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Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Ethan Corey and Jessica Corbett offer five lessons for progressives from Naomi Klein’s forthcoming This Changes Everything.

- Following up on this post, Andrew Jackson fact-checks the Fraser Institute on its hostility toward the CPP. And the Winnipeg Free Press goes further in challenging the motives behind the “study”: Since the authors started out believing that the Canada Pension Plan and its investment arm are a “self-serving bureaucracy,” it was predictable that they would find something objectionable about CPP administration. The surprise in the study is that the authors produced no (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Linda McQuaig discusses how the interests of big banks ended the Cons’ willingness to consider postal banking which would produce both better service and more profits for the public: (C)ompetition is the last thing the banks want. And given their power (straddling the very heart of the Canadian establishment) and their wealth (record profits last year topping $30 billion), the banks tend to get what they want from the Harper government.

This could explain the government’s otherwise baffling decision last fall to reject an option that would have allowed a serious competitor to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Robert Reich discusses the Koch brothers and their place in the U.S.’ new plutocracy: The Kochs exemplify a new reality that strikes at the heart of America. The vast wealth that has accumulated at the top of the American economy is not itself the problem. The problem is that political power tends to rise to where the money is. And this combination of great wealth with political power leads to greater and greater accumulations and concentrations of both — tilting the playing field in favor of the Kochs and their ilk, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Mitchell Anderson compares the results of corporate-friendly Thatcherism to the alternative of public resource ownership and development in the interest of citizens – and finds far better results arising from the latter: Thirty-five years after she swept to power as British prime minister, it is ironic that socialist Norway now has $830 billion in the bank and enjoys fully funded social programs that most of us can only dream of. Meanwhile the U.K. is enduring another round of wrenching austerity and owes over £1.3 trillion — about US$2.2 trillion. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Ken Georgetti discusses how the corporate tax giveaways of the past 15 years have hurt most Canadians: The Conservative government and special interest groups claim incessantly that cutting corporate income taxes is good for the economy and for individual Canadians. We have been led to believe that tax giveaways to corporations would lead companies to reinvest in research and development as well as machinery and staff training to boost productivity. This is supposed to stimulate economic growth and create better paying and more secure jobs. But that is not what has happened (Read more…)

Left Over: Harper: The Working Class Can Kiss My….

 

Minimum wage in Canada: One woman’s story No fancy meals and no vacations: ‘I am working poor’

CBC News Posted: Jan 14, 2014 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Jan 14, 2014 7:06 AM ET

 

 

This is an article that could have been written forty-odd years ago, when I arrived on Canada’s doorstep as an immigrant. Knew that I would have to start at the bottom because citizens got the preferred jobs…and that was acceptable to me.

Over the years, I worked at several not-so-great jobs, got a University degree…and immediately found my final job as a labourer..a (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Don Lenihan is the latest to highlight the difference between citizens and consumers – as well as why we should want to act as the former: In the old view, public debate is all about defining the public interest by establishing collective needs. This requires a very different view of public debate. Rather than seeing it as a chance to advance my wants, it asks me, as a citizen, to consider the needs of the community. This means I must listen to others, weigh their claims, examine the evidence, and make trade-offs and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Ed Broadbent comments on Parliament’s review of inequality in Canada: In a more encouraging vein, the majority report cautiously endorses some positive proposals. Given stated support from both of the opposition parties, these could, and should, move to the top of the government agenda as we approach the 2014 federal Budget and the 2015 federal election.

The Broadbent Institute and other witnesses highlighted the need to increase the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) which supplements the incomes of working poor families, thus raising earned income from low wage jobs and helping offset (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: The in-and-out trick: Thoughts on Canada Post, CPP and your child’s breakfast

The past few days have not been great for public services in Canada. Canada Post will be phasing out home delivery of mail. Expansion of the Canada Pension Plan was scuttled at the finance ministers’ meeting. In the grand scheme of things, however, these are not extreme cutbacks. It’s not as if Canada Post is to be dismantled completely or our public pension fund to run completely dry. This government has long brought us death by a thousand paper cuts and those from the past days are just a continuation of the strategy.

There is a particular common thread that (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Bill Tieleman tears into James Moore for his callous disregard for child hunger, while PressProgress reminds us that plenty of the Cons’ policy choices reflect Moore’s complete lack of concern for his neighbours’ children. And Polly Toynbee looks in detail at the UK Cons’ attempts to turn support for needy children into a perceived political weakness rather than a matter of basic empathy and compassion: The dirty war has begun; the early signs are that this will be the most poisonous, socially damaging election campaign for many a long year. Corrosive malice (Read more…)

ParliamANT Hill: Minister sorry for remarks about hungry children

Inspired by these headlines: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/james-moore-sorry-for-remarks-about-hungry-children-1.2465666 and http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/ontario-to-go-it-alone-after-cpp-reform-stalls-1.2465619

Impolitical: CPP reform rhetoric

Since there is a significant meeting among Canadian finance ministers today, where reform to the Canada Pension Plan is on the agenda, it’s worth pointing out some really unhelpful ongoing language the federal Finance Minister is using to describe CPP. This is what he said today to describe CPP: “CPP is a tax on people who work, a tax on employers. It takes money directly out of the economy, so it’s not something to be done lightly. It’s something that must be done with consideration and thought,” he said.

This framing of CPP, a valued Canadian program that is the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Joan Walsh discusses how employers are exploiting the U.S.’ wage supplement policies by taking the opportunity to severely underpay their employees – resulting in both insecure income and employment, and significant public expense to reduce the poverty suffered by full-time workers. And Lana Payne comments that the Cons’ anti-worker policies figure to further exacerbate inequality in Canada as well.

- Meanwhile, lest anybody doubt the disproportionate effect of corporate power in politics, Juliet Eilperin writes that the Obama White House delayed the introduction of health, safety and environmental regulations until after (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Paul Krugman highlights why inequality is indeed an issue which demands action – both for its own sake, and for its impact on other goals such as economic sustainability. And Bill Moyers discusses the difference between a government responsive to its people and one completely controlled by elites: The historian Plutarch warned us long ago of what happens when there is no brake on the power of great wealth to subvert the electorate. “The abuse of buying and selling votes,” he wrote of Rome, “crept in and money began to play an important (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Notes on pensions and risk

Canada’s finance ministers are meeting this weekend and a proposal to expand the CPP is at the top of the agenda. If implemented, this proposal would bolster an important public program at a time when public programs are under attack and the public sector as whole is shrinking. There are many good arguments in favour of strong public pensions, but I want to focus on one not often discussed: revitalized public programs are a counter to forces that aim to make us accustomed to taking on more and more (potentially disastrous) financial risk.

In yesterday’s post, I noted that (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- In the course of grading Canada’s job market, Kayle Hatt traces the rise of precarious employment in both absolute and relative numbers – and notes that other countries haven’t seen the same type of move toward temporary employment encouraged by the Cons. And in a similar vein, Duncan Cameron rightly brands the Cons as the “bad jobs party”.

- Meanwhile, the lack of stability in any single job makes it all the more important to ensure that Canada’s retirement system provides for security even among workers who have been pushed from employer (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- David Simon laments the division of the U.S. into the few who are rewarded by market forces and the many who are constantly under siege – while also pointing out that concentration of wealth may prevent democratic forces from offering a counterweight: The idea that the market will solve such things as environmental concerns, as our racial divides, as our class distinctions, our problems with educating and incorporating one generation of workers into the economy after the other when that economy is changing; the idea that the market is going to heed (Read more…)

Autonomy For All: Government That Works: CPP is Healthy Say Actuaries

Every 3 years the Canada Pension Plan is analyzed by professional actuaries (with peer review by independent actuaries picked by the UK government) to analyze its financies against the best practice means of assessing likely future pay outs and revenue.  Once again, the 26th such report finds the CPP is healthy over the “long term” at current contribution rates.  In fact, since the 25th report, the CPP has become mildly healthier in that the minimum contribution rate needed to support it has dropped slightly.

This is government working, and succeeding where markets are generally failing: Some people (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- John Ibbitson reports that the Cons’ obvious priorities have finally been made explicit: as far as they’re concerned, the sole purpose of international diplomacy is to serve the corporate sector. And Ian Smillie documents how the Cons hijacked Canada’s foreign aid program (while signalling that the same path is likely to be followed by the Cons’ Australian Liberal allies).

- Meanwhile, CBC uncovers a offshore tax avoidance scheme perpetrated by one of the Cons’ hand-picked tax advisers (and chair of the Royal Canadian Mint).

- Rhys Kesselman highlights the fact that contrary to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Ish Theilheimer writes about the opportunity progressives should recognize in the scandals engulfing Rob Ford, Stephen Harper and other conservative leaders: (W)hile you’d think the (Ford) situation would be a golden opportunity for Toronto left-wingers to win back the public, this isn’t necessarily happening. Left-wing opponents of Ford’s have not used the situation to drive home a unified message — that Ford is a liar with criminal friends who can’t be trusted to deliver good and effective government.

Instead, their focus has been to harry Ford and drive him from office, a tactic (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- In case anybody hasn’t yet seen Andrew Coyne’s takedown of anti-intellectual populism, it’s well worth a read: (T)here Mr. Ford sits, immovably: disgraced, largely powerless, but still the mayor. Is that his fault? The city’s? Or is it the fault of those who put him there in the first place, and sustained him through the long train wreck that followed: the staff who failed to report his misdeeds; the commentators who excused them; the partisans who ignored them. Disasters on the Ford scale, we are taught, do not just happen, and while (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Nick Pearce offers an interesting discussion of conception of equality that should be placed at the core of social-democratic thinking – with one goal in particular standing out as demanding further attention: (S)social democrats would be more self-consciously political in pursuit of their goals, eschewing some (if not all) of the preference for legally-enshrined social policy targets that characterised the New Labour project. Instead, greater weight would be placed on building durable coalitions of support for political ambitions, widening the ground on which to advance their policies and drawing energy from new social (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- The CP reports on the latest federal-provincial discussion about pensions. And as is so often the case, all parties at the table seem to agree that there’s an important problem to be fixed – even as Brad Wall, Stephen Harper and others stand firmly in the way of any actual change to ensure a more secure retirement for Canadians.

- Gerald Caplan wonders whether the Cons’ base will give up on Harper, while Dan Leger thinks it’s Harper himself who should start turning his loyalties elsewhere. But Andrew Coyne offers up the definitive (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Pat Atkinson writes that governments at all levels should be setting up realistic fiscal plans to deal with a large group of retiring boomers – not artificially slashing revenues and increasing costs. And Rick Smith laments the fact that the Harper Cons are squandering an opportunity to address Canada’s existing problems due to their insistence on creating new ones: “Seizing” the moment would mean tackling the challenges that today’s Canada faces: stagnant or falling wages for middle- and lower-income Canadians; crises in Aboriginal education, food, housing, and missing and murdered women; high youth (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Thomas Walkom sees Stephen Harper’s approval of dove hunting as an ideal metaphor for the gratuitous violence of his government: The wildlife service also estimates that new hunting rules will result in about 18,000 Ontario doves being shot each year. But, say hunt aficionadas, so what? There are plenty more.

As the Conservatives would tell you: This is our world. Other species are born into it at their own risk.

To Canada’s governing party, killing doves is a metaphor for sound thinking, fiscal sobriety and doughnut-shop values. It is where the Harperites want (Read more…)