Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Dave Coles writes that the Harper Cons are using their power to protect the privacy of international arms dealers, while at the same time demanding stringent reporting requirements for labour unions and their members:
Labour unions are among the few institutions that can and do provide a counterbalance to the power of corporations. Yet the Conservatives are not requiring companies that bargain with trade unions to file detailed reports to the Canada Revenue Agency on their salary, political or lobbying spending. Additionally, they are not requiring other professional associations that collect fees or dues from their members, such as the Canadian Medical Association for example, to follow the terms of Bill C-377.

They are only requiring the institutions created to represent the interests of millions of workers across the country to file these detailed records. There is no other way to interpret this than as an attempt to disarm a political opponent.

Much like what Habib Massoud was hinting at when talking about those involved in the arms trade, the detailed reporting required by Bill C-377 will be burdensome, costly and threaten the privacy rights of many individuals, companies and organizations that work with unions. Incredibly, under the proposed legislation, labour-associated pension and benefit plans will be required to publicly disclose “the name and address” and a “description” of benefits paid to individuals greater than $5,000. This could include personal medical information.
- Barrie McKenna notes that Jim Flaherty is once again using the power of the federal government to let banks do whatever they want without consequences. And unfortunately Canada's government is far from the only one which is utterly failing in its obligation to defend the public interest in dealing with banks.

- And indeed, the U.K. is standing out in its emphasis on corporate "property", going so far as to make the names of seasons off limits for anybody other than Olympic sponsors:
Wearing purple caps and tops, the experts in trading and advertising working for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) are heading the biggest brand protection operation staged in the UK. Under legislation specially introduced for the London Games, they have the right to enter shops and offices and bring court action with fines of up to £20,000.

Olympics organisers have warned businesses that during London 2012 their advertising should not include a list of banned words, including "gold", "silver" and "bronze", "summer", "sponsors" and "London".
- Finally, Erin Weir contrasts the Wall government's willingness to put public money into a new stadium in Regina against its missed opportunity to invest in renewable power. And the Globe and Mail points out the coincidence that the federal Cons are funding attacks on wind power while refusing to acknowledge massive health, safety and environmental risks associated with non-renewable resource extraction.

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