Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- Kate McInturff and David Macdonald address the need for an adult discussion about how federal policies affect Canadian families. And Kevin Campbell writes about the importance of child care as a social investment.
- Vincenzo Bove and Georgios Efthyvoulou study how public policy is shaped by political budget cycles – with more popular social spending getting emphasized around election time, only to face a threat as soon as the vote is held. And Scott Clark and Peter DeVries identify a distinct increase in the smoke and mirrors being used by the Cons (Read more…)
CTV reports on the funnelling of money from SNC-Lavalin into the Cons’ coffers. And we shouldn’t be surprised to see that connection in light of the Cons’ attitude toward corporate wrongdoing.
But it’s especially worth noting what’s missing from the Cons’ denials of involvement: Elections Canada records reveal that 10 top SNC-Lavalin managers and their wives wrote personal cheques in 2009 to two federal Conservative riding associations that showed little chance of winning.
A total of $25,000 was funnelled to the ridings of Laurier-Sainte-Marie and Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier. Approximately $30,000 was then transferred out to Megantic-L’Erable, the riding of then-public works minister (Read more…)
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- A Gandalf Group poll finds (PDF) that Canadians have come to perceive and expect a disturbing level of self-serving action by our political leaders. And while Dale Smith is right to note that we’ve largely limited the most obvious forms of corruption, there’s still plenty of reason for concern that public policy is being driven by a few insiders and political cronies at the expense of the public.
- On that front, Gerald Caplan reminds us how the CRA is being used to silence only charities who promote social justice – while (Read more…)
There’s always been a seedy undercurrent to New Orleans – everything from street hustlers to corrupt politicians. It’s part of the flavour of the place.
Now it turns out the Big Easy has been going easy on rapists thanks to a municipal detective squad that couldn’t care less.
… a city inspector general’s report claims five detectives failed to do substantial investigation of more than 1,000 cases of sex crimes and child abuse — with one detective being cited for stating a belief that simple rape should not be considered a crime.The US Justice Department previously investigated the scandal-plagued (Read more…)
There’s no trace of hyperbole in denouncing Stephen Harper as the Great Corrupter. He is corrupt and he corrupts whatever he touches whenever and however it suits him.
The proof is pretty much everywhere but a shining example is the National Energy Board. Take it from Marc Elieson, an energy executive and former CEO of BC Hydro.
Marc Eliesen …has quit his role as an intervenor in the federal review of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and oil tanker expansion project, calling the National Energy Board “a truly captured regulator.” Eliesen has worked in the nation’s energy (Read more…)
Corrupt Spanish politics faces shock therapy from an angry electorate | Miguel-Anxo Murado | Comment is free | The Guardian.
Being “between Pinto and Valdemoro” is an old Spanish saying that refers to being in trouble. Now with the number of politicians being investigated for corruption in Spain nearing 2,000, including the mayor of that very Valdemoro town of lore, you could say that the whole Spanish political class finds itself between Pinto and Valdemoro. And it’s not just in the size of the problem but its timing. Embezzlement of public funds is never received with enthusiasm but (Read more…)
Here, on the Cons’ presumption that any individual who breaches the social contract must be punished with a total lack of freedom – and their curious lack of any similar principle when it comes to corporate wrongdoing.
For further reading…- I’ve dealt with issues relating to mandatory minimum sentences plenty of times before, while the likes of Dan Gardner and John Moore have taken them on directly. But see examples of the Cons’ unduly strict individual sentencing being struck down here and here. – Richard Blackwell reported on the SNC-Lavalin’s demand to be held above the (Read more…)
Assorted content for your Sunday reading.
- The Tyee’s recent series on important sources of inequality is well worth a read, as Emily Fister interviews Andrew Longhurst about precarious work and Sylvia Fuller about the role of motherhood.
- David Cole asks just how corrupt U.S. politics have become, while Frances O’Grady observes that U.K workers don’t believe for a second that their employer can’t afford to pay living wages. Robert Reich sees Detroit as a prime example of wealthy individuals shirking their responsibility to pay for the public goods they enjoy. And Joseph Stiglitz notes that gross (Read more…)
This and that for your Sunday reading.
- Bert Olivier is the latest to weigh in on Paul Verhaeghe’s work showing that the obsessive pursuit of market fundamentalism harms our health in a myriad of ways: What does the neoliberal “organisation” of society amount to? As the title of the book indicates, it is market-based, in the tacit belief that the abstract entity called the “market” is better suited than human beings themselves to provide a (supposedly) humane structure to the communities in which we live. But because neoliberal capitalism stands or falls by the question, whether profit is generated (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- George Monbiot discusses how a market-based society makes people unhealthy in a myriad of ways – and how it’s worth maintaining our innate reluctance to value everything and everybody around us solely in terms of dollar values: The market was meant to emancipate us, offering autonomy and freedom. Instead it has delivered atomisation and loneliness.
The workplace has been overwhelmed by a mad, Kafkaesque infrastructure of assessments, monitoring, measuring, surveillance and audits, centrally directed and rigidly planned, whose purpose is to reward the winners and punish the losers. It destroys autonomy, enterprise, innovation (Read more…)
This and that for your Sunday reading.
- Robert Green looks at Quebec as a prime example of selective austerity – with tax cuts and other goodies for the wealthy considered sacrosanct, and well-connected insiders being paid substantial sums of public money to tell citizens they’ll have to make do with less: In a move that seems perfectly symbolic of the sort of politics his government represents, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard announced this week that the five members of the government commission charged with reviewing government programs and recommending where to make cuts will be paid the tidy sum of (Read more…)
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Monica Potts responds to the big lie that increasing inequality and perpetual poverty are necessary – or indeed remotely beneficial – as elements of economic growth: Hanauer and Piketty inspire these broadsides because they are challenging, in a far more aggressive way than plutocrats and economists usually do, the conservative economic orthodoxy that has reigned since at least the 1980s. Under Ronald Reagan, we called it trickle-down economics, the idea that the men who can afford their own private jets—they’re usually men—deserve gobs of money because they provide some special entrepreneurial or innovative (Read more…)
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Linda McQuaig discusses how a burgeoning wealth gap is particularly obvious when it comes to retirement security: Quaint as it now seems, not long ago this was considered a good basic plan: Work hard all your life and then retire with a comfortable pension.
In recent times, a new plan has replaced it: Work hard all your life and then all bets are off.
The notion of retirement security in exchange for a lifetime of hard work — a central element in the implicit social contract between capital and labour in the (Read more…)
Inspired by this headline: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/mike-duffy-faces-31-charges-including-bribery-fraud-breach-of-trust-1.2709500
Assorted content to end your week.
- Simon Enoch discusses the costs of turning over a profitable system of public liquor stores to corporate control – as Brad Wall has finally admitted to wanting to do: A privatized liquor market is very likely to evolve into an ‘oligopoly’, where only a few corporations dominate and are able to exert monopoly-like power. Local, independent liquor retailers would likely find it difficult to compete. An oligopoly would have the supposed disadvantages of a monopoly, high prices and restricted supply, but lack the major advantage of public ownership, profits that flow in to (Read more…)
Assorted content to end your week.
- Joseph Stiglitz offers his suggestions (PDF) for a tax system which would encourage both growth and equality: Tax reform…offers a path toward both resolving budgetary impasses and making the kinds of public investments that will strengthen the fundamentals of the economy. The most obvious reform is an increase in the top marginal income tax rates – this would both raise needed revenues and soften America’s extreme and harmful inequality. But there are also a variety of other effective possible reforms related to corporate taxation, the estate and inheritance tax, environmental taxes, and (Read more…)
Assorted content to start your week.
- Jim Stanford looks into the fine print of the Hudak PCs’ assumptions about corporate tax slashing and finds that even their own numbers show that most of the money gifted to corporations would be thrown away (emphasis added): On second reading there are other interesting aspects to the Conference Board simulation of corporate tax reductions. The one that jumped out at me was their estimate of increased business capital spending after the tax cut (reported in Table 5, and the main driver of economic benefits in the simulation), reported in the fifth (Read more…)
13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” John 2:13-16
Who would Jesus whip and flog?
Happy (Read more…)
Well, I have decided not to vote in this charade of an election. My principle reason is that my vote does not count — it is totally ineffective — because I live in a region where the same political party, the Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ), has taken all of the region’s seats for the last forty years.
Last election, I “lent” my vote to my wife and dutifully went down to the polls and voted strategically for the party that had the best chance of defeating the outgoing Liberal Member of the Quebec National Assembly, which at the time (Read more…)
Senior Alberta Progressive Conservative Party officials and guards remove election campaign funds from the vaults of the “Tapcal Trust.” Actual PC party officials may not appear exactly as illustrated: Below: PC Party Executive Director Kelley Charlebois; Public Interest Alberta Executive Director Bill Moore-Kilgannon.
So, there’s this law in Alberta that allows the ruling Progressive Conservative Party to have a possibly huge and definitely secret slush fund, but makes it illegal for any other party to do the same thing.
What’s more, the fund’s been around for at least 36 years and no one’s uttered a squeak of protest, presumably (Read more…)
by: Obert Madondo | March 31, 2014
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau dropped the f-bomb when he addressed the crowd at the Fight for the Cure charity boxing match in Gatineau, Quebec, over the weekend.
“I’m going tell you, there is no experience like stepping into this ring and measuring yourself,” Trudeau said. “Your name, your fortune, your intelligence, your beauty, none of that fucking matters.”
The crowd reportedly cheered.
But, as usual, the Conservatives weren’t amused. Prime Minister Stephen Harper tried to capitalize on the expletive to score cheap political points.
“This is yet another example of Justin Trudeau’s lack of (Read more…)
There is no doubt any more that Bill C-23 is deliberately designed to enable the CPC (or other political parties) to engage in the kind of electoral fraud that the CPC has attempted, and been caught out at repeatedly in the past. Worse, it goes so far as to politicize the staffing of voting stations. None of this can end well. Consider the following list of malfeasance on the part of the CPC since 2006: The “In and Out” Fundraising Scheme (Money Laundering Fraud) 2006 Dean del Mastro is facing charges relating to campaign spending in 2008 Peter Penashue forced (Read more…)
Fitting caricature given his ego
It was a comedy, for real. Mike Duffy, the ultimate Ottawa insider, a cartoonish character who has become the leading symbol of Senate corruption, claiming living expenses for a cottage in Prince Edward Island he hardly occupied. The ultimate oversized sense of entitlement. He is a schmoozer who likes access to power, and has a giant ego to boot. A highschool dropout who made it big.
The documentary showed how Mike Duffy had been (Read more…)
Truth be told, I have lived in Quebec for the last twenty years. Last week, not much of a surprise, a poll revealed that about 50% of the anglophone and allophone respondents were thinking about moving out of Quebec. Too bad I wasn’t contacted. I would have loved to explain why. So here goes.
For me, unlike many anglophones living in the Montreal region of Quebec, language is not the problem. I live in Gatineau. I am fluently bilingual, as is my wife, as are my kids. Communicating in French is something I do every day (Read more…)