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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

Alberta Politics: Go figure! Major tobacco corporation’s unique Alberta lobbying effort focuses on Wildrose finance critic

PHOTOS: The benefits to young people of a low-tax regime for cigarettes. Real portrayals of the joys of smoking may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Cigarette smuggling – bad for the books for sure; Wildrose Party Finance Critic Derek Fildebrandt, whose 2012 Canadian Taxpayers Federation publication argued contraband cigarettes are a problem that could […]

The post Go figure! Major tobacco corporation’s unique Alberta lobbying effort focuses on Wildrose finance critic appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Alberta Politics: Labour Day 2015: Analyzing Europe’s refugee crisis through the lens of labour rights

PHOTOS: The Za’atari camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan. Below: International studies scholar Vijay Prashad; former Conservative Senator Hugh Segal. On Labour Day 2015, the world’s attention is focused on the great migration of desperate human beings streaming into Europe from the economic and military catastrophes of North Africa and the Middle East. The proximate […]

The post Labour Day 2015: Analyzing Europe’s refugee crisis through the lens of labour rights appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Alberta Politics: Shhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone: As PM, Stephen Harper’s economic performance is a bust!

PHOTOS: From the sublime to the ridiculous? Liberal Lester Pearson, the top postwar economic performer among Canadian prime ministers. Below: Stephen Harper, the bottom. Below him: Pierre Trudeau (second best) and Brian Mulroney (second worst). Below them: Unifor economists Jim Stanford and Jordan Brennan. One of the most effective ways to keep a population quiet […]

The post Shhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone: As PM, Stephen Harper’s economic performance is a bust! appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Alberta Politics: Was the Senate report on ‘countering’ the threat of terrorism intended to incite hatred for political gain?

PHOTOS: Conservative members of the Senate of Canada answer questions about their “interim report” on countering terrorist threats to Canada. Actual Conservative Senators may not appear exactly as illustrated – but close enough, unfortunately. Below: Liberal senator Grant Mitchell of Alberta, who dissented from the report; former British MP George Galloway, banned from Canada after […]

The post Was the Senate report on ‘countering’ the threat of terrorism intended to incite hatred for political gain? appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Alberta Politics: Alberta’s NDP government moves too cautiously, but in the right direction, on raising the minimum wage

PHOTOS: The government of Alberta’s spin on an increase in the minimum wage – what a contrast to the grim excuse-making of a few months ago! Below: Jobs Minister Lori Sigurdson (from the Premier of Alberta’s Flickr account), Premier Rachel Notley (photo by Dave Cournoyer) and Alberta Chambers of Commerce President Ken Kobly. They may […]

The post Alberta’s NDP government moves too cautiously, but in the right direction, on raising the minimum wage appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Alberta Politics: $15 is too low, and three years is too long to wait, for a higher Alberta minimum wage

PHOTOS: Greetings from Halifax, where a minimum wage almost as low as Alberta’s isn’t half of what a two-earner family needs to live a decent life. Can it be much different in Calgary or Edmonton? Below: Enthusiastic Tweeter Dan Kelly’s Twitter thumbnail; Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci. HALIFAX, N.S. The biggest problem with the Alberta […]

The post $15 is too low, and three years is too long to wait, for a higher Alberta minimum wage appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Alberta Politics: How weird is this? Calgary Chamber of Commerce spokesperson praises Rachel Notley’s NDP government

PHOTOS: Premier Designate Rachel Notley, in orange shoes, with her caucus. Below: Scott Crockatt, the Calgary Chamber’s communications and marketing director; Manning Centre polemicist Colin Craig. Well, these are strange times indeed when the official spokesperson for the Calgary Chamber of Commerce can extol the potential for Alberta’s just-elected New Democratic government in glowing terms, […]

The post How weird is this? Calgary Chamber of Commerce spokesperson praises Rachel Notley’s NDP government appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Matthew Yglesias points out that a particular income level may have radically different implications depending on an individual’s place in life, and that we can only address inequality by formulating policy accordingly: The median household income in the United States is about $52,000. So go ahead and picture a median-income household. What did you picture?

Did you picture a 25-year-old with a decent job who’s maybe worried about student loans but is basically doing okay? Or did you picture a married pair of 45-year-olds who are both full-time workers stuck in kinda crappy (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Even the Fraser Institute Can’t Look the Other Way But It Can’t Tell the Truth Either.

There’s a bumper sticker line that could double for the provincial motto of Alberta:  Dear God, Please Give Us One More Oil Boom and, This Time, We Promise We Won’t Piss It Away.Now, with another boom gone bust, Alberta has fallen back into a raging deficit and even the uber-Right Fraser Institute can’t bite its tongue although it can’t face facts either.  Naturally, the neo-liberal Fraser Institute sees workers’ wages, especially government workers’ wages, as the culprit.

Ten years ago, before the boom started in earnest, Alberta spent $8,965 (in 2013 dollars) per person in program spending. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Nicholas Kristof discusses how U.S. workers have suffered as a result of declining union strength. And Barry Critchley writes that Canada’s average expected retirement age has crept over 65 – with that change coming out of necessity rather than worker choice.

- Alex Andreou rightly slams the concept of “defensive architecture” intended to eliminate the poor from sight rather than actually addressing poverty: “When you’re designed against, you know it,” says Ocean Howell, who teaches architectural history at the University of Oregon, speaking about anti-skateboarding designs. “Other people might not see it, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Jim Stanford highlights the fact that a deficit obsession may have little to do with economic development – and calls out the B.C. Libs for pretending that the former is the same as the latter: I found especially objectionable the article’s uncritical cheerleading for expenditure restraint, praising the government for below-average per capita spending on health care and education, and for welfare rates that are “frozen in time.”  Why are these things assumed to be “good”? To the contrary, the lasting debts that B.C. is accumulating by underinvesting so badly (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Sunday reading.

- Nicholas Kristof writes about the empathy gap which causes far too many wealthier citizens to devalue those who don’t have as much. Jesse Singal observes that the primary effect of wealth on well-being is to reduce downside rather than improve happiness – signalling that we might be best served pursuing policies aimed at improving financial security across the income scale. And Lucy Mangan discusses what’s missing from the people who refuse to understand the effect of poverty – particularly when they’re best positioned to do something to alleviate it: Politicians, for example, are (Read more…)

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Fraser Institute and Laughably Flawed Analysis #nlpoli

The latest Fraser Institute assessment of the financial management prowess of premiers is to sound economic analysis what homeopathy to curing cancer.

The Fraser Institute issued a news release on the first anniversary of Kathy Dunderdale’s departure from politics that declared her the best fiscal manager of all the country’s premiers. 

That wasn’t sarcasm.

That’s what they said.

(Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Danielle Smith’s conduct and the mass Wildrose defection must be seen as character issues

Former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith with her new boss, Premier Jim Prentice, at yesterday’s news conference announcing the defection of the nine Wildrose caucus members to the Progressive Conservative Party. (Photo by Dave Cournoyer, used with permission.) Below: Another shot of the pair in an informal moment at the start of the news conference.

It’s a character issue.

Certainly the recent conduct of the leadership of the Wildrose Party, which this afternoon culminated with the desertion of most of its key elected officials to Premier Jim Prentice’s ruling Progressive Conservative caucus leaving their loyalists and supporters in the (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Some thoughts starting from a Fraser Institute graph

I’ve been meaning to post something on a chart from a Fraser Institute report for a while but slept on it. The chart comes from Fraser’s annual Consumer Tax Report and is supposed to show the different paths taken by how much households pay in taxes and how much they spend on basic goods like food and housing.

In one way, this chart represents a good news story for the right. Capitalism is fulfilling one of its major promises: the cost of the basic goods is decreasing relative to household budgets – in the aggregate, which given an increasingly unequal (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Deep thought

In general, we should be appalled by the idea of letting catastrophic climate change run amok and force people to abandon their homes and communities.

But for a few self-selected people, it’s tough not to see some poetic justice in the possibility.

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Manuel Perez-Rocha writes about the corrosive effect of allowing businesses to dictate public policy through trade agreements: (C)orporations are increasingly using investment and trade agreements — specifically, the investor-state dispute settlement provisions in them — to bring opportunistic cases in arbitral courts, circumventing decisions states deem in their best interest. And now investor-state dispute settlement provisions may be enshrined in two new treaties: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and Trans-Pacific Partnership, currently under negotiation between, respectively, the United States and the European Union, and the United States and 11 Asia-Pacific nations. If (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Collapse of rickety Wildrose coalition of market fanatics and religious fundamentalists could be bad-news/good-news story for Alberta’s NDP

A recent meeting of the Wildrose Party Legislative caucus. Actual members of the official Opposition party may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: NDP Leader Rachel Notley and Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith.

Monday’s bombshell that the rickety coalition of ideological market-perfection fanatics and social-conservative religious fundamentalists called the Wildrose Party was coming unstuck may turn out to be a bad-news/good-news story for Alberta’s New Democrats.

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith’s big problem – other than the fact she appeared to have been completely out of the loop last week about the upcoming defections of MLAs Kerry Towle and Ian Donovan – (Read more…)