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Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the Canadian public’s widespread recognition – and worrisome acceptance – that life will be worse for younger generations than for older ones.

For further reading…- Ipsos-MORI’s poll referenced in the column is here. – The CCPA’s feature on post-secondary education costs is here, while Holly Moore reports on it here.- And I’ll again point out the one recent bright spot in post-secondary education policy, as Newfoundland and Labrador are working on eliminating student loans rather than figuring that increasing student debt loads represent a positive development.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the distance Canada has yet to travel in meeting even the basic needs of our fellow citizens – as well as the promise that Housing First and other new models may help to bridge that gap.

For further reading…- Michael Green commented on the Social Progress Index here, while Canada’s results can be found here. – By way of comparison to the Social Progress Index, see my earlier post and linked column on other means of going beyond GDP in measuring development, with particular emphasis on the Canadian Index of Wellbeing. – And CTV reported (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, looking at a $396 million annual benefit in the form of lower wireless rates for Saskatchewan residents serves as a prime example of the value of public enterprise – and pointing out a few other public options which could help ensure that the interests of citizens are better reflected in the marketplace.

For further reading…- CBC reported on the wireless rate increases which hit every province except the two with strong Crown competition. Aside from the $55 per month cost difference reported there, the other number leading to my estimate in the column is SaskTel’s customer base (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the Cons’ explanations for the Unfair Elections Act reflect a disturbing attempt to rule out any voter motivation other than partisan interests – while excusing future Robocon-style deceit by placing all responsibility for accurate information on Elections Canada alone.

For further reading…- Alison documents the Con MPs who have already been caught fabricating stories to excuse vote suppression.And James Di Fiore apologizes for a single experiment which is now being pointed to ad nauseum as the basis for preventing hundreds of thousands of Canadians from voting.- Pierre Poilievre’s talking points are here (among (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the cult of “lean” is just part of the most damaging Saskatchewan Party belief which is undermining our health care system and other public services.

For further reading…- Murray Mandryk has had plenty to say about “lean” in his previous columns. – And the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses has weighed in with its own criticism of “lean”, making it abundantly clear that a large number of health care workers are far from convinced that it’s a panacea.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Brad Wall is again joining Stephen Harper in putting oil lobbying over the public interest – making excuses for doing absolutely nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.

For further reading…- I’ve written before about the federal Cons’ apparent strategy of standing in the way of consensus on action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And lest there be any doubt, the Cons have been well aware of both the need for action in order to keep their own promises – and have  responded by slashing Environment Canada for telling inconvenient truths.- (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, featuring my take on the IMF’s recent report (PDF) on the relationship between equality, redistribution and growth.

I’ve already linked to other responses to the report from the Guardian and the Economist. But the column raises a point left largely unaddressed in those pieces – and which seems particularly important given some of the advice regularly dispensed to Canadian progressives.

I’ll sum up that advice as being “don’t worry about market inequality – instead, address poverty and inequality through taxation and redistribution”. Which makes for a neat enough recommendation on its face – and has led me to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the importance of letting voters decide among a full range of potential political candidates – rather than imposing rules or conventions which prohibit senior military leaders, public servants or others from participating in politics.

For further reading…- The column is largely a response to Andrew Coyne (who argues that personal decisions of military and civilian leaders should be evaluated differently based on their potential interest in politics) and Adam Chapnick (who argues for a five-year moratorium against political involvement which would exclude recently-retired military professionals from participation in the democracy they’ve fought to defend).- And (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, starting from Nattavudh Powdthavee and Andrew Oswald’s study to discuss on how people have trouble telling the difference between luck and merit (particularly when they’re enjoying the benefit of the former) – and how we should take that gap into account both personally and politically.

I’ll add here one point omitted from the article. I’m skeptical in general of the all-too-common trend of public institutions like hospitals, libraries and schools being forced to rely on fund-raising lotteries rather than being funded directly. But the study hints at a hidden side effect – as a “successful” lottery which provides (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Brad Wall’s casino sell-off gambit might provoke a needed discussion of Saskatchewan’s relationship with First Nations – even while highlighting that Wall himself isn’t up for the public consultation needed to make that process work.

For further reading…- The original casino story was broken by the NDP caucus here, and subsequently reported on here.   – SOS Crowns weighs in on Wall’s desire to sell off Saskatchewan’s casinos (and anything else that isn’t locked down through the NDP’s Crown preservation legislation). – And lest anybody think the Sask Party considers its standard practices to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, taking a closer look at the City of Regina’s 2014 budget – which offers a clear demonstration that the perpetual promise of growth doesn’t do anything to fund the municipal services citizens count on, resulting in current residents paying for the poor decisions of the city administration.

For further reading…- The City’s budget documents can be found here.  – Both CBC’s initial report and the Leader-Post’s editorial focus on the mill rate increase (which seems to me to hide more than it reveals). And Paul Dechene starts the Prairie Dog’s work in digging somewhat deeper.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, questioning the Saskatchewan Party’s belief that meeting the province’s constitutional duty to provide correctional centre inmates with the basic necessities of life isn’t a “core” government function.

For further reading:- CTV reports on the label the Sask Party has applied to correctional food services (and the resulting privatization process) here.  – And once again, CBC reports here on the cautionary tale of Ontario’s highway maintenance – where public safety has been compromised in the name of outsourcing provincial services.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the reactions of the federal government and the rail industry six months after the Lac-Mégantic rail explosion only seem to reinforce the risk of more disasters to come.

For further reading…- Monique Beaudin reports on the finger-pointing and other attempts to avoid responsibility on the part of the corporations linked to the explosion. And I’ll especially highlight the chutzpah of the group of oil services companies in arguing that as U.S. companies, they’re entitled to ship oil through Canada while being above the law when it comes to cleanup of a spill.- Meanwhile, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Mark Adler’s C-520 looks to undermine public participation in all Canadian political parties – including the Conservatives who are pushing it.

I’ll add here one point which didn’t make it into the column. While there’s obviously a need for independent institutions to act impartially, there’s also a need for them to have some familiarity with the systems they’re charged with overseeing. And if the Cons succeed in ensuring that regulators can’t have any personal knowledge of what they’re supposed to be regulating, the result may be far more damaging than the type of unsupported assertion of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how well-planned public infrastructure and a strong community spirit have helped Saskatchewan through weather that’s caused far more problems elsewhere – and how we’re in danger of losing that advantage.

For further reading…- The obvious point of comparison is the spate of problems faced by Toronto – including widespread power outages, and flight delays and cancellations. And the provincial government is now handing out gift cards to make up for what people lost due to the power issues. – In contrast, Saskatchewan’s main cities have seen some short and scattered power issues, along with (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the link between personality politics and the culture of scandal that’s developed around Stephen Harper, Rob Ford and other political figures.

For further reading…- Once again, Dan Leger and Leslie MacKinnon provide the column’s starting point in discussing the central focus on scandals in 2013.- Eric Grenier’s year-end political grades offer a prime example of the type of election-results-only evaluation that feeds into the problem.- And Frank Graves discusses the Canadian public’s waning trust in its current crop of politicians.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the need to keep the holiday message of peace and goodwill in mind throughout the year – while working to foster both in our homes and in the world around us.

For further reading, I’ll point back to a couple of pieces about the effects of poverty and inequality on individual well-being: Moises Velazquez-Manoff’s discussion of status and stress, and Jack Monroe’s personal account of life in poverty. Both provide compelling examples of how individual-level peace is impossible for many who lack basic essentials – and I’d think that even a modicum of goodwill would lead anybody (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how James Moore’s disinclination to care about his neighbours is par for the course from the Harper Cons – and how we should learn the lesson about caring and compassion that Moore and his party are so studiously avoiding.

For further reading…- Again, Sara Norman’s original story is here, while PressProgress and Laura Payton both helped to put it in context. – My recap of Moore’s other events from the week is drawn from his activity in Monday’s Hansard, as well as his office’s most recent statements as of the time the column was (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Michael Chong’s Reform Act privileges members of Parliament over party members and supporters – and how there’s far more reason for concern about a lack of genuine grassroots input as matters stand now than about the influence of MPs.

For further reading…- I’ll point to Andrew Coyne passim as the main cheerleader for the Reform Act. I refer in the column to some of the points made by Alice Funke and Don Lenihan. And Aaron Wherry surveys a few more responses – including Jeff Jedras’ proposal for a standardized primary system (which would seem to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, asking whether growth and stable employment are part of the deal when the Saskatchewan Party offers massive handouts to the resource sector – and if so, how to handle the fact that PCS is pocketing tax incentives while slashing jobs.

For further reading…- The Wall government’s own press release touting its potash giveaways is here. Needless to say, there’s no mention as to why we’d want to keep giving royalties away if they’re not linked to growth.- Simon Enoch’s list of Saskatchewan Party corporate subsidies is always worth a look.- Murray Mandryk is duly skeptical (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how this week’s federal by-elections seem to confirm that another minority Parliament is a real possibility in 2015 – even as the main parties all rule out any discussion of what would happen under that scenario.

For further reading…- I make reference in the column to John Ivison’s rough calculations as to how a 2015 seat count might look. But his greater thesis seems to utterly miss the point that if the Cons finish with just a few more seats than each of the NDP and Libs (and far less than the two combined), they’ll be (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on what Saskatchewan can learn from some significant developments in privacy law in Manitoba and Alberta.

For further reading…- Paul Broad and Daniel Michaluk introduce Manitoba’s new private-sector legislation.- Alberta’s similar legislation is here, while the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision striking it down is here. In particular, see paragraphs 37-38: PIPA imposes restrictions on a union’s ability to communicate and persuade the public of its cause, impairing its ability to use one of its most effective bargaining strategies in the course of a lawful strike.  In our view, this infringement of the right (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how governments are outsourcing policy decisions to employers in areas ranging from immigration to employment insurance – and on why that may not be any more desirable for employers than for the people affected.

For further reading…- The relatively fine print surrounding the new immigration nominee program is here, with the key takeaways being that only 250 skilled worker applications and zero student applications will be considered “without an offer” from an employer.- Details on the federal government’s perpetually-shrinking list of eligible family class immigrants can be found here and here. – Finally, the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how P3 structures create a divergence of interest between short-sighted governments and the general public – and a few policy fixes to ensure we don’t lose value or accountability as a result of politically-motivated choices to use them.

For further reading…- The Saskatchewan NDP introduced its P3 accountability legislation (PDF) here.- And Murray Mandryk has some questions of his own about the Saskatchewan Party’s reluctance to subject P3s to any oversight or accountability.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the combination of institutional and personal flaws that’s combined to create the Stephen Harper Senate scandal.

For further reading…- CBC reproduces the documents tabled by Mike Duffy in the Senate here. – The Senate debates featuring the defences of Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau can be found here. – PressProgress reminds us what the Cons said about the residency of Duffy and Wallin just a few months ago, while Jordan Press and Kirsten Smith offer a partial timeline (if one which ignores the fact that the controversy dated back to 2008). And it was Press (Read more…)