Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wednesday Morning Links

This and that for your mid-week reading.

- Erin Weir posts the statement of a 70-strong (and growing) list of Canadian economists opposed to austerity. Heather Mallick frames the latest Con budget as yet another example of their using personal cruelty as a governing philosophy, while the Star's editorial board goes into detail about the dangers of yet another round of politically-motivated attacks on environmental and public interest charities.

- Meanwhile, Frances Russell slams the Cons' efforts to rig the 2015 election. And Jordon Cooper discusses how voting is already too difficult for marginalized people without the Cons going out of their way to add further roadblocks.
Canada has a long tradition of denying some groups the vote. At various points in its history it has discriminated against women, aboriginals, persons without property and even certain religious groups, and denied them the right to vote. We have learned from those mistakes and taken steps to make it easier for people to vote.

Now, much of that good work is being undone, and the government is making it harder for already marginalized and forgotten people to be heard.
There are many groups in Canada that are not targeted voters, don't have access to decision makers, can't afford to attend fundraising events and don't have a cadre of lobbyists to plead their case. All they have is their vote.

I'd rather spend more to make a process work so that everyone can vote, rather than suppress those votes in the name of efficiency. Improve the process of vouching if that's what is needed, but don't take away the ability of people to vote when that often is their only voice.
- Chris Selley highlights the importance of the right of citizenship (which the Cons are determined to relabel as an easily-removed privilege).

- Alex Hunsberger offers some historical perspective on the origins of "right-to-work" laws as a means to enforce racial segregation by attacking the labour and civil rights movements alike.

- Finally, David Climenhaga writes that the destruction of the single-desk Wheat Board has had the predictable effect of driving down the prices farmers can earn for their crops - due to both logistical problems arising out of a poorly-planned policy and the greater power of purchasers in the absence of a strong voice for producers.

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