Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- I'll follow up with one extra note from Mark Carney's address to the CAW - as the headlines seem to have missed a rather important point about the relative effect of the Canadian dollar and even the widest possible definition of labour issues:
He noted Canada’s export performance was the second-worst in the G20 over the last decade, with only 9 per cent of exports going to fast-growing emerging markets such as China and India.

But he sought to dispel the notion that the high loonie bears the bulk of the blame.

“Some blame this on the persistent strength of the Canadian dollar,” Mr. Carney said in prepared remarks ahead of his address.

“While there is some truth to that, it is not the most important reason. Over the past decade, our poor export performance has been explained two-thirds by market structure and one-third by competitiveness. Of the latter about two-thirds is the currency while the rest is labour costs and productivity.

“So, net, our strong currency explains only about 20 per cent of our poor export performance.”
By Carney's own account, then, "labour costs and productivity" have had only half as much effect as the boosted Canadian dollar on exports. Which (for anybody willing to listen) should thoroughly undermine the claim that there's any validity to a Con position pretending the dollar is no issue at all, while attacking the far smaller labour factor at every turn in the name of competitiveness.

- Though I suppose we shouldn't operate under the illusion that the Cons' economic plans have anything to do with accomplishing anything useful - as Jim Flaherty is rerunning his thoroughly-discredited "do what I ask, or I'll ask again more pitifully" strategy to deal with the glut of uninvested corporate cash.

- And in case anybody thought a new set of MPs might help rein in the Cons' worst impulses, here's a shorter Chris Alexander:
Lousy media, refusing to accept that all inconvenient prior statements have been declared inoperative. Why won't they just transcribe the word of the Ministry of Truth and leave it at that?
- Finally, David McGrane takes on the Saskatchewan Cons' sad attempts to preserve poor representation for their constituents by pointing out what representation is supposed to accomplish:
Optimal democratic representation means having an MP exclusively devoted to representing your concerns. The proposed constituencies map improves democratic representation by having more rural residents represented by exclusively rural MPs, and more urban residents represented by exclusively urban MPs. It's a win for both the city and the countryside.

No other province has split rural-urban ridings, making Saskatchewan the outlier of Canadian democracy. Other provinces have realized that separating urban and rural residents into different ridings provides better democratic representation and conforms to electoral law that stipulates that ridings must contain residents with similar identities and similar "communities of interest."

If we take a step back and consider, we realize that the proposed boundaries are best for democracy. That's what really counts.

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