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Social policy and practice in Canada, a history, by Alvin Finkel

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The approach is both chronological and thematic.
    1. The social system of the Natives.
  3. The First World War and the Great Depression.
  4. Link between social policy and grand issues.
    1. Women's congregations.
    2. Feminization of poverty.
  5. The Quebec problem.
    1. Different social problems.
  6. The comparison between natives and non-natives.
  7. Alvin Finkel's class analysis of social policy.
  8. A brief analysis of the first and second half of the book.
  9. Conclusion.
  10. Bibliography.

Social Policy and Practice in Canada is a history book, which deals with the birth and the evolution of the Welfare State in Canada since pre-confederation times. It aims at narrating but also analyzing the social policy, defined as a ?set of non-market decisions, public and private, that determine the distribution of wealth to individuals and families and the degree of availability of human services to all members of society? (page 3) . The author, Alvin Finkel, is an historian. He is the author of several books and articles, notably about Canadian Labour and Welfare State. In this book, he presents and explains the slow development of Welfare State in Canada from the aboriginal occupation to today. The main tackled theme is the shift in people's expectations concerning government intervention and its impact on the role of the state.

[...] The social system of the Natives appears as very efficient and generous: ?this wild man who first welcomed the newcomer is the only perfect socialist or communist in the world? (page 18). Then is the time of New France, which basically copies the French model of that time, the feudal system. The families are expected to provide the necessary ?care for the infirm and the destitute among their relatives? (page 27). The Church also plays a significant role, notably for education and health. [...]

[...] There were in charge of the charitable undertakings before the Welfare State and later, there were the centre of different social debates (notably concerning Child Care, family allowances And if eventually social programmes have favoured the status of women, it was definitely not the aim as we can see with family allowances: government hoped to restrain the wage demands of male breadwinners, it also hoped to create a monopoly for men over most jobs in the labour force? (page 131). [...]

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