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Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

– Community Food Centres Canada highlights the need for social assistance benefits to keep up with the cost of living, while noting that Ontario (among other jurisdictions) has fallen well behind in that task: It’s been far too long since social assistance rates have been viewed through the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the Libs’ carbon price rollout managed to maximize the resulting sound and fury while signifying little actual progress.

For further reading…– Marc Lee offered a reality check on the minimal effect of Justin Trudeau’s price announcement, with reference to Marc Jaccard’s study here (PDF). And Karri Munn-Venn also pointed out how . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

– Naomi Klein discusses how Canada’s longstanding – if far from inevitable – identity as a resource economy is standing in the way of both needed action on climate change and reconciliation with First Nations:

In Canada, cultivation and industrialization were secondary. First and foremost, this country was built on voraciously devouring wildness. Canada was an extractive company – the Hudson’s Bay Company – before it was a country. And that has shaped us in ways we have yet to begin to confront.
Because such enormous fortunes have been built purely on the extraction of wild animals, intact forest and interred metals and fossil fuels, our economic elites have grown accustomed to seeing the natural world as their God-given larder.
When someone or something – like climate science – comes along and says: Actually, there are limits, we have to take less from the Earth and keep more profit for the public good, it doesn’t feel like a difficult truth. It feels like an existential attack.
The trouble isn’t just the commodity roller coaster. It’s that the stakes grow larger with each boom-bust cycle. The frenzy for cod crashed a species; the frenzy for bitumen and fracked gas is helping to crash the planet.
Today, we have federal and provincial governments that talk a lot about reconciliation. But this will remain a cruel joke if non-Indigenous Canadians do not confront the why behind those human-rights abuses. And the why, as the Truth and Reconciliation report states, is simple enough: “The Canadian government pursued this policy of cultural genocide because it wished to divest itself of its legal and financial obligations to Aboriginal people and gain control over their land and resources.”
The goal, in other words, was to remove all barriers to unrestrained resource extraction. This is not ancient history. Across the country, Indigenous land rights remain the single greatest barrier to planet-destabilizing resource extraction, from pipelines to clear-cut logging.
– Susan Delacourt highlights Charlie Angus’ frustration with the Libs’ Teletubbie political style, while Tony Burman notes that Middle East relations represent just one more area where Justin Trudeau’s actions couldn’t be much further from his rhetoric. 
– But Ethan Cox’ report on an Indigenous treaty alliance also signals what may the most effective response – as rather than allowing the Libs to feign friendship while pursuing another agenda, First Nations are presenting a united and direct contrast to Trudeau’s plans. And Doug Cuthand points out the widespread protest against the Dakota Access pipeline as the latest and largest example of that solidarity being put into action.

– Meanwhile, Marc Lee signals what we might expect from a federal climate change action plan based on the working groups currently reviewing the options.

– Laurie Monsebraaten reports on a needed push to ensure that child care funding is used to create not-for-profit spaces. And Ashifa Kassam points to Wellington’s loss of water rights to Nestle as a prime example of what happens when corporate dollars trump public needs.

– Finally, Alon Weinberg discusses why now is the time to implement a proportional electoral system in Canada. And Craig Scott makes the case for mixed-member proportional over the other options under consideration. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

– Paul Wells argues that climate change and First Nations reconciliation – two of the issues which the Libs have tried to turn into signature priorities – look set to turn into areas of weakness as Justin Trudeau continues his party’s tradition of dithering. And Martin Lukacs writes that Trudeau’s handling of continuing injustice facing First Nations has involved an awful lot of flash but virtually no action:

The extractivist worldview—bent on treating everything as a commodity—that lay behind Stephen Harper’s resource agenda just as powerfully shapes Trudeau’s. In fact, the Liberals’ attempt to wrap themselves in the UN Declaration without embracing its central right may constitute a new, more subtle form of extraction: the extraction from Indigenous territory of consent itself.

Liberal moves to extract and manufacture consent and support for outdated policies are evident elsewhere: restoring funding to the Assembly of First Nations, a government-dependent organization that has since plumped frequently for them; appointing an Indigenous Justice Minister, even though Indigenous critics argue she has sided with the government agenda throughout her political career; and agreeing to call an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, but with a mandate far short of what impacted families wanted. As the weight of reality presses against Trudeau’s rhetoric, the ability to generate consent is crumbling.

Reconciliation is a powerful hope, an uplifting prospect, a deeply desired new relationship that Trudeau has compellingly invoked. But if reconciliation does not include the restitution of land, the recognition of real self-government, the reigning in of abusive police, the remediation of rivers and forests, it will remain a vacant notion, a cynical ploy to preserve a status quo in need not of tinkering but transformation. It will be Canada’s latest in beads and trinkets, a cheap simulation of justice.

– Guy Caron discusses the CRA’s role in Canada’s two-tier tax system. Stephen Punwasi comments on the connection between Canada’s willingness to facilitate tax avoidance, and the real estate bubbles driving housing prices far beyond what working-class Canadians can afford. And Marc Lee then highlights the connection between soaring urban real estate prices and increased inequality. 

– David Ball notes that many municipalities are retaking control over their own services after learning that the promises of efficiency through privatization are entirely illusory.

– Richard Orange points out Sweden’s intriguing idea of reducing taxes on repair services to discourage people from throwing out consumer goods. But I’d wonder whether that step alone would make a dent if it isn’t paired with a concerted effort at training potential repair workers for a job which the corporate sector would prefer to eliminate.

– Finally, Paul Mason makes the case for economics to be based on real-world observations of human behaviour, rather than insular mathematical models whose assumptions about market efficiency bear no relationship to reality. And Branko Milanovic discusses the need to measure and reduce inequality as part of a global development strategy. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

The Canadian Progressive: Canada cannot fulfill Paris Agreement, call to action on climate change while creating more tar sands pipelines

More tar sands pipelines means going in reverse on the climate action Canada needs to fulfill the Paris Agreement and its call to action on climate change. The post Canada cannot fulfill Paris Agreement, call to action on climate change while creating … . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Canada cannot fulfill Paris Agreement, call to action on climate change while creating more tar sands pipelines

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Ed Broadbent, Michal Hay and Emilie Nicolas theorize that Canada’s left is on the rise. Matt Karp takes a look at the policy preferences of younger American voters, including a strong willingness to fund far … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Andrew Jackson discusses how large inheritance and accumulated capital lead to gross economic and social distortions:Inheritances are quite heavily concentrated among the most affluent families and thus comp… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.- Jim Stanford offers a warning to Australia about Canada’s history of gratuitous corporate tax giveaways:(S)uccessive cuts reduced combined Canadian corporate taxes (including provincial rates, which also fell … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.- Matthew Yglesias rightly points out the absurdity of monetary policy designed to rein in at-target inflation at the expense of desperately-needed employment. And Joseph Stiglitz reminds us that we can instead … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Mariana Mazzucato discusses the futility of slashing government without paying attention to what it’s intended to accomplish. And Sheila Block and Kaylie Tiessen are particularly critical of Ontario’s short-term sell… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.- David Ball talks to Joseph Stiglitz about inequality and its causes – including the spread of corporate control through trade agreements:What would you say is the dominant cause [of growing inequality]… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

– Lars Osberg discusses the positive effects of raising taxes on Canada’s wealthiest few. And Avram Denburg argues for a speedy end to income splitting due to both its unfairness,and its impact on the public revenue needed to fund a healthier society: (I)ncome splitting primarily benefits middle- and upper-income . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

– Michael Leachman debunks the claim that progressive tax rates on the rich cause any problems from an economic development standpoint. And Daisy Srblin argues for a strong and unapologetic movement toward a fairer tax system: It is now up to the left to provide an alternative. Let’s . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

– tcnorris highlights how the Cons’ gratuitous cuts are undermining their hopes of staying in power. And Eric Pineault discusses the costs of austerity for Quebec in particular and Canada as a whole: (C)utting into spending slows down growth and keeps the economy in a stagnation trap. The resulting . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

– The Broadbent Institute details Rhys Kesselman’s research on how the Cons’ expanded TFSAs are nothing but a giveaway to the wealthy. And Dean Beeby reports on their withholding of EI supplements from the families who most need them – paired with a complete lack of responsibility or . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

– LOLGOP discusses the important role unions play in ensuring widespread freedom and prosperity – and why they’re thus target number one for corporatists seeking to hoard more wealth at the top: When Scott Walker promises to bring his anti-union policies that have help lead Wisconsin to the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your weekend reading.

– Gerald Caplan writes that we all bear some responsibility for growing inequality – and how we’ll need to use our electoral power to reverse it: (S)elf-sacrifice is not going to be the key to reducing inequality, with all the great damage it inflicts on society. Government needs to . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

– Stephanie Levitz reports on the Broadbent Institute’s study showing that Con-friendly charities haven’t been facing any of the strict scrutiny being used to silence anybody who dares to speak up for environmental or social causes. And Jeremy Nuttall notes that the problem is probably worse than it seems . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

– Marc Lee looks in detail at the risks involved in relying on tar sands development as an economic model: The UK outfit Carbon Tracker was the first to point out this means we are seeing a “carbon bubble” in our financial markets – that  fossil fuel companies, whose business . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

– Marc Lee writes that British Columbia has learned nothing about the dangers of staple economics. But Christy Clark has certainly learned something from her predecessor’s playbook: one term after Gordon Campbell’s promise not to impose an HST fell by the wayside immediately after he’d secured another four years . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how “we must increase stock prices!” – or worse yet, “we must increase company X’s stock prices!” – makes for a thoroughly regressive public policy goal.

For further reading…– The examples referenced in the column include Carol Goar’s column threatening a revolt over telecom share prices, and Andrew Leach’s piece about oil sands . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

– Marc Lee takes a high-level look at the absurdity of our destructive economic choices: Exhibit one: the North Pole at the moment is a one-foot-deep aquamarine lake. After reaching record low ice cover and thickness at the end of summer 2012, an ice-free arctic in the summer is . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

– Marc Lee and Iglika Ivanova offer up a framework for a more progressive and fairer tax system.

– Andrew Hanon looks behind the Fraser Institute’s labour-bashing and finds that what it’s really criticizing is fair pay for women in the public sector.

– Fern Brady notes that . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

– The OECD is the latest independent observer to confirm Thomas Mulcair’s point that dutch disease is a real problem for Canadian manufacturing. And Marc Lee calls for a green industrial revolution as a better path toward economic development and environmental responsibility than the Cons’ focus on resource . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Song of the Watermelon: An Open Letter to Kevin Falcon

Kevin Falcon

Minister of Finance

Government of British Columbia

Dear Mr. Falcon,

During your budget speech yesterday, you announced that BC’s carbon tax will be frozen, and its place in our economy reexamined, after its final scheduled increase later this year. Forgive me if I am being presumptuous, but given the tepid support . . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: An Open Letter to Kevin Falcon