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Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Seth Klein discusses the need to deal with climate change with the same sense of urgency and common purpose we’ve historically associated with major wars: Canada’s experience in WWI and WWII serves to remind us that our society has managed a dramatic restructuring of the economy before. During both world wars, our economy had to be entirely re-tooled for a new common purpose: scarce resources were deployed for the task at hand, Victory Bonds were sold, profits were restricted to prevent war-time profiteering, new taxes were levied, household consumption shifted and quotas (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Surprise, surprise

Brad Wall’s publicly-funded lobbying to sell Alberta oil in the U.S. (while ignoring the needs of the province which he actually leads) has proven to be as successful as it was well-thought-out. This should come as a shock to precisely nobody.

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Robyn Benson offers her take on the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership as an election issue. Peter Mazereeuw notes that the nominal labour protections in the TPP – which were of course negotiated without workers having a seat at the table – won’t mean anything if governments aren’t willing to take stands against the same businesses which dominated the discussion. And Bill Curry reports that the TPP will prevent governments from doing anything about the use and abuse of temporary foreign workers.

- Meanwhile, Emily Peck highlights how many workers are being (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Edward Keenan writes that a lack of affordable child care is the crucial financial pressure facing families across the income spectrum. And Michael Wolfson discusses the dangers of talking about taxes in a vacuum without recognizing what we lose by failing to make sure everybody pays a fair share.

- Sam Thielman notes that the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s crackdown on intellectual property may seriously threaten our freedom of expression, while Michael Geist highlights the potential for content-blocking and the Electronic Frontier Foundation points out how the TPP transfers massive amounts of power to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Ian Welsh writes that the Harper Cons have destroyed Canada’s historic economic balance by scrapping the parts of the manufacturing sector which previously provided a buffer against low resource prices. And Bruce Campbell compares Canada’s record on climate change to Norway’s, and concluding that it isn’t only in terms of royalties and heritage funds that we’re far worse off for catering to big oil.

- Andrew Jackson comments on the role government investment should play in improving Canada’s record on innovation. But Joseph Stiglitz and Adam Hersh flesh out what the Cons (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Paul Weinberg discusses the need to focus on inequality in Canada’s federal election, while Scott Deveau and Jeremy Van Loon take note of the fact that increased tax revenue is on the table. The Star’s editorial board weighs in on the NDP’s sound and progressive fiscal plan. And Matthew Yglesias includes the rise of the NDP as part of the growth of a new, international progressive movement.

- Rank and File interviews Michael Butler about the privatization of health care in Saskatchewan, as well as the role of the federal government in (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Thomas Walkom discusses how Canadian workers are feeling the pain of decades of policy designed to suppress wages – and notes there’s plenty more all parties should be doing to change that reality. And Doug Saunders points out what we should want our next federal government to pursue to bring about lasting growth: Many economists came to realize not only that government intervention bailed many countries out of the post-2008 recession and restored growth and employment, but that the crisis itself may have been caused, in good part, by the disappearance of active (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On weak attempts

Following up on these earlier posts, here’s a quick look at the last of the messages Bob Hepburn thinks the NDP may face from the Cons in particular as the election campaign progresses. 2) Tax-and-spend image: NDP loyalists consider this issue as “trite,” but already Harper is hammering away at it, claiming Mulcair would raise taxes and spend countless billions on programs such as a national $15-a-day child care plan. Already, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been mocking the NDP, saying it doesn’t know what the tax rates are, “it just knows everybody’s taxes have to be higher. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On incomplete assessments

Yes, there’s plenty of reason to be outraged by the fact that the National Energy Board is delaying its review of the Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion – and perhaps setting the review back significantly – so a lobbyist for the project can take over as a board member.

But it’s worth noting that the delay itself could have some extremely dangerous effects: Bill C-38 imposes new time limits on some federal environmental assessments. Assessments conducted by independent panels must be completed within two years and, by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, one year. As well, the National Energy Board’s review (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On campaign divisions

If it wasn’t obvious already, the last decade of resource politics in Canada should offer us a reminder that the immediate development of resources without meaningful consideration of externalities and risks is all too often a default position.

But if there’s anything that can shatter the consensus of developing resources based on the bare hope that people will benefit as a result, it’s a sufficiently laughable attempt to push it past what people can reasonably accept – particularly by explicitly prioritizing the resources themselves over the people who are supposed to support their development.

Which is to say: thank you, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, expanding on this post as to how we should be criticizing the politicians who are wilfully misleading the public about the future of Canada’s oil industry – and not the ones who are willing to keep living in reality once a campaign is on.

And if Stephen Harper comes out of hiding today, it might offer a particularly opportune time to explain why he’s in agreement with the “decarbonisation of the global economy”, along with what his government plans to do to achieve that goal. 

For further reading…- Again, Justin Trudeau’s comment on the need to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- David Cay Johnston observes that the U.S.’ extreme inequality goes far beyond money alone. And Jesse Myerson notes that a basic income can be supported based on principles held across the political spectrum, while making the case as to how it should be developed to serve as a counterbalance to the abuses of capitalism: The engine fueling capitalism’s indefinite tendency to expand is mass dependence on the market to secure the means of subsistence. Because the majority of us have to work in order to afford the trappings of dignity, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Juxtaposition


Also, pay no attention to this guy: Justin Trudeau:  The reason environmental groups in Canada and across the United States are so concerned about Canadian oil is because Mr. Harper has turned the oil sands into the scapegoat around the world for climate change. He is – has put a big target on our oil sands, which are going to be an important part of our economy for a number of years to come, although (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Frank Pasquale and Siva Vainhyanathan write that we shouldn’t mistake schemes intended to get around employee standards and other laws for innovations worth celebrating or embracing: Uber has confronted admittedly stifling restrictions on taxi driver licenses in France by launching a service called UberPop. Several authorities in Europe have ruled UberPop illegal, but Uber kept it operating anyway as it appealed. Now France has charged Uber’s general director for France, Thibaud Simphal, and the company’s director for Western Europe, Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty with enabling taxi-driving by non-professional drivers and “deceptive commercial practices (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jerry Dias discusses how the Cons have pushed Canada into an avoidable recession by slashing useful funding in order to send out pre-election baubles: How far has Canada’s economic star fallen? Only recently Prime Minister Stephen Harper boasted that Canada’s economy was “the envy of the entire world.” That claim was always overstated. Now it is downright ludicrous.

The Bank of Canada cut interest rates for the second time this year, but few expect this to pull us out of the tailspin. After all, Canadians are already tapped out: household debt now (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Christopher Majka reviews Henry Mintzberg’s Rebalancing Society as a noteworthy discussion of the need for balance between the public, private and “plural” sectors. And David Madland is pleased to see the U.S.’ Democrats finally fighting back against the view that the corporate sector is the only one worth favouring through government.

- But there’s far more to be done in putting the public back in public policy – particularly when, as Bill Tieleman points out, we’re being asked to accept more and more strict “trade” agreements designed to ensure (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Matthew Brown and Matt Volz report on the latest oil train derailment in North Dakota. Justin Giovannetti discusses how fracking is leading to regular earthquakes in previously-stable parts of Alberta – which looks doubly dangerous given the presence of pipelines in the affected area. Garret Ellison examines Enbridge’s blithe disregard for the safety of 60-year-old pipelines which it wants to keep operating indefinitely. And Chris Mooney comments on the link between climate change and wildfires.

- All of which leads nicely to Tzeporah Berman’s point that we need to start a real (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Before the fall

Shorter Brad Wall: The whole concept of “From many peoples, strength” doesn’t do much for me. But “From many dinosaur remains, climate devastation”, now that gets me – and any right-thinking Westerner – all tingly with pride.

Bill Longstaff: I know you have to say that stuff, Rachel, but still ….

At a recent speech to international investors in Calgary, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley described the tar sands as “a tremendous asset” and an “international showpiece.” Hearing my premier and the leader of my party describe the tar sands as a tremendous asset makes me cringe. They are indeed an international showpiece, but not the kind we should be bragging about.

Ms. Notley is a very bright

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Thomas Lemieux and W. Craig Riddell examine Canada’s income distribution and find that one’s place in the 1% is based primarily on rent-seeking rather than merit: (I)n Canada, as in the United States, executives and others working in the financial and business services sectors have been driving the growth in top incomes. Unlike in the United States, however, the oil and gas sector has also played an important role in income growth at the top, especially in more recent years, and holders of medical degrees have lost ground. Their results for engineers (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- David Dayen explains how fiscal policy intended to ensure growth for everybody is instead sending all of its benefits to the top end of the income scale – and thus failing to ensure any growth at all: (L)et’s examine how central banks try to revive economies. They mainly try to lower interest rates in a variety of ways. This entices consumers to borrow cheaply, spurring more economic activity. Plus, consumers can refinance into lower interest rates on their current loans, saving them money that they could choose to spend. Without high returns from (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On end dates

There’s no doubt that Stephen Harper characteristically did everything in his power to put off any meaningful international action on climate change. But it’s worth noting that his procrastination only resulted in a more definitive statement from the G7 as to where the global economy is ultimately headed: Mindful of this goal and considering the latest IPCC results, we emphasize that deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are required with a decarbonisation of the global economy over the course of this century.

Of course, that common destination might be reached in one of two ways. On that front, we (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Heather Stewart writes about the OECD’s study showing the connection between increasingly precarious work and worsening inequality. 

- Tara Deschamps reports on a few of the challenges facing poor Torontonians, while Sara Mojtehedzadeh and Laurie Monsebraaten cover the United Way’s report card showing that most workers are now stuck in precarious work. And Star offers a few policy suggestions to improve that situation, while Ella Bedard points out how Andrew Cash is pushing for solutions at the federal level.

- Edward Keenan writes that it’s long past time to stop relying (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Time for some adult supervision

The latest Con dodge on greenhouse gas emission regulations for the oil and gas industry is to say that they’ll promise to deal with a few collateral activities, just as long as actual production continues to receive a free pass: Aglukkaq also announced new rules to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, such as industrial leaks and gas flares, which makes up a significant portion of the industry’s total emissions.

Notably omitted, of course, is the rest of the industry’s total emissions.

So how does that painful level of parsing to avoid what has to be done (Read more…)

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


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…)