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Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, looking at the sad similarities between Regina and Detroit, and noting that the crucial step we should take to avoid the latter’s humanitarian tragedy is to fund our commitments to workers and residents while we have the means to do so.

For further reading…- Tom McKay and Wallace Turbeville each discuss how the decision to run Detroit under corporate principles made a bad financial situation far worse. – Jon Swaine reports on the recent move to shut off water for up to 100,000 residents. Monica Davey writes about the vote to slash already-meager pensions. And Dominic Rushe (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the recent spate of Saskatchewan women being fired for getting pregnant represents only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to gender inequality.

For further reading…- The Leader-Post reported on the increase in pregnancy-related firings here. And its editorial board weighs in here. – Oxfam’s report referenced in the column is here (PDF). And again, Shannon Gormley’s column on how we project to be a lifetime away from wage equality is worth read. – Finally, Clive Crook discusses the need for early and consistent social support to end inequality of opportunity.

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-M├ęgantic 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: New column day

Here, on how personal and institutional stress make it more difficult for people to defend their interests – and on the need to respond to political strategies increasingly aimed at exploiting that principle to reduce public participation.

For further reading…- Again, Chris Mooney discussed the effect of stress on voter turnout here. And here’s a reminder that the desire to suppress voter participation tends to be the result of underlying discrimination.- See here, here and here for just a couple of the many reports on the devastating connection between poverty and personal stress.- And without (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, offering a suggestion as to how to give Saskatchewan workers significantly more control over their working hours than they hold today.

For further reading…- Again, the OECD report recommending a “right to ask” for flexible hours is here (PDF). And the UK already has similar legislation.- The Saskatchewan Employment Act is available online here. And of particular note for the purposes of today’s column, see sections 2-11 to 2-14 which provide the only protection for working hours, as well as section 2-63 which creates an employee notice requirement.- Finally, for those wanting to delve into (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the City of Regina has taken a first step – but only that so far – in making sure that new development doesn’t result in the perpetual subsidization of developers by current residents.

For further reading…- Shawn Fraser’s thoughtful post on the new interim phasing and financing plan is here. And the plan was approved (PDF) (with an amendment for a single project) earlier this week.- The Calgary study on the time it takes for a neighbourhood to start providing net benefits to a city is discussed here.- And for those with reading (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Justin Trudeau seems to have taken up the cause of unaccountable executive power even from his third-party place in the House of Commons.

For further reading…- For some of the background on of the Libs’ entitlement hangover following the Cons’ taking power, see here (insisting that Parliament has no place in approving of military engagement) and here (criticizing the Accountability Act as a response to their actions while in power).- Josh Wingrove reports on the attempt by privacy experts to challenge the Cons’ appointment of Daniel Therrien. And Lisa Austin highlights some of the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, expanding on this post about the Cons’ ruthless discipline in keeping the benefits of any tax policy from flowing to those who need it most – and pointing out the need for a strong challenge to that single-minded focus on withholding money from the poor.

For further reading…- Again, the PBO’s report is here (PDF).- And PressProgress’ analysis of the Cons’ tax cuts is here.- Update: And Paul Wells manages to cut through the Cons’ spin, though he notes that demolishing the federal government’s fiscal capacity is the main point of Harper’s plans.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, following up on the Robert Buckingham saga at the University of Saskatchewan by asking whether tenured university professors should be the only workers who have any hope of being able to discuss issues of public importance without fearing for their jobs.

For further reading…- Buckingham’s story is told here, here, here and here among other places – with the latest news seeing the U of S terminating the president who oversaw his firing.- The terms of the U of S Faculty Association’s collective bargaining agreement made public in association with the story are here. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, looking at one of Thomas Piketty’s findings about the self-propagation of wealth which has received relatively little attention – and pointing out how the a pattern of greater wealth grabbing higher returns can both be managed in order to reduce undue concentration of wealth, and even turned to the public’s advantage through pools of social capital.

For further reading…- Piketty’s discussion of inequality in returns on capital starts at page 430 of the English translation of Capital in the Twenty-First Century – with his study of university endowment funds at page 447 serving as a particularly useful (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the conflict between Canadian values including a reasonable quality of life and freedom from an employer’s total control, and the explicitly anti-Canadian message of employers seeking to expand and exploit a temporary foreign worker underclass.

For further reading…- Once again, Dan Kelly’s comments were caught by PressProgress, while Geoff Leo reported on the TFW recruiter’s advice to keep distance between workers and Canadian values. And Cathie beat me to the punch in raising the recruiter’s contempt for anything Canadian.- Tim Harper writes about the layers upon layers of problems with the temporary foreign worker program. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Canada’s telecommunication providers and government agencies are each showing next to no regard for the privacy of consumers – and how the Cons want to make matters worse by allowing for far more sharing within the corporate sector.

For further reading…- Again, reporting on the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s investigation can be found here and here, with the response from the telecoms available in PDF here. – Bruce Schneier discusses the U.S.’ plan to privatize the surveillance state here. – Finally, the Cons’ amendments to the federal private-sector privacy legislation is here. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, discussing what Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page found (PDF) in looking at which preferences actually shape U.S. public policy – and what needs to happen for the needs of the general public to be given some actual weight in government policy choices.

For further reading…- Again, Larry Bartels, Kathleen Geier and Paul Krugman are among many who have also commented on the study.- Sanders Deionne charts the connection between lobbying payouts and tax giveaways for a number of large U.S. corporations. – On the Canadian side, I’ll point again to Therea Tedesco and Jen (Read more…)

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.