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We Pivot: You Probably Already Support Postal Banking Too

CUPW, the union for Canada Post workers, has had some innovative ideas lately which the Harper and Trudeau governments are, not surprisingly, not too keen on.

Both governments pursue a neoliberal privatization agenda. Public services like CBC and Canada Post provide no profit layer to companies because they exist as public services. Privatizing them lets . . . → Read More: We Pivot: You Probably Already Support Postal Banking Too

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

– Valerie Strauss discusses the disastrous effects of corporatized education in the U.S. And Alex Hemingway examines how B.C.’s government (like Saskatchewan’s) is going out of its way to make it impossible for a public education system to do its job of offering a bright future to all . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

– Armine Yalnizyan writes that the response to the European Commission’s finding that Apple has dodged $20 billion in taxes may tell us all we need to know about the relative power of governments and corporations:

The EC is also investigating state support received by Amazon and McDonalds in Luxembourg, a tax haven. Expect more costly court battles about the appropriateness of laws and systems of governance.
Since the 2008 economic crisis, giant corporations have gone from being “too big to fail” to “too big to pay.”
But as the big tax avoiders get feisty, so too are voters. The Panama Papers have made people aware of the hypocrisy: when those with deep pockets don’t pay, everyone else pays more. Governments are legitimately worried about their finances, and more focused on tax fairness than in decades. But as corporations both fight and rewrite the rules, occasionally cash-starved, debt-ridden nations are being enlisted to support their agenda.
The Apple story is huge. It could presage the end of tax competition, as nations co-ordinate attempts to combat absurd levels of tax-dodging. Or it could signal growing dominance of corporate power over state power. High stakes, to be sure, in the evolution of 21st-century globalization.

– Meanwhile, Allan Sloan discusses how Mylan’s profiteering in ratcheting up the price of EpiPens has been paired with glaring tax avoidance. And the NDP points out the conspicuous lack of any public benefit from the Libs’ and Cons’ track record of corporate tax slashing in Canada.

– Alex Hemingway writes about the costs of privatizing public infrastructure. And Thomas Walkom highlights the Libs’ options in reviewing Canada Post’s future – which include taking an obvious opportunity to better meet a large number of social needs through a postal banking system.

– Bloomberg View rightly argues that fossil fuel subsidies are about the dumbest possible type of public policy. And Samantha Page offers another reason why that’s so by pointing out the devastating health effects of oil and gas production and distribution.

– Finally, Simon Enoch offers a much-needed warning to the rest of Canada as to what Saskatchewan faces with Brad Wall in power. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Armine Yalnizyan writes that the response to the European Commission’s finding that Apple has dodged $20 billion in taxes may tell us all we need to know about the relative power of governments and corporations:The E… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Northern Reflections: Coming Down The Pike

Canada Post and CUPW have reached an agreement. But that’s not the end of the story. The real drama, Tom Walkom writes, is just beginning:

The main event – what to do with the Crown corporation – is set to begin next month.

That’s when a four-person task force set up by Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is due to report. Chaired by the head of the Quebec Chamber of Commerce, the task force has been told to “identify viable options” for Canada Post.
In announcing the move this May, Public Services Minister Judy Foote said that everything except privatization is on the table.
The volume of mail has steadily declined. But the delivery of parcels has become a booming business. And, to take advantage of that fact, Canada Post bought Purolator Courier several years ago. But new circumstances mean that employment for mail carriers is on the line. And it leaves the corporation with two broad choices:
First, it can cut costs and raise stamp prices. This is the strategy that Canada Post management is vigorously following through its cuts to home delivery and its take-no-prisoners approach to collective bargaining with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).
The problem it faces is that this strategy is ultimately self-defeating. As service becomes even more inconvenient and expensive, fewer people will use the post office.
This can lead only to a death spiral.
Second, the post office can cover part of the cost of those operations that lose money by investing in activities that make money.
Canada Post already engages in cross-subsidization. The money it earns by delivering junk-mail helps cover the cost of standard mail. Its policy of delivering letters anywhere in the country for the same price acts, in effect, as a subsidy to those who correspond over long distances. Its Purolator parcel delivery segment cross-subsidizes its less profitable post office segment.
The corporation is now considering getting back into the banking business — something which would benefit small communities. Whatever model the post office adopts, changes are coming down the pike. 
Image: sheldonkirshner.com
 

. . . → Read More: Northern Reflections: Coming Down The Pike

Northern Reflections: Coming Down The Pike

Canada Post and CUPW have reached an agreement. But that’s not the end of the story. The real drama, Tom Walkom writes, is just beginning:The main event – what to do with the Crown corporation – is set to begin next month.That’s when a four-pers… . . . → Read More: Northern Reflections: Coming Down The Pike

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

– Chris Hamby starts off what looks to be a must-read investigation on the effect of ISDS rules by discussing how they’re used to prevent governments from punishing corporate wrongdoing:

(A)n 18-month BuzzFeed News investigation, spanning three continents and involving more than 200 interviews and tens of thousands of documents, many of them previously confidential, has exposed an obscure but immensely consequential feature of these trade treaties, the secret operations of these tribunals, and the ways that business has co-opted them to bring sovereign nations to heel.

Reviewing publicly available information for about 300 claims filed during the past five years, BuzzFeed News found more than 35 cases in which the company or executive seeking protection in ISDS was accused of criminal activity, including money laundering, embezzlement, stock manipulation, bribery, war profiteering, and fraud.

Among them: a bank in Cyprus that the US government accused of financing terrorism and organized crime, an oil company executive accused of embezzling millions from the impoverished African nation of Burundi, and the Russian oligarch known as “the Kremlin’s banker.”

Some are at the center of notorious scandals, from the billionaire accused of orchestrating a massive Ponzi scheme in Mauritius to multiple telecommunications tycoons charged in the ever-widening “2G scam” in India, which made it into Time magazine’s top 10 abuses of power, alongside Watergate. The companies or executives involved in these cases either denied wrongdoing or did not respond to requests for comment.

Most of the 35-plus cases are still ongoing. But in at least eight of the cases, bringing an ISDS claim got results for the accused wrongdoers, including a multimillion-dollar award, a dropped criminal investigation, and dropped criminal charges. In another, the tribunal has directed the government to halt a criminal case while the arbitration is pending.

– And Dharna Noor interviews James Henry about the need for international cooperation – at both the government and public level – to crack down on tax evasion.

– Tyler Hamilton discusses the health effects of climate change. And Joseph Erbentraut examines how a changing climate is affecting both the quantity and quality of the water we depend on. 

– Kev responds to the spread of #goodriddanceharper by pointing out that as satisfying as it was to turf the Cons from office, we’re still facing most of the same anti-social policies with a more media-savvy face. And Doug Nesbitt reminds us that the Trudeau Libs are no friends of labour – with Canada Post’s appalling attacks on vulnerable workers serving as just the latest example.

– Finally, the Canadian Press reports on a much-needed push for resources to address mental health in Canada. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.- Chris Hamby starts off what looks to be a must-read investigation on the effect of ISDS rules by discussing how they’re used to prevent governments from punishing corporate wrongdoing:(A)n 18-month BuzzFeed News … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.- Paolo Giuliano and Antonio Spilimbergo study (PDF) how the economic conditions an individual’s youth influence enduring values – and find that the experience of an economic shock tends to lead to a greater apprec… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.- Ann McFeatters reminds us of the good a government can do when it dedicates itself to identifying and responding to urgent public needs. And Bill McKibben makes the case for an all-out mobilization aga… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Owen Jones interviews Ha-Joon Chang about the foreseeable harm caused by the UK’s austerity, as well as the false claims used to push it. – The Stoney Creek News rightly argues that Canada Post should move toward pos… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Melisa Foster points out why millennials should be strongly interested in a national pharmacare program:Today, young Canadians are searching for jobs in an economy with high levels of precarious employment, unemploym… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Lana Payne discusses how inequality and insecurity inevitably serve as the key explanation for the rise of right-wing populism. And Adam Johnson rightly challenges the theory being presented by some that the … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Trevor Hancock writes that if we’re going to designate anything as a public health emergency, poverty should top the list:I was pleased to see the B.C. Ministry of Health use the powers of the provincial health offic… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your long weekend reading.- Marc Jarsulic, Ethan Gurwitz, Kate Bahn and Andy Green comment on how corporate monopoly power and rent-seeking produce disastrous public consequences:Income inequality is rising, middle-class incomes ar… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Afternoon Links

Alberta Politics: It’s time for a national postal bank in both Canada and the United States

PHOTOS: The little Post Office in downtown St. Albert, where your blogger lives, which Canada Post is anxious to close as soon as possible. Below: The U.S. Post Office in Fallon, Montana, the Canadian Post Office in Dewberry, Alberta (villageofdewberry… . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: It’s time for a national postal bank in both Canada and the United States

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- James Wilt discusses a much-needed effort to map out the connections between fossil fuel corporations. And Bruce Campbell highlights how the resource sector is among the most prominent examples of regulatory … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Ben Casselman writes that rather than looking to manufacturing jobs alone as a precondition to gains for workers, we should instead focus on the unions which helped to make the manufacturing sector the source of stab… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- David Rosen discusses the connection between poverty and more general social exclusion:Poverty is a form of social powerlessness.  The poorer you are, the weaker you are, the harder your life; everythin… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

The Canadian Progressive: Harper’s Bill C-6 Violated Canadian Postal Workers’ Charter Rights, Court Rules

The Ontario Superior Court has ruled that the former Harper government violated postal workers’ Charter rights when it ordered postal workers back to work through Bill C-6 in 2011. The post Harper’s Bill C-6 Violated Canadian Postal Workers&#821… . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Harper’s Bill C-6 Violated Canadian Postal Workers’ Charter Rights, Court Rules

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.- CBC and the Star have both started reporting on the Panama Papers – offering a glimpse of the tip of the iceberg of international tax avoidance. And the Star also recognizes why we shouldn’t let grey-area tax… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- The Star-Phoenix calls for Saskatchewan’s election campaign to focus on the future rather than the past. And Paul Orlowski reminds us of the continued callous corporatism that’s in store if Brad Wall holds on… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Andrew Jackson discusses how large inheritance and accumulated capital lead to gross economic and social distortions:Inheritances are quite heavily concentrated among the most affluent families and thus comp… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.- Sarah Anderson, Marc Bayard, John Cavanagh, Chuck Collins, Josh Hoxie and Sam Pizzigati offer an outline as to how to fight back against growing inequality:§ We need to see inequality as a deep systemic… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.- Simon Kennedy highlights another key finding in Oxfam’s latest study on wealth, as the global 1% now owns as much as the other 99% combined. And Dennis Howlett reviews Gabriel Zucman’s Hidden Wealth of Nations, … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links