The Persistence of Social Policy Issues – April 18, 2018

Good morning subscribers!

A lot can change in an academic year. SPPG students know from experience that policy priorities can switch focus quickly when exposed to new information and fresh ways of thinking. But we also know that certain topics remain at the forefront of our policy concerns, and the problems that motivated one’s studies in September persist into exam time. When it comes to certain social issues, it can feel like the same vicious cycles of inequality will remain for the foreseeable future. For this writer’s final Morning Brief, several articles have been compiled that reflect the enduring nature of social policy issues, with the hope that change is on the horizon.

This week’s Morning Brief was prepared by Katerina Stamadianos. Sign up here to receive the Morning Brief directly to your inbox.

 The Persistence of Social Policy Issues 
  • March for Our Lives, a worldwide protest spearheaded by the victims of February’s Parkland shooting, has galvanized a movement behind ending gun violence – one that has received wide media attention and an even larger following on social media. But gun violence, especially undertaken by those in positions of authority, is nothing new for the Black Lives Matter protest movement. Rachel Robinson notes the disparity in media coverage support for March for Our Lives with that of Black Lives Matter. [Robinson/PPGR]
  • Two hundred ninety-seven First Nations across Canada face unsafe drinking water conditions. While municipalities across the country are bound by legislation to enforce drinking water standards, the well-being of First Nations groups falls under federal jurisdiction. However, the federal government does not possess any binding standard for the enforcement of safe drinking water on reserve. Sanya Ramnauth explains what major hurdles stand in the way of solving this longstanding issue as well as what progress has been made. [Ramnauth/PPGR]
  • Although the Trudeau government has made several efforts to advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, its handling of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline sends a different message. Grand Chiefs Steward Phillip and Serge Simon argue that terminating the pipeline is an opportunity to advance reconciliation, claiming that the issue’s current deadlock is a display of “our Constitution working, at least in practice, with Indigenous people acting as real decision makers on their territory.” [Phillip and Simon/Globe and Mail]
  • Who counts the dead when they have no home? According to Toronto Public Health, 100 homeless deaths occurred in 2017, averaging out to roughly two deaths per week. This number is triple that of the previous year, but only because the City has begun to actively gather data on homeless deaths. This is an important step in bringing light to the issue, as without data collection, Toronto cannot know how to target the problem. Bringing to light a governance issue, data collection must coordinate between a variety of actors, all with their own data collection approaches. [Wallace and Ormbsy/The Star

Thank you for tuning in to this week’s Morning Brief. It’s been a pleasure writing for you! The next edition of the Brief will make its way into inbox on April 25, 2018.

We want to know what you think! We welcome any and all feedback on content, design, and editorial style of the Morning Brief at