Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Dennis Raphael and Toba Bryant write about the devastating health effects of income inequality in Canada:
Imagine the response, from industry, government and the public, if a plane was crashing every day. If there were something that killed as many people in a day as this kind of disaster, you’d expect it to provoke a similarly concentrated response.

A recent report by Statistics Canada highlights a preventable cause of premature death that is having exactly that kind of impact. This study demonstrates that income inequality is associated with the premature death of 40,000 Canadians a year. That’s equal to 110 Canadians dying prematurely each day. To put that into context, imagine a Bombardier CS-100 jet airplane full of passengers falling out of the sky every day for a year.
The Statistics Canada report also makes clear that these differences in health outcomes are primarily due to the material living circumstances and the associated psychosocial stresses associated with not being as well off as the wealthiest 20% of Canadians: “Income influences health most directly through access to material resources such as better quality food and shelter.” Income inequality is not only bad for our quality of life and economic productivity, it is directly related to the deaths of Canadians on an almost unimaginable scale.

Canadians are increasingly concerned about growing income inequality and are becoming more aware of its health effects. It’s time for a serious response from policy-makers, media and the public. Otherwise we’ll simply continue to watch 110 Canadians falling out of the sky every day, each day, 365 days a year.
- Meanwhile, Seumas Milne notes that the UK Cons are continuing to push pointless austerity even as its damage to the economy becomes inescapable.

- And we shouldn't be suckered into believing that austerity happens only through relatively transparent budgeting processes. In fact, recent reports show that the Cons have simply chosen not to bother with approved funding both for veterans at home, and for the world's poorest people abroad - imposing massive cuts from the amounts approved by our elected representatives without any debate.

- Carol Goar discusses how Canada is losing allies around the world due to the Cons' obstinate refusal to do anything - or even allow anything to be done - to meaningfully fight climate change.

- And finally, Michael Den Tandt comments on the Cons' disreputable politics - with Michael Sona's sentence (and the Cons' refusal to acknowledge jail-worthy wrongdoing within their own ranks) serving as just the latest example.

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