Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Scott Doherty recognizes that Saskatchewan's failure to collect a reasonable royalty rate for potash and other natural resources is directly responsible for the province crying poor when workers are laid off. And Alex Himelfarb points out that the magical theory behind perpetual tax cuts is purely a matter of illusion rather than reality.
We are more than just consumers and taxpayers. We are citizens with responsibilities for one another; we undertake to do some things together, things that we could never do alone or that we can do much better collectively. Taxes are the way we pay for those things. They’re the price of living in Canada and the opportunities that provides.  Indeed, those opportunities exist because of the sacrifices and taxes of previous generations to build the Canada we inherited.
We demand of our leaders to explain how they are going to pay for new services but, equally, we need to demand that they explain the COSTS of their promised tax cuts ­–­­­ to our quality of life, to our democracy, to our economy.  Would we be so pleased with the next tax cuts if we knew they came with worsening traffic congestion, increased risks to food safety, longer wait times for health care, less help for the jobless and needy, rising inequality and environmental degradation?

We seem only to talk about what government costs and not about what it gives.  Too much is at stake to let our identities as “consumers” and “taxpayers” supplant our citizenship and commitment to the common good.
- Meanwhile, the Star Phoenix discusses Station 20 West - which has become a source of food, health services and community for Saskatoon's Pleasant Hill neighbourhood despite the best efforts of the Wall government to stop it.

- And on the subject of governments with absolutely no clue about the realities facing people living in poverty, Peter MacKay believes that even homeless people should have no trouble whatsoever selling some unspecified property to pay mandatory fines.

- Armine Yalnizyan questions the rationale behind the Cons' cuts to Canada Post. And Duncan Cameron expands on the postal bank option as an alternative to the Cons' slash-and-burn approach.

- Finally, Elizabeth Thompson describes Hugh Segal's philosophy of political bridge-building - which of course couldn't be much more out of place in the current Conservative Party.

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