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…)
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.
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…)
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…)
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.
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- Frances Russell writes about the corrosive effects of inequality. And Robert Reich points out one creative option California is considering to address inequality at the firm level: tying corporate tax levels to wage parity, under the theory that shareholders will then have an incentive to push for a fair distribution of wages.
- Peter Richardson reviews Matt Taibbi’s The Divide: Taibbi explores why Wall Street bankers are seemingly exempt from criminal prosecution, even as New York City targets petty crime — much of it manufactured by police in minority neighborhoods — more (Read more…)
It’s not exactly news that Harper has never liked Elections Canada. In fact, it’s less than news. His outraged utterances about Elections Canada when he was head of the National Citizens Coalition (NCC) in the 1990s set the tone for the content of Bill C-23.
“The jackasses at Elections Canada are out of control.”
In 2001, Stephen Harper was president of the National Citizens Coalition. That was his opening line in a fundraising letter.
His loathing for the election overseers was almost pathological, recalls Gerry Nicholls, the conservative commentator who worked with Mr. Harper at the NCC. (Read more…)
“Engaged City” was unanimously passed yesterday, and it seems like the pundits are all out criticizing the process. … Democratization of the planning process is a fundamental problem with bureaucratic institutions; government is fundamentally hierarchical. Do we target Vision Vancouver? NPA? Nah*- There is a problem with the plumbing and none of them are plumbers…. An Urbanarium, in its basic sense, is a three-dimensional model of the city. If a developer wanted to propose a development, they would have to create a 3-D model of the building(s) and place it on the model city for public review. I can still remember (Read more…)
Inconsiderate reporters waste the time of His Majesty Stephen Harper. Following video speaks volumes about Harper’s attitude. He is accountable to no one. It is a shame. Who would have thought that we will have dictatorship in Canada.
There is no doubt any more that Bill C-23 is deliberately designed to enable the CPC (or other political parties) to engage in the kind of electoral fraud that the CPC has attempted, and been caught out at repeatedly in the past. Worse, it goes so far as to politicize the staffing of voting stations. None of this can end well. Consider the following list of malfeasance on the part of the CPC since 2006: The “In and Out” Fundraising Scheme (Money Laundering Fraud) 2006 Dean del Mastro is facing charges relating to campaign spending in 2008 Peter Penashue forced (Read more…)
Assorted content to end your week.
- Following up on yesterday’s column, David Atkins discusses his own preference for front-end fixes to poverty and inequality: The standard way you’ll hear most progressives address inequality issues is to allow the labor market to run as usual, but levy heavy taxes on the back for redistribution.
No doubt that is the simplest way of doing it. But it also creates some problems, including a perception of unfairness, the potential to simply lower the tax rates when conservatives are put in charge, and capital mobility in which the richest people simply leave (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.
- David Atkins emphasizes the need for progressive parties and activists to discuss big ideas rather than settling for the path of least short-term resistance: Both the poor and the middle class feel threatened and increasingly pessimistic. Opinions of elite institutions across the board are at an all time low. Whether on the right or left, few believe anymore that anyone in government, business, or politics is actually looking out for their interests. In a world like this, the move to ensure that every single individual in society has an equal, infinitesimal chance to (Read more…)