Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Lana Payne weighs in on the Cons' goal of reducing wages for Canadian workers:
As an economist, Stephen Harper must know what his government’s changes to employment insurance (EI), the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), the elimination of the Fair Wage Act and the assault on collective bargaining in the federal sector will mean for the wages and working conditions of Canadians.

Combined, they will result in a transformation of Canada’s labour market, erode the right to fair and free collective bargaining, and make workers more vulnerable, less demanding, more compliant. Combined, they work to the full advantage of employers, at least in the short-term.
The...message taken from all these policy measures to workers is lower your expectations. Don’t demand more or better. Put up. Shut up.
- It's bad enough to know that the Cons are determined to push through new pipelines without serious environmental review when the pipelines we have are dumping tens of thousands of barrels of oil into natural areas. But it's especially alarming that there's so little monitoring that the latest spill was only noticed by accident:
As with many recent pipeline accidents, Calgary-based Pace did not detect a problem, but was informed of the leak by another company after the spill was spotted from an aircraft. The spill, which killed one duck, now covers 4.3 hectares. Mr. Woods declined comment on how long it was leaking before detection.
- Steven Staples observes that Canada has no particular need for a military-industrial complex. 

- Chris Selley proposes that we measure poverty solely in terms of an absolute deprivation index - which is at least better than the Cons' habit of simply denying that any such thing exists. But I'm not sure there's any benefit to be had in developing a list of deprivation criteria while ignoring the continued importance of relative effects. After all, can't a set of basic expectations include the ability to participate in society at large which is limited by excessive resources gaps?

- It's a plus to see Thomas Mulcair's warm reception in Winnipeg receive some press. But even more significant is the message Mulcair is sending about the importance of encouraging younger voters to be heard:
Mulcair used his time at the podium to tell party members that his goal is to be Canada's next prime minister in 2015 and remain true not only to environmental protection, but tax fairness and accessible health care. 
But he said he can only do all this if he gets elected -- and that can only happen if more people ages 18 to 25 vote.
"When young people stop voting, the right wing wins and democracy loses," he said.
In an interview he said the NDP will target teenagers, who will be eligible to vote in the 2015 election, over the next three years.
"The most important thing for us to do is make all young people understand that they're having an enormous debt laid on them by the Conservative party's choices across Canada," he said.
- And that message dovetails nicely with Andrew Jackson's commentary on youth unemployment (and the need for public steps to reduce it). 

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