Friday, December 06, 2013

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Hassan Arif theorizes that a failure to identify and address growing inequality may have played a significant role in the rise of Rob Ford's destructive anti-socialism:
The Toronto of towering new condos, of downtown coffee shops and trendy restaurants and stores, is far removed from the Toronto of these low-income, suburban, and largely visible minority residents. A “plain-talking” politician who rails against downtown elites, against “slick talking lawyers”, “consultants”, and recipients of “research grants” appeals to those who feel left behind.
These concerns, about suburban alienation, about inequality, are concerns that need to be seriously addressed in Toronto. While Rob Ford has not concretely tackled the issues concerning the inner-suburban poor, he has politically benefitted from their discontent.
Toronto ultimately needs a public discourse – and public officials including a new mayor – focussed on seriously addressing the concerns of poverty and alienation in the inner-suburbs while also prioritizing the economic development and growth of an emerging global city. Prosperity is important, but it must benefit everyone. Ultimately, the focus must be on governing for all of Toronto, not neglecting parts of it, or – worse yet – pitting different elements against each other.
- Meanwhile, Alan Broadbent takes the position that the solution to inequality revolves entirely around slightly improved conditions for the poor - and has some positive suggestions on that front, including echoing Jim Stanford's take on the importance of unions. But David Atkins rightly points out that a truly effective policy will need to properly balance the relative social influence of the poor, the middle class and the wealthy. And Nafeez Ahmed describes the type of widespread, private-sector surveillance and control that develops when too much wealth gets clustered in the hands of too few corporate elites.

- Laurie Monsbraaten reports on the Ontario Libs' planned legislation to protect workers facing precarious employment. But while the plan looks like a positive move, it remains to be seen how much effort is put into enforcing the law - assuming it gets passed in the first place.

- Tim Harper writes that the refusal of Senate Cons to hear from auditors who were instructed to change their review of questioned expenses reflects a scandal playing out in broad daylight. Rod Love thinks the Cons' biggest problem is that they could have gone to greater lengths to cover up their bribery and corruption. And Michael Harris counters by arguing that Stephen Harper should step down.

- Finally, the Star-Phoenix' editorial board rightly slams the Wall government for budget practices which have become so shady as to have drawn an adverse opinion from the provincial auditor.

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