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Accidental Deliberations: On radioactive proposals

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…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

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…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

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…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

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…)

Accidental Deliberations: On unwanted obligations

Mike McKinnon reports that austerity elsewhere isn’t being applied to continued seven-figure spending on a Lean tour. But it’s particularly worth noting how that particular money pit is still drawing Saskatchewan citizens’ money even as the provincial government cries poor at every other opportunity: The Saskatchewan government’s freeze on non-essential travel does not include costly trips to the United States for staff to be trained in Lean methods.

Seven of the so-called “Lean tours” were planned between Jan. 1 and Mar. 31, at a cost of $8,900 per person, per trip. With 20 people on each tour, the total cost (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the Saskatchewan Party’s manipulative consultation designed to push liquor retailing into the private sector only managed to highlight the fact that our current system is working just fine.

For further reading, the consultation materials are here, including the survey results here (PDF). And even though those don’t include the thousands of people who expressed their support for keeping liquor public, they indicate little interest in a larger number of retail locations or increased hours of availability – which of course represent the main difference in pursuing a plan aimed at letting private operators open (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On misappropriation

Shorter Don McMorris: You might think that a publicly administered and funded consultation process would be intended to inform provincial public policy decisions, and that partisan platform development should be funded by a political party instead. But let me assure you that Brad Wall’s government has no such scruples.

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- 24 Hours offers a debate as to whether or not we should pursue a basic income – though it’s striking that the “con” case is based almost entirely on a message that a secure income for everybody can’t be achieved, rather than any argument that it shouldn’t.

- Gabriel Bristow writes about the next battle against austerity, this time arising out of general strikes in Belgium. And Tara Ehrcke muses about what a Canadian equivalent to Syriza could pursue by way of people-friendly policies, while Trish Hennessy looks at the middle-class economics which (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Last chance to weigh in

While there’s always reason to be skeptical of the Wall government’s consultation processes, there’s also plenty of risk in not participating – as a lack of expressed opposition will all too likely be taken as agreement with the Saskatchewan Party’s plans.

Which is to say that I’ll strongly encourage Saskatchewan readers to participate in the province’s consultation on liquor retailing before today’s deadline passes.

If you’re looking for a strong general message to send as to the importance of preserving our current system, you’ll find one at Keep Liquor Public. I’ve chosen instead to focus on the opportunity to build (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Saskatchewan residents should be able to count on secure housing, rather than being shunted into stopgap social housing by the Wall government.

For further reading…- The provincial government’s announcement that affordable housing in Saskatchewan is no more can be found here. And the NDP’s response is here. – For information on the temporary nature of the social housing program that’s left, see here (PDF): For families, social housing is intended to be short-term until a family is able to afford to buy or rent a home in the private housing market.

- The background to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the now-infamous story of Eric and Ilsa bears a disturbing resemblance to how Brad Wall has handled Saskatchewan’s finances.

For further reading…- Again, the original Eric and Ilsa story is here, with Rob Carrick following up here. And the story was picked up (with appropriate criticism) here, here and here among other places.- I’ve also commented in this post, and I’ll note that the point applies equally when it comes to Saskatchewan: in fact, Saskatchewan’s GDP has more than tripled since 1990 without generating much more than the insistence that we (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the Wall government’s secret attack on overtime pay for retail workers – and how it reflects a preference for the rule of lobbyists over the rule of law.

For further reading…- See my previous posts here, here and here for background on the story – including the Ministry’s directives to staff at the second link.- And I’ll note that selective “flexibility” – defined as workers bending over backwards to serve their corporate overlords – is the Saskatchewan Party’s main excuse for cutting workers’ overtime pay. And Katie Mazer discusses how that same principle applies (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On overtime losses

Those readers who follow my law blog will already be familiar with this week’s news about the Saskatchewan Party government’s attack on overtime pay for retail workers. But I’ll take some time to assemble the full story here.

Historically, a “day” for the purpose of calculating overtime for Saskatchewan workers has been defined as any consecutive period of 24 hours. All Saskatchewan workers have been entitled to overtime if they are required to work more than 8 hours in any such period.

As part of its response to the Saskatchewan Party’s employment law review process, the Retail Council of Canada (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- Reviewing Darrell West’s Billionaires, Michael Lewis discusses how extreme wealth doesn’t make anybody better off – including the people fighting for position at the top of the wealth spectrum: A team of researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute surveyed 43,000 Americans and found that, by some wide margin, the rich were more likely to shoplift than the poor. Another study, by a coalition of nonprofits called the Independent Sector, revealed that people with incomes below twenty-five grand give away, on average, 4.2 percent of their income, while those (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the growing (and increasingly interconnected) movement to save our local and global environment alike from fossil fuel extraction.

For further reading…- The latest pipeline under discussion is of course TransCanada’s Energy East. And it’s worth countering the message from Brad Wall (amplified by Murray Mandryk here) that our only choices are to approve one pipeline to facilitate tar sands extraction, or to use even more dangerous means to do just as much damage to our planet.- Meanwhile, Mitchell Anderson discusses how public resources are being used to favour Kinder Morgan’s interests over those of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the City of Regina has learned a painful lesson about the Saskatchewan Party’s habit of accepting credit but not responsibility on P3 projects.

For further reading…- Emma Graney reports on how the province forced the City to foot the bill for immediate site development costs here.- For background on how decisions about education have been taken out of the hands of elected school boards, Joseph Garcea and Dustin Monroe examine the history of education funding in Saskatchewan (and other provinces) here (PDF).- And finally, I’ll point back to my earlier columns as to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Erika Shaker points out how condescending attitudes toward public benefits are both making it unduly difficult to develop new programs which would benefit everybody, and threatening existing social safety net. Sean McElwee writes that inequality only figures to grow as an issue as the wealthy try to disassociate themselves from everybody else. And Scott Santens discusses how the U.S.’ social benefits are needlessly costly and difficult to access because they’re designed more to exclude than to include: As citizens, we are doing everything we can. Some of us are even tragically (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Tony Burman comments on the increasing recognition of the dangers of inequality even among corporate and financial elites: (I)t is significant that the policy debate among many decision-makers seems to be changing. Rather than the nonsense about “the makers versus the takers,” there is increasing focus on the notion that income inequality could be a key factor in why overall economic growth has been sluggish in recent years.

There has always been a “common sense’ element to this argument. The wealthy tend to save a larger percentage of their income because they (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- Geoff Stiles writes that instead of providing massive subsidies to dirty energy industries which don’t need them (and which will only have more incentive to cause environmental damage as a result), we should be investing in a sustainable renewable energy plan: (W)hereas countries such as Norway have gradually reduced…subsidies as their oil industry matured, at the same time maintaining one of the highest royalty rates in the world, Canada has allowed its subsidies to remain at a relatively high level while many provinces have actually decreased royalties on oil company profits.

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Michael Rozworski observes that the NDP’s $15 per day national child care plan has irritated all the right people – while still leaving ample room for improvement in the long run once the first pieces are in place. And PressProgress notes that the Cons’ opposition to the plan is based squarely on their view that women fail to raise their own children if they have either careers or care support.

- Meanwhile, Simon Enoch, Canadian Doctors for Medicare and the Saskatchewan NDP caucus are all rightly critical of Brad Wall’s attempt to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- In a theme all too familiar based on Brad Wall’s use of millions of public dollars to pay for access to U.S. lawmakers, Simon Enoch discusses the connections between Wall and ALEC: Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough is both a member and State corporate co-chair the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). You might know ALEC as the United States’ premier “corporate bill mill.” ALEC has also been characterized by the New York Times as a “stealth business lobbyist” and as a “bill laundry” for corporate policy ideas by Bloomberg BusinessWeek.…Some of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On paid access

Shorter Brad Wall: As far as I’m concerned, paying large sums of money to cynical political operatives for insider access to decision-makers is just how business gets done with the U.S. government. Also, please don’t draw any obvious inferences about how business gets done with my government.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the corporate sector is taking advantage of Brad Wall, Michael Fougere and their respective administrations at the expense of citizens who both fund and rely on public services.

For further reading…- Murray Mandryk and the Leader-Post editorial board each weighed in recently on the latest developments from the smart meter debacle.- CBC reported on the province’s decision to let Deveraux Developments walk away from its commitment to build affordable housing, as well as Donna Harpauer’s subsequent declaration that she’s entirely sympathetic toward Deveraux (and by implication, not so much toward people who need homes), (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Brad Wall is kicking Ontario while it’s down by demanding that it let stimulus funding leak out of a province which actually needs it – and how Saskatchewan and other provinces stand to suffer too if Wall helps the Cons impose similar restrictions across the country.

For further reading…- The Leader-Post reported on the Sask Party’s own rejection of the TILMA here, while Matthew Burrows noted Saskatchewan’s overall consensus not to pursue it here. – I posted here on the absence of any substantive differences between the TILMA which Wall rejected based on public (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the importance of coming together and putting people first in a time of crisis – contrasted against Stephen Harper and Brad Wall’s apparent view that the real tragedy is that the oil sector might find it tougher to extract profits when it’s causing humanitarian disasters.

For further reading…- Harper’s statement on the Lac-Mégantic oil-by-rail explosion is here. In addition to the callous focus on economic messaging, you’ll also note a conspicuous lack of words like “oil”, “rail” and “explosion”.- Similarly, here‘s Wall lamenting the fact that massive flooding might affect the accessibility of oil (Read more…)