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Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Brian-Michel calculates the expected outcome of the 2011 election minus the Robocon election fraud based on Anke Kessler’s data. Alison, thwap and Saskboy all rightly lament that a government claiming that a majority entitles it to treat Canada as a helpless plaything may never have had a legitimate mandate in the first place, while Jack Layton had a chance to co-operate to replace the Cons stolen from him.

- And Mark Kennedy reports on some of the results, as the Cons look poised to attack Canadians’ standard of living in retirement in

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

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Mark Kennedy reports that once again, Canadians are largely opposed to the Cons’ plans to attack social supports: The poll found that 49 per cent of Canadians are preparing for a “bad news” budget from federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and that 57 per cent do not “trust” Harper and the Conservatives to make the “right choices” to ensure the budget is “fair and reasonable.”

As well, more than two-thirds of Canadians oppose the view that the country needs to “sacrifice” pensions to keep taxes down or increase the retirement age to

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

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Evening Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- In the last couple of days’ worth of developments on Robocon, the Cons defaulted to their standard setting of admitting nothing and misleading about everything – though it’s hard to see that strategy working out well given the amount of information that’s already coming to light. Dan Arnold and Michael Harris considered the necessary ingredients to make the electoral fraud into a lasting scandal. Trish Hennessy ran some numbers on vote suppression. Andrew Coyne lamented the state of Canada’s institutional accountability, while Chantal Hebert hopes Elections Canada can get to the bottom

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Evening Links

CuriosityCat: The solution for Canada’s pensions problem: More Canadians

Harper’s Tory government has announced that Canada has a problem: not enough workers in future years to support pensions and old age security payments to seniors: As if that weren’t enough, the budget will also unveil the Conservatives’ plans for raising the retirement age for Old Age Security. The Tories maintain that the OAS is fiscally unsustainable unless younger workers delay their retirement beyond 65. But what is the new retirement age to be, and when will the new rules kick in?

The arithmetic used by Harper’s government is correct: there will be fewer people working compared to those not . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: The solution for Canada’s pensions problem: More Canadians

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Thomas Walkom points out that the McGuinty Libs’ choice to emphasize austerity rather than stabilizing Ontario’s economy may lead down exactly the same destructive path travelled by Greece and other countries: (T)he crises in Spain, Portugal and Greece occurred because government spending cuts designed to remedy debt problems sent those countries spinning into economic decline.

Throughout much of Europe, measures aimed at reducing debt have created a self-reinforcing spiral of doom.

Government workers are laid off to save money, which leads to higher unemployment. Higher unemployment reduces tax revenues, thereby widening fiscal deficits.

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

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- The outrage against the Cons’ total online surveillance scheme continues, with Dan Leger, Mia Rabson and Michael Geist adding noteworthy comments to the mix.

- Meanwhile, the Star rightly criticizes the latest legislation to hand Con cabinet ministers the power to make major policy decisions by fiat with no accountability. But lest there be any doubt, that’s been happening since long before the Star apparently noticed the issue surrounding refugees.

- And the minister responsible at that time is doing her own share of damage to vulnerable groups, in this case

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

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Susan Riley brilliantly slams the message that austerity is necessary for everybody but those who already have the most: Is anyone else getting tired of being lectured about austerity by wealthy consultants in expensive suits who charge $1,500 a day for their advice and have comfortable government pensions, besides?

And do we really need another warning about saving for old age – instead of frittering away money on escalating tuition for our children; or scrambling to compensate for unexpected job loss, or medical expenses – from disapproving cabinet ministers with fat salaries and

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

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your weekend.

- David Olive highlights the complete lack of need for the Cons’ planned attacks on Old Age Security: Say what you will of Stephen Harper’s success in scaring Canadian seniors with his recent musings about cutting seniors’ benefits. It does not warrant the public debate that the most charitable of the PM’s critics on this issue have tepidly welcomed.

The affordability of a higher-quality health care system does merit debate. Also affordable housing, the cornerstone of poverty reduction. Also education reform that better matches students with a workplace that, as a business think tank

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

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- David Climenhaga marvels at the fact that the Fraser Institute manages to claim charitable status while serving as an entirely political organization: The Fraser Institute is serious all right, although its research is not serious in the normal sense of transparency and lack of bias, no matter what it claims. But it surely is political. Indeed, the Fraser Institute is all politics, all the time.

As it turns out, this is important, because the Fraser Institute is also a registered charity, meaning that those Canadians who do pay taxes are in effect subsidizing

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

Random Ranting Raving and Ratings: How MPs voted on Opposition Motion to Protect OAS

The motion to maintain the age requirements for OAS at 65 was defeated.

The motion read:

That the House reject calls by the Prime Minister to balance the Conservative deficit on the backs of Canada’s seniors by means such as raising the age of eligibility for Old Age Security and call on the… ..

Random Ranting Raving and Ratings: Harper Conservatives on Liberal’s Plan for OAS – 2004

Back in 2004, the Harper Conservatives accused the Paul Martin Liberals of having a “hidden agenda” to raise the age to qualify for the Old Age Security to 67.  The Conservative Party of Canada had acquired the information on the Liberals through access to information.

As far as I… ..

Peace, order and good government, eh?: There seems to be a difference of opinion here

This is Tony Clement, after citing some numbers plucked out of context:

So clearly [Old Age Security] is unsustainable…

One wonders where Clement gets his information. It’s certainly not from the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

The oncoming demographic time bomb of baby boomers retiring won’t cause a fiscal crisis Canada’s budget watchdog said Wednesday, despite the Harper government’s repeated assertions to the contrary.

Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page said in a report that the federal government will have the fiscal ability to enrich benefits for seniors and cut taxes, if they choose to do so.

On an issue like this,

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Tim Harper comments on the Harper Cons’ collusion in a war against Canada’s middle class: Under the Investment Canada Act, (foreign) takeovers are supposed to demonstrate a “net benefit” to Canada, but, in fact, are acting as an anvil on wages, living standards and the prosperity of communities in central Canada.

MacDowall says breaks should only be offered to small or medium companies that actually want to set up shop and create jobs here.

Both opposition parties in Ottawa have called for a review of the Investment Canada Act, which has been exposed

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

USA, Canada and jobs: two divergent paths

For the fifth straight month, the US has shown solid gains in jobs. In January, the country gained a healthy 243,000 of them.

During the same month, Canada gained only 2,300 jobs, less than a tenth of what was anticipated. The jobless rate has hit a 9-month high. What’s really scary is that it’s actually a lot worse than it appears.

And the Conservatives want to raise the age of eligibility

Margaret Wente’s war on the elderly. All of a sudden, she’s concerned about the young!

Retired Globe & Mail editors give the fingers up to poor old folks.

Margaret Wente, who has never been kind to the young, all of the sudden takes an interest in them. More than an interest really, more like a shield to protect her mentor Stephen Harper from the thrusts and jabs lobbed at him by the opposition and the elderly who are justifiably upset over the PM’s cavalier remarks about OAS.

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Carol Goar notes that the Cons’ decision to mess with retirement security may be just the type of issue to rouse voters who had been lulled to sleep by promises of stability – which seems more plausible than Chantal Hebert’s theory that the Cons can reasonably expect to benefit politically by focusing attention on exactly the kind of cuts they can only get away with in relative silence. Meanwhile, Ellen Roseman points out that an increase in the eligibility age makes no sense at all and Trish Hennessy runs the numbers on

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

Scott's DiaTribes: Public backlash forces Harper to back down a bit on OAS cuts

Conservative MP’s are often described as parrots for doing nothing but repeating scripted phrases over and over again in defense of their government, or being not the brightest bunch in the world. However, they are smart enough to recognize when the voters get mad, and concerned enough about their own electoral well-being to bring it up to Harper:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s musings about possible changes to Old Age Security have resulted in a public backlash — and complaints from his own MPs. Conservative MPs have been overwhelmed with emails and phone calls from constituents who have been concerned about

Politics and Entertainment: Most Commentators and Economists Say Threshold Change for OAS is Unnecessary

Surveying recent media coverage including economists referenced or interviewed, one will discover that roughly 9 out of 10 commentators argue that the age threshold for OAS does not require changing to maintain sustainable funding for the program despite swelling seniors’ ranks and a decreasing Canadian population.  Neither the argument  that seniors are living longer now nor the claim that the age threshold should be raised because other countries have done it is carrying much weight with economists or thoughtful journalists. Even Jack Mintz, frequently referenced by the Harper Regime itself, says it’s unnecessary. It’s clear, then, that it’s not good

. . . → Read More: Politics and Entertainment: Most Commentators and Economists Say Threshold Change for OAS is Unnecessary

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Paul Wells points out that despite the Cons’ best efforts to get Canadians to panic over the state of our retirement system, the truth is that we’re actually better positioned now than was projected 20 years ago. (And for those looking inexplicably for middle ground between the status quo and the Cons’ apparent plans: no, a mere modest increase in seniors’ poverty isn’t a positive outcome.)

- Lest there be any doubt, it’s well worth researching personalized health assessment – so kudos to the Cons for planning to fund the idea. But

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

Today’s Conservative: afraid of debate, emboldened by a docile media

For the 13th time in nine months, the Conservatives have stifled debate on an issue important to Canadians, especially those approaching old age. “Enthusiastic support”, indeed. When the public is shut out from discussion, of whose support is Van Loan speaking?

Mr. Van Loan made the accusations of delay in spite of . . . → Read More: Today’s Conservative: afraid of debate, emboldened by a docile media

Today’s Conservative: afraid of debate, emboldened by a docile media

For the 13th time in nine months, the Conservatives have stifled debate on an issue important to Canadians, especially those approaching old age. “Enthusiastic support”, indeed. When the public is shut out from discussion, of whose support is Van Loan speaking?

Mr. Van Loan made the accusations of delay in spite of the fact that the government only opened debate on the bill for the first time

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Kady points out that the Cons are back to their old tricks in trying to push as much committee work as possible behind closed doors.

- Susan Delacourt theorizes that the Cons are likely to use anger rather than fear as their basis for imposing cuts. I suspect the rhetoric will vary from issue to issue (and indeed the OAS message has been based squarely on the latter, echoing the Republican Social Security line that it’s necessary to attack social programs in order to save them) – but it won’t come as

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

Scott's DiaTribes: Harper needs to come clean on his Old Age Security ‘reforms’

Parliament resumes very shortly as of this writing. It is to be hoped that Stephen Harper will deem Parliament important enough to reveal the details on his very public musings in Davos Switzerland last week about Old Age Security needing to be “reformed” – an announcement that couldn’t wait for Parliament to re-open this week, apparently.

It should be hoped that Harper’s “plan” consists a bit more then this:

 

The Pension Plan fiasco. Who cares? There are few jobs for someone 60, let alone 65 or 67.

I’ve been watching bemusedly – and with no little horror – the arguments waged between elite media types, celebrated authors and lowly bloggers over Stephen Harper’s hint about raising the qualification for old age pension from 65 to 67.

It’s all academic, literally. What’s not being considered in these finely-wrought debates . . . → Read More: The Pension Plan fiasco. Who cares? There are few jobs for someone 60, let alone 65 or 67.

The Pension Plan fiasco. Who cares? There are few jobs for someone 60, let alone 65 or 67.

I’ve been watching bemusedly – and with no little horror – the arguments waged between elite media types, celebrated authors and lowly bloggers over Stephen Harper’s hint about raising the qualification for old age pension from 65 to 67.

It’s all academic, literally. What’s not being considered in these finely-wrought debates and dissertations is that there is no work for those over 60, let