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Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- PressProgress highlights how the Cons’ stay in office has been marked by temporary rather than permanent jobs, while Kaylie Tiessen writes that precarious work is particularly prevalent in Ontario. And Erin Weir notes that more unemployed workers are now chasing after fewer job vacancies than even in the wake of the last recession.

- Kathleen Harris points out that the Cons’ attempt to label refugees as “bogus” based solely on their country of origin bears no resemblance whatsoever to reality, as numerous claims from the U.S. and other countries labeled as “safe” (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, contrasting the NDP’s hard-fought Regina nomination elections against the stories of Paul Manly, Chris Rendell, and the apparent trend of federal and provincial NDP candidates being disqualified from seeking nominations for entirely insufficient reasons.

For further reading…- The Leader-Post reported on the nomination victories by Erin Weir in Regina-Lewvan and Nial Kuyek in Regina-Qu’Appelle here. And for a couple of examples of Weir in particular making important points which don’t entirely match the NDP’s party line both provincially and federally, see his challenge to the cult of small business and his disclaimer-laden Commonwealth commentary on resource royalties (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Mitchell Anderson discusses Canada’s woeful excuse for negotiations with the oil sector – particularly compared to the lasting social benefits secured by Norway in making the best of similar reserves: Digging through the numbers, it seems Norway is considerably more skilled at negotiation. By charging higher taxes and investing equity ownership in their own production, the Norwegian taxpayer was paid $46.29 BOE in 2012. That same year, the U.K. taxpayer realized only $20.08 per BOE — less than half as much.

What about Canada? Much of our production is bitumen, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- The American Prospect writes about Thomas Piketty’s work on inequality – and how we’re just scratching the surface of the policy implications of a new gilded age: Piketty is rightly pessimistic about an immediate response. The influence of the wealthy on democratic politics and on how we think about merit and reward presents formidable obstacles. Fierce international competition for the rich and their dollars leads Piketty to believe that without a serious countermovement, capital taxation will trend toward zero. Inequality is becoming a “wicked” problem like climate change—one in which a solution must (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

This and that for your mid-week reading.

- Erin Weir posts the statement of a 70-strong (and growing) list of Canadian economists opposed to austerity. Heather Mallick frames the latest Con budget as yet another example of their using personal cruelty as a governing philosophy, while the Star’s editorial board goes into detail about the dangers of yet another round of politically-motivated attacks on environmental and public interest charities.

- Meanwhile, Frances Russell slams the Cons’ efforts to rig the 2015 election. And Jordon Cooper discusses how voting is already too difficult for marginalized people without the Cons going out (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Ian Welsh discusses the nature of prosperity – and the illusion that it means nothing more than increased economic activity: All other things being equal more productive capacity is better. The more stuff we can make, in theory, the better off we’ll be. But in practice, it doesn’t always work that way.

Part of the problem is due to hierarchies and inequality. Inequality is undeniably bad for us. The more unequal your society is, the lower the median lifespan. The more unequal the society, the sicker, in general. More heart attacks, much more (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Andrew Jackson writes that Canada needs far more investment in infrastructure – rather than the austerity that’s constantly being prescribed by the Cons: The fiscal policy choice we face is often miscast as one between austerity to deal with public debt and short-term Keynesian-style stimulus. But the real choice, Mr. Summers argues, is whether or not to finance public investments that would have positive long-term impacts on both the economy and on public finances.

Take the case for repairing or replacing Canada’s crumbling basic municipal infrastructure, some 30 per cent of which is (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Nick Cohen writes that the corporate sector is home to some of the most dangerous cult philosophy in the world: (T)he language of business has become ever more cultish. In the theory of “transformational leadership”, which dominates the business schools, the CEO is a miracle worker. In Transformational Leadership, by Bernard Bass and Ronald Riggio, he is described, not by some gullible Forbes hack, but by two supposedly intelligent American academics. The transformational leader “inspires” his follower to “achieve extraordinary outcomes”, they say. He “empowers them” to “exceed expected performance” and show (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…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Andrew Jackson discusses why attacks on Old Age Security – including the Fraser Institute’s calls for increased clawbacks – serve no useful purpose: The principled argument for not clawing back OAS benefits is that all seniors should be entitled to a bare-bones public pension as a basic building block of the overall retirement income system. The OAS benefit is very low and is added to a meagre Canada Pension Plan benefit that replaces just 25 per cent of average earnings up to a maximum of $12,144 a year.…

Receiving the full OAS benefit (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: #wwtp Referendum Roundup

A few links and notes as Regina’s wastewater referendum approaches tomorrow.

- Jason Hammond explains that his Yes vote will be based largely on concerns about the City’s dishonesty and sense of entitlement in trying to push through a P3 model. And Paul Dechene provides the full list of City shenanigans throughout the referendum process.

- That is, until today – when Vanessa Brown revealed that the City is using a U.S. PR firm with a “passion (for) helping Republican candidates, elected officials, and conservative causes” – presumably to help it offer the level of accuracy and principle we’ve (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

This and that for your Labour Day reading.

- Jared Bernstein writes about the fight for fair wages in the U.S. fast food and retail industries. And Karen McVeigh notes that political decision-makers are starting to try to get in front of the parade of workers seeking a reasonable standard of living: Organisers said the strikes, scheduled a day after the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and a few days before Labor Day, were being held in 60 cities and had spread to the south – including Tampa and Raleigh – and the west, with workers in (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Simon Enoch nicely challenges the City of Regina’s blind faith in “risk transfer” by pointing out how that concept has typically been applied elsewhere: So what price should we put on such a risk transfer? This is where things can get dicey. How risks are monetized can be notoriously subjective, with empirical evidence rarely provided to “substantiate the risk allocations, making it difficult to assess their accuracy and validity.” The recent revelations from the Ontario Auditor-General’s report into the Brampton P3 hospital certainly supports this assessment, noting that “the “value for money” assessment (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Not surprisingly, this week’s revelations about Pamela Wallin have set off plenty more discussion about what’s wrong with the Senate and its current beneficiaries. Andrew Coyne recognizes that the problem lies in the design of an institution based on patronage and unaccountability rather than being merely an issue of who’s getting appointed, while Andrea Hill discusses how the Senate breeds a sense of entitlement. Rosie DiManno sees Wallin as a prime example of that phenomenon in action, while Tim Harper writes about Stephen Harper’s role in establishing his appointees’ expectation that they’d (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Joseph Stiglitz comments on the wider lessons we should take from Detroit’s bankruptcy: Detroit’s travails arise in part from a distinctive aspect of America’s divided economy and society. As the sociologists Sean F. Reardon and Kendra Bischoff have pointed out, our country is becoming vastly more economically segregated, which can be even more pernicious than being racially segregated. Detroit is the example par excellence of the seclusion of affluent (and mostly white) elites in suburban enclaves. There is a rationale for battening down the hatches: the rich thus ensure that they don’t (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- The Canadian Labour Congress calls out Jim Flaherty for stalling on his promise to work on boosting the Canada Pension Plan. Meanwhile, in attempting to keep profits flowing to the financial sector, several Fraser Institute drones find that increased CPP contributions…substantially increase the total amount saved for retirement by the middle class notwithstanding any substitutional effects. (Which leaves them stammering “ummm…choice!” “er….markets!” “aaah….FREEDOM!” in a desperate attempt to pretend workers are somehow better off with less of a secure public pension.)

- Alison is (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Pat Steenberg observes that the Harper Cons’ deficits are the result of conscious choices to reduce government revenue – and that we can fix our deficit and rein in inequality at the same time by reversing the damage: (W)hen our governments say they can no longer afford something, what they are really saying is that “we” cannot afford it. But is this really the case?

Canada’s average GDP per capita — the value of total productive output divided by the population that produced it — has continued to grow, with a few minor (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Distinction without a difference

Erin is right to question Doug Elliott’s attempt to split hairs between a “slowdown” and a “deceleration”. But Elliott’s parsing ranks a distant second behind Russ Marchuk in the field of evasive dissembling.

Shorter Marchuk: It’s outrageous that anybody would suggest we’re imposing a disastrous policy like universal standardized testing on students. Instead, our policy is one of (flips through thesaurus) unified province-wide (flipflipflip) regular (flipflip) assessments for individual pupils. Which I’m sure you can see is something totally different.

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- David Olive writes that the dangerous effects of long-term unemployment (caused in no small part by gratuitous austerity) are just as much a problem in Canada as in the U.S.: With our persistent high levels of long-term unemployment, Canada is at risk of creating a new permanent underclass. The world’s economic policymaking elite, Ottawa’s included, hasn’t grasped that its enslavement to the “austerity chic” of severe cutbacks in government’s contribution to the economy is retarding the recovery it claims to be promoting. It’s like watching a grainy newsreel of Herbert Hoover’s (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

- Julian Beltrame writes about the reality that Canada has multiple workers available to fill every job – with an assist from Erin Weir: The case for job shortages in Canada became thinner Tuesday with the most recent data showing vacancies actually fell to 200,000 at the start of the year, meaning there were 6.5 unemployed workers chasing each opening.…“This is a striking low job vacancy number and it really casts doubt on this idea that we have a labour shortage,” said Erin Weir, a labour economist with the United Steelworkers union.

(Read more…) think most of this idea of labour shortages is based on anecdotes from the business community. They might have a different definition of a labour shortage. Employers might believe that if they can’t get the employees they want at the wages they are prepared to offer — that’s a . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Lana Payne offers an introduction to austerity for Newfoundland and Labrador residents who are just learning about it on a provincial level: In Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has also taken a rather deep liking to austerity.

It is a ready-made excuse to gut government and change the positive role it should play in our lives, in building a better society, in sharing economic wealth and mitigating the inequality gap.

It is another excuse to trash government as a catalyst to build opportunities for all citizens; another excuse to turn Canada into a

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Frances Russell weighs in on the Cons’ continued contempt for democracy: The Conservatives under Stephen Harper are running an effective dictatorship. They believe they are quite within their rights to muzzle Parliament, gag civil servants, use taxpayer money for blatant political self-promotion, stand accused of trying to subvert a federal election and hand over much of Canada’s magnificent natural heritage to the multinational oil and gas lobby.

What is even more disturbing is that the national media, with a few notable exceptions, has underplayed or ignored these developments that are a clear assault

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Ruy Teixeira discusses Branko Milanovic’s finding that on a global scale, income inequality is almost entirely locked in based on an individual’s place of birth and parents’ income: Milanovic asks “How much of your income is determined at birth?”  The answer: 80 percent of your income can be accounted for by the country of your birth and the income level of your parents.  That leaves just 20 percent for age, sex, race, luck and, of course, hard work.  Wow.

In the final section of his book, Milanovic looks at

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: #skndpldr – The Dramatic Conclusion

After the first ballot results were announced yesterday, I pointed out the 20% net margin of support that Cam Broten needed to turn a close first-ballot result into a narrow win. And that turned out to be exactly what materialized: of the 2,393 votes cast initially for either Trent Wotherspoon or Erin Weir, the final result showed 18% attrition, with 51% to Broten and 31% to Ryan Meili – leading to Broten’s election as the Saskatchewan NDP’s new leader.

But in retrospect, there was another, even closer vote comparison which may have hinted at the same end result.

Notwithstanding an

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: #skndpldr – The Dramatic Conclusion

Canadian Political Viewpoints: Convention Update: And The Leader Is…

By a very tight margin, of 44 votes, the new leader of the Saskatchewan NDP is Saskatoon-Massey Place MLA. Cam Broten.

Broten edged out first ballot leader, Ryan Meili, as mentioned by a mere 44 votes; which shows that the bulk of Trent’s supporters found their way into Cam’s camp. Cam’s speech thanked his fellow candidates, emphasizing the roles he hopes all of them will play in the next election and the hopes of seeing them all in the front bench in the next NDP caucus and government.

Cam also appealed to non-supporters, calling on the need for their vision

. . . → Read More: Canadian Political Viewpoints: Convention Update: And The Leader Is…