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Alberta Politics: Alberta’s NDP needs to react more quickly, plus throw the Tories under the bus where they belong

PHOTOS: Carbon capture: The oil company executive in the bow tie places the carbon in a bottle, which is then stored underground by his corporation for billions of dollars. Or something like that. If the bottle breaks, of course, we’re screwed! Actual carbon capture schemes may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Premier Rachel Notley, […]

The post Alberta’s NDP needs to react more quickly, plus throw the Tories under the bus where they belong appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Christopher Majka reviews Henry Mintzberg’s Rebalancing Society as a noteworthy discussion of the need for balance between the public, private and “plural” sectors. And David Madland is pleased to see the U.S.’ Democrats finally fighting back against the view that the corporate sector is the only one worth favouring through government.

- But there’s far more to be done in putting the public back in public policy – particularly when, as Bill Tieleman points out, we’re being asked to accept more and more strict “trade” agreements designed to ensure (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Aditya Chakrabortty exposes the massive amounts of money gifted from the UK’s public purse to its corporate elite. And Paul Weinberg writes that the Cons are only exacerbating Canada’s practice of encouraging revenue leakage into tax havens: The United States, European Union and several other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development nations are grappling with the contagion of tax avoidance by global companies, with its potential to hurt government finances. But, as Deneault discovered in researching his book, Canada is marching to a different beat.

“Officially, Canada shows solidarity with other western countries (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Mostly competent government

To nobody’s surprise, Stephen Harper’s brand of economic management means election slush funds throwing tens of millions of dollars away for no public benefit.

And it also means public servants going unpaid due to the failure of the Cons’ supposed attempts to make government more efficient.

Do we dare take the risk of having another, more responsible party in charge of our public purse?

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Henry Mintzberg rightly challenges the myth of a “level playing field” when it comes to our economic opportunities: Let’s level with each other. What we call a “level playing field” for economic development is played with Western rules on Southern turf, so that the New York Giants can take on some high school team from Timbuktu. The International Monetary Fund prepares the terrain and the World Trade Organization referees the game. Guess who wins.

The rules of this game have been written by people educated in the economic canon of the already (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Lawrence Ezrow writes that the disconnect between the public and policymaking that’s done so much harm to the U.S. isn’t quite as severe in more equal countries. And the Equality Trust is looking to ensure that the UK’s political parties make the reduction of inequality into a core policy objective.

- Jordon Cooper comments on Saskatchewan’s desperate need for a seniors’ care plan – rather than the current practice of matching photo ops with selloffs and failing services. And Robert McMurtry reminds us of the dire need for a strong federal (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Duncan Exley points out that the UK has nothing to be proud of when it comes to income inequality. And Bill Curry reports on the Cons’ full awareness that the temporary foreign worker program was both taking jobs away from Canadian youth, and allowing employers to pay far less for foreign labour.

- DSWright highlights how Joseph Stiglitz appears to have been rejected by Republicans for a position advising on the U.S. financial system solely because he’s dared to express the opinion that regulators shouldn’t see their job as catering to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Olga Khazan writes about the connection between lower incomes and obesity in the U.S. And Truthout discusses how poverty and other stressors can directly affect individual and communal genetics for generations: (A) study by researchers at University College London’s Institute of Child Health found that, thanks to epigenetics, children whose parents and grandparents were born into poverty can, themselves, carry the scars of that past poverty with them for the rest of their lives. That’s because children born to families who’ve lived generations in poverty inherit genes configured to help them (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Alyssa Battistoni writes that a universal basic income could go a long way toward solving environmental and economic problems alike by placing a focus on sustainable quality of life rather than increasing consumer consumption: If overconsumption is actually the problem, we can’t fix it by consuming more, however eco-certified the products. Indeed, the very idea that green jobs will drive economic recovery is closely tied to notions of continued American hegemony: green tech is the next big thing, the rhetoric goes, and America needs to get ahead in the global race to innovate. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Stewart Prest writes about the Cons’ war against experts: (I)n modern democratic states one of the most important sources for non-partisan information and expertise is the government itself. Government bureaucracies are the only institutions in the world today with the access, the resources, and the motivation to systematically monitor and study the entirety of a country’s population and the extent of its human and natural environment.

Examples are legion, from statisticians to health officials to diplomats to environmental scientists. They exist throughout the much maligned but nonetheless vital bureaucracy of the country. Crucially, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Bruce Livesey discusses Tony Blair’s role in corporatizing social democracy. And Stephen Elliott-Buckley writes that there’s little reason to listen to the policy prescriptions of a financial elite class which is conspicuously ensuring that its future bears no resemblance to that of the general population.

- Jane Taber interviews Donald Savoie about the importance of our public service – and the decline it’s seen in recent years: What happened?

It was wrong to think that we could make the public sector look like the private sector. Well, frankly, it started with Margaret (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Chris Hall notes that Brad Butt’s admitted fabrications can only hurt the Cons’ already-lacking credibility when it comes to forcing through their unfair elections legislation. And Ed Broadbent sums up what’s at stake as the Cons try to rewrite the rules to prioritize their own hold on power over public participation and the fair administration of elections: Inspired by the tried and tested voter suppression tactics used by the Republicans to disenfranchise marginalized groups in the U.S., the new election law would make it harder for certain groups to vote. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Donovan Vincent reports on the Institute for Social Research’s study showing Canadians are highly concerned about income inequality: “People think the income gap has gotten worse. What was surprising to me was the universality of this belief. Younger people, older, higher levels of education, lower, men and women. The fact is, a wide cross-section of Canadian society believes that the income gap has gotten bigger, or much bigger in the last five years,” survey author David Northrup said in an interview.

“Usually we see a lot more variation in opinion in social (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Shining you on: Alison Redford calls for a little selective sunshine on civil service salaries

The scene in February 2014: CBC investigative journalist Charles Rusnell pores through a list of senior Alberta civil service salaries as horrified deputy ministers and university professors look on. Actual Alberta public employees may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Associate Minister of Accountability, Transparency and Transformation Don Scott, left, with some guy his party would just as soon you forgot about. (Image grabbed from the Internet from country933.com.) I wonder what the yellow gloves are for?

Have the calls Alberta’s Progressive Conservative MLAs are getting from modestly paid unionized civil servants, furious about having their salaries frozen (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Duncan Cameron writes that Stephen Harper’s CETA triumphalism may result in serious long-term damage to Canada for the sake of a temporary political reprieve: Promoting the big bamboozle means Harper is gambling with Canada’s economic future. The PM is touting a deal not yet finished. Making himself its chief sales agent encourages the Europeans to get tough in negotiating the hard parts to come, knowing Harper has overplayed his hand, just like Mulroney did before Canada signed a bad deal in 1988.

Harper has made himself politically vulnerable by his penchant for secrecy (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Nadir Khan interviews Linda McQuaig about her choice to run for the NDP in Toronto Centre – and confirms that McQuaig’s commitment to progressive politics fits neatly with her participation in a caucus: NK : You mention that you’ve been outspoken and taken a strong stance on issues you care about. Certain research groups like Samara have found, through interviewing MPs, that MPs are surprised by how much party discipline is present in Parliament.

What are your thoughts on that? If you’re elected, do you see your outspoken and combative approach changing within the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Blacklocks reports (PDF) on the abuse of a corporate tax credit which served as an “open bar” allowing businesses to have the public fund their basic operations. And it’s surely worth noting that after that abuse was identified, the Cons’ reaction was to cover up the resulting report in order to keep the bar open (with slightly watered-down drinks).

- Meanwhile, David Martin highlights the Cons’ attempts to break longstanding promises to public employees by slashing pension benefits after they’ve long since retired.

- And the Star’s editorial board laments the Cons’ (Read more…)

A BCer in Toronto: What happened to Harper’s cheques for whistleblowers?

In the 2006 election, the Conservatives talked some good talk about whistleblowers. They got a whistleblowing former federal civil servant to run for them as a candidate, and they made protecting whistleblowers a key part of their election platform.

Here’s what they promised:

 

They won that election, and several since. And how are they treating whistleblowers? Here’s just the latest of many examples:

A federal fraud investigator has been suspended without pay, after she leaked documents showing that investigators had to cut people off their employment insurance benefits in order to meet quotas.

Sylvie Therrien told CBC News (Read more…) . . . → Read More: A BCer in Toronto: What happened to Harper’s cheques for whistleblowers?

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Murray Dobbin writes about the crisis of extreme capitalism: (T)he “free economy” romanticized by Friedman and his ilk is anything but. Completely dominated by giant corporations whose wealth outstrips all but the richest nations, economic freedom does not exist for anyone else, including the vast majority of businesses who are at the mercy of financial institutions and mega-corporations. This is to say nothing of workers whose “freedom” to sell their labour now means they are free to compete with those who earn a few dollars a day thousands of miles away from their (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Frances Russell weighs in on the Cons’ continued contempt for democracy: The Conservatives under Stephen Harper are running an effective dictatorship. They believe they are quite within their rights to muzzle Parliament, gag civil servants, use taxpayer money for blatant political self-promotion, stand accused of trying to subvert a federal election and hand over much of Canada’s magnificent natural heritage to the multinational oil and gas lobby.

What is even more disturbing is that the national media, with a few notable exceptions, has underplayed or ignored these developments that are a clear assault

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: On adaptation

Murray Mandryk’s Wednesday column serves as a downright painful example of Monday morning quarterbacking – cherry-picking examples from seven decades of Saskatchewan governments to criticize “rash decisions” without recognizing the difference between reasonable experimentation and blatant cronyism. And under Mandryk’s implicit standard for public-sector risk aversion (that if something could possibly prove to be anything less than an unqualified success, it’s not worth doing), Saskatchewan’s legislative assembly would be meeting around a donated table in a barn situated in the middle of the still-undeveloped prairie.

But Mandryk is far from the only voice suggesting that such a standard should apply

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On adaptation

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the CFIA’s inability to do anything about tainted horse meat exemplifies the problems with weak and under-resourced regulators.

For further reading…- Again, Mary Ormsby’s original story is here. – Andrew Nikiforuk’s take on the appointment of oil lobbyist Gerald Protti to set up Alberta’s new regulatory system is here. – And for those who haven’t given it a read in awhile, Matt Taibbi’s feature on the role of financial institutions and their alumni in causing repeated crashes is worth another look.

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Edward Greenspon discusses the importance of a public service whose focus extends beyond the narrow interests of the government of the day: The hundreds of thousands of Canadians who work for governments, particularly those employed – in the evolving argot of recent decades – as knowledge workers or symbolic analysts or members of the creative class, are, in a sense, servants. They owe a duty of loyalty to carry out the programs and policies of the elected government of the day. But they also have a broader public duty to the pursuit . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

- Jennifer Ditchburn reports that the Harper Cons are making ample progress in their goal of removing Canada from any list of socially-developed welfare states, as Canada has dropped from being the world’s leader in the UN’s Human Development Index to a position outside the top 10 countries by that measure.

- Peter Penashue’s resignation in the wake of a campaign financing scandal will open up plenty of lines of discussion – as well as an opportunity to flip a seat into opposition hands. But let’s ask another question arising out of his stepping

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: On sick strategies

Shorter Harper Cons:

The public-service beatings will continue until employee wellness improves.