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mark a rayner: Fiction: At the GruntWerx Board of Directors Meeting

The Scott Ross: Public Education Before Health Care

When you replace the fan belt on your 1988 Toyota Corrolla, you can’t drive faster than when the car was brand new. Even with the new part, the car, with all of its wear and tear, is likely to be slower than when you first drove it off the lot.

No one expects that a trip to a mechanic for repairs is going to make their car better than new, we all know a mechanic only maintains a vehicle, he doesn’t engineer it to be better. When we want a faster, more efficient and more powerful car than the one (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Free Speech and the Privatization of Public Space

Donald Smith was protesting a sign at Glenmore Landing in Calgary’s southwest Sunday that bans political demonstrations. [CBC]

The privately owned parking lot near the prime minister’s constituency office asserts that protesting is prohibited. On the surface, this looks like the prime minister is impeding the constitutional rights of expression and peaceful assembly.

I’m sure he finds this all quite convenient, but a large hidden issue in this is the privatization of public space.

Can I prohibit protest in a space I own? Possibly.

Can I lament at the amount of space deemed to be public [parking lot, shopping mall] (Read more…)

The Scott Ross: Public Health Care Is Our White Whale

The White Whale swam before him as the monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies which some deep men feel eating in them, till they are left living on with half a heart and half a lung. – Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Perhaps if the revenge-obsessed Captain Ahab had access to Canada’s public health care system Moby Dick would have had a happier ending, but as Tommy Douglas was still decades away from being born, there was little solace for the one legged seafarer. Despite their temporal difference though, not to mention their fictional divide, Ahab’s pursuit of the White

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The Scott Ross: Canada Has Moved Backwards On Education: Our Past Demands Free Post-Secondary

Canada 140 years ago was a more intolerant, sexist, and unequal place, but on one important issue it was far more progressive than the Canada of today, and that’s on public education.

Nations often like to look back and take pride at the progress they’ve made over the years, and Canada has a lot to be proud of, our country has moved forward on many important fronts, but in regards to education, it has not. In fact judged by the original intent of early Canadian governments, our education system has actually moved backwards.

This retrograde is not due to new

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Canada Has Moved Backwards On Education: Our Past Demands Free Post-Secondary

Canada II: Yes to Capitalism, No to Greed

The political arena is strange. So much of the time it’s about “defining” the opposition. News flash – the left is not against capitalism.

Greed is visceral. We all know what it is. It is all around us every day but it is no longer directly visible to us. The direct connections have been disguised, hidden or broken completely.

It is often greed that drives someone to knowingly dump toxic

CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE WORLD: Canadians Mourn The Untimely “Death of Evidence”

“The Harper government is the most environmentally hostile one we have ever had in Canada.” – Maude Barlow, Chair of the Council of Canadians About 1,500 scientists, lawyers, students and activists from across Canada gathered on Parliament Hill yesterday and held a mock funeral to mourn the death of Canadian evidence. The rallying cry for this groundbreaking show of democratic outrage against Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his backward-looking Conservative government: “No science, no evidence, no truth, no democracy.” The media has already extensively covered the event. And so, I’ll try and do something a little different: . . . → Read More: CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE WORLD: Canadians Mourn The Untimely “Death of Evidence”

Left Over: Only in Canada? Pity…..

So, the Supreme Court in the US has ruled…and Obamacare, such as it is, is ‘safe’ for now…

This decision means, practically, nothing regarding a tax, since if one reads the bill, carefully, there are no penalties for not buying in…Medicaid is still in place, as is Medicare, provided, (and here is where it gets interesting) that within a certain time frame, the States opt in to the program, with big Federal subsidies coming their way…if they don’t, they will be financing these programs on their own…and I think it’s a great start, but no, not nearly the same as

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The Scott Ross: Free Post-Secondary Education Makes Money

Free post-secondary education would increase incomes, and income taxes would not just recover the initial cost to government but would actually generate additional public revenue. This paper from the Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives compares incomes from higher education and the subsequent increased government revenue from income taxes, and finds the return of post-secondary education would outweigh the cost of its public provision.

“This paper also finds that undergraduate education stands out as a profitable investment for the public treasury when all students’ payments for their education — both up-front tuition fees and additional income taxes paid over their careers

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Free Post-Secondary Education Makes Money

The Scott Ross: Free Post-Secondary Education Is Bad Because You’re Afraid Of Change

You have a reason to oppose free post-secondary education? You sure do, it’s your unwillingness to change.

The fact is a majority of Canadians do offer justifications for opposing free post-secondary education, but those arguments do not come from research or evidence, they come from a fear of change.

This is clearly demonstrated in that a majority of Canadians also oppose the elimination of public schools, not because they’ve looked at studies or read reports, but that moving to an entirely private school system would be too big of a change. 

And now most Canadians, the same ones that

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Free Post-Secondary Education Is Bad Because You’re Afraid Of Change

The Scott Ross: Thank You John Baird, You Saved My Life

Michael Ignatieff hated Canada, he was repeatedly caught feeding off of beaver spinal cord fluid. The Gun Registry was moments away from assigning bar codes to the foreheads of farmers’ first born children. Though a 5% GST is okay, the 7% variety flew the second plane into the World Trade Centre shouting “Trudeau Akbar!”

What do you mean, “Is all this true?” We’re all in big trouble if debating semantics is more important to you than stopping a Liberal carbon tax that simultaneously can’t exist but will figuratively and also literally kill Canadian children.

Though this may seem

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Thank You John Baird, You Saved My Life

The Scott Ross: The National Concerns of Busting Unions & Health Care

Marking a complete reversal by the Conservatives in intergovernmental relations, on Friday the process of creating a new health agreement between the federal government and the provinces will be announced.

This will be a dramatic change from the Conservatives’ position on health care made just months earlier when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told the provinces that there would be no new health accord; the provinces would be left alone to devise standards, programs for innovation in care, cost-cutting measures, and medical research.

Though there has been no formal announcement of pending discussions on a new national health accord, Conservatives have

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: The National Concerns of Busting Unions & Health Care

The Scott Ross: Conservatives Know Protests Don’t Depend On Attendance

Conservatives should know better than anyone that it isn’t the number of people who protest that is important, what matters is why they’re doing it.

Many have attacked the turnout of protests against the government in recent years, from the anti-prorogation rallies to protests over the recent robocall scandal. Conservative critics cite poor showings and drastically underestimate attendees at others suggesting that the size of crowds determines a side’s righteousness or an issue’s validity.

It’s interesting to note that though they make fun of protests that may have only had 100, 75, and even 18 people, claiming the protests ‘

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Conservatives Know Protests Don’t Depend On Attendance

The Scott Ross: NDP & the Decline of Labour

The NDP is certainly not asking whether it should abandon organized labour, but maybe organized labour should ask whether it abandon the NDP.

What does it say about the New Democratic Party when it is the only political organization of unions, for unions and organized labour over the last thirty years has only lost power and legitimacy?

If a party incorporates a cause so much into their ideology and that cause has only been dramatically weakened over time, is that party not responsible, at least partially for not convincing voters, for not changing anything for the better, indeed only potentially

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: NDP & the Decline of Labour

Canada II: Soliciting Harper Government Leaks

This post serves two purposes. First, I’m willing to collect leaked information in a way that does not directly reveal either my identity or the identity of the revealing party. Second, this outline serves as a relatively private manner of information exchange for anyone to use.

Leak to Canada II

You have information you would like to leak. You would like to be anonymous. I would like to

Canada II: Stop Whining and Fight Back

This is great advice but a little hollow. In fact, Warren’s column essentially does the same thing it decries:

Stop Whining about Political Impudence They’re doing to Rae what they did, so successfully, to Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff: They’re shaping impressions about Rae before Rae does.

The best strategy, then, isn’t to call for yet more laws restricting legitimate political speech.

The Scott Ross: Liberal Members Vote To Allow Supporters To Lose Too

Without buying a party membership you can become a Liberal supporter and not vote too.

Liberals this weekend passed numerous amendments, one of them allows for non-members to vote for Leader, and though this issue was passed by a majority, both sides of the debate lost, because so few delegates actually voted.

Whether the Liberal Convention was a success or not does not depend on what was passed or what wasn’t, that’s a matter of opinion, but what measures its success is how many Liberals were involved. And though the National Convention can be satisfied with 3200 delegates being registered,

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Liberal Members Vote To Allow Supporters To Lose Too

Canada II: Canada’s Access to Information Act

Let’s get some information out concerning the access to information process currently available in Canada.

For those looking for intimate legal details here is the Access to Information Act itself. The forms to fill out are available online from the Treasury Board of Canada’s web site:

Access to Information Request Determine which federal government institution is most likely to have the

The Scott Ross: Less Liberal, Less Canadian

In 2006 Howard Dean spoke at the Liberal Leadership convention. In 2008 many Liberal organizers went to the United States and worked for the Democrats. In that same year many Liberals attempted to draw similarities between Liberal Leadership candidate and longtime American resident Michael Ignatieff with Barack Obama. In 2009 Liberals began using the same database Democrats use. In 2012 two influential Democrats will speak at the Liberal Convention. In this same year more Liberal organizers and volunteers are planning to go South to participate in an American President’s re-election.

This is at the same time that Liberals are contemplating

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The Scott Ross: The Great Liberal Difference.

Having the luxury of being in government for so long allowed Liberals to think they were special, that there were huge differences between them and other parties, well there aren’t and they should stop thinking there are.

Yes there are differences between all the parties, but they are far less severe than partisans on either side realize. To perpetuate the belief that Liberals differ greatly from the Conservatives or the NDP is to perpetuate the current political landscape, and our disadvantage.

The fact is Canadians support the Conservatives, they do so by not supporting their party constitution or by paying

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: The Great Liberal Difference.

Law is Cool: The purpose of blawgs

More than a year ago I wrote a post entitled “How lawyers think.” Its basic idea is that a lawyer’s job is to maximize legal protection of his client’s rights. Protecting rights means either of two things: one, letting the world know what your rights and their legal basis are, and, two, getting a court [...] . . . → Read More: Law is Cool: The purpose of blawgs

Politics, Re-Spun: Once upon a time on the bald prairie

In 1935 a group of farmers in Regina, Saskatchewan pooled their savings, re-mortgaged their farms and build the Consumer Co-operative Refinery Limited (CCRL). CCRL is the oldest and largest co-operative in the energy sector in Canada, controlled by Canadian members, and is one of the oldest energy co-operatives in the world. Who knew? This story [...] . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Once upon a time on the bald prairie

On cooperatives and housing.

I’ll get back to my electoral series eventually, I swear. But I had this weird idea today and I wanted to spell it out. It’s not an argument; more just thinking out loud. (Well, so to speak. “Speak”.)We don’t have enough housing going to the people who… . . . → Read More: On cooperatives and housing.

On the new feudalism.

I was going to blog something about the CMA’s recent report on Canadian healthcare. But there’s really not much there that anyone could reasonably disagree with. More access to prescription drugs, more access to long-term care for those who need it… . . . → Read More: On the new feudalism.

atypicalalbertan: Time to put private health delivery to bed.

There seems to be one demon that lingers that Albertans have to fight off time and time again. At least this time it appears that our premier is actually standing up to the demon, instead of opening the door like our last premier did – and now the oppo… . . . → Read More: atypicalalbertan: Time to put private health delivery to bed.