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Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Bruce Livesey discusses Tony Blair’s role in corporatizing social democracy. And Stephen Elliott-Buckley writes that there’s little reason to listen to the policy prescriptions of a financial elite class which is conspicuously ensuring that its future bears no resemblance to that of the general population.

- Jane Taber interviews Donald Savoie about the importance of our public service – and the decline it’s seen in recent years: What happened?

It was wrong to think that we could make the public sector look like the private sector. Well, frankly, it started with Margaret (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Bob Hepburn writes that more Canadians approve of the idea of a guaranteed annual income than oppose it – even as the concept is all too frequently dismissed as politically unpalatable. And Stuart Trew points out that a majority of Canadians disagree with the corporate super-rights contained in the CETA and other trade agreements.

- But of course, blind support for corporate interests and opposition to a reasonable standard of living for all are neatly clustered in the Cons’ caucus among other places. And Carol Goar writes that Con MPs used a Parliamentary (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Andrew Coyne highlights the ultimate issue in the Cons’ Senate patronage, scandals and cover-ups: (I)f the prime minister sets the standard, then we are entitled to ask: Why has this standard been so inconsistent? On essentially the same set of facts, the senators in question have been held to three entirely distinct standards: total indulgence, in the first stages of their tenure, when they were viewed as assets to the party; total ostracism, since the scandal broke, when they had become political liabilities; and in between that strange interlude, at least with regard (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- thwap highlights the cycle of austerity, stagnation and decline that’s marked the past few decades across much of the developed world. And Thomas Walkom recognizes that the economy is actually one of the Cons’ most glaring weaknesses – at least, if one thinks that workers count for anything: The truth is that Canada’s economy is not doing well. Official unemployment may be hovering around the 7 per cent mark (last month it was 6.9 per cent). But official unemployment figures do not take into account those who are underemployed or who have (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Carol Goar points out why Canada’s EI system is running surpluses (contrary to all parties’ intentions) – and notes that the result has nothing to do with the best interests of the workers who pay into the system: Flaherty’s explanation was true as far as it went. Employment has edged up this year. EI claims have declined. But the real story lies in what he left out.

A large proportion of jobs that have come on-stream in 2013 have been part-time, temporary, short-term, casual or intermittent. Last month, for instance, 41,800 of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

This and that for your Labour Day reading.

- Jared Bernstein writes about the fight for fair wages in the U.S. fast food and retail industries. And Karen McVeigh notes that political decision-makers are starting to try to get in front of the parade of workers seeking a reasonable standard of living: Organisers said the strikes, scheduled a day after the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and a few days before Labor Day, were being held in 60 cities and had spread to the south – including Tampa and Raleigh – and the west, with workers in (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Polly Toynbee discusses how the UK’s attacks on social programs are based on gross ignorance about what social spending does (and who it helps): The Citizens Advice Bureau reports a rise of 78% in the last six months in people needing food banks to keep going. Many have jobs, but their pay doesn’t see them to the end of the week. The CAB chief executive says millions of families face a “perfect storm” with benefit cuts, low wages, short hours and the high cost of living. Even in apparently well-to-do areas, community halls (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Richard Eskow offers up some ugly facts about corporate wealth accumulation and tax avoidance.

- David MacAray writes about the challenge facing labour activists when much of the public has been trained to engage in gratuitous union-bashing even while fully agreeing with union priorities: A union official I correspond with (the International Vice-President of a West Coast labor union) recently shared an interesting anecdote.  He said that whenever he meets someone for the first time and they casually ask what he does for a living, he answers by saying he’s a (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Sadly (if perhaps unsurprisingly), the Trudeau Libs’ vote with the Harper Cons against civil rights has received relatively little notice compared to the two parties’ attack ad posturing. But there’s still plenty worth reading on the subject – including another post from pogge, a discussion led by David Ball, and Michael Harris’ assessment as to the likely targets of Con-fueled hysteria in the years to come: (W)ith S-7 the law of the land, some dark possibilities present themselves in this country.

The federal government already has established five Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

That and that for your Sunday reading.

- Alex Himelfarb weighs in against gratuitous austerity by pointing out the dishonest cycle of excuses used to push destructive policy: (T)he consequences of cuts are increasingly visible, first for the most vulnerable: aboriginal communities struggling to meet basic needs, higher tuitions and student debt, refugees who cannot get needed medicine, more unemployed Canadians thrown onto inadequate welfare because they cannot access insurance. Some consequences will play out more slowly: weaker environmental regulations, cuts to education and science, neglect of crumbling infrastructure, eroding public services will all make our economy less competitive, less

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Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Marc Lee and Iglika Ivanova offer up a framework for a more progressive and fairer tax system.

- Andrew Hanon looks behind the Fraser Institute’s labour-bashing and finds that what it’s really criticizing is fair pay for women in the public sector.

- Fern Brady notes that conservatives have succeeded in pitting exactly the people with the greatest need for social assistance against each other – with the result being that far too few people are questioning whether cuts serve any useful purpose in the first place: Logically, I’d expect those on

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Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jim Stanford is the latest to point out that the Cons see accountability and transparency solely as punishments to be inflicted on their perceived enemies, not as values to be applied to their own decision-making: Following Mr. Hiebert’s logic, any organization in society that benefits from a tax expenditure (no matter how indirect) should be required to post similarly detailed and intrusive financial and expenditure data on a government website. Here is the current listing of federal tax expenditures. Every organization connected to any expenditure listed in that catalogue (whether the personal, corporate,

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Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Thomas Walkom discusses the meaning of the Ontario Libs’ attempt to take collective bargaining rights away from teachers in the context of the wider labour movement: The union movement is one of the last remnants of the great postwar pact between labour, capital and government.

That pact provided Canadians with things they still value, from medicare to public pension plans. Good wages in union shops kept pay high, even in workplaces that weren’t organized. Unions agitated for and won better health and safety laws that covered all.

True, union rules made it

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Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

- Paul Dechene interviews Marc Spooner about Saskatchewan residents left behind in the province’s boom: One way that our growing income gap can be hand-waved away is by pointing to the fact that every other province that goes through an economic boom faces this.

Perhaps it’s just a natural result of us going through a transitional phase?

Spooner doesn’t find that argument compelling.

“That implies a very non-responsive government,” he says. “Can we not learn from our neighbours in the west? Can we not see what happened in Alberta and be forward-looking and do

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Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- John Cameron highlights the importance of liberal arts education – as well as the fact that only a few people (who happen to nicely coincide with the Wall government’s base) stand to benefit from a citizenry with less of a tendency toward critical thinking: But anyone who can think critically – a liberal arts value, ironically enough – can see that there’s way more to this issue than simply a matter of that right-wing bugaboo, the Bloated Bureaucratic Salary. There’s issues of university transparency (Why is the public and university community dealing

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Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Steven Hoffman highlights the Cons’ utter refusal to recognize that foreign aid – as defined by global treaties – doesn’t mean the same thing as corporate giveaways: Reports and commentary on Canada’s new foreign aid policy reveal the extent to which international development means different things to different people. Some see it as public charity, others as the way a country projects its values to the world. Still others, including International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino, argue that it’s “a part of Canadian foreign policy” and the fulfilment of “a duty and a responsibility

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Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Rick Salutin offers an important take on the U.S. election by pointing out that the Occupy movement and its focus on inequality laid the groundwork for Barack Obama’s re-election:The aftermath to the bailouts was the… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

- In writing recently about employer efforts to intimidate workers into backing corporate-friendly candidates, I figured that the best examples we’d see would come from individual corporate magnates – as the candidates themselves would surely be smart enough not to state publicly that they support having employers dictate their employees’ votes. But Mitt Romney has proven me wrong.

- Meanwhile, pogge rightly questions the reality-challenged spin about “union bosses” somehow exercising any power beyond that which workers have democratically voted to authorize. And Timothy Noah comments on the need to start reinforcing the labour

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Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Barrie McKenna discusses the cost of public-private partnerships: Disturbing new research highlights some serious flaws in how governments tally the benefits of public-private partnerships versus conventional projects. Too little is known about how these contracts work, who benefits and who pays.

This week, public-private partnerships will take centre stage when the House of Commons operations committee resumes a series of hearings on P3s, stacked with witnesses who like them.

A P3 works essentially like leasing a car or TV, rather than paying cash up front. At the end of the day, governments pay

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Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- No, the aftershocks of an e. coli outbreak which has unfortunately given both Canadians and export markets reason for concern about the safety of some of our major food sources aren’t about to end simply because the Cons are again pretending everything’s fine. And the president of the union local representing XL Foods workers points out one of the major steps needed to ensure problems aren’t allowed to fester due to managerial neglect: Under the UFCW’s collective agreement, O’Halloran said, line workers can inform a supervisor only if they spot a safety issue,

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Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your weekend.

- For those wondering where progressive leaders are going with their policy proposals, the last week offered a couple of noteworthy examples. At home, Tom Mulcair’s Canadian Club speech commented on the importance of real roles for the government and the public in making economic decisions: A thriving private sector will, thankfully, always be at the heart of our national economy, and the engine of our economic growth.

But there’s also a commonsense role for government to play in building the fairer, more prosperous Canada that we all want.

There’s a commonsense role for

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Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- The CCPA’s Christopher Schenk offers up a detailed response to the Sask Party’s attacks on workers, featuring this conclusion: In a period of widening inequality restrictive labour laws are blatantly unnecessary and regressive. Indeed, their consideration is shocking when one considers that 34% of the workforce has neither full-time work nor job security, but occupies jobs that are termed contingent or precarious, including casual employment, irregular part time work, contract work, temporary work and self employment… This growing percentage of the workforce, which generally receives low pay and no benefits, needs an

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Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Tim Harper weighs in on the Cons’ latest campaign of coordinated lies, and notes that the NDP looks to have learned one important lesson in how to respond: The NDP may be here at the federal level for the first time, but they appear to have learned the first lesson when dodging such volleys — respond.

No charge is too ridiculous or over-the-top to be ignored.

The term Swiftboating entered the North American political lexicon because John Kerry took a holiday in 2004 rather than respond to Vietnam Swiftboat vets who questioned his

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Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the importance of substance over spin in politics – and the counterproductive effect of dedicating a party’s resources to the opposite effect.

For further reading…- As I’ve previously noted, the observations of Allan Gregg and Winslow Wheeler are here and here respectively.- Joe Klein discussed the impact of Bill Clinton’s DNC speech.- pogge nicely sums up my take on Tom Mulcair’s choice to trust in the Cons when it comes to Iran rather than mounting a meaningful defence of diplomacy, while Justine Hunter reports on Adrian Dix’ statement that he’s cutting down his policy

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Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Kady points out that despite the Cons’ best efforts to stonewall, the Robocon investigation in Guelph looks to have locked in on the source of their fraudulent robocalls. And while it’s indeed somewhat concerning that Elections Canada hasn’t reached anywhere near the same depth of investigation when it comes to the other 234 ridings where voters have reported questionable calls, a solid case aimed at an individual who took steps to cover his tracks may be just the opening needed to get at the party’s wider scheme.

- pogge duly slams Jim Flaherty’s

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