Jason Kenney empowers the little guy - Macleans.ca

Jason Kenney empowers the little guy

The big news: The senior minister banks on the power of social enterprise


Chris Wattie/Reuters

“It’s about the recognition of a fundamental principle that government programs and funds alone are not, cannot be the solution to face all of our pressing social issues.” —Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development

Jason Kenney wants to solve social problems, he wants you to know. And the minister for employment and social development is not willing to trust that government can do it all on its own. Kenney wants the private sector to play a role. He wants to empower those benevolent souls within civil society. And he wants social finance to drive all of this positive change.

Yesterday, Kenney addressed the Social Enterprise World Forum in Calgary. He lauded social enterprise, the notion that businesses can operate with the express purpose of achieving a social good. He kept saying the word social, and kept talking about doing good. Kenney announced a modest federal pilot program, worth $6 million, that would, with conditions, fund a pair of privately administered programs aimed at training marginalized Canadians. The condition: if the programs are successful, and the people they’re trying to help achieve certain objectives, the federal money goes through.

Kenney treated the plan as a no-brainer, downplayed any useful role government can play in fixing social problems on its own, and patted on the back anyone in the private sector willing to help out. “For too long, governments have imposed solutions to Canada’s social development challenges, while ignoring the innovative and successful approaches being developed in local communities and the private sector,” he said. “Through social financing, the government can link civil society with those who want to invest in results-oriented projects in local communities to solve social problems.”

We’re talking about the good guys, here, remember—not the greedy guys in the private sector’s luxurious corner offices, but the grassroots folks down the street from your own home.

The wily minister defended social enterprise before his political opponents could criticize it. “Now there are some folks out there, thankfully not too many, but there are some who seem to believe that social finance and social enterprise is just a ruse to cut government social spending or to privatize government programs,” Kenney said, before repeating that government simply can’t solve every “pressing social issue” on its own. Indeed, Kenney’s critics soon emerged. The Globe and Mail quotes the NDP’s Jinny Sims as claiming Kenney’s plan is handing out money to private interests that used to go to provincial skills-training programs.

Kenney’s got a huge fight on his hands, as premiers refuse to play ball on the controversial federal job grant program they say doesn’t work for them. No doubt he’ll suffer many headaches on that file. But if the social development minister keeps talking about fixing social goods and empowering the good guys in that fight, maybe that’s what voters will remember.


What’s above the fold

The Globe and Mail A euthanasia debate has leapt onto the national political agenda.
National Post John Boehner says the United States will not default on its debt.
Toronto Star The head of Toronto’s 2015 Pan Am Games is in line for a huge bonus.
Ottawa Citizen Stephen Harper’s trip to Malaysia was overshadowed by China.
CBC News Republican infighting has fuelled the U.S. government shutdown.
CTV News A woman killed in Washington, D.C. suffered post-partum depression.
National Newswatch Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau are unlikely to form a coalition.

What you might have missed

THE NATIONAL Census. Audrey Tobias, an 89-year-old woman who refused to fill out the 2011 census because American military firm Lockheed Martin played a technical role in its development, is in court defending her right not to participate. Tobias argues that the census should have remained under Canadian control, and not have contracted military firms.
THE GLOBAL The Gambia. Yahya Jammeh, the enigmatic president of The Gambia, unilaterally withdrew his country’s membership in the Commonwealth—the first nation to cut ties with the intergovernmental organization since Zimbabwe departed in 2003. Jammeh complained that his African nation wouldn’t participate in any “neo-colonial institution.”
THE QUIRKY Sexism. Javier Albar, a Spanish judge, ruled that a driving school is allowed to charge women a higher rate than male students. In 2011, the school charged young men 665 Euros and young women 850 Euros, suggesting that female students required more lessons to properly learn. The school was fined, but appealed the decision. Albar sided with the school.


Jason Kenney empowers the little guy

  1. ‘there are some who seem to believe that social finance and social
    enterprise is just a ruse to cut government social spending or to
    privatize government programs’

    Gasp! No! Wherever would they get an idea like that?

    • This comment was deleted.

      • LOL ahhh another Con supporter.

        • Leave him or her alone Emily he or she is a bigger fool than you are

          • Ahh you’re the guy with the large Jewish family from Ireland right?

      • I probably dislike Emily anymore than anyone on this site but what I dislike more is a clueless ,no brain troll like yourself. STFU!

    • From partisan morons like you, obviously. It’s all part of the Scary Hidden Agenda™ because anybody can see that this current has been privatizing all kinds of government assets, right?

      Oh wait, they haven’t privatized a single thing. Yet you and your Liberal friends continue to bleet about it like they’ve sold off everything the government previously owned.

      Name one major privatization initiative this government has undertaken. Just one.

      • Hiya Rick! Haven’t seen you in awhile!

        Glad you showed up…..the temp was just not working out. Your post sounds like a rushed job though….you’ll have to watch that.

        • So you can’t provide a single example?

          • Heh heh….I’m sure you don’t think that after all this time I’m going to provide you with tangent-fodder?

  2. Does Macleans not moderate at all anymore? I’ve had comments removed that were not 1/10th as offensive as that, and within the past month. Yet the same troll we see above (or at least one with a similar mindset) was able to leave at least a dozen profanity-laced comments on another article yesterday.

    • OK, for some reason my comment ended up at the top, not the bottom. The troll is below me. At least right now.

    • Frustrating isn’t it? I had two comments go to moderation at the NP yesterday, and never return for containing the phrase – get off your ass…

      I also posted a link to climate skeptic pointing out the writer of a major piece in the F/Post, who was critical of the IPCC, was regarded in some circles as a serial climate change denier…that failed to make it out of moderation either, hmmmmm

      Who has their finger on the button, a dumb or overworked human or a really dumb bit of software?

      • Yes, why would a reputable publication remove comments with links in them? Obviously every serial internet commentor like yourself can be trusted not to post links to spam or spyware, or worse: Justin Trudeau’s webpage.

        • Brilliant. You oughta leave that brain to science…if they’ll take it?

    • So what is it that you’re looking for? More censorship, or less censorship? Or are you simply asking that they only censor the content you disagree with? Sounds very Liberal of you.

      • If you spray-painted “S**k my d**k motherf*****” on my fence, I would remove it. If you posted that in a forum I was moderating, I would remove it. Graffiti is an eyesore, whether you spray it on a wall or post it on a website. Nobody is stopping the offending party from creating their own website and hurling profane-laced insults til the cows come home. But I would expect better from a prominent national magazine that wins awards for its website.

      • How about consistency?

  3. Yesterday a Conservative MLA from PEI switched over to the Provincial Liberals because he thought his complaints about the reduction of availability of UI for serial pogey people would be better heard on that side.
    Today Kenney is portraying the Conservative government as the Party of those who would like to have full time employment while yesterday the Liberals were shown to be the Party of those on UI.
    While promoting good policies in private sector employment, Kenney is taking quite a risk. His reckless good sense behavior may help the Conservatives in most ridings in the country but will almost certainly mean the Trudeau Liberals will sweep all 4 seats in PEI.

    • Yup, interest in sustaining unemployment insurance is proof of a disinterest in employment.
      Give this man a column!

  4. http://www.ipolitics.ca/2011/04/28/ndp-liberals-have-a-long-history-of-co-operation/

    Trudeau and Mulcair most likely wont get together,[ although this a little odd considering Mulcair is said to be pulling the party toward the centre] but there’s no reason to form a formal coalition. If neither party can get out ahead and stay there come 15, both of these guys are going to come under real pressure from their constituencies to find a way to keep Harper out. I’d say the bottom line for bluer liberals is the liberals have to be senior partner. I can’t speak for dippers. Right now they probably want to get Trudeau worst then the Tories do.

    • And just like last time around, if they don’t campaign on it, it will be widely seen as illegitimate by the electorate. That was about the only thing that Iggy had right in his book.

      You can’t be running around the country during an election campaign telling everybody that you won’t form a coalition after the election, and then promptly do it as soon as you lose.

      And if they say they’ll only form a coalition if they have the seats to unseat Harper after the election, then every bit of “fear mongering” from Harper about the coalition over the last several years becomes demonstrably true, and they still look like liars. The other part of this is that Blue Liberals suddenly abandon the Liberals (again) and give Harper his majority (again).

      But I am glad that you Liberals have stopped deluding yourselves into believing that Trust Fund Trudeau is going to somehow magically win a majority in 2015.

      • A coalition isn’t “illegitimate” if it commands support of a majority in the House. Period. The rest is spin.

        • If the Libs and the NDP do not unite, there is no possibility of them after the election to have enough seats to oust Harper after the election. Unless they unite, Harper will get another majority. This is brain numbingly obvious.

          • I don’t agree entirely. The two main opposition parties will compete for votes against each other (as well as the Cons) during an election and will, I predict, negotiate the formation of a coalition if the election results provide them with such an opportunity to unseat the Cons.

          • I agree with you that the Libs and NDP will likely “negotiate the formation of a coalition if the election results provide them with such an opportunity to unseat the Cons”. But that opportunity will not be realized if the Libs and the NDP do not unite before the electon. By splitting the vote, Harper will win a majority as he did in the last election. There will then be no possibility of forming a coalition government to oust him. There won’t be enough opposition members to unseat him. We must also keep in mind that the last election was a trial run for the next one. The Cons are busily trying to find a way to subvert the election outcome. The Robo-calls were just the beginning and there have not been nor are there likely to be any penalties for Con cheating. So far Harper, clearly guilty of a magnitude of sins, has remained completely unaffected. When the heat gets a little too uncomfortable for him, he just prorogues. He is a dictator in all but name.

          • There’s no interest or motivation on the part of either the Libs or the Dippers in merging, nor should they even discuss such an option (even to rule it out) prior to an election. Coalitions are negotiated all the time following elections in many European countries (indeed, it’s virtually standard practice in some). There’s no reason the two parties couldn’t hammer out an agreement if the numbers are there, post-election. And if the current polls remain consistent through the next election, the numbers will be there.

          • I sincerely hope you are right but I can’t honestly see it. Harper could possibly win every seat in the country with only 33% of the vote. The cons are very adept at fraud, lying, cheating, and bribing. I have an awful feeling they will walk away with the next election. The Libs and the NDP, by refusing to even talk about merging before the next election are, in my opinion, verging on the treasonous. Putting their own narrow “party” interests ahead of the country’s interest is not only virtual treason but damning proof of gross stupidity. I hope with all my heart that you are right, neurotic dog, but unfortunately I cannot share your confidence.

          • After the blatant “irregularities” in last election, I think the opposition parties, the voters, the media, and Elections Canada will be hypervigilant concerning the Cons’ campaign behaviour. So they’ll need to be either extremely careful or especially creative and devious to get away with the same shenanigans in ’15.

            Two years is an eternity in politics but, as I said, if current polling numbers remain firm and the Cons are deprived of opportunities to employ their dirty tricks during the campaign, they may get a plurality, but they won’t get another majority.

            In which case, the pressure on the “progressives” to form a coalition government will be irresistible.

      • “And if they say they’ll only form a coalition if they have the seats to unseat Harper after the election, then every bit of “fear mongering” from Harper about the coalition over the last several years becomes demonstrably true, and they still look like liars.”
        Absolute BS… that’s exactly what the rules allow. Harper tried it himself in 04. The system allows for coalitions after the fact. The mistake they should not repeat is in saying they will rule out a coalition categorically during an election then change their minds – that’s clearly wrong.

        • I totally agree.

  5. What Jason Kenny knows about the private sector would fit comfortably into a thimble with room left over for his sense of humour.

    These people worship free market solutions like Fred Phelps worships his perverted vision of Gawd Almighty. They are self-appointed experts with less natural intelligence than a child of seven, and about the same amount of experience.

    • Yet you support Justin Trudeau who claims he’ll “save” the middle class, even though he’s never been even remotely middle class in his life?

      I suppose he’s the guy to talk about the private sector, what with his summer’s experience as a white water rafting guide? LOL

      • It’s like asking the dark where the light comes from…

        Just for future reference, a criticism of A is not an endorsement of B.

        C’mon and stretch that brain, Dick Liss.

      • My nephew has worked for many years as a white water rafting guide. He, and I daresay most of his ilk, work for private sector companies. If you have a problem with private enterprises working in wilderness settings, perhaps you should take it up with Harper’s cronies in the resource extraction industries.

    • S’true. Kenney’s adoration of market forces is love from afar at best.

  6. Wassa matter. If sumpin ain’t an investment opportunity it ain’t nuttin ..

  7. The fact that Kenney is pushing this is reason to be suspicious

  8. The cons are simply stupid, incompetent liars. What’s to be expected? They are run by a psychopathic dictator.

  9. Actions speak louder than words, Kenney, so, yes, this IS about cutting government responsibility.
    Just an excuse to pass money to ‘some’, with an empty promise, on a program doomed to failure.
    Tell business to train employees – without government money – like they used to, before you guys opened a back door for them.