new ideas for delivering services. The participants only gain if their new ideas are more effective. And if they are more effective, then they can be tried on a wider scale.

    • Seems like the sort of thing Bruce Carson would be all over.