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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…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the many problems with building social benefits and employment policies alike on a foundation of distrust.

For further reading…- Rick Mercer rants about the obstacles the Cons are throwing in the way of veterans. And the CP follows up on the Cons’ response to Paul Franklin’s case here.- CBC reports here on the Cons’ plans to slash existing sick leave for the federal civil service.  Kathryn May points out the complete lack of any justification for that course of action, and has since noted that the plan is further being extended to out-of-scope positions. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the Saskatchewan Party’s manipulative consultation designed to push liquor retailing into the private sector only managed to highlight the fact that our current system is working just fine.

For further reading, the consultation materials are here, including the survey results here (PDF). And even though those don’t include the thousands of people who expressed their support for keeping liquor public, they indicate little interest in a larger number of retail locations or increased hours of availability – which of course represent the main difference in pursuing a plan aimed at letting private operators open (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On misappropriation

Shorter Don McMorris: You might think that a publicly administered and funded consultation process would be intended to inform provincial public policy decisions, and that partisan platform development should be funded by a political party instead. But let me assure you that Brad Wall’s government has no such scruples.

Accidental Deliberations: Last chance to weigh in

While there’s always reason to be skeptical of the Wall government’s consultation processes, there’s also plenty of risk in not participating – as a lack of expressed opposition will all too likely be taken as agreement with the Saskatchewan Party’s plans.

Which is to say that I’ll strongly encourage Saskatchewan readers to participate in the province’s consultation on liquor retailing before today’s deadline passes.

If you’re looking for a strong general message to send as to the importance of preserving our current system, you’ll find one at Keep Liquor Public. I’ve chosen instead to focus on the opportunity to build (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Saskatchewan residents should be able to count on secure housing, rather than being shunted into stopgap social housing by the Wall government.

For further reading…- The provincial government’s announcement that affordable housing in Saskatchewan is no more can be found here. And the NDP’s response is here. – For information on the temporary nature of the social housing program that’s left, see here (PDF): For families, social housing is intended to be short-term until a family is able to afford to buy or rent a home in the private housing market.

- The background to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Sunday reading.

- Nicholas Kristof writes about the empathy gap which causes far too many wealthier citizens to devalue those who don’t have as much. Jesse Singal observes that the primary effect of wealth on well-being is to reduce downside rather than improve happiness – signalling that we might be best served pursuing policies aimed at improving financial security across the income scale. And Lucy Mangan discusses what’s missing from the people who refuse to understand the effect of poverty – particularly when they’re best positioned to do something to alleviate it: Politicians, for example, are (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the Wall government’s secret attack on overtime pay for retail workers – and how it reflects a preference for the rule of lobbyists over the rule of law.

For further reading…- See my previous posts here, here and here for background on the story – including the Ministry’s directives to staff at the second link.- And I’ll note that selective “flexibility” – defined as workers bending over backwards to serve their corporate overlords – is the Saskatchewan Party’s main excuse for cutting workers’ overtime pay. And Katie Mazer discusses how that same principle applies (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Evening Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jeff Begley criticizes the Cons and the Quebec Libs for their refusal to even recognize inequality as an issue – which of course results in their only exacerbating the gap between the rich and the rest of us: While Couillard and Harper find the “courage” to attack workers, starting with those in the public sector, they are completely silent when it comes to the growing social and economic inequalities. Worse still, they are working actively to heighten those inequalities!

In our video message over the holidays, I indicated that we hoped this (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: When The Tories Left Office

I was too young in 1991 to put the news I was hearing into context. My family had worked for months on my Dad’s campaign for the Sask Liberals in Moose Jaw, and he’d come away in second place. Roy Romanow was the new Premier of Saskatchewan, and Grant Devine would soon fade into political obscurity as some of his cabinet and other MLAs would go to jail, and in the sad case of Jack Wolfe an early grave. Future Lieutenant Governor Linda Haverstock was the only Sask Liberal MLA in the Saskatchewan Legislature.

Soon, the new hospital in Lafleche (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On overtime losses

Those readers who follow my law blog will already be familiar with this week’s news about the Saskatchewan Party government’s attack on overtime pay for retail workers. But I’ll take some time to assemble the full story here.

Historically, a “day” for the purpose of calculating overtime for Saskatchewan workers has been defined as any consecutive period of 24 hours. All Saskatchewan workers have been entitled to overtime if they are required to work more than 8 hours in any such period.

As part of its response to the Saskatchewan Party’s employment law review process, the Retail Council of Canada (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how we’ll soon be seeing both federal and provincial governments alike try to block out their real history with glossy ad campaigns – and why we shouldn’t let them get away with the plan.

For further reading…- Torstar reported here on the Cons’ use of public money to generate fake news and how it fits in to the broader federal advertising machine. And Gregory Thomas discussed their shift toward using public money for communications rather than programs here. – Mike De Souza wrote about the CRA’s newly-ordered destruction of employees’ text records here. And Paul McLeod (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the need to turn the holiday spirit of charity into lasting improvements in the lives of the people who need help the most.

For further reading…- Joe Gunn and Iglika Ivanova also discuss the limitations of charity compared to structural change. – Jordon Cooper discusses Saskatchewan’s bad habit of accepting food banks as a substitute for food and income security. And again, there’s reason for doubt (PDF, see Harpauer’s dissembling about child poverty rates at p. 6085) that the current government plans to take poverty seriously.- Finally, the provincial government’s announcement of the Advisory Group (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Mariana Mazzucato comments on the role of the innovative state – and the unfortunate reality that we currently lack anything of the sort due to corporatist thinking: (T)hanks in part to the conventional wisdom about its dynamism and the state’s sluggishness, the private sector has been able to successfully lobby governments to weaken regulations and cut capital gains taxes. From 1976 to 1981 alone, after heavy lobbying from the National Venture Capital Association, the capital gains tax rate in the United States fell from 40 percent to 20 percent. And in the name (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- George Monbiot opines that curbing corporate power is the most fundamental political issue we need to address in order to make progress possible on any other front: Does this sometimes feel like a country under enemy occupation? Do you wonder why the demands of so much of the electorate seldom translate into policy? Why parties of the left seem incapable of offering effective opposition to market fundamentalism, let alone proposing coherent alternatives? Do you wonder why those who want a kind and decent and just world, in which both human beings and other (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Saskatchewan’s Biggest Net Loss

How did Postmedia manage to let this Hanley column sneak into its pages? Mandryk got his shots in at Cenovus and Wall already too. SaskWind has provided a breath of fresh air to Saskatchewan political analysis also.

I expect Canadians would want to know whether their tax dollars are being used to subsidize the oil industry.

But as SaskPower says, beyond the question of costs, CCS technology provides a major benefit: It allows us to continue to use cheap and plentiful fossil fuels to provide base load power while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

[photo added]

Actually, that’s debatable [link added]. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the City of Regina has learned a painful lesson about the Saskatchewan Party’s habit of accepting credit but not responsibility on P3 projects.

For further reading…- Emma Graney reports on how the province forced the City to foot the bill for immediate site development costs here.- For background on how decisions about education have been taken out of the hands of elected school boards, Joseph Garcea and Dustin Monroe examine the history of education funding in Saskatchewan (and other provinces) here (PDF).- And finally, I’ll point back to my earlier columns as to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Juxtaposition

The minister responsible for the plight of Saskatchewan’s homeless people: In response to a CBC iTeam question about the waiting list for social housing faced by homeless people Harpauer said, “you’re assuming that there’s these desperate homeless people.”

The plight of Saskatchewan’s homeless people: Saskatoon police have confirmed that a 42-year-old homeless man was found dead inside the cab of a an abandoned semi-trailer in an alley off Avenue K.

There is no confirmation on the cause (of) Peequaquat’s death, but police said it did not appear suspicious.

Severight said he did have addictions issues and he had been (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Rob Nixon’s review of Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything nicely sums up why the book – and the fundamental clash it documents between corporate profit-seeking and the health of people and our planet – should be at the centre of our political conversation: (N)eoliberalism — promotes a high-consumption, ­carbon-hungry system. Neoliberalism has encouraged mega-mergers, trade agreements hostile to environmental and labor regulations, and global hypermobility, enabling a corporation like Exxon to make, as McKibben has noted, “more money last year than any company in the history of money.” Their outsize power (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jessica McCormick and Jerry Dias respond to Stephen Poloz’ view that young workers should be happy to work for free, and note that he of all people shouldn’t be pointing the finger at individuals to address problems with systemic unemployment: The most infuriating aspect of Poloz’s statement is that he himself could do more than virtually any other Canadian to help put young people into real, paying jobs. Monetary policy is one of the most potent tools to stimulate spending power and job-creation. The Bank of Canada could do much more to create (Read more…)