Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Martha Friendly highlights how families at all income levels can benefit from a strong child care system: Isn’t it the Canadian way to include people from diverse groups and social classes in community institutions like public schools, community recreation facilities, public colleges and universities so all can learn to live, play and work together? Indeed, research shows that early childhood is the ideal time for beginning to learn to respect differences and diversity by engaging with and getting to know children and adults of all varieties.

Childcare as an inclusive community institution (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Nafeez Ahmed writes about the dangers of combining growing inequality and increased resource extraction: By investigating the human-nature dynamics of these past cases of collapse, the project identifies the most salient interrelated factors which explain civilisational decline, and which may help determine the risk of collapse today: namely, Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy.

These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: “the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity”; and “the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Mark Taliano discusses how corporatocracy is replacing democracy in Canada, while Jaisal Noor talks to John Weeks about the similar trend in the U.S. And DownWithTyranny reminds us how corporations came to be – and how radical a difference there is between entities which were granted limited liability only in exchange for their pursuit of public goods, and the present model in which liability shields instead serve as cover for antisocial behaviour.

- Meanwhile, Frank Graves confirms that the Cons’ goals of public austerity and enrichment of the wealthy couldn’t be (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Frank Graves recognizes that the dismal mood of young Canadians is based on the economic reality that the expected trend toward intergenerational progress has been reversed.

- Meanwhile, Jesse Myerson discusses five policy proposals which would give younger citizens a far more fair chance at success than they currently hold. Ben Irwin lists twenty elements of life in poverty which figure to be unfamiliar to anybody at higher income levels. And Dennis Raphael nicely boils down the policy choices we face in addressing family poverty: Research carried out by UNICEF points out that (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the link between personality politics and the culture of scandal that’s developed around Stephen Harper, Rob Ford and other political figures.

For further reading…- Once again, Dan Leger and Leslie MacKinnon provide the column’s starting point in discussing the central focus on scandals in 2013.- Eric Grenier’s year-end political grades offer a prime example of the type of election-results-only evaluation that feeds into the problem.- And Frank Graves discusses the Canadian public’s waning trust in its current crop of politicians.

Accidental Deliberations: On voter friendliness

Others have been quick to give Chantal Hebert’s take on the NDP more credence than it deserves. But while Hebert is right to note that there’s more to the NDP’s path forward than merely challenging Justin Trudeau, she falls into a familiar trap in assessing the party’s public appeal – and indeed rewrites an awful lot of history in the process: A strong New Democrat performance in Quebec could block the path to power for the Liberals. But it does not follow that it would pave the way for decisive NDP gains in the rest of Canada.

In 2011, Layton’s (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Frank Graves comments on the fundamental political choices we’re facing in determining whether to continue operating based on corporatist orthodoxy – and the reality that the vast majority of Canadians don’t agree with the side chosen by the Harper Cons: (T)he devil’s trade off of more inequality, lower tax rates for the wealthy and corporations and a minimal state isn’t producing the promised trickle down benefits. Monetarism, and the bumper sticker simplicity of “lower taxes + less government = prosperity for all” has been laid bare as a cruel hoax. And the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- I wouldn’t go as far as Haroon Siddiqui in suggesting that all temporary foreign worker programs be shut down entirely (at least absent some concurrent change to encourage a flow of new workers who are able to set down roots in Canada). But he’s dead on in his scathing assessment of the Cons’ current version: Now Canada is flooded with temporary workers — 338,189 as of December 2012. In fact, there may be more. Ottawa has no way of knowing how many stayed behind at the end of their temporary visas. Canada has (Read more…) exit controls.

They were all brought in ostensibly because of extensive skilled labour shortages. But with 1.33 million jobless, there’s no shortage of labour for the 250,000 job vacancies. That’s nearly six jobless Canadians for every available job.

As for skills shortages, there are certainly some. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Alberta Diary: Advice for Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau: Hammer Stephen Harper on the economy

The neoliberal Harper economy at work: a Toronto street scene, last week. Below: Thomas Mulcair, Justin Trudeau, Stephen Harper and Margaret Thatcher.

Here’s some free advice for a couple of would-be Canadian prime ministers who are both in the news these days, the NDP’s Tom Mulcair and the Liberals’ Justin Trudeau: Hammer Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the economy.

Both of them were with their party faithful yesterday – Mr. Mulcair at the final day of the NDP’s policy convention in Montreal and Mr. Trudeau at his coronation as Liberal leader in the evening in Ottawa. Either of them, it (Read more…) said here, has the potential to form the next government of Canada if the planets line up the right way.

But that means, to succeed, something is going to have to go wrong for Mr. Harper – because, as we pretty well all know, more often . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Advice for Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau: Hammer Stephen Harper on the economy

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Michael Harris discusses the impending moment of truth for the Cons in owning up to their substantive failures toward Canada’s First Nations: Whether it’s Canada’s natives or its health ministers, Stephen Harper’s preferred place for his opponents is under his thumb. He has replaced the alternating current of democracy with the direct current of oligarchy. Ordinary people remain as invisible to him now as they have been since 2006.

For that reason, Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike has been a disaster for the man who doesn’t like to negotiate, let alone negotiate with

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

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Frank Graves’ review of the current state of Canadian politics focuses in on the growing gap between the Cons’ waning interest in listening to the public, and their growing expenditures on advertising and marketing: In Canada in 2006, the federal government spent roughly the same amount of money on polling as it did on advertising (I declare a major self-interest on this point). Polling for the federal government is non-partisan and designed to solicit the feedback of citizens and clients for government on programs and policies. Government advertising is also supposed to be

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

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Crawford Kilian comments on Chrystia Freeland’s Plutocrats as a useful expression of trends many of us have seen in action for some time: (T)he plutonomy is not just booming, but skewing the still-depressed economy the rest of us live in. Many of the plutocrats reflect soberly on Andrew Carnegie’s comment that the man who dies rich dies disgraced. Many, including George Soros, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett, are giving away their billions to various causes and charities.

Individually, those causes may be admirable (Soros has worked hard to promote democracy in eastern Europe).

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

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Frank Graves writes about the decline of Canada’s middle class – and notes a parallel between the type of economy which tends to produce broad social failure, and the Cons’ familiar obsession with extraction: The other key factor is rising inequality and a failing middle class. Our evidence has shown that as economic issues have become the dominant concerns for Canadians they are — for the first time in our research — twinned at the pinnacle of public issues with blended concerns about fairness and inequality. These are not the traditional and more

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

Accidental Deliberations: On alternatives

A couple of polls this week have been used as evidence that the Cons are largely in control of the federal political scene. But I’ll argue that while each suggests the limitations of a possible course of action, taken together they point to plenty of reason for hope over the next few years.

Let’s start with Ekos’ numbers, which suggest a current 32-26-24 three-party race – which is being interpreted by Frank Graves to mean that the Cons are in a strong position due to their relatively stable base and high anticipated turnout. But to my mind, a low,

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On alternatives

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.- George Monbiot all too accurately describes the current state of politics around much of the developed world:Humankind’s greatest crisis coincides with the rise of an ideology that makes it impossible to addres… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Toby Sanger discusses how wealthy Canadians – especially in the financial sector – are making more and more use of offshore tax havens to avoid paying their fair share: The latest Statistics Canada figures  show 24% of Canadian direct investment overseas in 2011 went to the top twelve tax havens, up from 10% in 1987.   In fact, tax havens of the Barbados, Cayman Islands, Ireland, Luxembourg and Bermuda were five of the top eight national destinations of total Canadian investment abroad, with the US, UK and Australia the only countries not considered tax

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

Alex's Blog: Going, Going, Gone: Dismantling the Progressive State

“An Auction”. William Pyne and William Combe (1808).

Now that some time has passed since the federal budget it might be useful to step back and assess what it says about where the government is taking us. Reaction has been pretty muted. The “centrist punditry” generally see this as an incremental budget, business as usual, “balanced” and “mature”. For our Globe editorialists, for example, this was not the transformative budget the government promised and a majority government supposedly made possible. According to them, the budget was OK; it earned a passing grade but had no vision, not much transformation. Canadians,

. . . → Read More: Alex’s Blog: Going, Going, Gone: Dismantling the Progressive State

Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

With the NDP’s leadership campaign entering its final week, it’s no great surprise to see plenty more punditry than usual surrounding the race. But what might influence the ballots cast this week (which may end up making all the difference)?

- The most attention over the last day or so has gone to Doris Layton’s letter in support of Brian Topp – which certainly offers a stronger and more sentimental appeal than a lot of the other late-campaign messages. But given that her endorsement had already been announced, I’m far from convinced the latest appeal will make all that much

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

Accidental Deliberations: On subtle effects

I’m not the first to make the point, but I’ll briefly wade into the Frank Graves vs. Nik Nanos debate over Robocon by noting why this may be a scandal which may have far more of an impact on Canadians’ perceptions than prorogation or contempt of Parliament.

In those cases, while political observers were quick to recognize the seriousness of the Cons’ intrusion on democracy, issues about the Cons stonewalling Parliament may not have been seen to bear any link to the daily reality of Canadians – especially the “least informed, least engaged voters” who don’t much follow politics between

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On subtle effects

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Frank Graves notes that for all the spin from the Cons and their enablers about public acquescience in program slashing, there’s actually another issue taking centre stage among Canadian voters: (I)f people prefer spending cuts to increased taxes and debt, they prefer “investment” in health, education and jobs by an even larger margin. At 63 per cent, that constitutes an overwhelming majority of Canadians and that number is up modestly but significantly since the 2010 budget. The emphasis on social investment is dramatically higher among women, younger Canadians, university graduates, and among non-Conservative

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