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Accidental Deliberations: On half measures

Having written this column a couple of weeks back on electoral financing in Saskatchewan, I’ll take a moment to address this letter to the editor in response from R. Curtis Mullen.

It’s indeed true that Saskatchewan has spending limits which apply during an election campaign. But the Canada Elections Act does in fact regulate both donations and campaign spending, leaving little room for anybody to argue that it’s an “either”/or situation.

More importantly, though, campaign spending limits fall short of addressing the principled basis for donation restrictions on two fronts.

First, they do nothing about the problem of concentrated donations.

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Evening Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Daniel Tencer discusses the latest evidence that trickle-down economics are a fraud, while David Roberts and Javier Zarracina write about how the elite seems to get its own way even when the results are worse for everybody. And Heather Stewart reports on the IMF’s findings as to the connection between financialization, inequality and stagnation as the extraction of wealth comes to be valued more than the production of anything useful.

- Meanwhile, Simon Enoch and Cheryl Stadnichuk observe that Saskatchewan is headed down a well-worn path to ruin based on the Wall (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Alberta’s strengthened political financing rules under Rachel Notley’s NDP only highlight how far Saskatchewan has fallen behind.

For further reading…- Bill 1 is here (PDF), while Alberta’s legislation which it amends to prohibit organizational donations is the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, RSA 2000, c E-2 found here. And by way of comparison, the closest Saskatchewan has to the current or amended versions of sections 16 and 17 of that legislation is section 242 of the Election Act, 1996, SS 1996, c E-6.01 here. – I’ll point again to Barret Weber’s (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Saving Canada $90,000,000/year not worth Wall’s “effort”

“The Senate is never going to run properly and it’s never going to be worth the money we put into it. So it should be scrapped.”

.@PremierBradWall Couldn't SK start the constitutional amendment process by proposing and adopting an amendment to abolish the Senate?

— Mike Burton (@Mikefromregina) June 9, 2015

Wall continues… “I’m not going to actively campaign for the Senate to be abolished.”

“even in light of this latest mess, then it’s not really worth the effort to try to change [the provinces’ {opposed to abolition}] minds.”

I don’t think Premier Wall is the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Juxtaposition

Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party is trumpeting the “success” of a hiring freeze in which the entire government saved $8 million in a quarter – or roughly $32 million per year – by not hiring staff.

Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party has increased the cost of consultants in the Ministry of Highways alone by roughly $50 million per year by using more expensive outside contractors rather than hiring staff.

Anybody else think the Saskatchewan Party might be freezing the wrong kind of spending?

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: This is Your Daily Economic Action Plan Reminder

Canada is not a Petrostate, I repeat, Canada is Not a Petrostate.

There is no evidence that Canada places more value on oil than democracy. Remember, don’t “attack the Canadian economy” by speaking against economic activity you disagree with.

RCMP officer to C-51 protester: "when the demo's down, you become citizens again" http://t.co/OLVhTggqTZ pic.twitter.com/WpPxYygtmI

— CANADALAND (@CNDLND) June 1, 2015

This isn’t Canada right here.

Fife 1:58: begging forgiveness for asking, suggests the Minister is “Hand in hand” with B.C government.

This was months before:

In the 21 October 2014 session, Greg Rickford, (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Saskboy’s Abandoned Stuff: This is Your Daily Economic Action Plan Reminder

Accidental Deliberations: Apparently they’ll let anybody blather away on the intertoobz

Here, for instance, is me chatting with Paul Dechene.

(And to correct myself, the impending provincial election is the second under fixed election dates – though the first where it’s lining up with an associated federal election.)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the Saskatchewan Party’s devaluation of the music teacher (among other cultural and community-building parts of our schools).

For further reading…- CBC reported on the Prairie Spirit School Division’s decision to eliminate school bands here, and Janet French did likewise here.- The Star-Phoenix’ editorial board weighed in here. And now, even the Saskatchewan Party is pretending to oppose what its policy choices have wrought.- And for those looking to support the students trying to save their band program, Shawna Langer’s petition is here.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Brad Wall looks to face plenty of new political challenges now that he can’t rely on an Alberta PC dynasty to do much of his dirty work for him.

For further reading…- I briefly addressed the same issue with a particular focus on privatized MRIs in this post. – Wall’s history of relying on Alberta donors (with PC help) is discussed here, here and here among other places. – Finally, Dave Cournoyer wonders what will become of the Alberta PCs’ remaining patronage appointments. And David Climenhaga discusses the limited future of the PCAA – (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Evening Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Sara Mojtehedzadeh highlights how Ontario employers are exploiting temporary workers rather than making any effort to offer jobs which can support a life: Under Ontario’s antiquated Employment Standards Act, which is currently under review, there is no limit on how long a company can employ a worker as temporary before giving him or her a permanent job.

There is nothing to stop employers from paying temp workers less than their permanent counterparts, nothing to prevent them from hiring their entire workforce on a “temporary” basis if they so choose.

“If the employer knows (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On private choices

Among the other noteworthy impacts of Rachel Notley’s resounding election victory, right-wing governments elsewhere can no longer point to Alberta as the worst offender when it comes to breaking down universal public health care.

And it may not be surprising that Brad Wall is offering to play that role instead, with two-tier access to MRIs representing just the latest attack. But Wall may learn the hard way that if Alberta can topple a political dynasty over its corporatist preferences, Saskatchewan voters are even less inclined to serve as the thin edge of the wedge in destroying one of our province’s (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On personal protections

Where Brad Wall will admit just one “lapse in judgment” in his office’s deliberate release of Peter Bowden’s personal information for political purposes, I can count several – with a staffer’s working for Wall in the first place, following his instructions, and expecting not to be thrown under the bus for Wall’s decision looming high on the list.

Fortunately for Wall’s staffers, they’re apparently being granted far more privacy protection than the whistleblowers they’re being paid to attack.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the treatment of Peter Bowden’s concerns about patient care demonstrate that the Saskatchewan Party can’t tell the difference between partisan and public interests.

For further reading…- The background to the story, including Bowden’s comment on understaffing at his Oliver Lodge workplace, was reported on by Clare Clancy here. CBC highlighted the apparent retaliation against Bowden here. And Mike McKinnon reported on the privacy breach involved in the release of details of Bowden’s suspension here.- And Murray Mandryk has already weighed in on the privacy concerns here and here. (Though I’ll note that the Saskatchewan (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On radioactive proposals

Never mind Brad Wall’s hand-picked group of nuclear industry shills using public money to further their own profits found that nuclear power is not price-competitive even among an artificially limited set of options absent a substantial carbon price – and that Wall himself refuses to set one.

And never mind that a subsequent public consultation found that “the overwhelming response…was that nuclear power generation should not be a choice for Saskatchewan”.

When it comes to locking in a high-cost, high-risk nuclear plant just as renewables are emerging as a viable large-scale alternative, Wall won’t take “no” for an answer. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on Brad Wall’s appalling admission that the Saskatchewan Party’s plan for a low-carbon economy is to move into Ontario’s basement rather than pursuing sustainable development in Saskatchewan.

For further reading…- Wall’s comments and other provincial positions in the lead up to this week’s premiers’ meeting can be found here. – Geoffrey Vendeville reported on the earlier cap-and-trade agreement between Ontario and Quebec. And Yasmine Hassan discussed the massive Quebec climate change rally.- The Saskatchewan greenhouse gas bill which has been passed but never proclaimed in force can be found here (PDF).- Joe Romm reports on (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Lawrence Ezrow writes that the disconnect between the public and policymaking that’s done so much harm to the U.S. isn’t quite as severe in more equal countries. And the Equality Trust is looking to ensure that the UK’s political parties make the reduction of inequality into a core policy objective.

- Jordon Cooper comments on Saskatchewan’s desperate need for a seniors’ care plan – rather than the current practice of matching photo ops with selloffs and failing services. And Robert McMurtry reminds us of the dire need for a strong federal (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your long weekend reading.

- Jim Buchanan comments on the mountain of inequality looming over all of our political choices. Laurie Posner interviews Paul Gorski about the need for a vocabulary which accurately portrays inequality as the result of social conditions rather than merit or culture. And Robert Reich notes that if anybody can accurately be classified as having done nothing to earn a living, it’s the idle rich: In reality, a large and growing share of the nation’s poor work full time — sometimes sixty or more hours a week – yet still don’t earn enough (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Kevin Carson discusses David Graeber’s insight into how privatization and deregulation in their present form represent the ultimate use of state power to serve special interests at the expense of the public: What mainstream American political discourse calls “deregulation” is nothing of the sort. There is no major constituency for deregulation in the American political system — just competing (and in fact considerably overlapping) agendas on what regulatory mix to put in place. There is not, and could not, be such a thing as an “unregulated” bank, Graeber argues, because banks “are (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: SaskParty Avoids Clean Energy Boom

Saskatchewan leadership leaves a lot to be desired. Many people here are excited about how “strong” Saskatchewan is, thanks to SaskParty propaganda. We’ve also the strongest carbon air pollution per capita in the world, but few tend to talk about that here. Times are good, they’re good for me, and most of my friends (the ones who’ve not recently lost their jobs, that is). So why don’t I just shut up and enjoy myself? Maybe I do enjoy myself, maybe so much that I have an iota of time and money left over to care about how others are doing (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the Saskatchewan Party’s choice to turn the graduate retention credit into a purely political goodie rather than a program which could conceivably retain Saskatchewan graduates, while at the same time devaluing the very concept of education for its own sake.

For further reading…- The province’s explanation (such as it is) can be found here. And CBC reported on the changes here. – I allude in the column to Ontario’s choice to put tuition policy directly in the hands of employers as reported by Simona Chiose here. – And Kevin Milligan’s analysis of the problems with the (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Saskatchewan Needs a Real Change of Destination

Greg is making a good point in his latest column, but I had to throw in a Green campaign slogan into the title in good fun. The bottom line really is that the Sask Party is propping up the dying fossil fuels industry, while calls to divest from it are coming from around the world. There’s no stopping this change (for the better).

While the Saskatchewan Party remains bent on thinking small, any reasonable look at the world around us suggests it’s long past time for a big change in direction. And if if this year’s budget again fails (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the need and opportunity to show some vision in our provincial budgeting and planning – even if the Wall government has no interest in bothering.

For further reading…- I posted previously on the Sask Party’s habit of locking Saskatchewan into ill-advised long-term contracts which serve nobody’s interests but the corporations involved. – Karri Munn-Venn discusses the UK Energy Research Centre’s report on which fossil fuels we can afford to exploint here. – Likewise, Ivan Semeniuk and Shawn McCarthy report on the Acting on Climate Change study showing how Canada can eliminate the use of non-renewable power (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- CBC reports on the latest research showing that Canada would save billions every year with a national pharmacare plan. And Thomas Walkom argues that politics are standing in the way of what should be a no-brainer from a policy standpoint.

- Richard Gwyn writes that most Canadians seem to be willing to put up with nearly anything in order to keep a relatively secure job – even as it’s far from sure that many workers can count on that being available.

- Lawrence Martin discusses the Cons’ strategy of provocation, pandering and prejudice (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- For those looking for information about today’s day of action against C-51, Leadnow and Rabble both have details.

- Meanwhile, CBC reports that a professor merely taking pictures on public land near a proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline site is already being harassed by the RCMP under current law. Tonda MacCharles notes that lawyers currently involved in dealing with classified-evidence cases have joined the call to rein in the Cons’ terror bill, while PressProgress points out that airlines are also raising serious concerns about the unfettered power handed to a single minister to dictate (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On unwanted obligations

Mike McKinnon reports that austerity elsewhere isn’t being applied to continued seven-figure spending on a Lean tour. But it’s particularly worth noting how that particular money pit is still drawing Saskatchewan citizens’ money even as the provincial government cries poor at every other opportunity: The Saskatchewan government’s freeze on non-essential travel does not include costly trips to the United States for staff to be trained in Lean methods.

Seven of the so-called “Lean tours” were planned between Jan. 1 and Mar. 31, at a cost of $8,900 per person, per trip. With 20 people on each tour, the total cost (Read more…)