Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Accidental Deliberations: On turnout

Daniel Schwartz reports on the final vote count from last month’s federal election. And given the record vote total and unusually high turnout based on the percentage of eligible voters, it’s particularly worth noting what’s changed since previous, lower-turnout elections.

Since 2011, the Conservatives eliminated the per-vote subsidy, which provided political parties with a direct financial incentive to seek out votes even where they were less likely to flip seats. To the extent Canada’s political parties included the subsidy in their election planning, we’d thus have expected a lower turnout this time out.

Since 2011, the Conservatives also eliminated Elections (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- The Equality Trust reminds us that economic inequality leads to harmful health consequences even for the lucky few at the top of the income scale. And Matt Bruenig observes that a basic income would provide workers with far more scope to avoid employer abuses and other stressors.

- The Council of Canadians points out how the Trans-Pacific Partnership could block any path toward a national pharmacare plan and more fair prescription drug prices. And Andy Blatchford highlights the secrecy surrounding the agreement even as it should be the subject of electoral scrutiny.

- (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Roheena Saxena points out that personal privilege tends to correlate to selfishness in distributing scarce resources. And that in turn may explain in part why extreme top-end wealth isn’t even mentioned in a new inequality target under development by the UN.

- Or, for that matter, the Calgary Board of Education’s continued provision of free lunches to executives while students lack food and supplies. Meanwhile, Laurie Monsebraaten reports on the spread of hunger in Toronto’s suburbs, while Karena Walter points out the need for more action on poverty in Canada’s federal election.

- (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Michael Hurley and Sam Gindin discuss the need for workers to organize to reverse the trend of precarious work, while the Star recognizes that the work is already well underway. PressProgress highlights the benefits of joining a union, while Tom Sandborn offers a to-do list for people looking to ensure fairness for all workers. And Haseena Manek points out the need to rebuild in the wake of longtime attacks on the labour movement by the Cons and other governments.

- Shawn McCarthy highlights the NDP’s promise for far stronger action to rein (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Andrew Jackson writes that the Cons have gone out of their way to destroy the federal government’s capacity to improve the lives of Canadians: When the Harper government took office, federal tax revenues (2006-07 fiscal year) were 13.5% of GDP, a bit shy of the 14.5% peak in 2000-01. In the most recent fiscal year, 2014-15, they are projected in the most recent federal budget to be just 11.4% of GDP, which is lower than in the mid 1960s before the creation of much of the modern welfare state.

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Laurie Penny argues that Jeremy Corbyn’s remarkable run to lead the Labour Party represents an important challenge to the theory that left-wing parties should avoid talking about principles in the name of winning power – particularly since the result hasn’t been much success on either front. – Trevor Pott discusses Canada’s popular backlash against an unaccountable and security state, particularly when it’s deployed primarily to silence dissenting political views.

- Bruce Johnstone writes that contempt for the law is par for the course from the Harper Cons. And Bruce Livesey reports on (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Crawford Kilian reviews Tom Mulcair’s Strength of Conviction and describes what we can expect out of an NDP federal government as a result: He seems likely to be a very pro-family PM, if only because his own family clearly shaped him that way. (His account of courting and marrying Catherine Pinhas is a lovely, funny slice of social history.) So expect affordable daycare to be in his first budget; but if once-housebound mums then flood into the job market, he may find unemployment rates even higher than they are now.

Also expect (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Shannon Gormley points out how the Cons’ actions to strip voting rights from Canadians abroad sticks out like a sore thumb compared to an international trend of recognizing that citizenship doesn’t end merely because a person crosses a border. And Peter Russell and Semra Sevi lament that it’s too late to reverse the damage before this fall’s federal election, while the Star makes the broader point that we should be encouraging rather than limiting voter participation.

- Andrew Nikiforuk exposes how the U.S.’s green light to fracking has led to far (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Murray Dobbin writes that Canadians should indeed see the federal election as a choice between security and risk – with the Cons’ failing economic policies representing a risk we can’t afford to keep taking: (N)ot only is Harper vulnerable on his own limited anti-terror grounds, he is extremely vulnerable when it comes to the kind of security that actually affects millions of Canadians. When it comes to economic and social security, the vast majority of Canadians haven’t been this insecure since the Great Depression.

It’s not as if we don’t know the numbers (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Evening Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Daniel Marans reports on Bernie Sanders’ push for international action against austerity in Greece and elsewhere. And Binoy Kampmark documents the anti-democratic and antisocial ideology on the other side of the austerity debate.

- Noah Smith writes that while there’s no discernible connection between massive pay for CEOs and actual corporate performance, there’s a strong link between who an executive knows and how much the executive can extract.

- The CP reports on UNESCO’s push to study the impact of the tar sands on Wood Buffalo National Park. And Tavia Grant breaks (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Lana Payne discusses how we can bring about change in the new year by demanding that our political leaders recognize and use the power of collective action: Social justice requires a collective response and political action. It is at the root of wonderful nation-building programs like universal health care, the Canadian Pension Plan and Old Age Security, which act as great equalizers in our society.

Charity will always have its place in society. It reflects an important part of our humanity. It is the same part of us that supports greater collective goals (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Tony Burman comments on the increasing recognition of the dangers of inequality even among corporate and financial elites: (I)t is significant that the policy debate among many decision-makers seems to be changing. Rather than the nonsense about “the makers versus the takers,” there is increasing focus on the notion that income inequality could be a key factor in why overall economic growth has been sluggish in recent years.

There has always been a “common sense’ element to this argument. The wealthy tend to save a larger percentage of their income because they (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Paul Krugman writes that the ultra-wealthy’s contempt for anybody short of their own class is becoming more and more explicit around the globe – even when it comes to basic rights like the ability to vote: It’s always good when leaders tell the truth, especially if that wasn’t their intention. So we should be grateful to Leung Chun-ying, the Beijing-backed leader of Hong Kong, for blurting out the real reason pro-democracy demonstrators can’t get what they want: With open voting, “You would be talking to half of the people in Hong Kong who (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- John Abraham and Dana Nuccitelli discuss the worrisome spread of climate change denialism, particularly around the English-speaking developed world. But lest we accept the theory that declining public knowledge is independent of political choices, Margaret Munro reports that the Cons are suppressing factual scientific information about Arctic ice levels to avoid the Canadian public being better informed, while Tom Korski exposes a particularly galling example of their vilifying top scientists for reporting their results. And John O’Connor reminds us what’s been done to anybody who’s dared to speak out about the effect (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Glen McGregor reports on Michael Sona’s conviction as part of the Cons’ voter suppression in 2011. But both Michael den Tandt and Sujata Dey emphasize that Sona’s conviction was based on his being only one participant in the wider Robocon scheme – and that Stephen Harper and company remain fully responsible for covering up the rest of it.

- Meanwhile, Carol Goar duly mocks Tony Clement’s attempt to talk up open government while serving as one of the least accountable ministers in the most secretive Canadian government ever.

- And Justin Ling discusses (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Big by-election in Fort McMurray? Never mind that! As goes Macleod, so goes Alberta…

Fort McMurray, before the Bitumen Boom. Things have changed. Below: Conservative Fort McMurray-Athabasca candidate David Yurdiga, Liberal candidate Kyle Harrietha, NDP candidate Lori McDaniel, former Conservative MP Brian Jean.

If the good people of Fort McMurray climb out of bed this morning and decide to elect a Liberal to represent them in Parliament, there will be shock, dismay and consternation throughout Alberta.

But, fear not my fellow Albertans, even in the unlikely event this happens, it almost certainly won’t mean whatever you are told it means.

Yes, today is the day after the weekend and the day before Canada Day (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links – #VoteOn Edition

This and that for your Thursday (and Ontario election day) reading…

- Joseph Heath makes the case against Tim Hudak’s PCs in particular, and the shift from public to private goods in general: (I)t’s fairly clear what the PCs are planning. They are proposing a general shift in Ontario away from consumption of public goods towards increased consumption of private goods. For example, they aren’t making any noises about privatizing things, shifting production out of the public sector into the private, but where the general profile of consumption would be the same. They are proposing that we actually produce and (Read more…)

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Tim Hudak, the GOP and Voter Suppression

I posted recently about an Ontario conservative scheme to suppress the vote in the upcoming provincial election.

A Party calling themselves None of the Above could be traced back to Mike Harris.

Recently it was also discovered that several Ontario households received letters from the PC Party with incorrect information, that would have sent them to the wrong polling stations.

We also learn of yet another group Decline the Vote, urging young people not to get involved in the election.  Again, it is run by conservative strategists.  From Reddit: After seeing so much buzz around this “initiative”, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Timothy Shenk discusses Thomas Piketty’s contribution to a critique of unfettered capitalism and gratuitous inequality: Seen from Piketty’s vantage point, thousands of feet above the rubble, the fragility of this moment becomes clear. Economic growth was a recent invention, major reductions to income inequality more recent still. Yet the aftermath of World War II was filled with prophets forecasting this union into eternity. Kuznets offered the most sophisticated expression of this cheerful projection. Extrapolating from the history of the United States between 1913 and 1948, he concluded that economic growth automatically reduced (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On vested interests

Shorter Linda Frum: As one of Stephen Harper’s hand-picked counterweights to the troublesome democratic rabble, I refuse to acknowledge any difference between “encouraging voter turnout” and “abetting electoral fraud”. The less people with a voice in how this country is run, the better.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the Cons’ explanations for the Unfair Elections Act reflect a disturbing attempt to rule out any voter motivation other than partisan interests – while excusing future Robocon-style deceit by placing all responsibility for accurate information on Elections Canada alone.

For further reading…- Alison documents the Con MPs who have already been caught fabricating stories to excuse vote suppression.And James Di Fiore apologizes for a single experiment which is now being pointed to ad nauseum as the basis for preventing hundreds of thousands of Canadians from voting.- Pierre Poilievre’s talking points are here (among (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Doreen Massey observes that our political vocabulary has largely been hijacked by corporatist language: At a recent art exhibition I engaged in an interesting conversation with one of the young people employed by the gallery. As she turned to walk off I saw she had on the back of her T-shirt “customer liaison”. I felt flat. Our whole conversation seemed somehow reduced, my experience of it belittled into one of commercial transaction. My relation to the gallery and to this engaging person had become one of instrumental market exchange.

The message underlying this (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Mike Konczal discusses the distribution of U.S. tax breaks and incentives, and finds that measures normally presented as offering breaks for everybody in fact serve mostly as giveaways to the wealthy: (T)he government is very responsive to the interests of the top 20 to 40 percent of Americans, and so far it has been very difficult to approach scaling back the tax expenditures in deductions and exclusions. Again, since these benefits scale with income, these tax expenditures disproportionately benefit those up the income scale.  Obama’s signature proposal for raising taxes right (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Andrew Coyne notes that the Robocon decision finding electoral fraud using the Cons’ voter database fell short of naming names – but recognizes that there’s still a glaring need for further investigation, a sentiment echoed by the Globe and Mail. Tim Harper explains that Stephen Harper hasn’t earned the benefit of any doubt about his party’s role in facilitating and covering up the fraud, while Thomas Walkom sees Robocon as entirely consistent with the Cons’ usual operations: (O)rganized, computerized fraud takes matters to an entirely new level of illegality.

Whoever was using the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

- The Cons’ latest line of talking-point addiction isn’t passing without some substantial comment from Canada’s political press. Today, Jeffrey Simpson lambastes Stephen Harper and his party for trying to wipe out their own history and promises, while Dan Gardner considers the Cons to be a Monty Python skit in progress (minus the humour of course). And Aaron Wherry continues to document the farce. 

- Meanwhile, Susan Delacourt suggests that we should expect any government to leave out democracy in no worse condition than when it took power – and I’ll readily agree

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links