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Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

– David Boyle discusses how the principle of free trade – once intended to empower consumers against monopolies – is instead being used to lock in corporate control: (T)he original idea of free trade was not a simple licence to do whatever you wanted, if you were rich . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Labour Day reading.

– Jared Bernstein comments on the prospect of a labour revival which can boost the prospects of unionized and non-unionized workers alike. And Thomas Walkom makes the case for closer identification between the NDP and Canada’s labour movement:

Labour needs a political party because unions, on their own, are a declining force. Only 29 per cent of the Canadian workforce is unionized. The number continues to fall.

This has happened because the economy, once characterized by large manufacturing plants, is now dominated by smaller service firms that, under current labour laws, are more difficult to unionize.

The decline of well-paying union jobs is one of the key factors behind the rise in income inequality that politicians routinely fret about.

Yet to reverse this trend would require a total rethinking of employment and labour laws, most of which were designed in the 1940s and ‘50s.

Among other things, the laws must be amended to eliminate the loophole that allows so many employers to pretend their workers are independent contractors who do not qualify for benefits or statutory protection.

As well, labour relations laws would have to be changed to allow unions organizing, say, fast-food franchise outlets, to take on the ultimate employer.

These are just a couple of examples. The point is that, if unions are to survive, labour laws must be rethought.

That in turn requires a political party willing to do the rethinking.

– And CBC reports that Ontario’s NDP looks to be taking that advice by looking to facilitate both certification and collective bargaining – though there’s still more to be done in examining the broader trends affecting unionization rates.

– Mark Dearn discusses how the CETA figures to undermine democratic governance in Canada and Europe alike. And the CP reports on Justin Trudeau’s attempt to stifle discussion of the actual terms of corporate control agreements by indiscriminately bashing anybody who raises reasonable questions about business-oriented trade deals.

– Michael Winship points out how profiteering around the EpiPen the fits into a wider pattern of pharmaceutical price gouging and other anti-social behaviour.

– Finally, Lyndal Rowlands writes that developed countries have a strong stake in working toward meeting global development goals – and suggests it’s long past time that we started acting like it. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Politics and its Discontents: Andrea’s Damascene Moment

In the Book of Luke, Jesus is reported to have said the following:I tell you that … there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.In Acts of the Apostles, Paul’s conversion… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Andrea’s Damascene Moment

Politics and its Discontents: Is That The Pitter Patter Of Little Feet I Hear?

Sorry. False alarm. Turns out it was the sound of Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath doing a fancy dance as she practices her routine for the November leadership review she is facing.

In Toronto this past Saturday, more than 200 members of the party’s provincial council were witness to the reborn Horwath expressing her allegiance . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Is That The Pitter Patter Of Little Feet I Hear?

Accidental Deliberations: On redemocratization

Adrian Morrow reports on Andrea Horwath’s speech to the Ontario NDP’s provincial council. And there’s certainly plenty of reason for relative optimism about a message which both reflects a clear argument for big-picture progressive thinking, and recognizes at least part of the importance of the NDP’s base. That said, I’ll note that there’s still one . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On redemocratization

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

– James Meek observes that decades of privatization in the UK have eliminated public control over housing and other essential services – and that privatization takes far more forms than we’re accustomed to taking into consideration. And Rick Salutin offers his take on the latter point: Economist Mariana . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Politics and its Discontents: A Hail Mary Pass From Andrea?

Some might interpret it thus, in that Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, desperate to retain her job under increasing demands for her resignation, thinks she has found something to distinguish herself from the Liberals.

She is launching a campaign against government sell-offs of public assets in as she works to shore up her leadership . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: A Hail Mary Pass From Andrea?

Politics and its Discontents: In Pursuit Of Andrea

My post yesterday on Andrea Horwath’s leadership shortcomings provoked a series of thoughtful responses that I am reproducing below, on the assumption that the majority of blog readers don’t necessarily return to a post to see the ensuing commentary. I hope you enjoy reading the reactions as much as I did:

Kirby Evans September . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: In Pursuit Of Andrea

Politics and its Discontents: Is Andrea’s Day Of Reckoning Drawing Nigh?

Andrea Horwath, the current leader of the Ontario NDP, about whom I have written the odd past post, may indeed soon be facing the consequences of her recent decision to force an Ontario election that ran the risk, happily averted, of the election of a right-wing Progressive Conservative Party under former leader Tim Hudak. . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Is Andrea’s Day Of Reckoning Drawing Nigh?

Politics and its Discontents: Oh, And One More Thing

It seems I, Martin Regg Cohn and Cheri DiNovo aren’t the only ones to take issue with Andrea horwath’s leadership these days:

Re:Horwath admits ‘bittersweet’ election result, July 9

I wonder what Robin Sears has to say about Cheri DiNovo. The day Andrea Horwath walked away from the Liberal budget I cancelled my membership . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Oh, And One More Thing

Politics and its Discontents: Andrea Comes Down From Her Perch

But only a little bit. And only because her campaign is being criticized from within.

As I noted in a recent post, Ontario NDP leader Andrea’s Horwath’s hubris following what almost everyone else would call a failed Ontario election campaign has been both unseemly and wholly unjustified. She initially avowed that she had no . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Andrea Comes Down From Her Perch

Politics and its Discontents: Andrea Horwath: Her Smugness Takes A Hit

The other day, while watching some reactions to the Ontario Throne Speech, I couldn’t help but note a truculent and smug Andrea Horwath, the leader of an NDP party now diminished by her foolish decision not to support a progressive budget, thereby triggering an election that few wanted. She opined that the now-majority Liberal government . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Andrea Horwath: Her Smugness Takes A Hit

Politics and its Discontents: The Blame Game

The fact that I experienced physical and verbal abuse at the hands of my teachers during my Catholic education probably has a lot to do with my visceral response to arrogance. Having someone presume to sit in judgement on another is both a humiliating and ultimately enraging experience, one that most of us have . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: The Blame Game

Cowichan Conversations: Wynne’s Win, and the Agony of Right-Wing Pundits

Three election opportunities lost, Nova Scotia, BC and now the Ontario results flatten the calculating NDP strategists decision to force an election and shift to the so called middle.

Here is Murray Dobbin’s assessment as carried in the Tyee

Bad voters! You failed to opt for communal suicide. 

By Murray Dobbin

While I realize . . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Wynne’s Win, and the Agony of Right-Wing Pundits

Progressive Proselytizing: I can’t blame the NDP for the election call

Despite being a nonpartisan lefty, during the campaign I wasn’t particularly kind to the NDP. I derided the choice to call an election as a gamble that risked either a fairly horrible outcome (Hudak forming government), or a relatively small loss (slightly less influence within a majority Liberal government) for a relatively small gain (slightly . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: I can’t blame the NDP for the election call

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links – #VoteOn Edition

This and that for your Thursday (and Ontario election day) reading…

– Joseph Heath makes the case against Tim Hudak’s PCs in particular, and the shift from public to private goods in general: (I)t’s fairly clear what the PCs are planning. They are proposing a general shift in Ontario away from consumption of public goods . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links – #VoteOn Edition

Aaron Manton: Ontario Election: Evaluating Voter Engagement In My Riding Of Parkdale-High Park

Obviously some of the onus is on voters to research candidates, platforms, and issues, and to think for themselves about who and what they want to cast their ballot for. That being said, the opportunity to engage with a candidate one-on-one can have a tremendous impact on voter intention – it certainly has for me . . . → Read More: Aaron Manton: Ontario Election: Evaluating Voter Engagement In My Riding Of Parkdale-High Park

Progressive Proselytizing: The effect on strategic voting of Wynne ruling out a coalition

Unfortunately, for those of us who think that some form of Liberal-NDP election deal or coalition would be vastly superior to the PCs forming a government with the largest minority, Kathleen Wynne has said that she won’t form a coalition with the NDP. Unsurprisingly, as this move changes the possible outcomes, it also has an . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: The effect on strategic voting of Wynne ruling out a coalition

Progressive Proselytizing: The NDP email on "strategic voting" is largely nonsense

The NDP has sent several emails to supporters before and during the campaign premised on the idea that the best way to stop the Conservatives is to vote for the NDP. Here is the latest: “This election, there is one simple trick you can use to stop a Conservative majority: vote strategically. 

We’ve heard about . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: The NDP email on "strategic voting" is largely nonsense

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Tiny Alberta Progressive Parties need to get their act together

TweetWhat do the Alberta Liberals, New Democrats, Alberta Party and Green Party have in common? None of these parties will form government after the next election. As Albertans prepare for another electoral showdown between two conservative parties – the long-governing Progressive Conservatives and the opposition Wildrose Party – many non-conservative voters and voters looking for . . . → Read More: daveberta.ca – Alberta politics: Tiny Alberta Progressive Parties need to get their act together

Progressive Proselytizing: 2014 Ontario Election: Much to lose, little to gain for the NDP

I once wrote about what I called the “n-party problem”, how movements of various parties on a political spectrum is much more complicated when n, the number of political parties, is greater than two, analogous to the complicated orbits of n-body solar systems for n greater than two.  The positioning of the parties in . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: 2014 Ontario Election: Much to lose, little to gain for the NDP

Politics and its Discontents: UPDATED: Gerald Caplan’s Lament

The NDP exists for a reason: to express certain principles and to represent certain voters. Today it is not easy to say what the Ontario party’s principles are or for whom it speaks.

This lament, which Gerald Caplan places near the beginning of his open letter to Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, expresses both . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: UPDATED: Gerald Caplan’s Lament

Progressive Proselytizing: The best case view of the NDP platform

NDP candidate Rosario Marchese cuts through a lot of spin to defend a frank and real representation of the NDP’s platform. In my previous post, I was fairly harsh towards the NDP plan – both as a set of policies and the larger strategies. I wanted to share his post to be able to contrast . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: The best case view of the NDP platform

Progressive Proselytizing: The Ontario NDP’s small plan isn’t even good strategy

Shortly after the 2014 Ontario Election was called, I said that progressives – whether nonpartisans like myself or NDP supporters like some of you – should take yes for an answer, and vote to reward Kathleen Wynne’s relatively left leaning and progressive budget. Andrea Horwath’s big chance to change my mind was with the release . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: The Ontario NDP’s small plan isn’t even good strategy

Politics and its Discontents: Following Politics Too Closely Takes Its Toll

I imagine that many people who follow politics closely do so in the belief that it is one of the few arenas that offers the possibility of change on a wide scale. Enlightened public policy, backed by the appropriate fiscal measures, can help bring about greater social and economic equity, thereby contributing to a . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Following Politics Too Closely Takes Its Toll