Sunday, July 06, 2014

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Mark Taliano highlights the distinction between corporate and public interests (while pointing out that both military and economic policy are all too often based on the former). And Jamie Doward discusses how the perception that government is either unwilling or unable to serve anybody besides corporate masters is turning the next generation of UK youth away from politics:
The picture that emerges from an Ipsos MORI questionnaire completed by almost 2,800 pupils aged 11 to 16 is of a generation that expects little help from politicians and which resolutely believes that it will not have the same life prospects as those enjoyed by the one before.

The poll, conducted for the National Children's Bureau and which will be published this week, is the first of its kind carried out by Ipsos MORI, and suggests that today's young people are turning away from conventional politics. Only two in five (39%) agreed with the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, that the voting age should be lowered to 16. And only 13% would be certain to vote in a general election if they had the chance, a figure that rises to 15% among 15- to 16-year-olds.

Of those who would be eligible to vote in next year's general election if the voting age were reduced, 17% say they associate themselves with Labour while 9% opt for the Tories.

Growing disillusionment with Westminster politics may be linked to how Generation Next see their future. Fewer than two in five expect their lives to be better than it was for their parents (37%). In contrast, 70% of baby boomers believe they have had a better life than their parents. Ipsos MORI said the findings were consistent with a general downward shift in the proportion of people who feel their generation will have a better quality of life compared with their parents' generation.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given this trend, only 14% of Generation Next believes the government will do a good job in running the country in the year ahead. They also have a pessimistic view of how they are treated by the government, with less than half believing they are treated fairly.
- Meanwhile, Michael Geist sees the negotiation of the TPP (like so many other trade agreements) behind closed doors as compelling evidence that it wouldn't hold up to public scrutiny. And Emily Atkin discusses the latest example of the oil industry buying silence when it comes to any questioning of its activities, as the price for TransCanada's donation of a single rescue truck to the town of Mattawa included the town's agreement never to publicly question or comment on any of its operations.

- Haroon Siddiqui points out that the very nature of the temporary foreign worker program is anathema to Canada's proud legacy of welcoming immigrants to build futures as part of our culture:
It hit me on Canada Day that even the name, temporary foreign worker program, is un-Canadian. “Temporary” and “foreign” are the antithesis of long-standing Canadian immigration policy, the bedrock principle of which is that immigrants are selected to be permanent residents and future fellow-citizens.

The formula has served us well by minimizing the “us vs. them” undercurrent that charges relations between new arrivals and the rest of society. In our native and adopted land, the old and the new are in it together.

Canada studiously avoided Europe’s guest worker program, under which hundreds of thousands were imported in the expectation that they’d leave at the end of their work. Few did, creating a permanent underclass in Germany, France and elsewhere — and all the resentments that go with it.

We were never like the oil-rich Persian Gulf nations that allow employers to import temporary foreign workers, but not their families, pay dirt-poor wages and hold them hostage as indentured labour tethered to their master.

Now our temporary foreign worker program allows employers to import cheap foreign labour, without families, mostly for low-end jobs for short periods. The temps are tied to their employer who may mistreat them.
- And Andrew Longhurst points out that the "temporary" element of work applies to an increasingly large proportion of Canadian jobs in general - and proposes a few policy ideas to give workers a better chance of moving part precarious employment.

- Finally, Partnership for Strong Communities takes a look at yet more research showing that the availability of affordable and accessible housing has a significant effect on spreading opportunity - in this case for the cognitive growth of children.

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