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In-Sights: Liberal strategy emerges to contain health scandal

Rob Shaw’s article in the Liberal Party’s urban newspaper of record indicates a search for new scapegoats in the Health Research Scandal is underway. It is reported that departed ministry advisor Alana James is still worried about “conflicts of interest, contracting, privacy breaches, data handling and financial matters involving ministry health research and contracting.”

This is more spin from friends of BC Liberals. James admits that MacIsaac — the person most deserving of sympathy — was a scapegoated victim but only refers to the other fired individuals as low hanging fruit. She reiterates accusations about “conflicts of interest, contracting, privacy breaches, data handling (Read more…)

In-Sights: Blood on their hands

An earlier In-Sights article included: I have no doubt BC Liberal involvement with Big Pharma is at the root of high-level government decisions to knee-cap research into the safety and efficacy of more than $25 billion worth of pharmaceuticals sold each year in Canada.

Writing in the Vancouver Observer, family practitioner Dr. Warren Bell emphasizes and enlarges upon my inference: B.C. Premier Christy Clark and her senior ministers are using every tactic in the book to avoid any sort of public disclosure of what happened behind the scenes when eight health researchers were illegitimately fired, one after the other, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Carol Goar discusses the contrasting messages being sent to Canada’s middle class in the lead up to Canada’s federal election campaign – and notes that the real decision for voters to make is whether they’re happy with marginally higher nominal incomes at the expense of greater inequality and more precarious lives. Mark Goldring makes the case for an economy oriented toward what’s best for people rather than short-term profits: Tackling inequality requires that people, not profit constitute the bottom line. We need everyone who is in a position of influence – business (Read more…)

In-Sights: Socialist hordes at the gates, this time for real

Merriam-Webster:“Socialism: a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government”

For years, leaders of the BC Business Party (AKA Social Credit or Liberal) echoed W.A.C. Bennett’s 1972 warning, “The socialist hordes are at the gates of British Columbia.”

Maclean’s Magazine reported in 1999 that Liberal leader Gordon Campbell “is promising to weed socialist apparatchiks from the civil service.”

In 2010, Liberal campaigner Jim Shepard said,

“You know, we lived through socialism in B.C. for 10 years. I know what it looks like and it is not (Read more…)

In-Sights: Enablers of misconduct, "if it is done here"

The current FIFA scandal illustrates a human behaviour that allows criminal behaviour to succeed. By nature, people tend to ignore the misconduct of others if preventing or revealing it extracts a higher price than ignoring it. Undoubtedly, insiders and observers were aware of high-level corruption at the international football organization. However, most FIFA Congress members disregarded the behaviour and discouraged reform efforts because they gained from the status quo and were unprepared to trade advantage for discomfort.

The same behaviour of people is evident elsewhere. In our unitary system of government, with power — the ability to reward or punish (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Toby Sanger takes a look at Canada’s balance sheets and finds that both households and governments are piling up debt while the corporate sector hoards cash: (A)ll the recent handwringing over rising household and debt levels ignores one critical point: any one person’s financial liability is someone else’s financial asset. Across all the sectors in the economy (households, corporations, governments and non-residents) in the national balance sheet, net borrowing and lending all balance out to zero.

The rising income share of the top one percent has been startling (and also echoed in increasing (Read more…)

Blevkog: Pierre Polievre does it again…

I do, I really do. I try not to lose it. I try to keep it civil. I try to hold it together. But then this: Pierre Polievre is a fucking worm.

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Andrew Nikiforuk offers his suggestions as to how Rachel Notley can improve Alberta’s economy and political scene in her first term in office. And thwap comments on the right’s more hysterical responses to Notley’s victory.

- Meanwhile, Duncan Cameron writes that Albertans have joined the rest of Canada in rejecting a regressive tax system. And Louis-Philippe Rochon reminds us that there’s still plenty more which needs to be done on that front at the federal level.

- Justin Ling discusses how C-51 fits into a wider pattern of intrusive surveillance plans – even (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- The Vancouver Sun interviews Andrew MacLeod about his new book on inequality in British Columbia. And Tanara Yelland talks to Guy Standing about the need for governments responsive to the needs of the precariat: One central demand Standing makes is for the establishment of a universal basic income. Having the Canadian government provide all citizens (or all residents regardless of citizenship status, if you want to get really radical) would allow people to live without fear of things like starvation and homelessness, and would actually, according to research done on the subject, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On personal protections

Where Brad Wall will admit just one “lapse in judgment” in his office’s deliberate release of Peter Bowden’s personal information for political purposes, I can count several – with a staffer’s working for Wall in the first place, following his instructions, and expecting not to be thrown under the bus for Wall’s decision looming high on the list.

Fortunately for Wall’s staffers, they’re apparently being granted far more privacy protection than the whistleblowers they’re being paid to attack.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the treatment of Peter Bowden’s concerns about patient care demonstrate that the Saskatchewan Party can’t tell the difference between partisan and public interests.

For further reading…- The background to the story, including Bowden’s comment on understaffing at his Oliver Lodge workplace, was reported on by Clare Clancy here. CBC highlighted the apparent retaliation against Bowden here. And Mike McKinnon reported on the privacy breach involved in the release of details of Bowden’s suspension here.- And Murray Mandryk has already weighed in on the privacy concerns here and here. (Though I’ll note that the Saskatchewan (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jeffrey Simpson lambastes the Cons’ determination to slash taxes and hand out baubles to the rich for the sole purpose of undermining the fiscal capacity of government to help Canadians. And Jeremy Nuttall highlights how a cuts to the CRA are allowing tax cheats to escape paying their fair share with little prospect of detection.

- Jacquie Maund makes the case to include dental care as part of a full public health system. And Carolyn Shimmin discusses the connection between childhood poverty and poor health which can impose burdens lasting a lifetime: 2. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On exclusivity

Shorter Harper Cons: We’ll consider allowing democratic oversight of CSIS just as soon as that know-nothing public stops electing MPs who aren’t us.

Accidental Deliberations: On structures of convenience

The Progress Summit panel on accountability and transparency has covered the issued of power being consolidated in the hands of the executive, as well as the fact that Stephen Harper’s actions in that respect only reflect a wider pattern. But it’s worth reminding ourselves how that trend is best explained – and considering how to reverse or modify it.

To start with, the desire to avoid accountability has led to additional trends beyond the transfer of power upward. In addition, projects – and particularly the aspects thereof which might give rise to controversy – are increasingly handled by the private (Read more…)

Larry Hubich's Blog: Connie – Anti-Terror Legislation – 22 Minutes

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Cam Dearlove writes a must-read column on the role of housing in building a healthy society: For housing advocates and researchers, our nation’s inability to make headway on homelessness and housing instability is not only a moral failure, but also a financial one. Studies have consistently shown a positive return on investing in ending homelessness – one program in Waterloo Region, which combats persistent homelessness, has estimated returns of $9.45 in value for every dollar spent.

Housing for each of us is about so much more than shelter, as the quality (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On clear oversight

Shorter Chuck Strahl: I can’t see why a secret police service should be overseen by anybody other than the MPs who are willing to break their own rules to inflict it on the public in the first place.

Accidental Deliberations: On oversight

Since one of the main issues talked about so far in relation to the Cons’ terror bill is the question of oversight, I’ll point back to what I said the last time we were told that the way to split the difference between abuses of power and a desire for secrecy was to allow only a small number of elected officials to know – but not act on – what’s going on: Remember that many of the worst abuses by the U.S. government under Bushco were defended later on the basis that Democrats were informed of their existence. And (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: He can’t handle the truth

Laila Yuile uncovered an indication that Stephen Harper has new plans for Gordon Campbell. It involves a telephone pollster with Conservative ties asking a call recipient if Gordon Campbell was trustworthy. In politics today, fact matters less than perception. The former Premier’s trustworthiness could be determined from the record but the PMO cares not about that, they care about how BC residents regard Campbell. Instead of being guided by principle, Conservatives prefer government by polls, focus groups and preferences of their petulant prince.

Nevertheless, to assist pollsters in the determination of whether Gordon Campbell is trustworthy enough to be a (Read more…)

Larry Hubich's Blog: Michael Harris at Unifor Ontario Regional Council, November 2014

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Linda McQuaig discusses who stands to lose out from a CETA designed to limit its benefits to the corporate elite. And PressProgress points out that Canada’s pay gap between CEOs and workers is higher than that of any other OECD country other than the U.S.

- Meanwhile, all indications are that the Canadian public is more than ready for a change in direction, as EKOS finds a significant shift toward more progressive positions in the past few years even on many of the issues where the Cons have focused the most (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Aaron Wherry reviews what the last week has told us about the functioning (or absence thereof) of our House of Commons – and points out that the most important problem is one which hasn’t yet surfaced in headlines or memes: (T)he most important sentence delivered last week about the state of our Parliament might’ve been found not on any screen, speaker or widely read page, but on page four of the Parliamentary Budget Office’s quarterly expenditure review: “The Government has refused to release data that is necessary for the PBO to determine whether the (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Puffery, misrepresentation or outright lies?

Puffery is an exaggeration or overstatement expressed in broad, vague, and commendatory language. According to Law for Business (Barnes et al., 1991), “The elements of misrepresentation are ordinarily given as: Misrepresentation of a material fact justifiably relied upon to the detriment (causing harm to) to the person relying.”

As I noted a few days ago, Andrew Carnegie, a 19th century robber baron and 20th century philanthropist, once said, “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”

Tuesday, Elizabeth Denham, British Columbia’s Information and Privacy Commissioner gave us (Read more…)

Northern Insight: The states of state affairs

Comparing remuneration of senior public officials in Washington State to BC counterparts can leave one astounded. The most obvious examples are at the publicly owned investment management agencies and the ferry operations. Despite paying substantially less to executives, both Washington State Investment Board and Washington State Ferries outperformed equivalents north of the border. In recent years, WSIB earned better investment returns than bcIMC and WSF had growing utilization while the opposite is true as BCF. My review of Washington’s senior civil servants is also demonstrating major differences.

I surmise that rules of open government in the neighboring State are great (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- David Atkins highlights how public policy and corporate strategy have both instead been directed toward squeezing every possible dime out of the public: The less noticed but potentially more consequential way that policymakers across the industrialized world set about accomplishing this goal was to push their middle classes to invest their wealth into assets, especially stocks and real estate, then use the levers of public policy to inflate the values of those assets in order to disguise the inevitable declines in wages. There was also a concerted effort to hide wage losses by (Read more…)