Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Mark Kennedy reports that once again, Canadians are largely opposed to the Cons' plans to attack social supports:
The poll found that 49 per cent of Canadians are preparing for a "bad news" budget from federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and that 57 per cent do not "trust" Harper and the Conservatives to make the "right choices" to ensure the budget is "fair and reasonable."

As well, more than two-thirds of Canadians oppose the view that the country needs to "sacrifice" pensions to keep taxes down or increase the retirement age to control rising pension system costs.
- 70 per cent of Canadians disagree with the statement that "social programs, seniors' pensions, and other benefits in Canada are more generous than we can afford to pay for."

- 70 per cent also disagree with the statement that "we need to keep taxes down, even if it means we have to sacrifice in terms of seniors' pensions and other social benefits."

- 68 per cent disagree with the statement that "given the financial pressures on Canada's public pension system, it is necessary to increase the retirement age from 65 to 67."
- Jeff rightly argues that there are no shortcuts toward replacing the Harper Cons with a more progressive government - and any attempt to merge the NDP and Libs may only create more long-term faultlines among groups which might otherwise be able to work together on a more limited basis:
Wanting to stop the Conservatives is no reason to mash two groups with very different philosophies and beliefs together. It’s like a couple that don’t love each other getting married for the good of their child. In the long run, an unhappy marriage won’t do the kid any good, and you probably divorce anyway...
We all need to offer something more to Canadians than “we’re not Stephen Harper.” That’s not going to engage anyone but the most ardent partisans and, besides, most Canadians don't dislike Harper as much as Trudeau and other partisans do. Offer Canadians a more compelling alternative and you’ll get somewhere; a negative option will get you nowhere, even with all the coalitions in the world.
- Pauline Tam reports that the same drug companies which have caused shortages of generic drugs in Canada may stand to profit by importing emergency replacements at a premium. This may be a good time to discuss some alternatives which don't leave us at the mercy of the corporate sector.

- Paul McLeod notes the Cons' "Mission Accomplished" moment, as a government planning to push seniors into poverty to save money spent nearly a million dollars to sing its own praises over participation in the air campaign in Libya. But as Thomas Walkom points out, the Cons are having to walk back their rhetoric on a military vanity project with a far higher price tag.

- Finally, Angela Hall reports on the possible privatization of laundry services within Saskatchewan's health regions - featuring this observation on who might hold the ability to shut down public services:
He also said most of the employees who work at the Regina laundry facility were deemed “essential” under Saskatchewan’s essential services legislation and it doesn’t make sense for the province to consider contracting the work to a company not bound by that law.

“If the government is that concerned and (the workers) are that essential why would you have it potentially go to a privatized outfit where you have no control over essential services?” Haughey said in an interview.

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