Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- The Broadbent Institute's "Union Communities, Healthy Communities" report discusses the significance of the labour movement in achieving positive social outcomes. And Rick Smith concurrently writes that the right's attacks on unions represent a solution in search of a problem:
(W)hen unions are strong, the gains that they make for their members in terms of decent wages and benefits spill over into non-union workplaces. In the face of Canadian conservatives trying to portray unions as some kind of impediment to economic growth and productivity, actually examining this empirical evidence is instructive.

Economists agree that the rapidly rising share of all income going to the top 1% in the US and Canada since the early 1980s is explained in significant part by declining unionization. US-style de-unionization would clearly make Canada a much more unequal society than is already the case.

And calculations by respected international organizations such as the OECD and the World Bank also show that countries with strong labour movements are more equal and inclusive, and often have very successful economies. Unions recognize that high productivity is the key to decent wages and good jobs, and many successful companies recognize that good labour relations benefit both parties to the agreement.
- But then, it's probably true that the most fervent union-bashers are among those who see democracy itself as a problem. In that vein, Doug Vaessen and Tamara Elliott report on one developer's explicit plan to take over Calgary's city council with pawns who won't "(forget) to vote the right way". And there looks to be an obvious connection between the corporate takeover of a city council, and the tens of millions of corporate dollars funnelled to the likes of the B.C. Libs.

- Meanwhile, the Star reveals another example of the illusion of participatory democracy - finding that the Cons' goals in dealing with First Nations consist primarily of ensuring that the corporate sector gets what it wants, while responsibility for any social issues gets downloaded onto the same chiefs who are supposed to forfeit any control over resources.

- Finally, Scott Stelmaschuk nicely analyzes the Saskatchewan Party's inability to accept LGBT2Q students:
We need to break down this idea that there is anything wrong or 'sinful' about homosexual behaviour; and more importantly, we need to let LGBT2Q youth know that there are people out there who care for them and support them exactly as they are. These kids need to know that they are 'normal', and that there is nothing wrong with them, and GSAs provide the best venue to create such a system.

We have a Premier who seems to be unable to even say the word 'gay', and was evasive on the question of whether he believed homosexuality was a choice. (He did hem and haw, though he did eventually concede that from what he 'knew' of it from people that it wasn't....though it still left quite a bit of doubt over whether or not he actually sees it as a choice as he never actually gave his opinion...)

We don't need to let another generation grow up where 'gay' is muttered as an insult; or worse, where people can't even mutter the word at all. 


  1. Anonymous11:44 a.m.

    The Reform-Conservatives want to smash treaty rights, take possession of lands and force assimilation. No meaningful negotiations can take place until the First Nations' people realise these simple facts.

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