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Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Canadian Police and Suicide Hotlines Violating Privacy

It’s mind boggling that Canadian police would think it’s justified in sharing mental health information with Homeland Insecurity in order to help the USA discriminate against people with mental illness.

What in the heck made them think it’s okay? Are they crazy?

People need to trust that they can reach out to a Suicide Hotline without fear of future reprisals. Canadian police have seriously damaged this expectation, and therefore are likely to have harmed people who’d have otherwise sought help. It would be hard to learn definitively if this abuse of authority has killed people, because the people we’d learn (Read more…)

Trashy's World: Hudak vows to cancel full day Kindergarten

As a volunteer on a not-for-profit childcare centre Board, I can say with some authority that the FDK horse has left the barn. There has been some bumps on the road to implementation, but it has overall been a success. Furthermore, cancelling it now in its final stage of implementation would not only throw Ontario […]

Illuminated By Street Lamps: The Toronto G20 Summit: A State of Exception

By Joe Fantauzzi@jjfantauzziBetween June 26 and 27, 2010, thousands of demonstrators[1] descended on Toronto, Ontario to protest while the leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies[2] met behind a protective fence built of steel and secretive legislative authority. When the tear gas cleared and the G20 Summit ended, 1,105 people had been detained. It has been described as “the largest peacetime mass arrest in Canadian history.”[3] Of those arrested, 779 — 80% — were released without any charges (as of June 2012).[4] Following Giorgio Agamben, I contend that the Province of Ontario employed (Read more…)

Illuminated By Street Lamps: Locating Canada’s State Multiculturalism As A Racist Doctrine

By Joe Fantauzzi@jjfantauzziCanada is a multicultural nation. More than four decades of policy, legislation and celebration have engraved this country’s pluralism into its national character. The ethnic diversity of this country is presented globally as a fundamental strength of the Canadian nation. But massive structural inequalities which have not been erased with state multiculturalism policies remain ─ and have, in some cases, been exacerbated. I contend that nationalism in Canada is highly predicated on race and a structural racism that is intrinsically linked to Canada’s brand of state-sponsored multiculturalism. Following Himani Bannerji, I argue this race-focused nationalism works (Read more…)

False positive: private profit in Canada's health care: Laboratory Services Expanded in Huntsville and Bracebridge Hospitals: Point of Care Testing Fails to Meet Expectations

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) has restored a regular night shift in its medical laboratories at the Huntsville and Bracebridge hospitals. This is a victory for viable community hospitals. It is also another example of the chaos caused by the government’s artificial prohibition on hospital labs performing medical laboratory work for community patients, for example, patients of family doctors.

The Huntsville and Bracebridge sites were on the cusp of a mini trend among small hospitals in Ontario replacing some in-hospital laboratory services with point-of-care-testing (POCT).* After two years’ experience the MAHC is reversing this policy and reinstating a regular laboratory (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Published elsewhere: Ontario is no California when it comes to debt

The Toronto Star just published an article I wrote in response to claims made by the Fraser Institute and the Toronto Sun that Ontario has a runaway debt problem worse than California’s.

The short version: I call BS. The slightly longer version: California has constraints, such as limits on the size of debt and difficulties in raising new taxes, that have severely hampered its ability to take on and manage debt. It has a smaller debt than Ontario on all measures but much worse credit standing. Ontario, on the other hand, still has a lot of flexibility to deal with (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Don’t Tolerate Ignorance About the Minimum Wage

Now, stop tolerating ignorance! And smile, TGIF.


It’s Friday.

For many people it’s TGIF. But for many people who aren’t even teenagers, the work week isn’t ending today.

We often THINK minimum wage is for the new entries to the job market. Maybe it was one day. Maybe just for one day.

But today? If it isn’t a living wage, it’s exploitative.

And if it is just minimum wage, we are likely not too accurate on who is suffering with these low wages.

Let’s take a peek:

It is not the stereotypical pothead living in their parents’ basement.

(Read more…)

Trashy's World: As O-Town doesn’t really have a Mayoral race to speak of…

… this political junkie has to find another one to follow and enjoy. And Toronto, the land of the crack-smoking, loud, obnoxious, and the tacky champion of all Torontonians with a sub 75 IQ, is the place to watch. Especially now that Olivia Chow is resigning her seat in the House to run against that […]

Political Eh-conomy: The mouse in the room: Small business fetish and the minimum wage debate

The scrappy mom-and-pop shop may be a nice image, but how well does it reflect the reality of employment? Small business may be neither as ubiquitous nor economically heroic as many people think. If this is the case, then perhaps the needs of small business should not figure as prominently in some economic policy debates. The minimum wage debate is a case in point.

This line of thinking arose from finding an older piece by the excellent Doug Henwood, which questions the nearly universal platitudes directed at small business. Doug writes,

[S]mall business often serves an ideological purpose. (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Time to get serious with distracted drivers

In March, the fine for being caught texting, talking on your cell phone, or tinkering with your MP3 player while driving will jump from $155 to $280 in Ontario. That’s better, but not good enough. Distracted drivers are a growing threat to everyone sharing the road – other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. We are all […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Collingwood’s municipal debt and 2014 budget

Tuesday, Council got a combined debt-and-budget presentation that set the stage for the upcoming, fuller 2014 budget deliberations starting next week. CAO John Brown gave us a recap of a report (produced by BMA Management Consulting) about the town’s debt situation and financial wellbeing. It was a mix of good news/bad news. The good is […]

cmkl: Hudak drops ‘right to work’ policy

CBC is reporting that Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak has dropped the mandatory representation, voluntary dues policy for union membership from his party program. It’s nice to know that he figures it’s so unpopular as to hurt his chances at being the next premier.

The Progressive Economics Forum: Affordable Housing and Homelesness

This morning I gave a presentation to an church group in Ottawa on affordable housing and homelessness. My slides can be downloaded here.

Points I raised in the presentation include the following:

-Though government provides subsidizes to some low-income households for housing, it is important to be mindful of the considerable funding available for Canadian homeowners as well (including for high-income homeowners). For example, there is no taxation on the capital gains raised from the sale of a person’s primary residence. On an annual basis in Canada, this tax exemption costs the public treasury almost $2 billion.

(Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: SUPPORT: Auto Unions in the US and Canada are on a Roll

With all the union busting and union bashing going on by the 1% and their compradors in government, it’s nice to see the labour movement getting some traction.

The next few days in Tennessee and Ontario could move workplace democracy and the 99% ahead significantly, with thousands of new unionized jobs to support families and communities. Here’s how.

Two huge organizing drives are going on to unionize autoworkers at two plants. Voting takes place THIS WEEK for Volkswagen workers in Tennessee to join the UAW and a multi-union pro-organizing rally for Toyota workers happens on Sunday in Kitchener to support (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Nora Loreto offers an important reminder as to why we contribute taxes to social well-being: (T)axes still pay for things we need. Everyone benefits from a universal system of healthcare. Everyone is touched by the birth of someone and nearly everyone will rely on the system in the moments that precede their death. These moments are expensive.…User fees exchanged for public services limits access; those who can pay are separated from those who cannot. The introduction of every new user fee will result in fewer people able to afford to access (Read more…)

The Progressive Right: Another Conservative Against Tim Hudak’s Right-to-Work Gambit? ( #pcpo #onpoli )

Well, at least he used to be.

Like Dave Brister and John O’Toole, the Conservative candidate for Niagara Falls, Bart Maves, likely has some reservations about Tim Hudak’s desire to legislate “right-to-work”. Did he change his tune to avoid being dumped as a candidate?

The Conservative Party of Ontario’s drive to implement right-to-work is dividing not just Ontario, it’s dividing the Conservative Party.

The Progressive Right: Another Conservative Fears Tim Hudak’s Right-to-Work Gambit ( #pcpo #onpoli )

There’s another Conservative who’s worried about Tim Hudak’s right-to-work plans.

The MPP for Durham, Conservative John O’Toole, believes that the Conservative Party’s plan to introduce right-to-work legislation could cost them an election.

See previously, Tim Hudak’s Right-to-Work Gambit.

The Liberal Scarf: PC candidates and MPPs flee from Hudak’s leadership

Hudak is down two candidates, with his candidates in Hamilton Mountain and Hamilton East-Stoney Creek resigning. This of course, comes hot on the heels of PC candidate Dave Brister getting the boot for standing up for his constituents and standing up to Hudak and his reckless “right to work for less” schemes, Hudak’s Finance spokesperson Peter Shurman resigning as an MPP after billing you for his second home, and long time MPP and frontbench critic Frank Klees announcing his retirement rather than running for Hudak a second time.

Oh, and Gila Martow, the new Hudak candidate in Thornhill? (Read more…)

The Progressive Right: Tim Hudak’s Right-to-Work Gambit ( #pcpo #onpoli )

It would appear that the Ontario Conservative Party’s support for right-to-work legislation is costing them support and costing them candidates.

Ontario Conservatives are concerned how the labour policy messaging is looking. Forum — grain of salt alert — shows support for the Ontario Conservatives down.

You can read the Wikipedia entry to find out what right-to-work legislation is. It essentially allows a new employee to bypass membership in a union, but benefit from any gains made by a union agreement negotiated with the employer. The idea being – as new employees join and are perhaps encouraged to opt out of (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: The political aspects of the minimum wage

Discussion of the minimum wage can easily slide into a technocratic back-and-forth that ignores the vital political aspect at play. We can see this in much of the response to the report just released by the Ontario government’s Minimum Wage Advisory Panel (MWAP). Andrew Coyne, for example, once again argues that a basic income is a better solution to poverty than increases in the minimum wage. The question, however, should not be one of which single tool is best for fighting poverty, but how we can build the most effective toolkit, one that also puts political power into the hands of the (Read more…)

The Progressive Right: Ontario Liberal Party Accrediting Bloggers to #OLPAGM? ( #OLP #onpoli )

I have inquired as to whether the party will be accrediting bloggers to the 2014 Ontario Liberal AGM on March 21-23. If I hear anything, dear readers, I’ll let you know and update this post accordingly.

I will be attending the AGM as a delegate and will be tweeting / blogging regardless.

Bill Longstaff: The tar sands—our climate change nemesis

While Neil Young very publicly feuds with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and its ally the Canadian government, tar sands production continues to systematically advance Alberta’s position as the country’s pollution province. Already producing more greenhouse gasses than Ontario, despite having less than 30 per cent of its population, tar sands expansion will have it producing

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Future Proof: Ice Storms

Last year Shane vlogged about ice storms. Let’s not wait until a big storm hits Saskatchewan before we future proof our homes being built today.

You can check out Shane’s website, and buy his book.

If I had $20,000 to spend on a “depreciating liability” (a car), or $20,000 to spend on renewable energy for my home, which would be more useful during an ice storm or other time of emergency? Arguably a car could be useful to remove myself from the place of emergency, but if there’s no enough gas, or electricity to pump the gas, (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Tim Hudak: Scott Walker wannabe

Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak’s pledge to create one million new jobs sounds like a direct rip-off of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s promise to create 250,000 new jobs in a four year term. Only the state, er province and numbers are different.

And how is the Koch brother-funded, union-busting Scott Walker’s promise shaping up?

Not too well. Three quarters of the way and he’s nowhere close, with only 42% the promised 250,000 private sector jobs created. Wisconsin was tracking 37th among American states in terms of private sector job creation last year.

Walker is already backtracking on his (Read more…)

Eclectic Lip: December: a podcast premiere

The nice folks at (TWiE) invited me to guest on their podcast on their late November episode, Good News, Bad News, Ugly News. While most of their guests are leading experts in their fields, and I’m just a talkative and reasonably-knowledgeable former fuel cell engineer, I heeded Gore Vidal’s wisdom and agreed.

It being the first time my comments were being recorded for posterity (well… outside NSA headquarters, that is) I spent a few hours doing homework, researching the backgrounds of the energy stories we were scheduled to discuss, and refining / rehearsing a few talking (Read more…)