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Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Scott Santens writes about one possible endpoint of the current trend toward precarious employment, being the implementation of a basic income to make sure a job isn’t necessary to enable people to do meaningful work. And Common Dreams reports that a strong majority of lower-wage workers support both unions, and political parties and candidates who will allow them to function.

- Harvey Cashore and David Seglins follow up on the multiple connections between the Cons, the Canada Revenue Agency and KPMG even as the latter was under investigation for facilitating offshore tax (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- The Equality Trust reminds us that economic inequality leads to harmful health consequences even for the lucky few at the top of the income scale. And Matt Bruenig observes that a basic income would provide workers with far more scope to avoid employer abuses and other stressors.

- The Council of Canadians points out how the Trans-Pacific Partnership could block any path toward a national pharmacare plan and more fair prescription drug prices. And Andy Blatchford highlights the secrecy surrounding the agreement even as it should be the subject of electoral scrutiny.

- (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Thomas Walkom discusses how Canadian workers are feeling the pain of decades of policy designed to suppress wages – and notes there’s plenty more all parties should be doing to change that reality. And Doug Saunders points out what we should want our next federal government to pursue to bring about lasting growth: Many economists came to realize not only that government intervention bailed many countries out of the post-2008 recession and restored growth and employment, but that the crisis itself may have been caused, in good part, by the disappearance of active (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Louise Arbour’s interview with The House includes both her compelling criticisms of both the Cons’ terror bill, and the Libs’ failure to stand up against C-51. And the Canadian Press reports on Justin Trudeau’s continued fecklessness, as he won’t even take a position on whether the bill is constitutional after having ordered his party to support it.

- Crawford Kilian writes that while it’s too late to atone for the death of Alan Kurdi, we should have no hesitation in making sure the same doesn’t happen to other people we can help. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On judicious outrage

Following up on this post, let’s take a look at the flip side of the possibility that political parties can help themselves out significantly by taking umbrage with competitors’ treatment of them – which is the success (or lack thereof) of exactly that strategy over the past decade.

As I’ve pointed out before, while 2004 might be the last example of an outrage-based strategy substantially shifting poll numbers, there are more recent cases where it’s been tried.

Indeed, the Libs have regularly attempted to make political hay out of the claim that the Cons aren’t playing fair. And (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Attack and response

Earlier this week, Andrew Coyne mused on Twitter about how parties seek to make hay out of attacks by their opponents, with particular emphasis on the Libs’ response to PC and Con attacks on their leaders in 1993 and 2004. But I’d think it’s worth noting some distinctions between then and now which may make the tactic rather less effective than it might once have been – as well as discussing the circumstances where it might still work.

To start with, let’s look at the threshold a party needs to cross to be seen as going too far – and (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Sympathy For The Devil?

With tongue firmly ensconced in his cheek, Andrew Coyne writes that we are being too hard on Stephen Harper, a prime minister who has been cruelly betrayed by all those in whom he placed an absolute trust: You will be familiar with the picture we have created of him: suspicious, paranoid, controlling, a leader who trusts no one, leaves nothing to others, insists on taking a hand in even the smallest matter. Well, you’d be suspicious, paranoid and controlling, too, if everyone around you was lying to you all the time.

Such deception would be enough to break the spirit (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Alex Munter discusses the connection between public health and economic development, along with the need to take a far longer-term view of both. And PressProgress points out Matthew Stanbrook’s message (PDF) that the Cons are undermining Canada’s medical system through malign neglect.

- Doreen Nichol comments on the relationship between low-wage, precarious work and food insecurity. Michal Rozworski points out how the NDP’s plan for a $15 federal minimum wage will have an impact far beyond the people who receive that wage directly, while James Armstrong reports that there’s serious reason to (Read more…)

A. Picazo: Meriting A Quota

In seeking to redress the underrepresentation of women in key positions of political leadership, Liberal Party of Canada leader Justin Trudeau has pledged gender parity within government at decision-making levels, vowing as Prime Minister to appoint an “equal number of women and men” to cabinet. Unveiled in June as part of a larger “Fair and … Continue reading →

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Evening Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Daniel Marans reports on Bernie Sanders’ push for international action against austerity in Greece and elsewhere. And Binoy Kampmark documents the anti-democratic and antisocial ideology on the other side of the austerity debate.

- Noah Smith writes that while there’s no discernible connection between massive pay for CEOs and actual corporate performance, there’s a strong link between who an executive knows and how much the executive can extract.

- The CP reports on UNESCO’s push to study the impact of the tar sands on Wood Buffalo National Park. And Tavia Grant breaks (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, following up on these posts about the possibility the Cons might decide to ignore their own fixed election date and delay the election expected for October 19. 

For further reading…

- The Canada Elections Act is here. And for an interesting comparison, see Saskatchewan’s fixed election date provision from the Legislative Assembly Act, 2007: 8.1(1) Unless a general election has been held earlier because of the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly, the first general election after the coming into force of this section must be held on Monday, November 7, 2011.(2) Subject to subsection (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On fragile fixes

Some high-profile commentators seem to be accepting a highly dubious conclusion about the federal election date expected this fall. So let’s take a quick look at what a “fixed” election date actually means for a government which has no qualms about breaking the rules – and why the fact that we’re seemingly on track for an October election doesn’t mean we can rule out an abrupt change in course if it suits the Harper Cons’ purposes.

Here’s what the Canada Elections Act now says about election dates: 56.1 (1) Nothing in this section affects the powers of the Governor (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: OK. Who Forgot to Invite Me to the Bilderberg Meeting??!!!

Well I wasn't really shocked that somebody forgot to invite me to the Bilderberg meeting at that luxury resort in Austria.You know, the top secret conclave of the rich and the powerful, which has been called everything from the home of the New World Order, to the lair of the Fourth Reich. But I must admit I was disappointed.Because I've got three opinions on EVERYTHING, I absolutely LOVE shrimp cocktails, and I've always wanted to drive my Porche, or in my case my bicycle, into the lobby of a fancy hotel…

Disappointed that is, until I read this story. Read more »

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Michael Hiltzig examines the evidence showing that austerity serves as a major obstacle to economic growth. And Ian Hussey argues that Alberta (like other jurisdictions) is out of budgetary balance due to a lack of income rather than any need to cut social supports.

- Branko Milanovic studies (PDF) the historical relationship between inequality and long-term economic growth and finds no reason to think the former does anything but impede the latter: More political power and patronage implies more inequality. The frequent claim that inequality promotes accumulation and growth does not get (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Nope, Alberta still needs to raise the minimum wage

Last night, Andrew Coyne published a column in which he champions introducing a minimum income over raising the minimum wage as a radical policy suggestion for Alberta’s new NDP government. Coyne couches the column in his typical pseudo-contrarianism. Here he is supposedly advocating socialism…gasp! In reality, however, Coyne gets it backwards: a minimum income in Alberta today would almost certainly be a dangerous neoliberal measure. It’s raising the minimum wage that can help open more space for progressive politics.

First, the basics. The $15 minimum wage was a key promise of the NDP campaign and increasingly being adopted across North America. A minimum income is a theoretical idea that’s never (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: He Won’t Be Missed

H/t Michael de Adder

Anyone who regularly reads this blog will know that I (along with guest posters The Salamander and The Mound of Sound) regard Peter MacKay as just one of far too many blights on the political landscape, perhaps distinguished only by his less-than-pedestrian intellect and very public absence of integrity. The most egregious example of the latter occurred during a very public soul-selling transaction (most such deals, I assume, go on behind closed political doors). After promising David Orchard during what turned out to be the final leadership convention of the federal Progressive Conservatives that he would (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Sean McElwee examines new evidence of the deliberate choice of past U.S. governments dating back to Ronald Reagan to completely discount the policy preferences of anybody but the rich: In a new book, political scientists James Druckman and Lawrence Jacobs examine data on internal polling from U.S. presidential archives and other existing research to determine how presidents use their knowledge of public opinion to craft policies. What they found is disturbing: Presidents tend to focus on the opinions of the wealthy and well-connected insiders, ignoring the views of most (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- CBC follows up on the connection between childhood poverty and increased health-care costs later in life. And Sunny Freeman points out how the living wage planned by Rachel Notley’s NDP figures to benefit Alberta’s economy in general.

- Meanwhile, William Gardner laments our lack of accurate information on health and well-being in the wake of the Cons’ census shredding, particularly among exactly the marginalized communities who are most likely to need help.

- And Richard Thaler reminds us why it’s foolish to assume that people and economies can be treated as if they’ll (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the rise of Rachel Notley’s NDP serves largely to bring Alberta’s political system into step with those of its regional neighbours.

For further reading…- Murray Mandryk had previously pointed out why we should be cautious about reading too much into the Alberta results. But the most important distinction looks to be that Saskatchewan is currently functioning as a pure two-party system – so the support level which won Rachel Notley a resounding majority would leave the NDP on Saskatchewan’s opposition benches. – Dan Arnold and Andrew Coyne both confirm that a progressive victory in Alberta (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: From beyond the grave

Andrew Coyne wants to pretend we shouldn’t worry what legislation gets passed by the Harper Cons on the theory that there’s absolutely nothing stopping a future elected government from reversing course.

Which means it’s a good thing there’s no antiquated, undemocratic chamber of Parliament where regardless of the results of any federal election, a Conservative majority will continue to hold the power to unilaterally negate the decisions of elected representatives.

Oh, wait.

centerandleft: Alberta and Polls: Never Again

The Calgary Flames are preparing to host their first playoff game since 2009 in a matter of days. While the Flames are working hard to even up their series, the politicians are working the doors. The province of Alberta may be preparing to elect a new party to power for the first time since 1971.

Does this sound familiar? Just three years ago I was responsible for the following assumption:

Danielle Smith is likely to be the next premier of Alberta

It doesn’t sound like a terrible statement, but this type of statement reveals a foolish reliance on poor (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the sudden disappearance of Danielle Smith and her fellow Wildrose Party defectors offers a case in point of the dangers of forgetting that politicians ultimately answer to the public.

For further reading…- CBC reported on the actual deal between Smith and Jim Prentice here, while Darren Krause reported on Smith’s nomination defeat. And CBC examines Wildrose’s bounce back in the polls as it elected a new leader.- Don Braid notes that Smith was warned about some of the dangers of crossing the floor at the time, while Andrew Coyne sees a bait and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On transition planning

I’ve previously highlighted the need for media and citizens alike to press our opposition parties on how they’re willing to cooperate to replace the Harper Cons after the next federal election. But let’s note that there’s a similar question which still needs to be directed at Stephen Harper at every available opportunity – even if we can’t expect much more than instructive non-answers.

As Andrew Coyne notes, it’s still an open question how far Harper would go in trying to cling to power under all kinds of circumstances: As prime minister, Mr. Harper would retain a number of prerogatives (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On prospects for change

The latest round of discussion about the possibility of a coalition to offer something better than the Harper Cons seems to have taken an noteworthy turn. At this point, everybody but the Libs seems to have settled on the position that there’s no real obstacle to a coalition government – and the Libs’ spin machine has responded with little more than a plan to fabricate mistrust between themselves and the NDP.

But no matter how far that effort goes, the foreseeable outcomes of the next election feature a low probability of anybody holding a majority, and a strong prospect that (Read more…)

BigCityLib Strikes Back: The National Post Should Fire That Anti-Vaxxer Prick

National Post columnist Lawrence Solomen is now running an anti-vaxxer website.  You can see it here.  This is from the “About us” section:

VaccineFactCheck, headed by Lawrence Solomon, is a project of Consumer Policy Institute.

The “Consumer Policy Institute” is also just more Solomon, another part of his “Energy Probe” network of  astro-turf groups pushing various corporate causes.

Now, Solomon probably wouldn’t call it an anti-vaxxer site; he’d probably just claim he was trying to “teach the controversy”.  But that is, of course, bullshit.  And after that whole thing with The Star’s Gardisil article I thought the whole nation had (Read more…)