This and that for your Thursday reading.
– Jordan Brennan points out why Nova Scotia (and other jurisdictions) should move past austerity economics: The McNeil Liberals appear set to rack up budgetary surpluses through a strategy of public sector wage suppression. This is likely to backfire. It is an elementary insight of economic analysis that, . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
– Thomas Walkom writes that the federal Libs’ idea of “real change” for the economy reflects nothing more than the same old stale neoliberal playbook: At its core, the federal government’s “bold” new plan for economic growth is strikingly familiar.
The scheme, worked out by Finance Minister Bill . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links
“Politics, Re-Spun” is now WePivot.net!
but why, you scream in horror!
next month is the 14th anniversary of Politics, Re-Spun…it’s time for a reframing/rebranding/pivot to something more…betterer, or more bigly, if you will.
14 years ago, in the twisted Orwellian months after 9/11 where words did not mean what words are, it was important to . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Goodbye, Politics, Re-Spun! Hello, WePivot.net!
Congratulations, Toronto Blue Jays on another exciting season!
Let’s hope that before the Atlanta B****s or Cleveland I*****s come back to Toronto they will have changed their name. And as I’ve argued in the past, the process of fixing racist team names can itself be a reconciliation moment.
A moment that you can help bring . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Fixing the Cleveland I*****s Racist Team Name
Quite simply, if a politician dangles child welfare money to anyone, but makes it contingent on embracing a sick LNG plant, what does that smell like to you?
I think it smells the same as when she tells a school board to close schools or else they don’t get seismic upgrading money.
I think . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: What the BC Premier’s Reconciliation Smells Like
David Suzuki on the crisis of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada, and the “hard work and leadership of Indigenous women and communities who have spent decades calling for an inquiry.”
The post David Suzuki: Confronting the crisis of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
. . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: David Suzuki: Confronting the crisis of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
– Baratunde Thurston makes the point that even beyond income and wealth inequality, there’s an obviously unfair distribution of second chances in the U.S. depending on one’s race and class. Denis Campbell reports on the link between poverty and childhood obesity, while Jen St. Denis highlights how poverty . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links
I so hope you had a wonderful Indigenous Peoples’ Day yesterday!
In “America” there is a movement to replace the systemically racist Columbus Day. It’s spreading briskly; soon it may reach the 100th Monkey and spread across Turtle Island.
In Canada, we had Thanksgiving Day, for all the cornucopia reasons you can think of.
But . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!
Italian-North Americans — especially those of us with roots in the Mezzogiorno (and I include the Ciociaria and Abbruzzo here) — don’t need a Genoese genocidal rapist as our hero. It’s time to eliminate Columbus Day. It’s time for #IndigenousPeoplesDay Some good reading and watching: ‘All Indians Are Dead?’ At Least That’s What Most . . . → Read More: Joe Fantauzzi: Columbus is no hero of mine
In Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving Day today, a slight improvement on Columbus day, which institutionalizes systemic racism.
Columbus Day celebrates white supremacy. It’s time to stop that now. If you need some elaboration, read this.
Seattle did it 2 years ago. Now Vermont has figured out a first step in a solution: turning Columbus Day . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Columbus Day is Institutionalized Racism
This and that for your Sunday reading.
– Cindy Blackstock offers a reminder of Canada’s long and shameful history of discrimination against First Nations children. And Donna Ferreiro takes a look at some of the faces of the Sixties Scoop which saw Indigenous children separated from their families due solely to racial and cultural . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links
If you’re wondering about what kind of spin cycle Trudeau [#TheNewHarper] put the Royals through to smooth over First Nations discontent with the 21st century version of settler imperialism?
Justin Trudeau’s relationship with indigenous people and the politics of William and Kate’s Canadian Royal tour
A cynic might question if the prime minister . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Trudeau Spins the Royals
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
– David Boyle discusses how the principle of free trade – once intended to empower consumers against monopolies – is instead being used to lock in corporate control: (T)he original idea of free trade was not a simple licence to do whatever you wanted, if you were rich . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links
This and that for your Sunday reading.
– Mary O’Hara notes that even a relatively modest and incomplete set of progressive policies has created some important movement toward reducing poverty. And conversely, Caroline Mortimer writes that child poverty is exploding under the Conservative majority government in the UK.
– Dean Beeby reports on the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links
At least 1281 archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, students and museum directors from the US, Canada and other countries recently signed a letter condemning the destruction of Standing Rock Sioux burial grounds and sacred sites by the Dakota Access Pipeline company.
The post Over 1280 archaeologists and historians denounce Dakota Access Pipeline appeared first on The . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Over 1280 archaeologists and historians denounce Dakota Access Pipeline
Here, on how a recent spate of announcements signals that contrary to their campaign commitments in both theme and detail, there’s been little difference between the Trudeau Liberals and the Harper Conservatives in substance.
For further reading…– The point is one being made by plenty of other observers as well in various contexts, including Ross . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: New column day
Genocide can take place in slow motion, just like weapons of mass destruction.
When I learned that people were calling land mines “weapons of mass destruction, in slow motion,” it became obvious that we can practice social/cultural/human genocide in slow motion too.
Understanding racism and genocide is no simpler than this, from Zianna . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: End Our Slow Motion Genocide!
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
– John Quiggin argues that public services and corporate control don’t mix – no matter how desperately the people seeking to exploit public money try to pretend otherwise: Market-oriented reforms, particularly in the provision of human services like health, education and public safety, have begun with a working . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links
This and that for your weekend reading.
– Naomi Klein discusses how Canada’s longstanding – if far from inevitable – identity as a resource economy is standing in the way of both needed action on climate change and reconciliation with First Nations:
In Canada, cultivation and industrialization were secondary. First and foremost, this country was built on voraciously devouring wildness. Canada was an extractive company – the Hudson’s Bay Company – before it was a country. And that has shaped us in ways we have yet to begin to confront.
Because such enormous fortunes have been built purely on the extraction of wild animals, intact forest and interred metals and fossil fuels, our economic elites have grown accustomed to seeing the natural world as their God-given larder.
When someone or something – like climate science – comes along and says: Actually, there are limits, we have to take less from the Earth and keep more profit for the public good, it doesn’t feel like a difficult truth. It feels like an existential attack.
The trouble isn’t just the commodity roller coaster. It’s that the stakes grow larger with each boom-bust cycle. The frenzy for cod crashed a species; the frenzy for bitumen and fracked gas is helping to crash the planet.
Today, we have federal and provincial governments that talk a lot about reconciliation. But this will remain a cruel joke if non-Indigenous Canadians do not confront the why behind those human-rights abuses. And the why, as the Truth and Reconciliation report states, is simple enough: “The Canadian government pursued this policy of cultural genocide because it wished to divest itself of its legal and financial obligations to Aboriginal people and gain control over their land and resources.”
The goal, in other words, was to remove all barriers to unrestrained resource extraction. This is not ancient history. Across the country, Indigenous land rights remain the single greatest barrier to planet-destabilizing resource extraction, from pipelines to clear-cut logging.
– Susan Delacourt highlights
Charlie Angus’ frustration with the Libs’ Teletubbie political style, while Tony Burman notes that Middle East relations represent just one more area where Justin Trudeau’s actions couldn’t be much further from his rhetoric.
– But Ethan Cox’ report
on an Indigenous treaty alliance also signals what may the most effective response – as rather than allowing the Libs to feign friendship while pursuing another agenda, First Nations are presenting a united and direct contrast to Trudeau’s plans. And Doug Cuthand points out
the widespread protest against the Dakota Access pipeline as the latest and largest example of that solidarity being put into action.
– Meanwhile, Marc Lee signals what we might expect from a federal climate change action plan based on the working groups currently reviewing the options.
– Laurie Monsebraaten reports on a needed push to ensure that child care funding is used to create not-for-profit spaces. And Ashifa Kassam points to Wellington’s loss of water rights to Nestle as a prime example of what happens when corporate dollars trump public needs.
– Finally, Alon Weinberg discusses why now is the time to implement a proportional electoral system in Canada. And Craig Scott makes the case for mixed-member proportional over the other options under consideration. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links
The next world wars won’t be about land or oil. They’ll be about water. And Canada could be the next Iraq, invaded and decimated for the abundance of our natural resources. We have to stop corporate control over our most necessary resource now before … . . . → Read More: A Puff of Absurdity: Water Wars and the Last Straw
This and that for your Thursday reading.
– Branko Milanovic examines whether the U.S.’ tax system is actually progressive all the way to the top of the income spectrum – and finds that there’s not enough data about the treatment of the extremely wealthy to be sure. And Robert Cribb and Marco Chown Oved discuss the latest Panama Papers revelations showing the large-scale stashing of Canadian assets in the Bahamas.
– Laura Wright reports that Canada’s federal government has approved secret surveillance technology which leaves the public in the dark as to which of its communications are subject to eavesdropping.
– Meanwhile, the federal government is rather less interested in the public safety concerns involved in documenting the fires on the First Nations reserves within its jurisdiction – having abandoned that task in 2010.
– Ross Belot writes that there’s no point in approving and building new pipelines at the moment other than political posturing. And the CP reports on the connection between air pollution from tar sands developments and the health of residents of the area.
– Finally, Adnan Al-Daini is encouraged by Sweden’s move toward a repair-not-replace mindset, and suggests the idea should spread further:
If more countries followed the Swedish example, think of the impact that would have globally on our CO2 emissions. Manufacturing goods is energy intensive. The website “Fix it-Don’t replace it” gives the example of the iphone6 where 85% of its lifecycle’s carbon footprint is from manufacturing it, not using it and another 3% from shipping it.
Climate change is with us already and such measures are needed as a matter of urgency. Such a proposal should not be a party political issue. Good quality jobs would be created in the country where the appliance is used. It would save the consumer money, and it is good for the environment.
Could we do something similar in Britain? Does this have to be a political issue and parties have to have it in their manifestos before it could happen? I don’t see where disagreement between parties could arise.
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
– Paul Wells argues that climate change and First Nations reconciliation – two of the issues which the Libs have tried to turn into signature priorities – look set to turn into areas of weakness as Justin Trudeau continues his party’s tradition of dithering. And Martin Lukacs writes that Trudeau’s handling of continuing injustice facing First Nations has involved an awful lot of flash but virtually no action:
The extractivist worldview—bent on treating everything as a commodity—that lay behind Stephen Harper’s resource agenda just as powerfully shapes Trudeau’s. In fact, the Liberals’ attempt to wrap themselves in the UN Declaration without embracing its central right may constitute a new, more subtle form of extraction: the extraction from Indigenous territory of consent itself.
Liberal moves to extract and manufacture consent and support for outdated policies are evident elsewhere: restoring funding to the Assembly of First Nations, a government-dependent organization that has since plumped frequently for them; appointing an Indigenous Justice Minister, even though Indigenous critics argue she has sided with the government agenda throughout her political career; and agreeing to call an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, but with a mandate far short of what impacted families wanted. As the weight of reality presses against Trudeau’s rhetoric, the ability to generate consent is crumbling.
Reconciliation is a powerful hope, an uplifting prospect, a deeply desired new relationship that Trudeau has compellingly invoked. But if reconciliation does not include the restitution of land, the recognition of real self-government, the reigning in of abusive police, the remediation of rivers and forests, it will remain a vacant notion, a cynical ploy to preserve a status quo in need not of tinkering but transformation. It will be Canada’s latest in beads and trinkets, a cheap simulation of justice.
– Guy Caron discusses the CRA’s role in Canada’s two-tier tax system. Stephen Punwasi comments on the connection between Canada’s willingness to facilitate tax avoidance, and the real estate bubbles driving housing prices far beyond what working-class Canadians can afford. And Marc Lee then highlights the connection between soaring urban real estate prices and increased inequality.
– David Ball notes that many municipalities are retaking control over their own services after learning that the promises of efficiency through privatization are entirely illusory.
– Richard Orange points out Sweden’s intriguing idea of reducing taxes on repair services to discourage people from throwing out consumer goods. But I’d wonder whether that step alone would make a dent if it isn’t paired with a concerted effort at training potential repair workers for a job which the corporate sector would prefer to eliminate.
– Finally, Paul Mason makes the case for economics to be based on real-world observations of human behaviour, rather than insular mathematical models whose assumptions about market efficiency bear no relationship to reality. And Branko Milanovic discusses the need to measure and reduce inequality as part of a global development strategy. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links
Assorted content to end your week.
– Henning Meyer interviews Tony Atkinson about the readily-available options to combat inequality – with the first step being to make sure people actually have a voice in the decisions which define how wealth and power are allocated:
So, if you dive into the potential solutions you seem to suggest institutional changes. You mentioned that public policy should aim at a proper balance of power amongst stakeholders; what exactly do you mean by this?
Well I think I should say first of all that my aim in writing the book was to try and dispel the sort of sense of inevitability about high inequality and therefore I was putting forward various ways of seeking to understand why it comes about and therefore how we can moderate it. And I think one of the things that has certainly happened is that institutions, like for example corporate institutions, companies, which used to have a broader view of their responsibilities, that they recognised that they had a responsibility in addition to that to their shareholders – also to their workers and to their consumers and their customers.
And I think it’s this broader notion of the social obligations of institutions and of course of individuals as well that we have responsibilities beyond both our own personal economic gains and losses. So I think that it’s part of a reaction that I have had to what seems to be a narrowing to a very much individual based self-interest which has come to emerge in the last two or three decades.
Okay, and then new ideas like Michael Porter’s shared value capitalism, they try to sort of, not revive the old dichotomy between shareholder and stakeholder models but try to align public and private interest in addressing some of the most pressing social and economic needs. Could that be one way of addressing these considerations?
Yes, I think in a sense part of the issues arise because we had in the post-war period some kind of balance of power between on the one side employers and the other side often trade unions or workers’ representatives. And that of course has shifted in quite a number of countries as a result of a number of things including, for example, the effect of privatisation resulting in reducing the power of trade unions to influence the behaviour of those institutions. So, I think we’ve seen a shift of power definitely away from workers towards capital, those who run firms.
So I think a number of proposals were designed to try and at least make sure that those interests of workers and indeed consumers should be represented. And a good example is provided by the negotiations with regard to trade agreements which seem to involve only one side as it were of that equation.
– And Van Jones writes that the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade deals are set up to block action against climate change.
– CUPE points out the leakage of massive amounts of revenue to tax havens and avoidance as a crucial factor in austerity politics. And Craig Wong reports on the latest increase in Canadian consumer debt as people borrow to try to make up for the lack of advancement in wages.
– Susan Ochs discusses Wells Fargo’s widespread fraud as yet another example of workers and consumers being punished for the misdeeds of high-ranking executives.
– Alia Dharssi continues her reporting on migrant workers in Canada by highlighting how recruitment agencies exploit workers who can’t stand up for themselves. And Chris Buckley argues that labour and employment laws in general need to be updated, particularly to protect people stuck with precarious work.
– Finally, APTN reports on the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s latest order requiring the federal government to stop discriminating against First Nations children – though the fact that two previous orders haven’t led to the government complying signals that the Libs’ in following through may be rather less than advertised. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links
Members of the Treat 8 “Justice for the Peace” Caravan (Photo: Gary McNutt)
Submitted by Andrea Palframan
On September 12, the Federal Court of Appeal in Montreal will hear the latest legal challenge to the massive Site C hydroelectric dam already under construction on Treaty 8 territory in northeast British Columbia. First Nations . . . → Read More: The Common Sense Canadian: Justice for Peace Caravan tells Trudeau: Keep your promises to First Nations