This and that for your Thursday reading. – Chris Jackson presents a new Ipsos survey showing that the majority of American workers face stress issues at work. And Arthur White-Crumley reports on a spate of injuries at Evraz’ Regina steel mill. – Rob Ferguson reports on Doug Ford’s attempt toContinue reading
This and that for your Tuesday reading. – Jonathan Watts interviews David Wallace-Wells about the existential threat posed by climate breakdown – and our gross failure to act in the face of a disaster of our own making: The sense of speed comes across very strongly. It is as ifContinue reading
This and that for your Thursday reading. – Chris Hedges points out how the obscenely rich few are trying to distract from their accumulation of wealth in order to avoid what would stand to be a massive public backlash. Emily Peck discusses the question of why our economic system isContinue reading
This and that for your Tuesday reading. – James Wilt examines how Canada lets the corporate sector get away with paying far less than a fair price for our natural resources. And Marc Lee points out the massive subsidies British Columbia has handed to the natural gas industry in particular.Continue reading
Assorted content to end your week. – Martin Regg Cohn writes that reducing access to pharmacare is just the first item on Doug Ford’s extensive hidden agenda. And Steve Morgan examines the effects of Ford’s cuts to public prescription drug coverage and finds that the end result of relying moreContinue reading
This and that for your Tuesday reading. – Andrew O’Hehir talks to Yanis Varoufakis about the impossibility of building shared prosperity on a foundation of consumer debt and financialization. And the Institute for Public Policy Research offers a discussion paper on the important equalizing role of organized labour – andContinue reading
This and that for your Tuesday reading. – Louis Uchitelle discusses how the decline of organized labour in the U.S. has harmed not just workers’ direct interests, but the economic sectors where unions previously thrived: Want to make America great again and keep factories in the United States? Try strengtheningContinue reading
Assorted content to end your week. – Owen Jones discusses the need for wealth taxes as part of any plan to meaningfully reduce economic inequality: Much is made of income inequality, and rightly so. Labour’s 2017 manifesto, which proved the tombstone for a neoliberal political consensus that has prevailed forContinue reading
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading. – The Council of Canadians sets out the key numbers in the Libs’ all-talk, no-action federal budget, while David Macdonald highlights its ultimate lack of ambition even when there’s plenty of fiscal room to work with. David Reevely focuses on the grand total ofContinue reading
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading. – Kenneth Rogoff writes about the dangers of presuming that economic growth (at least in stock markets if not wages) can withstand political upheaval. Marco Chown Oved reports on the strong support for Democracy Watch’s petition to raise corporate taxes and close loopholes. RajeshniContinue reading
This and that for your Thursday reading. – Karl Nerenberg writes about Bill Morneau’s conflicts of interest – with particular attention to the NDP’s justified criticism of legislation aimed at privatizing pension management to benefit forms like Morneau’s. And Brent Patterson discusses a push back against the Manitoba PCs’ planContinue reading
This and that for your Thursday reading. – Alex Collinson discusses how insecure work makes it impossible to reliably structure an individual’s life: Many respondents told us about how difficult it is to budget without knowing how much you’ll be earning from one week to the next. The number ofContinue reading
This and that for your Thursday reading. – Simon Enoch explains why the Sask Party’s plans to inflict an austerian beating until economic morale improves is doomed to failure: It is now abundantly clear that the Saskatchewan government’s “transformational change” agenda is in reality a not-so-subtle euphemism for provincewide austerityContinue reading
Assorted content to end your week. – The Canadian Labour Congress offers its suggestions as to how international trade agreements can be reworked to ensure a more fair global economy. But Bill Curry reports that we’re first more likely to see public interest regulation undermined from within Canada as theContinue reading
Assorted content to end your week. – Per Molander examines new research on the sources of inequality which concludes that massive gaps in wealth and income inevitably arise purely out of chance rather than any individual merit: Differences in income or assets that are based on differences in capabilities orContinue reading
Assorted content to end your week. – Alex Hemingway reviews the evidence on two-tiered medicine from around the developed world, and concludes that a constitutional attack on universal health care would only result in our paying more for less. – Marc Lee takes a look at the national climate changeContinue reading
This and that for your Thursday reading. – Community Food Centres Canada highlights the need for social assistance benefits to keep up with the cost of living, while noting that Ontario (among other jurisdictions) has fallen well behind in that task: It’s been far too long since social assistance ratesContinue reading
Here, on how the Libs’ carbon price rollout managed to maximize the resulting sound and fury while signifying little actual progress. For further reading…– Marc Lee offered a reality check on the minimal effect of Justin Trudeau’s price announcement, with reference to Marc Jaccard’s study here (PDF). And Karri Munn-VennContinue reading
This and that for your weekend reading.
– Naomi Klein discusses how Canada’s longstanding – if far from inevitable – identity as a resource economy is standing in the way of both needed action on climate change and reconciliation with First Nations:
In Canada, cultivation and industrialization were secondary. First and foremost, this country was built on voraciously devouring wildness. Canada was an extractive company – the Hudson’s Bay Company – before it was a country. And that has shaped us in ways we have yet to begin to confront.Because such enormous fortunes have been built purely on the extraction of wild animals, intact forest and interred metals and fossil fuels, our economic elites have grown accustomed to seeing the natural world as their God-given larder.When someone or something – like climate science – comes along and says: Actually, there are limits, we have to take less from the Earth and keep more profit for the public good, it doesn’t feel like a difficult truth. It feels like an existential attack.…The trouble isn’t just the commodity roller coaster. It’s that the stakes grow larger with each boom-bust cycle. The frenzy for cod crashed a species; the frenzy for bitumen and fracked gas is helping to crash the planet.…Today, we have federal and provincial governments that talk a lot about reconciliation. But this will remain a cruel joke if non-Indigenous Canadians do not confront the why behind those human-rights abuses. And the why, as the Truth and Reconciliation report states, is simple enough: “The Canadian government pursued this policy of cultural genocide because it wished to divest itself of its legal and financial obligations to Aboriginal people and gain control over their land and resources.”The goal, in other words, was to remove all barriers to unrestrained resource extraction. This is not ancient history. Across the country, Indigenous land rights remain the single greatest barrier to planet-destabilizing resource extraction, from pipelines to clear-cut logging.
– Meanwhile, Marc Lee signals what we might expect from a federal climate change action plan based on the working groups currently reviewing the options.
– Laurie Monsebraaten reports on a needed push to ensure that child care funding is used to create not-for-profit spaces. And Ashifa Kassam points to Wellington’s loss of water rights to Nestle as a prime example of what happens when corporate dollars trump public needs.
– Finally, Alon Weinberg discusses why now is the time to implement a proportional electoral system in Canada. And Craig Scott makes the case for mixed-member proportional over the other options under consideration.Continue reading
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
– Paul Wells argues that climate change and First Nations reconciliation – two of the issues which the Libs have tried to turn into signature priorities – look set to turn into areas of weakness as Justin Trudeau continues his party’s tradition of dithering. And Martin Lukacs writes that Trudeau’s handling of continuing injustice facing First Nations has involved an awful lot of flash but virtually no action:
The extractivist worldview—bent on treating everything as a commodity—that lay behind Stephen Harper’s resource agenda just as powerfully shapes Trudeau’s. In fact, the Liberals’ attempt to wrap themselves in the UN Declaration without embracing its central right may constitute a new, more subtle form of extraction: the extraction from Indigenous territory of consent itself.
Liberal moves to extract and manufacture consent and support for outdated policies are evident elsewhere: restoring funding to the Assembly of First Nations, a government-dependent organization that has since plumped frequently for them; appointing an Indigenous Justice Minister, even though Indigenous critics argue she has sided with the government agenda throughout her political career; and agreeing to call an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, but with a mandate far short of what impacted families wanted. As the weight of reality presses against Trudeau’s rhetoric, the ability to generate consent is crumbling.
Reconciliation is a powerful hope, an uplifting prospect, a deeply desired new relationship that Trudeau has compellingly invoked. But if reconciliation does not include the restitution of land, the recognition of real self-government, the reigning in of abusive police, the remediation of rivers and forests, it will remain a vacant notion, a cynical ploy to preserve a status quo in need not of tinkering but transformation. It will be Canada’s latest in beads and trinkets, a cheap simulation of justice.
– Guy Caron discusses the CRA’s role in Canada’s two-tier tax system. Stephen Punwasi comments on the connection between Canada’s willingness to facilitate tax avoidance, and the real estate bubbles driving housing prices far beyond what working-class Canadians can afford. And Marc Lee then highlights the connection between soaring urban real estate prices and increased inequality.
– David Ball notes that many municipalities are retaking control over their own services after learning that the promises of efficiency through privatization are entirely illusory.
– Richard Orange points out Sweden’s intriguing idea of reducing taxes on repair services to discourage people from throwing out consumer goods. But I’d wonder whether that step alone would make a dent if it isn’t paired with a concerted effort at training potential repair workers for a job which the corporate sector would prefer to eliminate.
– Finally, Paul Mason makes the case for economics to be based on real-world observations of human behaviour, rather than insular mathematical models whose assumptions about market efficiency bear no relationship to reality. And Branko Milanovic discusses the need to measure and reduce inequality as part of a global development strategy.Continue reading