Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Robert Reich suggests that government should respond to corporations who engage in anti-social activity such as moving their earnings offshore by making sure they can't simultaneously take advantage of laws torqued in their favour. And Daniel Tencer reports on the $12.5 billion bonus pool being doled out by Canada's financial sector even as it cuts front-line jobs.

- Patrick Maze discusses the importance of investing in education as preventative medicine as well as a form of economic development:
If we agree that preventing an ailment is easier than curing it, and that being proactive is better than being reactive, then we should insist that our governments also apply this in policy development. At some point we need to flip our thinking, and our actions, from responding reactively to social needs and challenges, to working toward a vision of what we want for our future society. We should commit resources to support that vision appropriately, and faithfully.

Education is a key factor in the health of both individuals and communities. Many researchers have studied the causal relationships between the level of our citizens' education, and their requirements for societal supports like health care, social services and justice. They've found that as the education levels of a society increases, access to those supports all decrease.
When we combine these savings in health care and justice, and consider that more educated populations are also less reliant on social supports, it seems like such an easy decision to prioritize education as an investment in the health of our citizens, communities and our economy. The funding trends we have now are simply unsustainable, and at some point we'll be forced to look to sustainable alternatives. Shouldn't we want our government to be proactive, rather than reactive, when we try to take that approach with our own lives?

Let's consider a collective vision for our future. Let's plan proactively to prevent problems, instead of just reacting to new ones as they arise. Let's challenge our leaders to develop policy that addresses root-causes of the issues we care about, instead of relying on expensive treatment options like justice, social services and health care. If we flip our thinking, priorities and actions, we'll recognize that investing in the education of our children is far more cost-effective and sustainable.
- Meanwhile, Lawrence Carter and Maeve McClenaghan expose how climate denialists for hire are using their academic credentials to produce reports to fit the requests of secret corporate sponsors.

- Charles Mandel talks to Stephen Lewis about the need for Canada's new climate change talk to b backed by policy.

- Finally, Adam Dodek points out that there's reason for concern that the Trudeau Libs will back away from their promises on democratic reform. And Dave Meslin makes the case for a proportional electoral system - with particular emphasis on why the ranking and runoff systems which may be appropriate in non-partisan contexts are ill-suited to federal politics.

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