Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Thomas Walkom points to Ontario's experience with Kellogg's as yet another example of the dangers of basing economic policy on blind faith that handouts to big business will benefit workers and the general public:
Like Kellogg, the auto companies justify their apparent double-dealing by citing the need to boost profits.

Indeed, in market terms, their actions are perfectly rational.

Why not take whatever you can from governments when subsidies are on offer? And why not stiff those same governments if, later on, you can make more by operating elsewhere?

For governments, however, open-ended corporate subsidies are not as rational.

From Massey-Ferguson to Kellogg, Ontario governments have sunk money into companies that either couldn’t or wouldn’t maintain employment in the province.

What are the alternatives? One is to do nothing and let the free market work its destructive magic. As Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is finding out, and as Stephen Harper has already discovered, this is politically untenable.

The other is to insist on having government, or even workers themselves, play a role in managing publicly subsidized companies.
- CUPW identifies what's at stake as the Cons encourage Canada Post to make its service less useful and more expensive, while Chantal Hebert points out that the government responsible is nowhere to be found in answering for the eliminate of door-to-door delivery and a massive price increase. And Alexandre Boulerice already has a petition in place to stop the service cuts.

- Kady O'Malley rightly criticizes the do-nothing fall session of Parliament - though it's worth pointing out which party both delayed the start of the session and held a majority which was wielded to stop nearly anything from getting done. And Alison singles out for shaming the Cons' Ethics Committee members who refused to allow an investigation into the Cons' Senate cover-up, and also went in camera to avoid any public committee votes on the issue.

- But of course, if we want a functional Parliament, it's probably incumbent on advocates for change to show they have some respect for the institution and its underlying purposes. Which means that Justin Trudeau's excuses that he'd rather be a full-time campaigner than an MP likely point in the wrong direction.

- Finally, Gloria Galloway reports on Don Drummond's conclusion that even equal funding won't be enough to allow First Nations schools to meet the standards expected by Canadians in general. But the real need for more should at least provide an impetus to move toward closing the gap which currently sees First Nations schools grossly underfunded (while federal and provincial governments point fingers at each other rather than doing anything to address the problem).

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