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Political Eh-conomy: The alternative to economic fatalism

The Bank of Canada today cut its benchmark interest rate today to nearly record lows, now just 0.5%. In the face of an oil shock and other weakness, monetary policy is expected to do the heavy lifting of beating an economic funk. Today’s move reflects a poverty of economic policy from the ruling Conservatives and much of the political class.

Harper has been adamant that Canada’s downturn—now very likely a recession, about which his own Finance Minister remains in denial—is the result of global forces. There’s nothing that can be done to counteract a host of external (Read more…)

Michal Rozworski » Political Eh-conomy: Canada’s new recession and the push for alternatives

The Bank of Canada today cut its benchmark interest rate today to nearly record lows, now just 0.5%. In the face of an oil shock and other weakness, monetary policy is expected to do the heavy lifting of beating an economic funk. Today’s move reflects a poverty of economic policy from the ruling Conservatives and much of the political class.

Harper has been adamant that Canada’s downturn—now very likely a recession, about which his own Finance Minister remains in denial—is the result of global forces. There’s nothing that can be done to counteract a host of external (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Quick thoughts on Vancouver’s transit referendum “No”

Here are a few quick, initial thoughts on Vancouver’s transit referendum, where new transit funding paid for by a regional sales tax was rejected roughly 60% to 40%. You might want to read on even if you’re not from Vancouver: after all, it isn’t the only property-value-driven urban “utopia” where public services, public spaces and people themselves are being pushed out by elites.

(1) The result is unhappy, but not unexpected. The process was designed to fail and it has succeeded at that task with flying colours: the provincial government took an area of long-standing funding responsibility, turned its expansion into a vote on (Read more…)

Michal Rozworski » Political Eh-conomy: Quick thoughts on Vancouver’s transit referendum “No”

Here are a few quick, initial thoughts on Vancouver’s transit referendum, where new transit funding paid for by a regional sales tax was rejected roughly 60% to 40%. You might want to read on even if you’re not from Vancouver: after all, it isn’t the only property-value-driven urban “utopia” where public services, public spaces and people themselves are being pushed out by elites.

(1) The result is unhappy, but not unexpected. The process was designed to fail and it has succeeded at that task with flying colours: the provincial government took an area of long-standing funding responsibility, turned its expansion into a vote on (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: TRC report: Canadian party leaders avoided term “cultural genocide”

Last week’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission report called Canada’s residential school policy “cultural genocide”. Reacting, both Trudeau and Mulcair avoided mentioning the two loaded words.

The post TRC report: Canadian party leaders avoided term “cultural genocide” appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Joe Fantauzzi: Ontario’s Common Sense Revolution at 20: A Look Back

Today marks 20 years since the Progressive Conservative Party foisted its so-called “Common Sense Revolution” on Ontario. Former PC Ontario leader Tim Hudak took to Twitter this morning to extol the virtues of this full-throated neoliberal experiment, declaring it “the most effective, courageous gov[ernment]” in his lifetime. Some remember those days differently. Here are a few […]

Political Eh-conomy: Austerity and economy in Quebec (transcript)

On last week’s podcast, I interviewed two researchers from Montreal’s IRIS, or the Insitut de recherché et d’informations socio-economiques, which has now been producing important progressive research for 15 years. This conversation with Julia Posca and Eve-Lyne Couturier is a great introduction to Quebec’s experience with austerity, the resource extraction agenda and popular organizing against both. Here’s the (almost) full transcript of that interview, edited for clarity and length.

Michal Rozworski: Why don’t we start with this little white book, “L’austerite au temps de l’abondance” that was recently published in Quebec. The title translates roughly as, “Austerity in a time of prosperity”. (Read more…)

atypicalalbertan.ca: Rachel Notley’s Cabinet

Later today at a public celebration on the legislature grounds, Alberta’s new NDP government will be sworn in. With a large number of inexperienced MLAs elected, many are suggesting that the NDP doesn’t have a strong group for cabinet. The announcement earlier this week that the cabinet would only have 12 people, including Notley, served as proof to these people that the caucus was week.

I’ve been spending some time since May 5th looking at the makeup of the caucus and I didn’t find that to be the case at all. There may be a few holes, like in energy, (Read more…)

Joe Fantauzzi: Reflections on McChesney: Problematics of Media Self-Regulation

FULL DISCLOSURE: I worked as a mainstream news reporter between 2003 and 2012. News media goes where many cannot or will not. It infiltrates the halls of power, the courtrooms, protest sites, war zones and scenes of tragedy. It is, unquestionably, the source of much of the information used to inform and shape society. Its […]

Political Eh-conomy: Podcast: What’s next for Alberta?

https://politicalehconomy.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/podcast150515-alberta-election.mp3

 

This episode focuses on what else but the recent Alberta provincial election that saw the social democratic NDP sweep into power after 44 consecutive years of Conservative rule. To gain some perspective on this rather remarkable result in Canada’s oil and gas heartland and see what lies ahead for Alberta, I speak with an NDP campaign insider as well as a long-time analyst of Alberta’s political economy.

My first guest, Adrienne King, was Rachel Notley’s Chief of Staff during the campaign and was just announced as the new premier’s Deputy Chief of Staff. She’s worked (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Canada’s Austerity Consensus

I have a longer piece out in Jacobin today on tracing the roots of today’s austerity consensus in Canada to the 1990s. In a way, it’s me coming to terms with the last twenty years of Canadian political economy.

How exceptional is Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his crop of Canadian conservatives? For not just large- and small-l liberals, but also some leftists, the last decade has been an aberration — particularly compared to the alleged synthesis between responsible government and economic expansion that occurred during the 1990s. Yet while both public and elite consensus has shifted even further to the right since the (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Budget 2015: A tale of austerity past, present and future

I’ve been banging the drum of “slow-motion austerity” for a while and little in the 2015 federal budget suggests any change from the pattern of death by a thousand cuts. This budget is another is a series of unspectacular austerity budgets. Taken together, however, the cuts rapidly add up and budgets become more remarkable for the tenacity with they’ve made us pay to get to the present.

A long-term view focused on austerity is very different from much of the mainstream coverage of the budget with a tawdry focus on “goodies” for this group or that. While the media should be (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: The Conservatives’ balanced budget legislation: Silly economics, smart politics

I wrote up the Conservatives’ new balanced budget law for Ricochet. In short, the law is really silly in terms of economics, but simply pointing out its economic stupidity is not enough, because the whole point is to shift the political consensus. Politically, it’s not that dumb. So rather than play games about who cut better and balanced budgets faster as many are doing, we need to look at the balance of economic power that drives these moves. The full piece is below:

The Conservative government’s balanced budget legislation is a classic attempt to shift the boundaries of acceptable public (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Relocate Victims of Communism Memorial or Cancel Project

An online petition and prominent Canadian voices demand that the proposed Memorial to the Victims of Communism be relocated, or the project entirely.

The post Relocate Victims of Communism Memorial or Cancel Project appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: British Colombia: Illiterate “cutthroat psychopaths” in the Harper PMO

Embarrassing typos as the illiterate “cutthroat psychopaths” in the Stephen Harper PMO change British Columbia to “British Colombia”.

The post British Colombia: Illiterate “cutthroat psychopaths” in the Harper PMO appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Joe Fantauzzi: Reflections on David Harvey: Neoliberalism and The State

For three decades, neoliberalism has dominated the political and economic landscape. Following David Harvey, I contend that neoliberalism depends on the manufacturing of consent to a neoliberal agenda and the use of coercion to enforce that agenda. I further argue that neoliberalism is a corrupted form of democracy which easily lends itself to a rule […]

centre of the universe: Be Careful What You Don’t Ask For

Not even three full years after enacting moderately sexist “Frat House Legislation“, Premier Brad Wall announced that his government had “reversed our mistake to allow strip clubs in SK.” With a rather smug nod to the reason being related to human trafficking, without any …whattayacallit… proof or supporting documentation whatsoever, without any public consultation other than the irate moral majority … Continue reading →

The Canadian Progressive: Ex-Conservative Senator Wallin committed “breach of trust and fraud”: RCMP

The RCMP announced Monday that ex-Conservative Senator Pamela Wallin, a Harper appointee, “committed the offences of breach of trust and fraud.”

The post Ex-Conservative Senator Wallin committed “breach of trust and fraud”: RCMP appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

centre of the universe: Same same?

TL:DR version – learn your history before you shoot off at the mouth.

Political Eh-conomy: Jason Kenney gets a growth portfolio

Jason Kenney has long been one of Stephen Harper’s trusted lieutenants and after yesterday’s cabinet reshuffle, he is now Minister of National Defence. In Harperland, this is a decisive promotion: from the “ugh, why are we still doing this?” of Employment and Social Development to the prestigious, patriotic defence portfolio. While the Conservatives promote an image of sound economic and fiscal management, it is clear that they will attempt to frame the upcoming election in large part in terms of security and terrorism — and Jason Kenney will now be instrumental in their fear-mongering campaign.

For Kenney this is (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Canada’s Electronic Spy Agency Steals From Criminal Hackers

A report just published by Glenn Greenwald reveals that the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Canada’s electronic spy agency, steals email content obtained by criminal hackers.

The post Canada’s Electronic Spy Agency Steals From Criminal Hackers appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: Harper’s Orwellian Anti-Terror Bill C-51 Troubles Privacy Czar

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada warns that Bill C-51, Harper’s proposed new anti-terrorism legislation, would further erode Canadians’ privacy rights.

The post Harper’s Orwellian Anti-Terror Bill C-51 Troubles Privacy Czar appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: the left in Greece and Poland

https://politicalehconomy.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/podcast-150123-poland-greece1.mp3

 

I’ve been visiting family in Poland for the past few weeks so, fittingly, this week’s podcast deals with the situation of the left at two opposite ends of the European periphery: Greece and Poland. My first guest is Yanis Varoufakis, professor of economics at the University of Athens and candidate for SYRIZA in this Sunday’s parliamentary elections. Syriza is the main Greek left party and is poised to take the most votes, potentially even form a parliamentary majority, on Sunday. Yanis spoke with me about Greece’s economy on the eve of the elections and Syriza’s economic (Read more…)

atypicalalbertan.ca: 9 ways Alberta should manage resources better

Sometime toward the end of November, the Alberta government will release their 2nd quarter fiscal update. Finance Minister Robin Campbell will likely tell us that the second quarter was another good quarter but that the good news is coming to an end and the 1st quarter projection of a $3 Billion bonus will be revised. The reason of course is that oil prices are down again. The budget projected $95 oil (WTI) and today’s spot price is under $79. For every drop of one dollar in the price of oil (WTI) the government treasury loses $215 million.

As much as Premier Jim Prentice wants (Read more…)

The Misanthropic Bird: Apprentice. Intern. Slave.

The employment climate for many students and graduates has been a difficult terrain to not only navigate but also survive. And slavery masked under labels of ‘apprentice’ or ‘intern’ only make it worse.

Infographic: The 99% vs. The 1%, http://www.policyalternatives.ca

Bogged down with insurmountable student debts, and often forced to take remedial positions to make ends meet, many of this educated generation are enticed by intern or apprentice programs – hoping that their volunteered time could break them into their fields, making them some real money. However, with the rising cost of living most are unable to dedicate (Read more…)