Progressive research and policy organizations, sometimes generically called think-tanks, can play a crucial role in the political life of a nation. We can strongly challenge attempts to change the political discourse in ways that only serve to divide our communities, socially and economically. The massive funding of wealthy Conservative think-tanks to promote a right-wing agenda in the US is a prime example. Finally, we need to think about the role progressive research and policy institutes and think-tanks can play, especially in a post-Harper era.
Larry Brown is president of one of Canada's largest unions, the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). Brown holds degrees in law and political science. He has written extensively on public finances, debt and deficit issues, changes in federal-provincial financing, public sector restructuring and resulting changes in the economic and political structures of Canada in the last decade. Brown is also president of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Canada's leading progressive research and policy organization.