Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saturday Afternoon Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- Dave Coles comments on Brad Wall's attempts to erase a century's worth of gains when it comes to labour rights, but recognizes that we instead have an opportunity to again lead the way toward social progress:
During this moment of relative prosperity in the province, Saskatchewan is perfectly placed to once again lead the way towards greater equality for families, youth, seniors and all members of our communities. Rather than moving backwards, this overhauling of labour legislation should be a moment to advance workers' rights.

How about making Saskatchewan the first province to bring its minimum wage up to the poverty line and to tie it to a cost of living allowance? Or why not make Saskatchewan the first jurisdiction in North America to reduce the work week to 35 hours? Even better, the new labour code should entrench the idea that all workers deserve collective bargaining rights and a say over workplace decisions?

Short-sighted people will say "this can't be done, business won't survive". But, those same people argued that universal health coverage wasn't feasible. On the fiftieth anniversary of Medicare, Canadians across the country are thanking Saskatchewan for proving otherwise.
- Meanwhile, Bruce Johnstone points out the utility sector as another area where Saskatchewan's commitment to functional public services rather than blind faith in markets has paid off handsomely compared to chaos faced by Alberta:
Saskatchewan energy prices are competitive with, or lower than, those in Alberta. What about security of supply?

You may have heard about the rolling blackouts that hit Alberta last week. Four coal-burning power plants went down without warning last Monday, and backup natural gas-fired generation wasn't sufficient to make up the difference. With a fifth coal plant already out of commission, the province was caught 1,200 megawatts short, causing power outages in Calgary and Edmonton.

This is the second major supply shortfall to hit the province in last 10 years, which is two too many for most Albertans. Meanwhile, Saskatchewan has been coping with its usual spate of local power outages due to storm damage, but nothing like the rolling blackouts that Alberta had to implement to prevent the entire power grid from crashing.
This is not to say that our more regulated energy system is perfect, But when you look like the track record of our energy Crowns, SaskPower and SaskEnergy , they've been able to provide more reliable service at relatively low cost compared with our bigger, wealthier, deregulated sister province to the west.
- The Canadian Press and Dr. Dawg both discuss Carleton University's willingness to trade off any semblance of academic freedom to an oil magnate in exchange for a multi-million donation.

- Finally, I generally see Elections Canada as deserving the benefit of the doubt when it comes to its choices in how to enforce the law. But as Saskboy notes, the sheer absurdity of its refusing to enforce rules against foreign electoral interference because the perpetrators aren't in Canada to be investigated looks like a rather worrisome sign.

1 comment:

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