Saturday, August 03, 2013

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Saturday reading.

- Rick Salutin writes about the need for the labour movement to better promote its contribution to the general public - and my only quibble is that I'd prefer to see a focus on what still can be (and needs to be) done rather than past victories:
(W)hy don't (unions) contest the battle for the public mind? I don't know why but they don't, or rarely do. They seem to have lost track of that tactic. It went missing in the Ontario teachers conflict this year, too. The unions made little or no effort to explain their case and enlist parents, students and citizens on their side. That left the McGuinty government with the role of defender of the taxpayers.

It's not inevitable. The Chicago teachers' union laboured for wider support and won their strike with it. This matters not just because it would be smart for unions. It's because they, for about a century, have been central to general social improvement. They provided inspiration, resources, organization: without them there would not have been public health care, universal pensions, health and safety laws, the whole panoply of the (now disputed) welfare state.
...
It's a daunting challenge for unions. Today they barely exist in the public mind. A few decades ago, if you asked people to free-associate with "union" you'd get many responses: strikes, chants, acronyms, leaders, songs. Now, at least among the young, you'd probably get mostly blanks. Nothing. On the other hand, a blank slate isn't the worst place to start.
- Bill Curry reports that the federal government is studying the use of behavioural "nudges" in other countries as a basis for Canadian programs. But it's well worth questioning whether those nudges are being used to generate actual positive outcomes, or merely new profit centres for well-connected rent-seekers - and the Cons' choice to push workers toward private pensions rather than expanding the lower-cost Canada Pension Plan offers nothing but reason for concern on that front.

- Janina Enrile writes about the pluses of a guaranteed annual income among other means to alleviate poverty:
The senator for Kingston-Frontenac-Leeds is calling for policy changes in government, following a report from the Canadian Medical Association that says bad health can be a result of poverty.

Hugh Segal said this can be helped through the implementation of a guaranteed annual income, which would alleviate concerns for people who couldn’t afford healthier food, which is often more expensive.
...
 It’s why the introduction of a guaranteed annual income would help especially, said Elaine Power, a Queen’s University professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies.

“It would cost a lot in the short term,” she said. “As a long-term investment strategy, I think it’s the most important thing we can do for the health and the fiscal sustainability of the country.”

The poor nutrition that results from a lower income adds to other anxieties, Power said.

“That contributes to your health... There’s the stress of knowing that other people have better lives than you. There’s the stress of being a parent and knowing you can’t provide for your children,” she said. “The chronic stress probably interacts with poor nutrition (and) chronic malnutrition to make things even worse.”
- Meanwhile, CBC reports on the NDP's eminently reasonable proposal to at least ensure that municipalities are informed about dangerous goods being shipped through their territory. But I'd fully expect even that modest suggestion to be met with a wave of corporatist blather about the "red tape" involved in allowing communities to prepare for the risks shippers want to impose on them.

- Finally, Enrique Mendizabal offers a concise set of theories as to how change can happen - with the choices serving as both an important set of considerations for issue-based organizations, and a set of criteria by which to evaluate our political choices.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Musical interlude

Dirty Vegas - 7 A.M.


Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Frances Woolley rightly challenges the conventional wisdom that there's no such thing as a popular and efficient tax:
Few taxes generate enthusiastic popular support, but some are more popular than others. Those are the ones that fill the red circle.

The area labelled "both" in the diagram above includes two types of taxes. The first is the tax that produces concrete, tangible benefits, but does not distort people's behaviour in undesirable ways. For example, carbon taxes are popular - polls (or, at least some polls) suggest that the majority of Canadians support them - because they produce benefits, in the form of a cleaner environment. To the extent that they distort people's behaviour, they do so in desirable ways.  Taxes introduced during wartime have also had widespread support (their efficiency may be more debatable). Their popularity was achieved, as this Disney propaganda film shows, by framing them as part of a patriotic war effort: "taxes will keep democracy on the march."

A second type of efficient and popular tax is one that the majority of people do not have to pay, and the minority cannot avoid. The incidence of cigarette taxes falls on the minority of Canadians who smoke, grow tobacco, or own shares in tobacco manufacturing companies. The tax is popular with the majority (for US poll numbers, see here, here, or here) because they do not have to pay it. Unless cigarette taxes are very high, they are also relatively efficient: because nicotine is so addictive, smokers often would rather pay the tax than change their behaviour. (To the extent that cigarette taxes induce behavioural change, this may be a good thing).

Taxes on resource rents are also, I would argue, a tax paid by a minority within the population - the owners of the corporations that extract those resources (Andrew Leach has a primer on Alberta oil tax royalties here). Why? As a general rule, the economic burden of a tax falls on whoever cannot change their behaviour to avoid it. A tax on call centres can be shifted to call centre employees, because call centres operations can make employees a take-it-or-leave-it-offer: "accept these wages or we'll move to a lower-tax jurisdiction." Resource extraction companies, however, have to stay where the resources are if they wish to keep on extracting them. They have few alternatives to just paying up.
But it's particularly worth noting that Con-style anti-tax ideology represents the greatest obstacle to any attempt to move toward the "both" area: to the extent the public accepts the claim that any increase in any tax must be avoided at all costs, it becomes impossible to discuss how best to rearrange our current structure to both improve efficiency and achieve concurrent goals.

- Meanwhile, Larry Rousseau comments on the cost of deregulation.

- Henry Blodget discusses why corporate control over our economy has reached the point where even people predisposed to dislike unions can't help but to see the desperate need for better labour organization. And Duncan Cameron points to public opinion as the other essential counterweight to elite control that's been far too ineffective in our recent past.

- Finally, in keeping with the theme of yesterday's column, Adam Ramsay writes about the need to redefine "progress":
If we aren't going to be motivated by a desire, which is destroying the planet, for ever more trinkets, what else can drive us?

There are of course, lots of answers to that. I hope we can all spend more time caring better for each other. I'd like all of us to be allowed to spend more time making art. But there's something else too. I am certain that our innate desire to explore and to understand is as strong as out (sic) innate desire to accumulate and consume.
...
Environmentalists must re-imagine what civilisation is for, what humanity is for. Yes, that should include being inspired once more by magnificent forests and quirky plants and incredible animals. These things are wonderful.

But I think it also has to include a vast expansion in the amount of time and money we invest in advancing and disseminating all human knowledge. We ought also to care about exploring the makeup of the cosmos, and of atoms and of chemicals. Because we are humans, and asking questions is what we do best.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Bruce Livesey discusses how offshoring undermines government - and how it happens with the approval of those same governments claiming we can't afford to provide for citizens:
Today, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) claims that offshore banks globally hide some (US) $5-trillion to (US) $7-trillion from tax authorities, or about 8 per cent of the world's assets under management. Moreover, an estimated (US) $11.5-trillion is being stashed in offshore accounts worldwide for one reason or another.

Now governments talk about the so-called "tax gap" -- the difference between what they could collect and do collect -- caused by the use of offshore havens. In the U.K., this estimate ranges from £50 billion to £100-billion annually. Of that, about £20-billion sits in offshore tax havens. Meanwhile, though, the CRA refuses to make an estimate of the tax gap in Canada, but it's safe to say if they did they would find it's in the many tens of billions.

The offshore tax haven issue speaks to one of the Great Lies currently promulgated by conservative, liberal and even social democratic governments: which is that governments are broke. And hence they must lay off civil servants, impose cuts and wage restraints on the public sector. And it is why governments are desperately trying to avoid the issue: after all, they've all encouraged tax evasion and avoidance by offering corporations and the wealthy lower and lower taxes and greater tax breaks over the years. Now they are reaping what they have sown.
- And Pat Atkinson recognizes the need for tax revenue to fund the social priorities we care about most.

- Meanwhile, Frances Russell suggests that rather than buying into austerity-based cautionary tales about Greece today, we should look its past as an example of an informed citizenry able to look out for its own best interests.

- Steve Horn writes about the tactics normally used by corporate spinners to try to undermine citizens' movements. Mark Taliano focuses on the psychological manipulation techniques preferred by the Harper Cons and other opponents of social goods in Canada. And Simon Enoch highlights the City of Regina's Orwellian shift in language - as at the first hint of democratic participation, any reference to the "water" aspect of wastewater treatment has apparently been declared unfit for discussion.

- Finally, those types of messages go a long way toward explaining Henry Blodget's simple depiction of U.S. inequality in four charts - pairing unprecedented profits flowing to the top with an utter lack of opportunity for the many.

New column day

Here, on the questions raised by a sudden drop in potash prices - and why we should reconsider our economic and social priorities so that a minor fluctuation in a still-ample level of wealth isn't seen as reason to push the panic button.

For further reading...
- My discussion of Robert and Edward Skidelsky's How Much Is Enough? shouldn't be taken to suggest the book goes beyond a rough outline of the alternative to a growth-obsessed society. But I'll certainly recommend it as a starting point for discussion.
- For those interested in some recent reports on the effects of poverty on personal decision-making and life outcomes, I'll again point here, here and here
- And for a more personal take on hunger and poverty in the midst of plenty, I'll highly recommend A Girl Called Jack - discussed here by the Guardian - to those who haven't seen it yet.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Thomas Walkom points out that while Stephen Harper managed to push the world in the wrong direction over the past few years, he may be missing the boat on where it's headed:
The Harper government’s failure is longer-term. It still operates under the assumption that free trade and free markets will conquer all. This is an old model. It is out of date. True, the Great Depression of the 1930s was aggravated because there were too many barriers to the free movement of labour, goods and capital. But the Great Recession of the 21st century is aggravated by the fact that there are too few.

This is the lesson of the crippled eurozone. It is also the lesson of Japan, which started to do better only after it elected a nationalist (and right-wing) government willing to challenge trade orthodoxy.
...
Harper and his government have seen us through some bad years. They could have made matters far worse but didn’t. In a roundabout way, they deserve credit for this.

But their overall plans for the economy are based on stale assumptions. What they do not understand is that the Great Recession is changing everything, politically as well as economically.
At some point, the Chinese won’t want to pay top dollar for oil. At some point, the Americans will conclude that jobs at home trump trade deals abroad. Then what do we do?
- The Canadian Medical Association and the Wellesley Institute have both released noteworthy studies on the connection between social ills and poor health - with the latter being traceable to the former. And Jane Gerster reports on Dr. Roland Wong's efforts to make sure that his patients aren't kept sick by a lack of healthy food:
A Toronto doctor found guilty of professional misconduct last December for exaggerating allergies to help patients on welfare access special diet allowances is allegedly still doing it — with no regrets.

“Regrets? Only that the government doesn’t help the poor,” Dr. Roland Wong told the Star Monday outside of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, where a committee is meeting this week to determine his penalty.
...
John Clarke, an organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, said the doctor deserves “a medal and keys to the city,” not a punishment.

A crowd of people showed up Monday morning to support Dr. Wong, shaking his hand and filling the small hearing room.

“To us, these are all rarefied legal arguments,” Clarke said. “One decent man stood up to ensure that people lacking the basic necessities of life could get nutrition and health, and to punish him would be to intimidate anyone else who might follow his example.”
- Conversely, Alex Pareene writes about the antisocial Washington consensus calling for already-poor citizens to suffer more in the name of further giveaways to the wealthy.

- Finally, Purple Library Guy neatly dissects some familiar corporatist tropes by asking an inconvenient question: if the unavoidable effect of the market is to create inequality and insecurity, then why would we be anything but pleased to see policies counter market norms?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Flattened cats.




Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Frank Graves comments on the fundamental political choices we're facing in determining whether to continue operating based on corporatist orthodoxy - and the reality that the vast majority of Canadians don't agree with the side chosen by the Harper Cons:
(T)he devil’s trade off of more inequality, lower tax rates for the wealthy and corporations and a minimal state isn’t producing the promised trickle down benefits. Monetarism, and the bumper sticker simplicity of “lower taxes + less government = prosperity for all” has been laid bare as a cruel hoax. And the myth that inequality might be tough medicine — but that it provides a springboard for greater social mobility and economic efficiency — has also been punctured. It is now vividly clear that those places with the greatest level of inequality (which is rising throughout the advanced western world) are the places with the lowest levels of upward mobility. The Gatsby curve shows that it is the U.S. that now has the greatest levels of intergenerational reproduction of wealth and social order (along with the U.K.). Canada is moving with similar rapidity towards a more unequal society. If you want to see where opportunity expresses itself best, where the most able rise to the top, don’t go to the United States or even Canada. If you want to live the American dream, move to Denmark, which incidentally is one of, if not the top performing, Western economies in term of standard of living.
...
Most of the linkages to the strong preference for a more active government are unsurprising. Quebec is more statist, and Alberta less so. Women are much more likely to favour an active government. But the most notable finding is that after nearly 40 years of being told that the merits of less government are the preferred recipe for shared prosperity, there is not a single group in Canadian society that does not clearly reject the path of less active government in the long term future. Whether this is a product of current pessimism about the future, or growing awareness that the big winners in the new world order (both democratic and authoritarian) all seem to have active state involvement in the economy, we can at this stage offer only broadly suggestive commentary. But perhaps it is time for us admit that monetarism and the pursuit of the night watchman state seems ready to be consigned to the dustbin of historical failure.
- Simon Tremblay-Pepin points out the disproportionate corporate focus on dividends in recent years - particularly in light of the 2008 crash.

- Kevin Drum writes that austerity forced by Republicans has cost the U.S. 3 million jobs. And Linda McQuaig documents Stephen Harper's role in spreading the blight of gratuitous economic destruction around the globe:
By early 2010, Keynesianism was losing ground on the international scene. But it was the G20 summit in Toronto later that year which “above all” resulted in the world’s rich nations changing course and embracing austerity, according to a recent article by British financial journalist Martin Wolf in the New York Review of Books.
Harper played a key role in that lamentable change of direction. At his urging, the G20 nations agreed to commit themselves to halve their deficits by 2013 — a draconian approach that returned the developed world to obsessing about deficits and ignoring unemployment.
(Ironically, the high unemployment produced by austerity reduces tax revenues and increases social spending, making deficit-reduction difficult. Much to its embarrassment, the Harper government has had to revise its deficit estimates upward. So far this year, Canada’s deficit is rising, not falling.)
But the fixation on deficits, which has dominated public discourse for much of the last 30 years, has helped divert attention from the fact that austerity is part of a larger agenda (including tax cuts and privatization) that’s redistributed money toward the top.
- Josh Eidelson continues to discuss the spread of fast-food and retail strikes in the U.S. as workers seek a reasonable living wage.


- And finally, Ralph Surette puts involuntary testing on hungry First Nations Canadians into context as another ugly aspect of our history.

On coopting

Paul Wells offers a note of warning for the Libs in recruiting Chrystia Freeland as a candidate. But I see a greater problem for Freeland herself in pursuing the role.

It's not hard to see how Freeland might seem appealing as a means of papering over the Libs' disconnection from the general public:
Chrystia Freeland, winner of the 2013 National Business Book Award for her book Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else (Doubleday Canada), has confirmed her foray into federal politics.

The race to replace MP Bob Rae in the Toronto Centre riding is gaining momentum as the Thomson Reuters editor and managing director has confirmed she will be seeking the Liberal party nomination. 
But it wasn't long ago that an opposition party similarly looked to press its advantage in a perceived area of weakness for the incumbent government - with little regard for whether it intended to follow through on its assurances. And that didn't exactly work out well for the star candidate involved...
Years after a nondescript public servant wouldn’t play ball with institutional sleaze (and became a national hero in the process), Allan Cutler still has Canada on his mind. He is as troubled now as ever he was when Jean Chretien had his name embossed on golf balls to keep Quebec in Canada.

“I had hoped after Gomery that things would change. If anything, it has gotten worse. We have an epidemic of corruption at the federal level. Whistleblowers are even more unwelcome now than they were then.”
...nor for the writer whose criticism was seen to define the problem:
Savoie's passionate condemnation of centralization didn't slow it down. In an odd way, it may even have contributed to it.

"An adviser to a prime minister asked me if I'd sign a copy of Governing from the Centre," Savoie says. "I leafed through it and I noticed that he had read it, he had underlined a few things. And I said, 'Now you're going to do things differently?' He said, 'No, no, no. We use it as a manual.' "
Now, I have no doubt that there are plenty of Libs hastily grabbing copies of Plutocrats for their summer reading. But given that the actual direction of the party under Justin Trudeau has involved backing the Cons and corporate interests at every turn, there's little reason to think Freeland's call to serve "everyone else" is being treated as anything other than a cookbook - nor that the Libs see an expose about the global elite as much besides a manual to gain entrance to the club.

We'll see whether Freeland herself manages to gain any traction on the Canadian political scene. But all indications now are that she's mostly being used to brand continued plutocratic rule with a large red "L" - and the rest of us shouldn't see that as an improvement.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Bill Gardner discusses the effect of inequality and poverty starting at birth:
There are three important facts packed into this slide. First, the lines stack up in order of increasing age, meaning that older people reported worse health than younger people. Second, all the lines slope downward, meaning that the poorer you were, the more likely you had poor health.

These facts are unsurprising, until you notice how powerful the income effect is. The leftmost point of the youngest (turquoise) line is above the rightmost point of the oldest (purple) line. This means that the poorest teenagers reported themselves as less healthy than rich middle-aged people.
- The Council of Canadians catches Enbridge trying to put off compliance with basic pipeline safety measures - in what's surely an example of the corporate sector adequately managing its own risk by operating under the assumption that, say, a power outage and a natural disaster couldn't possibly happen at once (or based on a common cause):
NEB inspectors discovered that the required back-up power supplies were missing in dozens of pumping stations during an inspection in October 2011, and ordered Enbridge to submit a corrective action plan. Eighteen months later, when Enbridge finally submitted its plan, the company requested that the NEB keep the details secret.
...
“It is indefensible for Enbridge to delay the installation of safety equipment that should have been in place decades ago. They don’t even seem to grasp why the safety equipment is necessary.”

From the Enbridge cover letter regarding its corrective action plan:

“It is only in the event of a power outage and an emergency situation occurring simultaneously that the alternate power source would be called upon to isolate the station. In that regard, Enbridge still has questions with respect to the need, from a practical perspective, for installing power generation of this nature.”
- Meanwhile, Jessica McDiarmid reports on the combination of deregulation and wage suppression that looks to have contributed to the Lac-M├ęgantic rail explosion. And Les Perreaux takes a closer look at MMA in particular.

- Cory Doctorow writes that the only safe home burglary is one carried out under the authority of a bank.

- Finally, Stephen Gordon suggests that public training money should be allocated to individual workers, rather than being used solely as a subsidy to employers. And while that policy might create some distortions of its own (with the link between income subsidies and reduced wages looking ripe for employer abuse), it points toward the guaranteed annual income concept which would provide genuine security and choice for Canadians in determining what training or other options to pursue.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Peter Buffett rightly questions the trend toward making the provision of basic necessities subordinate to a corporate mindset, rather than putting human needs first:
As more lives and communities are destroyed by the system that creates vast amounts of wealth for the few, the more heroic it sounds to “give back.” It’s what I would call “conscience laundering” — feeling better about accumulating more than any one person could possibly need to live on by sprinkling a little around as an act of charity.
But this just keeps the existing structure of inequality in place. The rich sleep better at night, while others get just enough to keep the pot from boiling over. Nearly every time someone feels better by doing good, on the other side of the world (or street), someone else is further locked into a system that will not allow the true flourishing of his or her nature or the opportunity to live a joyful and fulfilled life.
And with more business-minded folks getting into the act, business principles are trumpeted as an important element to add to the philanthropic sector. I now hear people ask, “what’s the R.O.I.?” when it comes to alleviating human suffering, as if return on investment were the only measure of success. Microlending and financial literacy (now I’m going to upset people who are wonderful folks and a few dear friends) — what is this really about? People will certainly learn how to integrate into our system of debt and repayment with interest. People will rise above making $2 a day to enter our world of goods and services so they can buy more. But doesn’t all this just feed the beast?
I’m really not calling for an end to capitalism; I’m calling for humanism. 
- And Moises Velasquez-Manoff discusses the inherent and destructive stress involved in living in poverty:
Although professionals may bemoan their long work hours and high-pressure careers, really, there’s stress, and then there’s Stress with a capital “S.” The former can be considered a manageable if unpleasant part of life; in the right amount, it may even strengthen one’s mettle. The latter kills.

What’s the difference? Scientists have settled on an oddly subjective explanation: the more helpless one feels when facing a given stressor, they argue, the more toxic that stressor’s effects.

That sense of control tends to decline as one descends the socioeconomic ladder, with potentially grave consequences. Those on the bottom are more than three times as likely to die prematurely as those at the top. They’re also more likely to suffer from depression, heart disease and diabetes. Perhaps most devastating, the stress of poverty early in life can have consequences that last into adulthood.
...
A nurturing bond with a caregiver in a stimulating environment appears essential for proper brain development and healthy maturation of the stress response. That sounds easy enough, except that such bonds, and the broader social networks that support them, are precisely what poverty disrupts. If you’re an underpaid, overworked parent — worried, behind on rent, living in a crime-ridden neighborhood — your parental skills are more likely to be compromised. That’s worrisome given the trends in the United States. About one in five children now lives below the poverty line, a 35 percent increase in a decade. Unicef recently ranked the United States No. 26 in childhood well-being, out of 29 developed countries. When considering just childhood poverty, only Romania fares worse.
-Vanessa Brcic calls for British Columbia to restore the Therapeutics Initiative as a sorely-needed fair arbiter of drug effectiveness. The Star pleads for somebody to take on long-term responsibility for the Experimental Lakes Area. And Stephen LaRose points to Winnipeg as a prime example of the (nonexistent) returns when a civic government prioritizes big-money sports and entertainment over actual needs.

- Finally, Haroon Siddiqui holds out some hope that Chris Alexander might revisit some of Jason Kenney's most damaging moves as Minister of Immigration (though I'd add "employer-driven" to his overall freeze proposal):
Kenney’s changes have not been popular, have not worked, have not reduced backlogs and have not improved the system — indeed, have made a mess of it.
We are bringing 250,000 immigrants a year and tens of thousands of guest workers when 1.3 million Canadians don’t have jobs, another million are underemployed or have given up looking for work, and the unemployment rate for both the young as well as new immigrants is twice the national average. Of the immigrants who do have jobs, three in four are not using the education and skills for which they were picked as immigrants.
Perversely, the temporary foreign workers program (which brought in at least 500,000 workers) grew even as the economy slowed down. Kenney’s mantra of “skills shortages” has been shown to be a bit of a fraud. As the Star’s Nicholas Keung reported Tuesday, for example, Canada imported more than 6,000 temps as chefs and cooks in 2011, when Canadian colleges are churning out culinary graduates in record numbers.
...
All this brings me, Mr. Alexander, to ask you this:
Tell us why you should not freeze immigration until the job picture improves, both for them and Canadians; axe the temporary foreign workers program; restore health benefits to refugees; stop the shameful treatment of the Roma; and why your government that emphasizes family values is being so punitive toward the family reunification of immigrant families.

Sunday Morning 'Rider Blogging

Just two games ago, I noted that there was still one major question facing the Saskatchewan Roughriders: whether the team's offence could function without Darian Durant at the controls. But at most one week later than might have been ideal, we seem to have our answer.

No, Drew Willy isn't anywhere close to Durant's comfort level in the 'Riders' offence. In fact, Willy's performance yesterday served largely to highlight some of the most important elements of Durant's game which won't be duplicated by any backup: his comfort level with multiple 'Rider receivers, his ability to prolong plays by finding the right angle or the right fake to slow down onrushing defenders, and his command of a full array of offensive weapons.

But if Willy obviously isn't up to Durant's standard, he showed yesterday that he can still do enough to earn a win for the 'Riders in a game where the team's defence and special teams play up to a reasonable standard.

In particular, Willy's willingness and ability to stretch the defence after a tentative start worked wonders throughout the game. In the second quarter, he piled up three passing touchdowns to give the 'Riders a lead they wouldn't relinquish - and in the second half, a couple of deep throws that didn't quite connect nonetheless served to keep the Ticats guessing and opened up opportunities for Kory Sheets to run down the clock.

Meanwhile, the rest of the 'Riders can best be seen as filling their roles in a game where everybody else needed to step up slightly to account for a less experienced quarterback. Of particular note, Geroy Simon had his first huge game for the team - nicely replicating a pattern which helped the Lions for so long where even newcomers who couldn't find any other receivers open always seemed to connect with Simon. The defence didn't corral the Hamilton offence as well as in the previous game, but made up for it with a bevy of sacks and turnovers. And the 'Riders' special teams once again reduced an opponent's return game to rubble.

Now, Durant gets a couple of weeks to heal; Willy can spend the bye week processing what he saw in his first successful CFL start; and the rest of the team mostly needs to keep up and build on what it's done already. And while the odds are that 'Riders will have some tougher games ahead, we can't ask for much more at this point in the season.