Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jenny Uechi and Warren Bell expose Canada's embarrassing place as the only government participating in a climate-denial group pushing for a dirty war against the planet. But despite the Harper Cons' worst efforts, there's some good news on the climate front - as the use of solar energy is booming in the U.S., while a new bilateral deal between the U.S. and China is rapidly eliminating the Cons' traditional excuses for blocking international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

- Kathryn May reports on some of the vital public services the Cons have been slashing in the name of paying for income splitting and other tax baubles - with food safety and frontline staff addressing EI and veterans' benefits ranking at the top of the list. And Tim Harper comments on how those cuts affect Canadians directly:
A simple tally of recent reports, some gleaned by this newspaper and The Canadian Press and testimony before Parliamentary committees, gives us a partial sense of what we are sacrificing to ensure this government could get to surplus and offer its tax breaks in a pre-election period.

This week alone there was a report from the government’s public accounts showing the Harper government’s spending on marine safety had plunged 27 per cent since 2009-10 while aviation and rail safety were both down 20 per cent or more.

Transport Canada says the cuts were made on overhead, administrative and support services, but opposition critics find it hard to believe safety is not being compromised while oil shipments by rail skyrocket.

Another document obtained by CP showed Aboriginal Affairs had to shift $505 million in money earmarked for infrastructure over a six-year period to social and educational spending.

The money has bled the infrastructure fund and still not covered the shortfall on education and social spending. The infrastructure shortfall means fewer schools and more boil water orders in First Nations communities.
While you await your cheques, you might want to remember they didn’t come free. It may have already cost you from health care to security, from access to parks to treatment of our First Nations.
- Meanwhile, Kelly Grant notes that the Cons' plans to undermine the public service now include taking any real authority out of the hands of Canada's chief public health officer.

- CBC reports that the false promise of a privatized prison in Ontario has finally been deemed a failure in terms of cost and other outcomes - to the point where the province paid millions of dollars just to take back control for itself. [Update: as noted by @YouthAndWork, the story dates from 2006.]

- Finally, Thomas Walkom discusses how the Harper Cons are seeking to profit politically from their own culture of fear.

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