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Accidental Deliberations: Slavery is freedom

Shorter Brianna Heinrichs: Oh sure, you soft-hearted progressives think you’re helping workers with your “employment standards” and your “occupational health and safety”. But have you ever considered some people might prefer to have serfdom as an option?

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Erika Shaker points out how condescending attitudes toward public benefits are both making it unduly difficult to develop new programs which would benefit everybody, and threatening existing social safety net. Sean McElwee writes that inequality only figures to grow as an issue as the wealthy try to disassociate themselves from everybody else. And Scott Santens discusses how the U.S.’ social benefits are needlessly costly and difficult to access because they’re designed more to exclude than to include: As citizens, we are doing everything we can. Some of us are even tragically (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Labour Day reading.

- Andrew Jackson discusses the future of Canada’s labour movement, while Gil McGowan highlights the fact that unionization can be no less important in Alberta and other booming areas than elsewhere. And Jerry Dias notes that there are some reasons for celebration this year.

- But Edward McClelland points out that far too many labourers who would benefit from organization are instead hostile to the idea of unions. And Timothy Noah finds another gap between labour and U.S. centrist liberals – which is mirrored by the relationship between unions and large-L Liberals (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Margaret Somers and Fred Block write about Karl Polanyi’s critique of the free-market myth and its increased relevance today: (F)ree-market rhetoric is a giant smokescreen designed to hide the dependence of business profits on conditions secured by government. So, for example, our giant financial institutions insist that they should be free of meddlesome regulations while they depend on continuing access to cheap credit—in good times and bad—from the Federal Reserve. Our pharmaceutical firms have successfully resisted any government limits on their price-setting ability at the same time that they rely on government (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jared Bernstein discusses how fair and progressive taxes on the rich are a necessary element of any effort to improve the lot of the poor: The rising tide of inequality does more than create great economic distance between income classes. It also produces higher barriers to mobility. Increased investment in the poor’s economic opportunities and in their children, their health care, their housing and their education will be needed to overcome those barriers. To be more precise, there are three reliable ways to help or “lift” the bottom: subsidies that increase the poor’s (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Timothy Shenk discusses Thomas Piketty’s contribution to a critique of unfettered capitalism and gratuitous inequality: Seen from Piketty’s vantage point, thousands of feet above the rubble, the fragility of this moment becomes clear. Economic growth was a recent invention, major reductions to income inequality more recent still. Yet the aftermath of World War II was filled with prophets forecasting this union into eternity. Kuznets offered the most sophisticated expression of this cheerful projection. Extrapolating from the history of the United States between 1913 and 1948, he concluded that economic growth automatically reduced (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Tim Harford proposes four first steps to start combatting income inequality. And the Star’s editorial board makes clear that there’s tax room available for Ontario (among other jurisdictions) to pursue in order to serve the public good: Sousa promises to protect the “middle class” — whatever that is. But he need not fear a backlash if his spring budget increases the burden on those making substantially more than the average, whether that starts at $150,000 or some higher level. Four other provinces — including B.C., whose government leans right — have (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Eduardo Porter writes about the rise of inequality in the U.S., while Tracy McVeigh reports on the eleven-figure annual cost of inequality in the UK. And Shamus Khan discusses the connection between inequality and poverty – as well as the policy which can do the most to address both: While a tiny fraction of Americans enjoy almost all the spoils of our national growth, the majority of Americans have a radically different experience. About 40 percent of Americans will live in poverty at some point in their lives, and many (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On natural selection

Shorter (or paraphrased) Lisa Thompson: People mention ‘Walkerton’ as if it were a bad thing. Don’t they understand the benefits of killing off the weak?

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Frances Russell discusses the dangers of Stephen Harper’s authoritarian democracy. And Michael Harris takes note of Harper’s decision to mete out career executions to his own Senate appointees based on exactly the same evidence he once declared to be fully exculpatory.

- Dan Moutal points out Mike Tobis’ spectrum of positions on climate change as compared to how the issue is covered. And in a related story that doesn’t tend to receive anywhere near an appropriate amount of attention, CBC documents over a thousand Canadian pipeline safety incidents over the past 10 years, (Read more…)

Larry Hubich's Blog: Fairness Works!

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Gordon Hoekstra reports on a study by British Columbia determining that Canada lacks any hope of containing the types of oil spills which will become inevitable if the Cons’ pipe-and-ship plans come to fruition. But once again, the Cons’ response is to make clear that they consider an ounce of self-delusion and denial to be worth a pound of cure.

- Meanwhile, the Star-Phoenix’ editorial board recognizes the desperate need for resource-rich provinces to handle their wealth responsibility: (P)rovinces such as Saskatchewan and Alberta are dipping ever deeper into their one-time resource revenue (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Jason Fekete reports that the Harper Cons are taking the side of international tax evaders against other G8 leaders trying to implement an effective enforcement system. And CBC reports that the Canada Revenue Agency has repeatedly turned down the opportunity to access information about tax cheats based on a policy of not offering enforcement rewards.

- In the wake of revelations about the U.S.’ PRISM surveillance system (summarized by Mathew Ingram), Michael Geist warned that Canadians should be equally concerned about their privacy. And that observation looks particularly apt in (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Lynn Stuart Parramore discusses the epidemic of wage theft by U.S. employers: Americans like to think that a fair day’s work brings a fair day’s pay. Cheating workers of their wages may seem like a problem of 19th-century sweatshops. But it’s back and taking a terrible toll. We’re talking billions of dollars in wages; millions of workers affected each year. A gigantic heist is being perpetrated against working people: they’re getting screwed on overtime, denied their tips, shortchanged on benefits, defrauded on payroll, and handed paychecks that bounce like rubber balls. A (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- David Olive writes that the dangerous effects of long-term unemployment (caused in no small part by gratuitous austerity) are just as much a problem in Canada as in the U.S.: With our persistent high levels of long-term unemployment, Canada is at risk of creating a new permanent underclass. The world’s economic policymaking elite, Ottawa’s included, hasn’t grasped that its enslavement to the “austerity chic” of severe cutbacks in government’s contribution to the economy is retarding the recovery it claims to be promoting. It’s like watching a grainy newsreel of Herbert Hoover’s (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, applying the recently-approved Somerset development as an example of why we should expect elected representatives to do more than just remind us that we’re on our own in dealing with health and environmental issues.

For further reading, see:- reports from CBC and Vanessa Brown; and- commentary from Edward Dodd and Paul Dechene.

Larry Hubich's Blog: Bill 85 – What’s the Rush?

OPSEU Diablogue: The safety and well-being of health care workers and patients is linked — report

The safety and well-being of health care workers may be much more closely linked to that of their patients a new report states. Developed in collaboration with three major U.S. research organizations, the report “Improving Patient and Worker Safety: … . . . → Read More: OPSEU Diablogue: The safety and well-being of health care workers and patients is linked — report

Larry Hubich's Blog: Debunking Anti-Union Myths, Part 1

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: Parliament in Review – May 8, 2012

Tuesday, May 8 saw another day of debate on the Cons’ omnibus budget legislation – and another day of general non-responsiveness from the Cons as to its actual effects. But that wasn’t for lack of important contributions from the opposition benches.

The Big Issue

Marie-Claude Morin raised issues about the omnibus bill’s attack on government accountability, while Laurin Liu pointed out that few of the massive legislative changes were ever mentioned before being crammed into a 425-page behemoth of a bill, and Chris Charlton noted that even the few MPs receiving a chance to speak to the bill would have

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Accidental Deliberations: Parliament in Review: April 30, 2012

Monday, April 30 featured discussion of two opposition motions dealing with the federal government’s responsibility to ensure the safety of Canadians. And on both fronts, the Cons went out of their way to disclaim any such role for our public servants.

The Big Issue

Jack Harris started off the safety theme with a motion to the effect that Canada’s search-and-rescue capability should meet an international standard of 30-minute readiness. But perhaps Harris’ most important point (particularly in light of recent developments) came in response to a typical Con “why’d you vote against our budget? huh?” straw man: I

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Larry Hubich's Blog: Foreign Worker Complaints – Temporary Foreign Workers Exploited

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Danielle Martin discusses the importance of federal involvement in Canada’s public health care system: Whose job is it to co-ordinate health-care reform in Canada? Canadians expect our federal government to play that role. We want to know that wherever we live, we will have access to an equivalent basket of services. We want to know that our governments are buying in bulk whenever possible, maximizing savings. And we want assurances that some basic standards are being met from coast to coast to coast. Health care may be a provincial responsibility, but we know

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Larry Hubich's Blog: Asbestos registry needed, says cancer patient

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