Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Lana Payne writes that it's long past time for Newfoundland and Labrador to boost its minimum wage:
Last year, a statutory review of minimum wage, conducted by a government-appointed panel, called for action to be taken on the minimum wage. The panel recommended an increase to restore any erosion to the wage since 2010 as well as a formula, tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which would see annual, incremental increases in the wage to ensure that it keeps pace with the increases in the cost of living.

The report and its recommendations sit on a shelf...

The lack of action denies thousands of workers a pay raise. Indeed, the lack of action results in a continued erosion of their wage - as time passes and the cost of living steadily increases, the minimum wage is worth less today than it was three years ago, the last time the wage was increased.

This inaction is a stunning reversal from a minimum-wage policy that had been aimed at making sure the province's lowest-paid were not left totally behind. In 2010, the government also said that minimum-wage increases proved the government's commitment to improving the quality of life of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians while making the province more competitive with respect to attracting workers.
The Newfoundland and Labrador government's minimum-wage policy had been a success. Three years later, after all that hard work of playing catchup and making sure some of the prosperity is shared, the current government appears to have abandoned its commitment to helping the lowest-paid achieve "increased self-reliance."

The big question is, why?
- Meanwhile, the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario is pushing for that province's government to keep its promise to combat poverty.

- Martin Lukacs wonders whether the great pipeline swindle will succeed only in building a mass movement against petro-politics, while Mike de Souza tracks down briefing notes which nicely expose the Cons' anti-carbon pricing rhetoric as a sham. And Graham Thomson catches Alberta's PC government refusing to acknowledge an actual series of pipeline leaks in what was supposed to be a review of the province's regulatory system:
The review of the regulations does not dig into the spate of pipeline leaks that have plagued Alberta the past few years and it doesn’t delve into whether the Alberta Energy Regulator is properly enforcing the regulations.

It’s a bit like asking, after a rash of crimes, if the streets of Edmonton are safe and then investigating the regulations that govern the police rather than looking at the actual crime spree and how the police handled it.
The pipeline safety review does not directly address any of the pipeline spills that prompted the government to call for the review. Those would include spills in 2012 such as the accidental dumping of 3,000 barrels of oil into the Red Deer River and the spillage of 5,000 barrels into Rainbow Lake.

And let’s not forget the Plains Midstream pipeline spill of 28,000 barrels in northwestern Alberta in 2011 — the largest spill in the province in 30 years. That spill warranted its very own public inquiry, or maybe an inquiry into pipeline safety in general.

Instead what we got was the Alberta Pipeline Safety Review.

It would seem to be a classic case of bait and switch. We walked into the store for an Apple MacBook Pro with retina display and left with a Commodore 64.
 - Finally, Paul Hanley and Christine Stark both discuss Canada's appalling (and all-too-rarely-acknowledged) abuse of First Nations people. But have no fear: the Cons are hard at work using public money to search for scapegoats.

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