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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, discussing James Coleman’s research paper on the different messages corporations send to regulators as opposed to shareholders when it comes to proposed regulatory policies – and how it signals the need to be extremely skeptical when the business lobby complains that a policy will affect jobs or economic development.

For further reading…- Isolda Agazzi discusses how the CETA is designed to force governments to take corporate spin at face value. – Matthew Yglesias points out how Jeb Bush figures to continue his brother’s habit of handing Wall Street everything it could possibly ask for.- And Robert (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: New column day

Here, condensing this post on the component parts of the Cons’ terror bill.

For further reading…- Michael Geist writes that C-51 represents the evisceration of privacy in Canada. – Jim Bronskill reports on Amnesty International’s opposition to C-51 as a means of targeting activists. And Alyssa Stryker and Carmen Cheung highlight six elements protesters will want to understand about the bill. – Finally, Craig Forcese and Kent Roach discuss the international implications of C-51, including the express authorization for CSIS to operate outside the law of foreign countries. And Forcese also points out exactly what the term “lawful” (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the many problems with building social benefits and employment policies alike on a foundation of distrust.

For further reading…- Rick Mercer rants about the obstacles the Cons are throwing in the way of veterans. And the CP follows up on the Cons’ response to Paul Franklin’s case here.- CBC reports here on the Cons’ plans to slash existing sick leave for the federal civil service.  Kathryn May points out the complete lack of any justification for that course of action, and has since noted that the plan is further being extended to out-of-scope positions. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, condensing this post on the risks of allowing CSIS to self-assess the scope of Canadians’ Charter rights under C-51.

For further reading…- Again, the go-to source for analysis of C-51 is Craig Forcese and Kent Roach’s site here. – Clayton Ruby and Nader Hasan’s analysis is here.- John Mueller and Mark Stewart duly reject the attempt to invent some existential terrorist threat. – Dale Smith muses about the Cons’ rush to ram C-51 through without analysis here. PressProgress challenges the conventional wisdom as to the supposed popularity of the bill here. And the Star appeals for (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the Cons’ attempt to spin an election narrative out of a fictional bogeyman rather than protecting or helping Canadians.

For further reading…- The National Academy of Sciences offers a comparison of death rates from multiple causes in Canada and elsewhere, while Statistics Canada has more detailed data. And it’s also worth a reminder as to the large number of deaths caused by inequality.- In contrast to the real risks we face and accept every day, even the Cons’ attempt to fabricate a paper trail around terrorism resorts to labeling arrests as failures or dangers (rather (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: New column day

Here, on why we can’t expect our federal political parties to answer some of our most important questions without some significant public pressure – and how we can build that pressure for ourselves.

For further reading, I’ll point back to my earlier posts on what I’d hope to see happen before the writ period, including- an effort to define the Harper Cons beyond what we’ll see from the opposition parties; and- a strong push to make the opposition leaders and candidates talk about working together toward change.

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: New column day

Here, on the OECD’s working paper showing that stronger environmental policies are entirely consistent with a more productive economy.

For further reading…- Obviously, the area where the need for more stringent regulation is most obvious lies in our CO2 emissions. On that front, CBC reports on Christopher McGlade and Paul Elkins’ study showing how many fossil fuels will need to stay in the ground to stay below a two degree temperature increase, while George Monbiot weighs in on the UK’s reckless plan to maximize the harm it does to our climate.- And as a reminder, Paul Krugman (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how we’ll soon be seeing both federal and provincial governments alike try to block out their real history with glossy ad campaigns – and why we shouldn’t let them get away with the plan.

For further reading…- Torstar reported here on the Cons’ use of public money to generate fake news and how it fits in to the broader federal advertising machine. And Gregory Thomas discussed their shift toward using public money for communications rather than programs here. – Mike De Souza wrote about the CRA’s newly-ordered destruction of employees’ text records here. And Paul McLeod (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the need to turn the holiday spirit of charity into lasting improvements in the lives of the people who need help the most.

For further reading…- Joe Gunn and Iglika Ivanova also discuss the limitations of charity compared to structural change. – Jordon Cooper discusses Saskatchewan’s bad habit of accepting food banks as a substitute for food and income security. And again, there’s reason for doubt (PDF, see Harpauer’s dissembling about child poverty rates at p. 6085) that the current government plans to take poverty seriously.- Finally, the provincial government’s announcement of the Advisory Group (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on this week’s confirmation from the Broadbent Institute that Canadians severely underestimate wealth inequality – as well as the strong popular support to reduce the wealth gap.

For further reading…- The Norton/Ariely study of the views of Americans on wealth inequality is found here, and discussed further here, here and here.- And Danielle Kurtzleben writes that actual wealth inequality in the U.S. has only been getting worse since 2010.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the Cons’ secretive giveaway of what’s left of the Canadian Wheat Board can only be explained by their desire to eliminate collective marketing in favour of total corporate control.

For further reading…- Janyce McGregor reported on the Cons’ refusal to consider allowing the Farmers of North America to bid on the Wheat Board’s remaining assets. And Karl Nerenberg followed up on the Cons’ excuses in Parliament.- Dougald Lamont rightly sees the Cons as forcing producers toward the “bozo zone” of racing to the bottom in quality and price.- And even the Globe and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, taking a quick look at Canada’s options for electoral reform while arguing that an MMP system would create far better incentives for our political leaders than the alternatives.

For further reading…- Alison wrote about our options in advance of yesterday’s vote on the NDP’s electoral reform proposal. – Eric Grenier discusses the possible outcomes under the three main alternatives based on current polling. And I’d argue that the current party standings offer a useful litmus test as to one’s weighting of representativeness versus defaulting toward majority government – as a preferential system would put the Libs within (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: New column day

Here, on how user reviews and the wisdom of crowds don’t do us much good if businesses are able to silence anything that raises concerns about them.

For further reading…- Laura K makes a similar point here. – CBC reports on libel chill here, including a discussion of the Ottawa property manager which managed to intimidate a tenant into pulling an unfavourable review. – Again, Mike De Souza discusses Exxon Mobil’s attempts to silence his reporting on ALEC here. Jenny Uechl and Warren Bell expose Canada’s links to the Western Energy Alliance – including its dirty war (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, arguing that while Stephen Poloz is indeed thoroughly out of touch in suggesting that people entering the workforce should take on unpaid internships as matters stand now, we should in fact make sure that unpaid work (or study, or other activity) is a viable option for young workers.

For further reading…- The CP reports on Poloz’ comments here, while Tavia Grant expands on the story here. CBC follows up with a Saskatchewan perspective here. And Elizabeth Lane looks at the issue as one of the workers who’s been unable to find a job despite ample training (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, asking what we can do to make sure that individuals who seek help for their mental health and addictions issues through the criminal justice system find more support than Michael Zehaf-Bibeau did – both for their own well-being, and for the safety of the Canadian public.

For further reading…- CBC reported on Zehaf-Bibeau’s interaction with the criminal justice system. And again, Ian Mulgrew also weighed in on the failure to offer any help to somebody who was crying out for it. – Karl Nerenberg writes that the Cons’ expected response to last week’s shootings – consisting of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how precarity is a serious concern in far more areas than the workplace alone – and how we should think about public policy as a means of eliminating precarity (whether it be in work, housing, food or other necessities of life) wherever possible.

For further reading…- Once again, there’s been plenty of discussion about the hazards of precarious work. But for a few examples see pieces from Emily Fister (interviewing Andrew Longhurst), Margaret Simms, and Nora Loreto. – And it’s also been well documented that other aspects of poverty also cause enormous and avoidable personal (Read more…)