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…)
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…)
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…)
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.
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)