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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…)

Accidental Deliberations: On sucker’s deals

Shorter Brad Wall: But what you less-sophisticated, not-so-business-savvy people don’t understand is this: when you pawn the furniture, you get CASH MONEY UP FRONT. How can that be anything but a great deal?

Accidental Deliberations: On public priorities

I’m not sure whether last week’s column played a role, but there have been an awful lot of attacks on Saskatchewan’s Crowns since then at a time when the parties don’t seem to be highlighting the issue. So let’s sum up the arguments being made to undermine the public enterprises that are serving Saskatchewan so well.

Shorter Will Chabun: Sure, actual people may be better off because of Crown competition in the wireless sector. But won’t somebody think of the rent-seekers?

And shorter Star-Phoenix editorial board: The Wall Saskatchewan Party has no coherent or sensible policy when it (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- David Dayen discusses how prepaid debit cards are turning into the latest means for the financial sector to extract artificial fees from consumers. And Matt Taibbi reports on the looting of public pension funds in the U.S.: Nor did anyone know that part of Raimondo’s strategy for saving money involved handing more than $1 billion – 14 percent of the state fund – to hedge funds, including a trio of well-known New York-based funds: Dan Loeb’s Third Point Capital was given $66 million, Ken Garschina’s Mason Capital got $64 million and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Eduardo Porter writes about the rise of inequality in the U.S., while Tracy McVeigh reports on the eleven-figure annual cost of inequality in the UK. And Shamus Khan discusses the connection between inequality and poverty – as well as the policy which can do the most to address both: While a tiny fraction of Americans enjoy almost all the spoils of our national growth, the majority of Americans have a radically different experience. About 40 percent of Americans will live in poverty at some point in their lives, and many (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Paul Krugman points out how the U.S.’ corporate elites are agitating to make sure that any economic recovery helps only those at the top, rather than reaching most workers in the form of wage increases: Suddenly, it seems as if all the serious people are telling each other that despite high unemployment there’s hardly any “slack” in labor markets — as evidenced by a supposed surge in wages — and that the Federal Reserve needs to start raising interest rates very soon to head off the danger of inflation.

To be (Read more…)