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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: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Paul Kershaw highlights what’s most needed to support Canada’s younger generations: Even with all this personal adaptation, most in Gen X and Y can’t work their way out of the time and income squeeze when they start families. Since two earners bring home little more today than what one breadwinner often did in the 1970s, we’ve gone from 40 hour work weeks to closer to 80 hours. The result? Generations raising young kids are squeezed for time at home. They are squeezed for income because housing prices are nearly double, even though (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Henry Blodget recognizes that the systematic corporate squeeze on mere workers represents a deliberate choice rather than an inevitability: One of the big reasons the U.S. economy is so lousy is the American companies are hoarding cash and “maximizing profits” instead of investing in their people and future projects.

This behavior is contributing to record income inequality in the country and starving the primary engine of U.S. economic growth–the vast American middle class–of purchasing power. (See charts below).

If average Americans don’t get paid living wages, they can’t spend much money (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

Alex's Blog: Celebrating Public Service

Public servants celebrating the enrolment of 5 million citizens in the Ontario Hospital Insurance Plan (1959, Archives of Ontario)

Notes for talk at Public Policy Forum Dinner, April 11, 2013

I am delighted to be here with family, friends and colleagues this evening – an evening that can only be understood as a celebration of Canada’s public service. Such celebrations are pretty rare these days though the public service is an institution that deserves celebrating, and may need it now more than ever.

My hunch is that I can speak for all the former clerks here this evening that for

. . . → Read More: Alex’s Blog: Celebrating Public Service

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: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Edward Greenspon discusses the importance of a public service whose focus extends beyond the narrow interests of the government of the day: The hundreds of thousands of Canadians who work for governments, particularly those employed – in the evolving argot of recent decades – as knowledge workers or symbolic analysts or members of the creative class, are, in a sense, servants. They owe a duty of loyalty to carry out the programs and policies of the elected government of the day. But they also have a broader public duty to the pursuit . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Tanya Gold discusses how the UK Cons – like other right-wing parties around the globe – are seeking to minimize the effectiveness of government by declaring that anybody who can benefit from social support is inherently undeserving: How many benefits have been unfairly removed or reduced? But there is meaning behind this farce; it was no mistake. This is a rehearsal for the future of the welfare state, as seen through Tory spectacles – they are resentful at paying for anything. Need is now irrelevant.

The PR for the project, enthusiastically pursued by

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

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Chrystia Freeland points out why productivity doesn’t provide an accurate picture of economic development if it merely results in increased inequality rather than shared benefits: Productivity and innovation, the focus of policy makers and business leaders, no longer guarantee widely shared prosperity. “Digital technologies are different in that they allow people with skills to replicate their talents to serve billions,” Mr. Brynjolfsson said. “There is really a drastic winner-take-all effect because every industry is becoming like the software industry.” Classical economic theory isn’t entirely wrong. The danger isn’t — as it was . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Ray Grigg explains how Idle No More and other decentralized social movements may make for a crucial counterweight to the Harper Cons and their command-and-control philosophy: Systems are always bigger and more complex than the individuals who try to control them. So political systems, like ecological ones, can be influenced and guided for a while by the stringent and obsessive management of details, but the intricate convolutions within their countless interacting parts eventually expose the futility of such effort. This is now becoming apparent in the present Conservative government in Canada under the

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

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

- In response to the Fraser Institute’s latest attempt to foment panic (to be used as an excuse to attack public programs and hand yet more free money to corporations), Trish Hennessy explains the province’s choices in terms anybody should be able to understand: The austerity experiment has been waged in several European Union countries: Massive cuts in government spending for four years drove Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland into full-scale economic depression. Meanwhile, the U.K. is struggling to get off its austerity treadmill, despite the less than stellar results there.

Ontario could

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Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Murray Dobbin writes about the significance of Idle No More as a shift away from the presumption that First Nations’ interests are represented solely by elected officials: There are some fascinating similarities between the Idle No More phenomenon and the Occupy movement. Both reflect a political dualism: they are focused on the lack of democracy, justice and equality for ordinary people and they are implicitly (and with Idle No More explicitly) telling conventional movement organizations that are supposed to speak for them that they have failed. And it should come as no

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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: Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Michael Harris comments on Stephen Harper’s reckless choice to gamble that Theresa Spence in particular and First Nations issues in general will go away on their own, rather than exhibiting any leadership whatsoever: Stephen Harper has placed his bet. It is clear from his strategy that he believes he will be going neither to a meeting nor a funeral and that sufficient pressure can be brought to bear on Chief Spence that she will voluntarily discontinue her hunger strike. That is why he has placed the prestige of Leona Aglukkaq and Patrick Brazeau

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

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Chrystia Freeland discusses the developing view that inequality can serve to stifle growth and development, while more equitable tax systems and social supports can encourage them:Set aside any moral or polit… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Bill Curry reports on the Cons’ latest public-sector slashing. But there hasn’t yet been much discussion of the most alarming number: upwards of 30% of the Cons’ cuts are coming from the Canada Revenue Agency… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Chris Hayes notes that Mitt Romney’s $50,000-a-plate dinner caught on video represents a rare glimpse inside the U.S.’ plutocracy – as well as a strong argument as to why we shouldn’t allow that group to decide policy affecting the public at large:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

- Meanwhile, Linda McQuaig notes that Mitt Romney’s great mistake was to expose a bit too much of what his party has long stood for.

- The CP documents the latest example of

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

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- The Economist adds a noteworthy voice to the chorus calling for greater tax enforcement to ensure the corporate elite pays its fair share: Characterising this steady financing as short-term lending is “the ultimate example of form over substance” and undermines a fundamental tenet of American tax policy, huffed Mr Levin. When an HP executive tried to insist the manoeuvre did not constitute profit repatriation, the senator wielded an internal HP document in which it was discussed—in the repatriation-strategy section. The Senate investigators said they suspected other companies were doing the same thing but

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Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Jon Wisman and Aaron Pacitti put a price tag on the upward redistribution of wealth in the U.S.: Between 1983 and 2007, total inflation-adjusted wealth in the U.S. increased by $27 trillion. If divided equally, every man woman and child would be almost $90,000 richer.

But of course it wasn’t divided equally. Almost half of the $27 trillion (49 percent) was claimed by the richest one percent — $11.7 million more for each of their households. The top 10 percent grabbed almost $29 trillion, or 106 percent of the

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

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Winslow Wheeler compares the NDP’s F-35 hearings to politics on the opposite side of the U.S. border: The differences between Canadian politicians and members of Congress are utterly stunning. Unlike here, oversight in the Canadian Parliament is alive and well. In Canada, I found two political behaviors unheard of in the United States: Opposition politicians actually try to understand the issue they are talking about, and they take offense at being lied to.

My re-orientation started when, lo and behold, without giving long, windy, and poorly informed opening statements, the parliamentarians asked

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Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- On the anniversary of Jack Layton’s death, Tim Harper points out how far the NDP has come in just a year, while Brian Topp highlights where the party still needs to go: (W)hat to do about the federal government’s crisis of relevance? Recent Liberal and Conservative governments have worked together on a common agenda to make Canada’s national government largely irrelevant to the daily lives of most Canadians. Today’s federal government is a Parliament, it is a public service, it is an army and police force, and it is a largely unconditional bank

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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

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Tobi Cohen picks up on the possibility of a provincial NDP in Quebec, and notes that the federal party is considering what can be done before the next election after that set for September: NDP national director Chantale Vallerand told Postmedia News talks are preliminary. “There’s been so many things thrown at us in the past year that we’ve been busy making sure that we were on top of everything at the federal level so we didn’t have any time, resources or energy to devote at a provincial level,” she noted.

“Having said

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Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher keep up their reporting on Robocon by noting that Elections Canada’s trail seems to have gone cold with the use of an unsecured wifi connection to hide the identity of Pierre Poutine. But as Susan Delacourt points out, that fact only confirms that the Cons’ election fraud seems to have been rather deliberately planned to escape detection.

- Meanwhile, Delacourt also laments the effect of “churnalism” in which the media serves largely as a conduit for government or business talking points: Harper has not held a news

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Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Robert Cross and Glen McGregor point out how “Pierre Poutine” covered his tracks in the course of sending out fraudulent robocalls to direct voters away from the correct polls. And it’s particularly worth noting how blatantly the entire scheme was planned to conceal the Cons’ misdeeds even before the robocalls themselves were recorded.

- Dan Gardner rightly recognizes that the output of a political system often has much more to do with broad agreement among multiple parties rather than the choices of any “great man” at the centre of it. But I’m surprised

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