Today’s federal government budget is a litmus test for the new Liberal government. They campaigned on promises of “real change” from the last regime, including a willingness to increase social spending even if it meant running deficit budgets. And, in keeping with this pledge, spending is up, and the deficit is forecast at $29.4 billion. […] . . . → Read More: Michal Rozworski: Growing the middle class or adapting the elite consensus?
Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Andrew Jackson argues that a federal infrastructure program can and should be oriented toward developing a skilled and diverse workforce, rather than rewarding free-riding contractors who don’t contribute to … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links
Oilpatch worker urges Justin Trudeau to help Alberta in widely shared Facebook post ‘Please start helping our own people through these tough times’ By Andrea Huncar, CBC News Posted: Jan 15, 2016 3:21 PM MT Last Updated: Jan 15, 2016 3:39 … Continue reading → . . . → Read More: Left Over: A New Deal for Alberta?
Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Errol Mendes points out that any commitment to securing human rights in our foreign policy is currently limited by the lack of any systematic attempt to see how those rights are being treated. And Rick Mercer… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links
Miscellaneous material to start your week.- Hugh MacKenzie reminds us how quickly Canada’s richest CEOs will exceed the income of the average Canadian worker on the year’s first work day. And James Surowiecki takes a look at how the U.S.’ corporate sec… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links
This and that for your Sunday reading.- Andrew Jackson makes the case for a federal budget aimed at boosting investment in Canada’s economy:Public infrastructure investment has a much greater short term impact on growth and jobs per dollar spent than … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links
With COP21 happening this week in Paris there are many approaches to fighting climate change being discussed. No matter what approach is used there will have to be structural changes in how energy is delivered and how goods are transported. Over at Gizmodo they took a look at how quickly we can transition to a […]
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. . . → Read More: Things Are Good: The Importance of Infrastructure Changes for a Sustainable World
Presenting a one-act play starring Saskatchewan’s Minister of Highways and Infrastructure, along with one of her party’s most troublesome adversaries.
Reality: How can you possibly justify spending more public money on highways to get less done?
Nancy Heppner: There’s a perfectly good explanation for that. It’s because we’re spending on the…(flips pages in the Compendium of Random Transportation-Related Terms)…culverts and bridges!!!
Reality: That’s demonstrably false. So again, how can you justify spending more money on highways to get less done?
Nancy Heppner: There’s a perfectly good explanation for that. It’s because we’re spending on the…(again flips pages (Read more…)
Here (via PressReader), arguing that there’s no longer any escaping the fact that Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party can’t be trusted to be either honest or reasonable about its biggest and costliest decisions.
For further reading…- Mike McKinnon reported here on the glaring gap between what Brad Wall knew about the failings of the Boundary Dam carbon capture and storage project, and the propaganda he spread publicly starting last year. Geoff Leo has exposed one set of design issues which have been withheld from the public. And the Canadian Press raises the question of what SaskPower is supposedly trying to (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- Ira Basen discusses the Canadian federal election campaign’s focus on the middle class – as well as the reality that the economic security which looms as the most important priority within that group will require more government action than the limited policies currently on offer. And Tavia Grant comments on how precarious work is being addressed by Canada’s federal parties.
- Meanwhile, Andrew Jackson discusses a new Centre for Spatial Economics study showing the positive economic effects of a long-term infrastructure plan.
- Dave Seglins, Harvey Cashore and Frederic Zalac report on how (Read more…)
A friend sent me a link to a Rolling Stone article, “The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares are Already Here.” It’s a relatively complete and accurate synopsis of the state of our climate-changed world today. Fair warning – it’s a dismal read that you may find upsetting before you sit down to Sunday dinner (if you still do that sort of thing). Here’s my follow up:
For the first time people in their 30s and younger have to contemplate the possibility that their lives will end not by mishap or natural cause but out of the (Read more…)
Here, reminding us that it’s our communities who ultimately pay the price for the poorly-thought-out election announcements from senior levels of government that we’ve seen so frequently recently.
For further reading…- CTV reported on last week’s Evraz Place expansion announcement, while the Leader-Post offered an all-too-obvious example of cheerleading for a shiny new project while paying no attention to the opportunity costs involved. – Meanwhile, the Saskatchewan Party’s regular announcements and re-announcements of what proved to be an ill-thought-out scheme for new school construction have lasted from last July to last November to just last month. – And (Read more…)
Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party is trumpeting the “success” of a hiring freeze in which the entire government saved $8 million in a quarter – or roughly $32 million per year – by not hiring staff.
Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party has increased the cost of consultants in the Ministry of Highways alone by roughly $50 million per year by using more expensive outside contractors rather than hiring staff.
Anybody else think the Saskatchewan Party might be freezing the wrong kind of spending?
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Margot Sanger-Katz writes about the connection between inequality and poor health. Nicolas Fitz reminds us that even people concerned about inequality may underestimate how serious it is. And BJ Siekierski asks what will happen to Canada’s economy in terms of both growth and equity as unsustainable resource and real estate booms come to an end.
- Of course, we could help matters by not burning billions of public dollars where they’re needed least. On that front, David MacDonald compares the Cons’ actual budget plans to the far more productive uses of public (Read more…)
Drinkable water right from a tap in your home is a relatively new and amazing thing. Just when you thought water delivery systems couldn’t get any better a company has converted pipes into energy generators. Their new pipes can capture energy from water as it flows to its destination to provide a small amount of energy for communities.
“We have a project in Riverside, California, where they’re using it to power streetlights at night,” Semler says. “During the day, when electricity prices are high, they can use it to offset some of their operating costs.”
In Portland, one of (Read more…)
The Greenbelt Alliance wants better protection for the ecologically sensitive area, which remains at risk from sprawl, mega-highways and contaminated soil.
Map of Greenbelt and other protected lands in Southern Ontario.
SOUTHERN ONTARIO’S 7,200 square kilometre Greenbelt and the prime farmland and headwaters it contains remain at significant risk from expanding urban development despite protective legislation in place for a decade.
Ontario’s Greenbelt at Risk, a study from the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance and Environmental Defence, believes the Ontario government must do more to strengthen protections for the sensitive Greenbelt space stretching from Welland east to Coburg and north to (Read more…)
This and that for your Sunday reading.
- Kevin Page points out a few of the issues which should be on the table when Canada’s finance ministers meet next week: Our finance ministers are smart. They know that faster growth is going to require higher investment rates and sustainable public finances. But the reality is that Canada is falling down on capital investments in both the private and public sectors. Business capital investment has grown a weak 2 per cent over the past two years. That is not boosting the investment rate. Meanwhile, government capital investment has declined 2 per (Read more…)
Satire inspired by this headline: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/western-premiers-ask-federal-government-for-1b-spend-on-infrastructure-1.2826670
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman look into the spread of wealth inequality in the U.S., and find that it may be worse than we already knew. And Paul Krugman discusses how toxic anti-government ideology is preventing the U.S. from both getting its economy on track in the short term, and investing in infrastructure it will need down the road: More than seven years have passed since the housing bubble burst, and ever since, America has been awash in savings — or more accurately, desired savings — with nowhere to (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- Abdul Abiad, David Furceri and Petia Topalova highlight the IMF’s research confirming that well-planned infrastructure spending offers an economic boost in both the short and long term: (I)ncreased public infrastructure investment raises output in the short term by boosting demand and in the long term by raising the economy’s productive capacity.
In a sample of advanced economies, an increase of 1 percentage point of GDP in investment spending raises the level of output by about 0.4 percent in the same year and by 1.5 percent four years after the increase (see chart, (Read more…)
“Resilience.” It’s the new climate change buzz word. It applies to individuals, communities, institutions, and infrastructure.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from repeated climate change impacts. It’s the ability to withstand repeated floods, for example. That might require making your home resilient by having it mounted on stilts well above ground level. It might entail constructing new floodways to channel flash floods away from communities.
Resilience planning was one topic of discussion at the 2014 World Climate Week summit in New York.
It’s not just the Third World that is taking up the issue of resilience. In (Read more…)
It’s no secret that essential infrastructure in North America is in a bad way. Neglect driven by tax cutting has led to deterioration in everything from roadways to overpasses, bridges, sewers and water mains. The end result is essential infrastructure in immediate need of repair and replacement.
An illustration of the problem comes from a forced retreat of the “just in time” manufacturing sector.
Companies like Whirlpool and Caterpillar are making costly additions to their otherwise sinewy supply chains to compensate for aging U.S. roads that are too potholed and congested for “just in time” delivery. Some (Read more…)