Well I have to admit that I too am now deep into the Canadian summer, and don't feel like writing about politics, or doing anything too strenuous. I just want to have fun with my buddy Sébastien.As humble as that might be. Yikes. How low have I fallen?But I just HAD to share this great joke with you.It seems that Stephen Harper and his fellow oil pimp Brad Wall are about to declare war on the Con Senate !!! Read more »
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Brendan O’Neill writes that the UK Cons are following in Stephen Harper’s footsteps by pushing the concept of thought policing. And George Monbiot rightly criticizes the gross inflation of supposed terror threats and simultaneous neglect of far more serious risks: A global survey published last week by the Pew Research Centre found that while the people of North America, Britain, Australia, Japan, France and Germany see Isis as the greatest threat they face, most of the countries surveyed in poorer parts of the world – Africa, Latin America and Asia – place (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- Jerry Dias discusses how the Cons have pushed Canada into an avoidable recession by slashing useful funding in order to send out pre-election baubles: How far has Canada’s economic star fallen? Only recently Prime Minister Stephen Harper boasted that Canada’s economy was “the envy of the entire world.” That claim was always overstated. Now it is downright ludicrous.
The Bank of Canada cut interest rates for the second time this year, but few expect this to pull us out of the tailspin. After all, Canadians are already tapped out: household debt now (Read more…)
“Premier Wall says that if standing up for your industry and your province is showboating, take me to the bridge.”—Brad Wall’s response to Rachel Notley’s comment that Wall was “showboating” on the eve of the premiers’ meeting.
Brad Wall is the second provincial premier (Jim Prentice was the first) who tried to take a bite out of Rachel Notley and ended up crumpled on the floor.
The brouhaha started when Mr Wall said Ms Notley had given Quebec a de facto veto of future pipelines when she said Quebec would support such pipelines if Alberta demonstrates it’s taking (Read more…)
As David Climenhaga points out, Brad Wall has positioned himself as the heir to Stephen Harper’s throne as the voice of the anti-democratic corporate elite. But let’s note that Wall and his mindset aren’t without some jarring approval within the media.
For example, I’ve already highlighted John Ibbitson’s argument that the federal NDP should be concealing the fact that it’s talking to people who can help with preparations in the event that voters choose to elect it. (As an aside, that theory is as politically inexplicable for a party focused on being “ready” for government as it is offensive (Read more…)
This week’s Council of the Federation meeting in St. John’s, Newfoundland marked Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s first appearance on the national stage since the NDP won a stunning victory in the May 5, 2015 provincial election. The new premier used the meeting to strike a more… Continue Reading →
As I told you yesterday, those of us who live in Central Canada are under attack by the wild eyed oil pimp Brad Wall.Who says if we don't accept his West-East pipeline, he'll cut off our equalization payments and leave us freezing in the dark.And although it's going to feel like forty degrees tomorrow we are worried.Because it seems that nothing will stop him !!! Read more »
Shorter Brad Wall: The whole concept of “From many peoples, strength” doesn’t do much for me. But “From many dinosaur remains, climate devastation”, now that gets me – and any right-thinking Westerner – all tingly with pride.
Oh great. Just what this broken bleeding country needs. Another Con oil pimp like Brad Wall, the Premier of Saskatchewan.Sweeping out of the West to declare war on Central Canada. Read more »
Having written this column a couple of weeks back on electoral financing in Saskatchewan, I’ll take a moment to address this letter to the editor in response from R. Curtis Mullen.
It’s indeed true that Saskatchewan has spending limits which apply during an election campaign. But the Canada Elections Act does in fact regulate both donations and campaign spending, leaving little room for anybody to argue that it’s an “either”/or situation.
More importantly, though, campaign spending limits fall short of addressing the principled basis for donation restrictions on two fronts.
First, they do nothing about the problem of concentrated donations.
Banning corporate and union donations: Check. Restoring funding to health, education and human services: Check. Increasing corporate taxes: Check. Introducing a new climate change strategy: Coming soon. Phasing in a $15 per hour minimum wage: Coming soon. Reviewing Alberta’s natural resource… Continue Reading →
Here, on how the Senate’s failure to provide any second thought on C-51 may serve as the ultimate signal that it has nothing useful to offer Canadians.
For further reading…- PressProgress’ look at the Senate’s sad history is well worth a read. The CBC reports on the Auditor General’s findings about the widespread abuse of public money. And Ian Austen offers a U.S. perspective on what comes next for the Senate.- Meanwhile, Karl Nerenberg explains why abolition is well within reach if anybody is willing to take a leadership role in pursuing it without reopening other (Read more…)
Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party is trumpeting the “success” of a hiring freeze in which the entire government saved $8 million in a quarter – or roughly $32 million per year – by not hiring staff.
Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party has increased the cost of consultants in the Ministry of Highways alone by roughly $50 million per year by using more expensive outside contractors rather than hiring staff.
Anybody else think the Saskatchewan Party might be freezing the wrong kind of spending?
Here, on the Saskatchewan Party’s devaluation of the music teacher (among other cultural and community-building parts of our schools).
For further reading…- CBC reported on the Prairie Spirit School Division’s decision to eliminate school bands here, and Janet French did likewise here.- The Star-Phoenix’ editorial board weighed in here. And now, even the Saskatchewan Party is pretending to oppose what its policy choices have wrought.- And for those looking to support the students trying to save their band program, Shawna Langer’s petition is here.
Here, on how Brad Wall looks to face plenty of new political challenges now that he can’t rely on an Alberta PC dynasty to do much of his dirty work for him.
For further reading…- I briefly addressed the same issue with a particular focus on privatized MRIs in this post. – Wall’s history of relying on Alberta donors (with PC help) is discussed here, here and here among other places. – Finally, Dave Cournoyer wonders what will become of the Alberta PCs’ remaining patronage appointments. And David Climenhaga discusses the limited future of the PCAA – (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.
- Sara Mojtehedzadeh highlights how Ontario employers are exploiting temporary workers rather than making any effort to offer jobs which can support a life: Under Ontario’s antiquated Employment Standards Act, which is currently under review, there is no limit on how long a company can employ a worker as temporary before giving him or her a permanent job.
There is nothing to stop employers from paying temp workers less than their permanent counterparts, nothing to prevent them from hiring their entire workforce on a “temporary” basis if they so choose.
“If the employer knows (Read more…)
Among the other noteworthy impacts of Rachel Notley’s resounding election victory, right-wing governments elsewhere can no longer point to Alberta as the worst offender when it comes to breaking down universal public health care.
And it may not be surprising that Brad Wall is offering to play that role instead, with two-tier access to MRIs representing just the latest attack. But Wall may learn the hard way that if Alberta can topple a political dynasty over its corporatist preferences, Saskatchewan voters are even less inclined to serve as the thin edge of the wedge in destroying one of our province’s (Read more…)
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.
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…)
Never mind Brad Wall’s hand-picked group of nuclear industry shills using public money to further their own profits found that nuclear power is not price-competitive even among an artificially limited set of options absent a substantial carbon price – and that Wall himself refuses to set one.
And never mind that a subsequent public consultation found that “the overwhelming response…was that nuclear power generation should not be a choice for Saskatchewan”.
When it comes to locking in a high-cost, high-risk nuclear plant just as renewables are emerging as a viable large-scale alternative, Wall won’t take “no” for an answer. (Read more…)
Here, on Brad Wall’s appalling admission that the Saskatchewan Party’s plan for a low-carbon economy is to move into Ontario’s basement rather than pursuing sustainable development in Saskatchewan.
For further reading…- Wall’s comments and other provincial positions in the lead up to this week’s premiers’ meeting can be found here. – Geoffrey Vendeville reported on the earlier cap-and-trade agreement between Ontario and Quebec. And Yasmine Hassan discussed the massive Quebec climate change rally.- The Saskatchewan greenhouse gas bill which has been passed but never proclaimed in force can be found here (PDF).- Joe Romm reports on (Read more…)
Here, on the Saskatchewan Party’s choice to turn the graduate retention credit into a purely political goodie rather than a program which could conceivably retain Saskatchewan graduates, while at the same time devaluing the very concept of education for its own sake.
For further reading…- The province’s explanation (such as it is) can be found here. And CBC reported on the changes here. – I allude in the column to Ontario’s choice to put tuition policy directly in the hands of employers as reported by Simona Chiose here. – And Kevin Milligan’s analysis of the problems with the (Read more…)
Here, on the need and opportunity to show some vision in our provincial budgeting and planning – even if the Wall government has no interest in bothering.
For further reading…- I posted previously on the Sask Party’s habit of locking Saskatchewan into ill-advised long-term contracts which serve nobody’s interests but the corporations involved. – Karri Munn-Venn discusses the UK Energy Research Centre’s report on which fossil fuels we can afford to exploint here. – Likewise, Ivan Semeniuk and Shawn McCarthy report on the Acting on Climate Change study showing how Canada can eliminate the use of non-renewable power (Read more…)