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Alberta Politics: Right-wing newspaper owners want your taxes to subsidize their obsolete, mismanaged, biased publications

PHOTOS: A typical daily newspaper press, once a common sight in small cities and larger towns throughout North America. This one was photographed through a window Tuesday in Brigadoon, Alberta, so it should be good as is for another 10 years. Oh, wait, I made it out of town this afternoon … it must’ve been . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Right-wing newspaper owners want your taxes to subsidize their obsolete, mismanaged, biased publications

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.- Dennis Howlett discusses the public costs of allowing tax avoidance – as Canada could afford a national pharmacare program (and much more) merely by ensuring that the rich pay what they owe:Eliminating tax haven… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

– Dennis Howlett discusses the public costs of allowing tax avoidance – as Canada could afford a national pharmacare program (and much more) merely by ensuring that the rich pay what they owe:

Eliminating tax haven use could save Canada almost $8 billion a year. That’s enough to cover universal public prescription coverage almost eight times over.

Time after time, budget after budget, poll after poll, those in charge make it sound as if we’re too poor as a country to afford the programs that would really improve Canadians’ lives. The fact that revenues are lost to poor policy on tax havens and loopholes is often conveniently ignored.

At this stage of the game, the federal finance minister doesn’t need to raise taxes to pay for pharmacare. Bill Morneau just has to make sure that Canadian multinationals and wealthy individuals pay the tax rate we already have. That isn’t happening right now.

It’s simple. Canadians can continue to support a tax system that lets the richest avoid paying $8 billion in taxes annually — or we can tell them that the party’s over. Instead of ignoring what is happening in the Cayman Islands, Panama and other tax havens, we can urge our politicians to invest the taxes owing on those billions into services that benefit individuals, families, communities and the country as a whole.

There is solid data supporting raising taxes in some areas. But that’s an argument for another day. The issue at hand right now is that we do have enough money for pharmacare — likely enough for public dental care as well. Through a series of misguided and outdated decisions driven by the tax dodge lobby, we are needlessly and destructively giving up that revenue.

It’s time to fix those old mistakes and use the tax system to help this country live up to its potential.

– Meanwhile, Owen Jones discusses a European Commission ruling finding that Apple can’t validly avoid paying tax through a special arrangement with Ireland. And the Star rightly slams the Fraser Institute for presenting a misleading picture of where public revenue comes from and what it can accomplish.

– The CP reports on the Libs’ plans to facilitate the use of temporary foreign workers for liquid natural gas projects in British Columbia – meaning that the last supposed benefit for the province of engaging in a dangerous industry seems to be as illusory as all the others. And Jeremy Nuttall notes that Justin Trudeau seems set to open the door even wider to entrench the use of exploitable foreign labour by multinational corporations. 

– Finally, Catherine Cullen reports on the effects of privatized health care insurance which are being presented in an effort to defend Canada’s medicare system from would-be profiteers:

John Frank, a Canadian physician who is now chairman of public health research and policy at the University of Edinburgh, argues in his report that more private health care “would be expected to adversely affect Canadian society as a whole.”

He cites research that suggests public resources, including highly trained nurses and doctors, would be siphoned off by the private system.

More Canadians would face financial hardship or even — in extreme cases — “medical bankruptcy” from paying for private care, he writes.

Frank even suggests there could be deadly consequences. He says complications from privately funded surgeries often need to be dealt with in the public system because private facilities are generally less equipped to handle complex cases.

“If such complications, arising from privately funded care, are not promptly referred to an appropriately equipped and staffed care facility, the patient is likely to experience death or long-term disability, potentially leading to reduced earnings and financial hardship.”

Overall, “in my expert opinion,” Frank writes, the change would reduce fairness and efficiency and “society as a whole would be worse off.”

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

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.- Jim Hightower argues that there’s no reason the U.S. can’t develop an economic model which leads to shared prosperity – and the ideas are no less relevant in Canada:Take On Wall Street is both the name and th… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

– Jim Hightower argues that there’s no reason the U.S. can’t develop an economic model which leads to shared prosperity – and the ideas are no less relevant in Canada:

Take On Wall Street is both the name and the feisty attitude of a nationwide campaign that a coalition of grassroots groups has launched to do just that: take on Wall Street. The coalition, spearheaded by the Communication Workers of America, points out there is nothing natural or sacred about today’s money-grabbing financial complex. Far from sacrosanct, the system of finance that now rules over us has been designed by and for Wall Street speculators, money managers and big bank flimflammers. So, big surprise, rather than serving our common good, the system is corrupt, routinely serving their uncommon greed at everyone else’s expense.

The coalition’s structural reforms include:
1. Getting the corrupting cash of corporations and the superrich out of politics with an overturning of Citizens United v. FEC and providing a public system for financing America’s elections.

2. Stopping “too big to fail” banks from subsidizing their high-risk speculative gambling with the deposits of  ordinary customers. Make them choose to be a consumer bank or a casino, but not both.

3. Institute a tiny “Robin Hood tax” on Wall Street speculators to discourage their computerized gaming of the system, while also generating hundreds of billions of tax dollars to invest in America’s real economy.

4. Restore low-cost, convenient “postal banking” in our post offices to serve millions of Americans who’re now at the mercy of predatory payday lenders and check-cashing chains.

– Juliette Garside reports on the EU’s efforts to get the U.S. to agree to basic reporting to rein in offshore tax evasion. And Heather Long points out Joseph Stiglitz’ criticisms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership as enriching corporations at the expense of citizens.

– Amy Maxmen notes that a non-profit system can develop new drugs far more affordably than the current corporate model – and without creating the expectation of windfall profits that currently underlies the pharmaceutical industry.

– Jordan Press offers a preview of a federal strategy for homeless veterans featuring rental subsidies and the building of targeted housing units – which leads only to the question of why the same plan wouldn’t be applied to address homelessness generally.

– Alan Shanoff comments on the many holes in Ontario’s employment standards (which are generally matched elsewhere as well).

– Finally, Dougald Lamont highlights the many ways in which the Fraser Institute’s anti-tax spin misleads the media about how citizens relate to Canadian governments.

[Edit: fixed wording.] . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.- Owen Jones discusses the UK’s experience with privatized rail as yet another example of how vital services become more costly and worse-run when put in corporate hands.- Sean McElwee highlights still more resea… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.- Owen Jones discusses the UK’s experience with privatized rail as yet another example of how vital services become more costly and worse-run when put in corporate hands.- Sean McElwee highlights still more resea… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

daveberta.ca – Alberta Politics: July 6 is Jason Kenney Day in Alberta Politics

Conservative Member of Parliament Jason Kenney is expected to announce his candidacy for the leader of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta tomorrow, July 6, in Calgary, deliver a speech in Grande Prairie that evening and then trave… . . . → Read More: daveberta.ca – Alberta Politics: July 6 is Jason Kenney Day in Alberta Politics

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.- Mark Karlin interviews Richard Wolff about the relationship between unfettered capitalism and poverty:How is poverty an inevitable by-product of capitalism? Doesn’t this make all these charitable drives “to … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Alberta Politics: Albertans hear the same old same old as fast-food restaurant owners grow hysterical over minimum wage

PHOTOS: Alberta Labour Minister Christina Gray, who is sticking to her guns on the provincial government’s plans to raise the provincial minimum wage to $15 by 2018. Below: Notable fair wage campaigners, Joe Ceci, finance minister of Alberta; Frankli… . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Albertans hear the same old same old as fast-food restaurant owners grow hysterical over minimum wage

Alberta Politics: Explaining how the right wing echo chamber operates … operates … operates … The Strange Case of the Canada Pension Plan

PHOTOS: “Alright, everyone, here’s what we’re gonna say: ‘Expanding the CPP is a solution in search of a problem.’ Everybody got that? Fraser? Check! APEC? Check! CFIB? Check! Taxpayers? Check! … ” Actual right-wing echo chamber conferenc… . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Explaining how the right wing echo chamber operates … operates … operates … The Strange Case of the Canada Pension Plan

Alberta Politics: When Tories, the Fraser Institute and media team up to attack plans to improve the CPP, you have to know it needs fixing!

ILLUSTRATIONS: A luxurious retirement? Do you get the feeling that ship may have sailed? Well, rich conservatives and their flunkies want you to think that a better Canada Pension Plan is a bad idea anyway. Below: Conservative Party of Canada Finance C… . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: When Tories, the Fraser Institute and media team up to attack plans to improve the CPP, you have to know it needs fixing!

Cowichan Conversations: Corky Evans: How You can help save the ALR in 5 min

This call from Corky to help save our farmland is one to be heeded. Originally posted in the Commonsense Canadian it is followed by a Damien Gillis piece with Harold Steves, a Richmond councillor and Read more… . . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Corky Evans: How You can help save the ALR in 5 min

Alberta Politics: It’s official: Departure of oil sands and hockey billionaire Murray Edwards had nothing to do with taxes

ILLUSTRATIONS: Alberta’s terrifying Temple of Tax, found on the media midway. So scary it even frightens billionaires away. Really! Below: Dr. Samuel Johnson, noted wit, N. Murray Edwards, oil sands billionaire (CBC photo), and Mr. James Boswell, bio… . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: It’s official: Departure of oil sands and hockey billionaire Murray Edwards had nothing to do with taxes

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- David Crane identifies the good news in the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s report on climate change – which is that we can meet our greenhouse gas emissions targets through readily feasible policy choices as long a… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Alberta Politics: There’s nothing ‘independent’ or ‘blue-ribbon’ about the Wildrose Party’s ‘Equalization Fairness Panel’

PHOTOS: How the Frontier Centre views Canada’s Equalization Program. Oh! Wait! That’s a 19th Century temperance poster. Same difference, basically. Below: The Wildrose Party’s four Frontier-Centre-associated “equalization fairness” panelists:… . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: There’s nothing ‘independent’ or ‘blue-ribbon’ about the Wildrose Party’s ‘Equalization Fairness Panel’

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Fraser Institute, National Post, and other fools #nlpoli

If the issue wasn’t so serious, it would be funny.Newfoundland and Labrador is up the financial creek, according to Charles Lammam, an analyst with the Fraser Institute,  in a new opinion piece with a couple of his colleagues..  The cause is … . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Fraser Institute, National Post, and other fools #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Fraser Institute, National Newswatch, and other fools #nlpoli

If the issue wasn’t so serious, it would be funny.Newfoundland and Labrador is up the financial creek, according to Charles Lammam, an analyst with the Fraser Institute,  in a new opinion piece with a couple of his colleagues..  The… . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Fraser Institute, National Newswatch, and other fools #nlpoli

Alberta Politics: Fearless champion of the corporate overdog snarls at CCPA’s eye-popping New Year CEO salary tally

PHOTOS: Beggars and bazillionaires, not really as far apart as you think, the Fraser Institute insists. Top 100 Canadian corporate executives may not appear exactly as illustrated. Minimum wage workers, though? Not so different. Below: CCPA researcher … . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Fearless champion of the corporate overdog snarls at CCPA’s eye-popping New Year CEO salary tally

Alberta Politics: Progress Alberta, new progressive advocacy group, will make waves … not just with opponents but maybe on own side too

PHOTOS: The Alberta Legislature, suitably decorated for the province’s progressive and proudly diverse population. Below: Progress Alberta Executive Director Duncan Kinney. Progress Alberta, a new group that describes itself as “a multi-issue, inde… . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Progress Alberta, new progressive advocacy group, will make waves … not just with opponents but maybe on own side too

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Let’s hear it for the Fraser Institute geniuses #nlpoli

A year after Kathy Dunderdale left office, the Fraser Institute said she was one of the best fiscal managers of all the Premiers in Canada.Provincial Conservatives repeated the story anywhere and everywhere they could, just as they had done the other t… . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Let’s hear it for the Fraser Institute geniuses #nlpoli

Alberta Politics: Baked Alaska and the Fraser Institute: what changes, and what doesn’t, when oil prices fall and the money melts

PHOTOS: Alaska Governor Bill Walker illustrates about how much is left in the northern state’s budget now that oil prices have gone south. (Alaska Dispatch News photo.) Below: The wild rose, official flower of both Alaska and Alberta; baked Alaska, g… . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Baked Alaska and the Fraser Institute: what changes, and what doesn’t, when oil prices fall and the money melts

Alberta Politics: Canadian market-fundamentalist right looks to ‘Super PACs’ like so-called Alberta Prosperity Fund to grab back power

PHOTOS: ‘Super PACs’ have access to corporate vaults, and very little control or oversight of what they do with the money they’re given. Below: Alberta Prosperity Fund Director Barry McNamar, APF Advisory Council members Dave Rutherford and Camer… . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Canadian market-fundamentalist right looks to ‘Super PACs’ like so-called Alberta Prosperity Fund to grab back power

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Kaylie Tiessen offers some important lessons from Ontario’s child poverty strategy – with the most important one being the importance of following through. And Christian Ledwell encourages Prince Edward Isl… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Alberta Politics: Big Tobacco’s doubtful claim high taxes encourage cigarette smuggling finds support on Alberta’s Wildrose benches

PHOTOS: Young cigarette smokers in 1910. The tobacco industry and its friends on the Opposition benches think high tobacco taxes are a problem. Below: Wildrose Party Finance Critic Derek Fildebrandt, an advocate of this view; NDP Finance Minister Joe C… . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Big Tobacco’s doubtful claim high taxes encourage cigarette smuggling finds support on Alberta’s Wildrose benches