Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Jared Bernstein is hopeful that the era of expansive corporate rights agreements is coming to an end. Paul Krugman notes that there's no evidence anybody has gained economically from the spread of those agreements other than the wealthy few pushing them through. And Stuart Trew has some suggestions for Canadians interested in having their say on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

- Michelle Cheung reports that a longstanding lack of maintenance funding is resulting in the loss of desperately-needed social housing. And while Ontario's move to permit inclusionary zoning represents some progress, it's no substitute for maintaining the housing which should already be available.

- John Baglow discusses the double standard in tax treatment, as the Canada Revenue Agency has been sicced on charities and working people while leaving wealthy tax evaders alone.

- And Murray Brewster exposes how Canada's defence procurement structure encourages corporate abuses - with this looking like a particularly important point in response to the right-wing inclination to rely solely on outside knowledge:
One of the key findings was that the structure of the contracting regime “provides perverse incentives for industry to increase costs” – particularly in sole-source deals – and there is “limited expertise in government” to review industrial processes and validate the increases.

“Neither (procurement services) nor DND has a sufficient knowledge base of subject matter experts that understand the ‘Should-Cost’ of a project, nor does either have the ability to understand the production process or other technical matters which are important drivers of cost and risk,” said the study, which compared Canada’s system with Britain, Australia and the U.S.
- Finally, Laurel Collins rightly argues that the Libs should be repealing Bill C-51 immediately, rather than dragging their heels while an unnecessary surveillance state builds up. Andrew Mitrovica points out that even the few opportunities to ask questions about CSIS' activities are being wasted, leaving it to disrupt Canadians without accountability. And Thomas Walkom points out that Justin Trudeau has quietly agreed to even more unfettered information-sharing with the U.S.

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