Here, on the Saskatchewan Party’s devaluation of the music teacher (among other cultural and community-building parts of our schools).
For further reading…- CBC reported on the Prairie Spirit School Division’s decision to eliminate school bands here, and Janet French did likewise here.- The Star-Phoenix’ editorial board weighed in here. And now, even the Saskatchewan Party is pretending to oppose what its policy choices have wrought.- And for those looking to support the students trying to save their band program, Shawna Langer’s petition is here.
Here, expanding on this post about the new challenges the Cons are facing heading into this fall’s election.
For further reading…- Geoffrey Stevens offers his own take on the Cons’ weaknesses. – Meanwhile, Nik Nanos (as reported by Theophilos Argitis) focuses on the possibility of vote splitting working to the Cons’ benefit. But that analysis seems to miss the point that no amount of vote-splitting between two competitors can get the Cons into majority territory if their own support levels remain stuck in the low 30s.- And on a more interesting note, Robin Sears wonders whether the (Read more…)
Here, on how Brad Wall looks to face plenty of new political challenges now that he can’t rely on an Alberta PC dynasty to do much of his dirty work for him.
For further reading…- I briefly addressed the same issue with a particular focus on privatized MRIs in this post. – Wall’s history of relying on Alberta donors (with PC help) is discussed here, here and here among other places. – Finally, Dave Cournoyer wonders what will become of the Alberta PCs’ remaining patronage appointments. And David Climenhaga discusses the limited future of the PCAA – (Read more…)
Here, on how the rise of Rachel Notley’s NDP serves largely to bring Alberta’s political system into step with those of its regional neighbours.
For further reading…- Murray Mandryk had previously pointed out why we should be cautious about reading too much into the Alberta results. But the most important distinction looks to be that Saskatchewan is currently functioning as a pure two-party system – so the support level which won Rachel Notley a resounding majority would leave the NDP on Saskatchewan’s opposition benches. – Dan Arnold and Andrew Coyne both confirm that a progressive victory in Alberta (Read more…)
Here, on how the treatment of Peter Bowden’s concerns about patient care demonstrate that the Saskatchewan Party can’t tell the difference between partisan and public interests.
For further reading…- The background to the story, including Bowden’s comment on understaffing at his Oliver Lodge workplace, was reported on by Clare Clancy here. CBC highlighted the apparent retaliation against Bowden here. And Mike McKinnon reported on the privacy breach involved in the release of details of Bowden’s suspension here.- And Murray Mandryk has already weighed in on the privacy concerns here and here. (Though I’ll note that the Saskatchewan (Read more…)
Here, on how the massive shift in public opinion against the Conservatives’ terror bill should remind us that people are more than willing to reconsider their initial position on a policy – and how it should signal to political parties that it might be a good idea to do the same.
For further reading…- My previous columns on the terror bill can be found at the links here, here and here, while general coverage of C-51 is here. And the B.C. Civil Liberties Association points out why the few amendments the Cons were prepared to (Read more…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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.
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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.
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…)
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…)