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Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the corporate sector is taking advantage of Brad Wall, Michael Fougere and their respective administrations at the expense of citizens who both fund and rely on public services.

For further reading…- Murray Mandryk and the Leader-Post editorial board each weighed in recently on the latest developments from the smart meter debacle.- CBC reported on the province’s decision to let Deveraux Developments walk away from its commitment to build affordable housing, as well as Donna Harpauer’s subsequent declaration that she’s entirely sympathetic toward Deveraux (and by implication, not so much toward people who need homes), (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, questioning whether Canadians share Stephen Harper’s newly-professed aspiration to spend tens of billions of dollars more every year to prop up U.S. and U.K. military contractors.

For further reading…- David Pugliese reported on this week’s NATO summit. – NATO’s most recent spending calculations are here (see PDF link), showing that Canada currently spends about 1% of GDP on its military. Note that while this number pegs Canada’s current spending at about $18.4 billion per year, I reference the $19 billion figure used by both government and outside sources in the previous link.- While (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Brad Wall is kicking Ontario while it’s down by demanding that it let stimulus funding leak out of a province which actually needs it – and how Saskatchewan and other provinces stand to suffer too if Wall helps the Cons impose similar restrictions across the country.

For further reading…- The Leader-Post reported on the Sask Party’s own rejection of the TILMA here, while Matthew Burrows noted Saskatchewan’s overall consensus not to pursue it here. – I posted here on the absence of any substantive differences between the TILMA which Wall rejected based on public (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Reused column day

For those wondering, my Leader-Post column was on hiatus last week, but will return this week.

In the meantime, I’ll point back to this post and column as introductory reading for Janet French’s new report on SaskTel’s disclosure of customers’ personal information to government authorities. (And I’ll add here one comment which didn’t make it into the report: as a provincial Crown corporation, SaskTel is subject to additional provincial privacy laws which give consumers some extra means to challenge the collection, use and disclosure of their personal information.)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the Harper Cons’ kabuki consultations can’t mask the fact that their budgets utterly neglect what’s most important to Canadians.

For further reading…- Dean Beeby has previously reported on the disconnect between the public position on policy issues and the Cons’ budget choices, while Andy Radia also comments on the lack of public interest in tax baubles.- And both CBC and Bill Curry note that the same pattern is playing out once again, as the Cons’ anti-government orientation is taking precedence over any interest in listening to good ideas. – James Baxter writes about the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the need to take downside risks into account in discussing industrial development – especially when our water, land and lives are at stake.

For further reading…- The CP and Jenni Sheppard report on the many warning signs which should have identified the causes of the Mount Polley spill before it turned a town’s water toxic. Stephen Hume rightly concludes that the spill can be traced to a lax regulatory culture. Alison Bailey’s report points out that similar ponds set up for larger mining projects could cause even more damage. And Nature Canada discusses the deliberate choice (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how we should take Germany’s rightful concern over investor-state dispute settlement provisions as an opportunity to reevaluate what we expect to accomplish through trade and investment agreements such as CETA.

For further reading…- Peter Clark, Michael Geist and Scott Sinclair discuss Germany’s objections to new trade agreements with Canada and the U.S. in particular, while reminding us why we should be wary of handing undue power to the corporate sector as well. And Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder and Rhea Tamara Hoffmann discuss (PDF) Germany’s past experience with ISDS in detail.- Meanwhile, Patricia Ranald notes that (Read more…)

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.