Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Brothers in Weyburn

Brothers restaurant owner in #Weyburn says he can't comment on TFW controversy due to employee privacy. #yqr #sask http://t.co/l6GwqSj5G5— Kim Smith (@KimSmithGlobal) April 22, 2014

Then this:

#Weyburn restaurant releases statement: 'entirely their choice to reject our offer of employment…' #sask #yqr #TFWP http://t.co/Ioh4c0C5u9— Kim Smith (@KimSmithGlobal) April 23, 2014

The so called Temporary Foreign Workers program is little better than indentured servitude. That’s a form of slavery, where the employer holds an unreasonable level of power over their workers, so the workers will not stand up for their human rights.

Ask yourself it’s a coincidence (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On public priorities

I’m not sure whether last week’s column played a role, but there have been an awful lot of attacks on Saskatchewan’s Crowns since then at a time when the parties don’t seem to be highlighting the issue. So let’s sum up the arguments being made to undermine the public enterprises that are serving Saskatchewan so well.

Shorter Will Chabun: Sure, actual people may be better off because of Crown competition in the wireless sector. But won’t somebody think of the rent-seekers?

And shorter Star-Phoenix editorial board: The Wall Saskatchewan Party has no coherent or sensible policy when it (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: SaskPower Carbon Capture and Storage Going Online Today, On Schedule

@tingeyd -Construction of the @SaskPowerCCS facility is complete. Currently commissioning and preparing for commercial operation Spring 2014—   (@SaskPowerCCS) January 27, 2014

“The government boasted at last week’s Boundary Dam symposium that the project will be up and running this fall and completed by next April, on time and on budget.”

Hey, today’s April Fool’s Day. Of course it’s not going online today, as planned last May September by politicians managing SaskPower.

.@saskpowerccs capture unit ready to go online this summer – essential technology for the future #ppet @ACforesight http://t.co/1b1rEk4yqK— Mihaela Carstei (@MCarstei) (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Wall Divesting From Russian Liquor #skpoli

We've contacted the fed gov't & Ukrn-Cdn groups to determine best way to support freedom & democracy in Ukraine. We will act on that advice.— Brad Wall (@PremierBradWall) February 24, 2014

Premier Brad Wall says gov't is looking at options to pull Russian liquor products from provincial stores in response to crisis in Ukraine— Marco Vigliotti (@Metro_Marco) March 20, 2014

Premier Wall, having gorged himself with other Canadian politicians on weeks of Russian Olympics propaganda, now considers Russian intoxicants to be the enemy.

What a game! Saskatchewan's @wick_22 & the Canadian Women's Hockey team are golden!!!

Congrats!! #WeAreWinter (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the cult of “lean” is just part of the most damaging Saskatchewan Party belief which is undermining our health care system and other public services.

For further reading…- Murray Mandryk has had plenty to say about “lean” in his previous columns. – And the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses has weighed in with its own criticism of “lean”, making it abundantly clear that a large number of health care workers are far from convinced that it’s a panacea.

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Eduardo Porter writes about the rise of inequality in the U.S., while Tracy McVeigh reports on the eleven-figure annual cost of inequality in the UK. And Shamus Khan discusses the connection between inequality and poverty – as well as the policy which can do the most to address both: While a tiny fraction of Americans enjoy almost all the spoils of our national growth, the majority of Americans have a radically different experience. About 40 percent of Americans will live in poverty at some point in their lives, and many (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Brad Wall is again joining Stephen Harper in putting oil lobbying over the public interest – making excuses for doing absolutely nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.

For further reading…- I’ve written before about the federal Cons’ apparent strategy of standing in the way of consensus on action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And lest there be any doubt, the Cons have been well aware of both the need for action in order to keep their own promises – and have  responded by slashing Environment Canada for telling inconvenient truths.- (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Michael Hiltzik writes about the efforts of the corporate sector – including the tobacco and food industries – to produce mass ignorance in order to preserve profits: Proctor, a professor of the history of science at Stanford, is one of the world’s leading experts in agnotology, a neologism signifying the study of the cultural production of ignorance. It’s a rich field, especially today when whole industries devote themselves to sowing public misinformation and doubt about their products and activities.

The tobacco industry was a pioneer at this. Its goal was to erode public (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Following up on yesterday’s column, David Atkins discusses his own preference for front-end fixes to poverty and inequality: The standard way you’ll hear most progressives address inequality issues is to allow the labor market to run as usual, but levy heavy taxes on the back for redistribution.

No doubt that is the simplest way of doing it. But it also creates some problems, including a perception of unfairness, the potential to simply lower the tax rates when conservatives are put in charge, and capital mobility in which the richest people simply leave (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Brad Wall’s casino sell-off gambit might provoke a needed discussion of Saskatchewan’s relationship with First Nations – even while highlighting that Wall himself isn’t up for the public consultation needed to make that process work.

For further reading…- The original casino story was broken by the NDP caucus here, and subsequently reported on here.   – SOS Crowns weighs in on Wall’s desire to sell off Saskatchewan’s casinos (and anything else that isn’t locked down through the NDP’s Crown preservation legislation). – And lest anybody think the Sask Party considers its standard practices to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Nora Loreto offers an important reminder as to why we contribute taxes to social well-being: (T)axes still pay for things we need. Everyone benefits from a universal system of healthcare. Everyone is touched by the birth of someone and nearly everyone will rely on the system in the moments that precede their death. These moments are expensive.…User fees exchanged for public services limits access; those who can pay are separated from those who cannot. The introduction of every new user fee will result in fewer people able to afford to access (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Deep thought

I’ve written before about the dangers of government by manufactured crisis – which is all too familiar under the Harper Cons and the Wall Sask Party alike.

But in light of recent events, I feel compelled to add that an inexplicable “you must accept our plan NOW! NOW! NOW!” only gets worse when followed by a gleeful “MWAHAHAHAHA!!!”.

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Zoe Williams interviews George Lakoff about the need for progressive activists and parties to work on changing minds rather than merely pursuing an elusive (and illusory) middle ground: (T)he left, he argues, is losing the political argument – every year, it cedes more ground to the right, under the mistaken impression that this will bring everything closer to the centre. In fact, there is no centre: the more progressives capitulate, the more boldly the conservatives express their vision, and the further to the right the mainstream moves. The reason is that conservatives speak from (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, questioning the Saskatchewan Party’s belief that meeting the province’s constitutional duty to provide correctional centre inmates with the basic necessities of life isn’t a “core” government function.

For further reading:- CTV reports on the label the Sask Party has applied to correctional food services (and the resulting privatization process) here.  – And once again, CBC reports here on the cautionary tale of Ontario’s highway maintenance – where public safety has been compromised in the name of outsourcing provincial services.

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Robert Reich (via GlenInCA) points out the connection between a strong middle class and curbs on corporate excesses – with may go a long way toward explaining why the business lobby is working so hard to eliminate the concept of a secure livelihood for most workers: Last week’s massive toxic chemical spill into West Virginia Elk River illustrates another benefit to the business class of high unemployment, economic insecurity, and a safety-net shot through with holes. Not only are employees docile, eager to accept whatever crumbs they can get. The public is also (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Paul Krugman writes about the effect of a precarious labour market on even the relatively few workers who enjoy relatively secure employment: (T)hese are lousy times for the employed, too. Why? Because they have so little bargaining power.

Leave or lose your job, and the chances of getting another comparable job, or any job at all, are definitely not good. And workers know it: quit rates, the percentage of workers voluntarily leaving jobs, remain far below pre-crisis levels, and very very far below what they were in the true boom economy of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Scott Doherty recognizes that Saskatchewan’s failure to collect a reasonable royalty rate for potash and other natural resources is directly responsible for the province crying poor when workers are laid off. And Alex Himelfarb points out that the magical theory behind perpetual tax cuts is purely a matter of illusion rather than reality. We are more than just consumers and taxpayers. We are citizens with responsibilities for one another; we undertake to do some things together, things that we could never do alone or that we can do much better collectively. Taxes are (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Hassan Arif theorizes that a failure to identify and address growing inequality may have played a significant role in the rise of Rob Ford’s destructive anti-socialism: The Toronto of towering new condos, of downtown coffee shops and trendy restaurants and stores, is far removed from the Toronto of these low-income, suburban, and largely visible minority residents. A “plain-talking” politician who rails against downtown elites, against “slick talking lawyers”, “consultants”, and recipients of “research grants” appeals to those who feel left behind.…These concerns, about suburban alienation, about inequality, are concerns that need to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On legacies

Peter MacKinnon’s report (PDF) on the possibilities for a Saskatchewan heritage fund is well worth a read. And I’ll readily agree with the central premise that it’s well worth setting up such a fund to turn one-time resource revenues into long-term benefits.

But it is worth noting that MacKinnon’s proposed rule of thumb for deposits into a fund leave a couple of glaring loopholes which may undermine the fund in the long run: 2. Cap Reliance on Non-renewable Resource Revenues

The Government of Saskatchewan establish a cap on reliance on non-renewable resource revenues for all purposes other than deposits in (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how governments are outsourcing policy decisions to employers in areas ranging from immigration to employment insurance – and on why that may not be any more desirable for employers than for the people affected.

For further reading…- The relatively fine print surrounding the new immigration nominee program is here, with the key takeaways being that only 250 skilled worker applications and zero student applications will be considered “without an offer” from an employer.- Details on the federal government’s perpetually-shrinking list of eligible family class immigrants can be found here and here. – Finally, the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how P3 structures create a divergence of interest between short-sighted governments and the general public – and a few policy fixes to ensure we don’t lose value or accountability as a result of politically-motivated choices to use them.

For further reading…- The Saskatchewan NDP introduced its P3 accountability legislation (PDF) here.- And Murray Mandryk has some questions of his own about the Saskatchewan Party’s reluctance to subject P3s to any oversight or accountability.

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- James Bloodworth discusses the most important challenge facing Ed Miliband and Labour in the UK – which largely matches the task for progressives around the globe: People have never put all that much stock in politicians of course, and the expenses scandal did a great deal to erode trust further. But to some extent voter apathy (not the ‘frauds and liars’ sort, but the more common sort of fatalism) might also be blamed on the limits within which today’s managerial politicians operate: voters are only too aware that there is only so (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Frances Russell rightly asks whose freedom is supposed to be protected by free trade agreements such as CETA: Once Canada signs CETA (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) with Europe, federal, provincial and municipal governments will suddenly find their hands and feet tied. Suddenly, they will experience real push-back from foreign multinationals should they try to use their historic right to maintain civic, provincial and national autonomy in governmental decision making.

Simultaneously, Canada’s sub-national governments will suddenly discover they have lost the ability to protect the environment, create well-paying, long-term jobs and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the tendency of both the Saskatchewan Party and the federal Cons to pretend a problem doesn’t exist for years on end, then suddenly proclaim there’s no time to do anything other than force through the most regressive “solution” possible.

In shorter terms, the Shock Doctrine has evolved into the Schmuck Doctrine. And we shouldn’t be accepting a government’s own incompetence as reason to accept its rushed decisions.

For further reading…- CBC reports on the Sask Party’s sudden hurry to lock the province into P3 school construction contracts. And the NDP caucus responds to the announcement.- (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your day.

- Bloomberg reminds us of the nest egg Norway has built up by taking ownership of its own natural resources (and the consensus among conservative parties and business groups in favour of social spending is also worth highlighting). And Canadians for Tax Fairness point out the growing global movement calling for tax justice as part of a more fair distribution of wealth.

- But sadly, Jimmy Gutman notes that Saskatchewan is following a rather different path – with piracy taking the place of stewardship.

- And our local regressives certainly have their peers elsewhere (Read more…)