Saturday, November 08, 2014

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- The Globe and Mail reminds us why we should demand the restoration of an effective census, while Evidence for Democracy is making a public push toward that goal. And Tavia Grant discusses how the destruction of effective data collection is affecting Canadian workplace:
Reliable, complete and up-to-date labour market data is a crucial component of government policy, influencing everything from educational priorities to immigration.

Yet, fallout from faulty or missing labour market information has made headlines on a number of issues this year alone. It’s been hard to pinpoint the size of the temporary foreign worker program (The Globe and Mail has reported that some employers say the tally for their organizations is miscounted).

Some TFWs are working on First Nations reserves with high unemployment rates – but it is unclear just how high jobless rates are on reserves. And earlier this year, the Finance Department had to correct its estimates of job vacancies when it emerged it was relying on a software program that was skewed by including Kijiji listings.

Statscan itself has faced budget cuts and staff reductions, while a memo has shown Employment and Social Development Canada has cut spending on labour market information by more than 20 per cent over the past two years.
- PressProgress documents a week in the life of the Fraser Institute's corporate shilling. And Stephen Leahy comments on big oil's dirty war against our planet and the people who seek to protect it:
(W)e already know how to make the low-carbon transition because it is "hardly rocket science," said Bob Watson, former chair of the IPCC.

To reiterate the steps: big increases in energy efficiency, massive roll outs of renewable energy, shutting down most coal plants, a carbon price, etc. There are dozens of studies on how to do this with no new technology. All of this can be achieved with very little extra cost to the global economy, according to The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.

These studies end up concluding that what's missing in a shift to low-carbon living is political will or political courage. Left unsaid is the incredibly powerful and influential fossil fuel industry, their bankers, investors, lawyers, public relations consultants, unions and others all fighting desperately to keep humanity addicted to their products.

That means opposing low-carbon alternatives and branding grandparents who worry about their grandchildren's future as "green radicals."

"Think of this as an endless war," public relations consultant Richard Berman told oil and gas industry executives last June in Colorado.

It's a dirty war against environmental organizations and their supporters. Industry executives must be willing to exploit emotions like fear, greed and anger of the public against green groups and individuals...
- Roberto Ferdman discusses how disparities in income are reflected in infant nutritional health - which then tends to produce habits which last a lifetime.

- Alison examines the connections between the Cons' pension board appointees and the use of offshore tax havens.

- Finally, Michael Harris notes that Stephen Harper's support for, and promotion of, convicted election fraudster Dean Del Mastro is entirely consistent with his judgment in managing his party and Canada's government. And Thomas Walkom notes that Chris Alexander is just the latest MP to be put to work trying to trash vulnerable people and their supporters.

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