Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood discusses the close connection between the energy sector and inequality in Canada - with the obvious implication that policies dedicated to unduly favouring the former will inevitably produce the latter: 
(T)he real story from last week’s Stats Can report isn’t that Canada is turning the tide on inequality, but that the energy sector is a key driver of income inequality in Canada. Massive investment in the oil sands has benefited the wealthiest earners to the exclusion of most other Canadians, and those immense gains have simply been slightly reduced from their 2006 high.

The long-term trend in Canada is still towards greater inequality, as a new TD Bank report explains (PDF), and Alberta is still the most unequal province, which is exacerbated by new oil sands investments.

In other words, what’s good for the oil sands is good for Canada’s wealthy—and vice versa. However, no such connection exists with the incomes of the bottom 99%, even in cities like Calgary. Does that really justify such incredible investment in the oil sands? It’s a debate we should be having.
- But then, as Frances Russell writes, attacking the poor to benefit the rich is par for the course for the Cons. And Bruce Cheadle reports that Stephen Harper has chosen to make reckless cuts to the public service with full knowledge as to how they undermine desperately needed programs.

- Evan Radford reports on the appalling state of child poverty in Saskatchewan, with over a quarter of the province's children living below the poverty line. And Sara Mojtehedzadeh points out that child poverty is common even in households with one or more working parents.

- Tom Sullivan notes that at least a few U.S. governments are trying to keep employers from exploiting precarious workers, only to face a predictably self-absorbed response from the corporate sector. And Michelle Chen examines the $1 billion in tax loopholes exploited every year by Wal-Mart alone.

- Both Ryan Meili and Vivek Goel discuss the absurdity of trying sever public health from broader public policy.

- And finally, Brent Patterson looks at one of the more novel abuses of free trade agreements, as corporate Canada is warning the federal government against cracking down on corruption lest it interfere with profit-making opportunities.

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