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Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

– Stephen Hawking discusses the urgent need to address inequality and environmental destruction as people are both more fearful for their futures, and more aware of what’s being taken away from them: (T)he lives of the richest people in the most prosperous parts of the world are agonisingly visible . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how a recent spate of announcements signals that contrary to their campaign commitments in both theme and detail, there’s been little difference between the Trudeau Liberals and the Harper Conservatives in substance.

For further reading…– The point is one being made by plenty of other observers as well in various contexts, including Ross . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.- Dennis Howlett discusses the public costs of allowing tax avoidance – as Canada could afford a national pharmacare program (and much more) merely by ensuring that the rich pay what they owe:Eliminating tax haven… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

– Dennis Howlett discusses the public costs of allowing tax avoidance – as Canada could afford a national pharmacare program (and much more) merely by ensuring that the rich pay what they owe:

Eliminating tax haven use could save Canada almost $8 billion a year. That’s enough to cover universal public prescription coverage almost eight times over.

Time after time, budget after budget, poll after poll, those in charge make it sound as if we’re too poor as a country to afford the programs that would really improve Canadians’ lives. The fact that revenues are lost to poor policy on tax havens and loopholes is often conveniently ignored.

At this stage of the game, the federal finance minister doesn’t need to raise taxes to pay for pharmacare. Bill Morneau just has to make sure that Canadian multinationals and wealthy individuals pay the tax rate we already have. That isn’t happening right now.

It’s simple. Canadians can continue to support a tax system that lets the richest avoid paying $8 billion in taxes annually — or we can tell them that the party’s over. Instead of ignoring what is happening in the Cayman Islands, Panama and other tax havens, we can urge our politicians to invest the taxes owing on those billions into services that benefit individuals, families, communities and the country as a whole.

There is solid data supporting raising taxes in some areas. But that’s an argument for another day. The issue at hand right now is that we do have enough money for pharmacare — likely enough for public dental care as well. Through a series of misguided and outdated decisions driven by the tax dodge lobby, we are needlessly and destructively giving up that revenue.

It’s time to fix those old mistakes and use the tax system to help this country live up to its potential.

– Meanwhile, Owen Jones discusses a European Commission ruling finding that Apple can’t validly avoid paying tax through a special arrangement with Ireland. And the Star rightly slams the Fraser Institute for presenting a misleading picture of where public revenue comes from and what it can accomplish.

– The CP reports on the Libs’ plans to facilitate the use of temporary foreign workers for liquid natural gas projects in British Columbia – meaning that the last supposed benefit for the province of engaging in a dangerous industry seems to be as illusory as all the others. And Jeremy Nuttall notes that Justin Trudeau seems set to open the door even wider to entrench the use of exploitable foreign labour by multinational corporations. 

– Finally, Catherine Cullen reports on the effects of privatized health care insurance which are being presented in an effort to defend Canada’s medicare system from would-be profiteers:

John Frank, a Canadian physician who is now chairman of public health research and policy at the University of Edinburgh, argues in his report that more private health care “would be expected to adversely affect Canadian society as a whole.”

He cites research that suggests public resources, including highly trained nurses and doctors, would be siphoned off by the private system.

More Canadians would face financial hardship or even — in extreme cases — “medical bankruptcy” from paying for private care, he writes.

Frank even suggests there could be deadly consequences. He says complications from privately funded surgeries often need to be dealt with in the public system because private facilities are generally less equipped to handle complex cases.

“If such complications, arising from privately funded care, are not promptly referred to an appropriately equipped and staffed care facility, the patient is likely to experience death or long-term disability, potentially leading to reduced earnings and financial hardship.”

Overall, “in my expert opinion,” Frank writes, the change would reduce fairness and efficiency and “society as a whole would be worse off.”

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

Alberta Politics: We need a referendum on electoral reform? No! We need a national referendum on the TPP!

PHOTOS: Justin Trudeau, back in 2015 before he was prime minister, promising Canadians real change, including electoral reform, if we gave him the chance. We gave him the chance. Below: Opposition Conservative interim Leader Rona Ambrose (CBC Photo) an… . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: We need a referendum on electoral reform? No! We need a national referendum on the TPP!

Politics and its Discontents: Only A Start

A bane of the neoliberal agenda but salvation to countless Canadians, the vision of a national pharmacare program has made a baby step toward realization. The federal government has joined Canadian provinces and territories in a bulk-buying drug progra… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Only A Start

Politics and its Discontents: More On Pharmacare

The other day I wrote about an article in the Globe that called into question support for the notion of a national pharmacare program that would see drugs paid for by the government as a fitting and necessary complement to our universal healthcare. I examined the methodology and bias involved in the author’s claims . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: More On Pharmacare

The Disaffected Lib: The Case for Pharmacare. It’s Better and It’s a Big Money Saver.

Canada is the only developed country that provides universal health care that doesn’t also have universal pharmacare coverage.

A new report claims that not only can Canada implement such a system, it could save Canadians billions.

In Monday’s issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers say the extra total cost to government of . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: The Case for Pharmacare. It’s Better and It’s a Big Money Saver.

Alberta Diary: Hockey millionaires and pharmacare tell you everything you need to know about who the Canadian Taxpayers Federation really works for

The Montreal Canadiens in 1912-13. Now the highest-taxed hockey players on the continent, they’re still the best and likely to stay that way. Below: Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions President Linda Silas; U.S. anti-public-health-care fruitloop and Canadian Taxpayers Federation ally Grover Norquist.

For a while now it’s seemed as if the so-called Canadian . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Hockey millionaires and pharmacare tell you everything you need to know about who the Canadian Taxpayers Federation really works for

Alberta Diary: Happy Thanksgiving! Would the Tories praising our health care system please stop trying to privatize it!

Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital waaay back in the day. Below: The modern Mis, the one in Edmonton’s west end that after 45 years is falling apart. Alberta Health Minister Stephen Mandel.

Happy Thanksgiving! With a case of a “potential contagious illness” in an unidentified Edmonton hospital last night, I guess we can be thankful . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Happy Thanksgiving! Would the Tories praising our health care system please stop trying to privatize it!

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Alberta politics this week: Health Ministers, By-Elections and Troubled Waters Ahead

TweetBANFF – Stepping onto the national stage for the first time since he was appointed as Alberta’s Minister of Health, Stephen Mandel met with his provincial and federal counterparts this week in Banff for the annual Health Ministers meeting. Mr. Mandel co-chaired the meeting, a role his predecessor, Fred Horne, had planned to fill. The . . . → Read More: daveberta.ca – Alberta politics: Alberta politics this week: Health Ministers, By-Elections and Troubled Waters Ahead

OPSEU Diablogue: Tommy Douglas never said health care would be free — advisor to Premier

Is Roger Martin having us on? This morning the publicly funded Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity released a working paper on policy opportunities for Ontario’s health care system during Longwood’s Breakfast With The Chiefs speaker series. Roger Martin, the former … Continue reading →

Politics and its Discontents: A Timely Message Important To Everyone

The video that follows was made by Canadian Doctors For Medicare, who are advocating for a national pharmacare program, something that a country as rich as ours could well-afford. It is a logical and necessary extension of our national healthcare. In fact, according to an article in The National Post,

Canada is one of . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: A Timely Message Important To Everyone

OPSEU Diablogue: Premier Wynne – Important memo re public health care

Memo: To the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier, Province of Ontario From: Your new pals at OPSEU Diablogue Dear Premier Wynne – Imagine our surprise when we discovered in today’s newspaper that the public sector unions are in fact running government. We have to give thanks … Continue reading →

. . . → Read More: OPSEU Diablogue: Premier Wynne – Important memo re public health care

knitnut.net: I have a drug problem

I have a drug problem.

I’ve been getting 3-day migraines roughly once a month for the past 15 years or so. If you do the math, that means I’ve had migraines about 10% of the time.

I only found out a year ago that they were migraines. Before that, I just thought they were . . . → Read More: knitnut.net: I have a drug problem