Thursday, July 07, 2016

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Reuters reports on Tidjane Thiam's recognition that inequality and underfunded education likely played roles in the Brexit vote's outcome. And David Blanchflower rightly argues that the UK will need economic stimulus in the wake of the vote - though I'd be less optimistic as to the prospect of it being provided in light of the corporatist dogma of the current government.

- James Wilt challenges the claim that we should let oil barons off the hook for climate change and instead place the blame on everybody as consumers of fossil fuels:
(I)n addition to ignoring technological alternatives (public transit, geothermal heating, passive solar homes) and other ways of living life (Indigenous land-based communities or inner-city attempts at minimalism like No Impact Man), such visual rhetoric implies that oil and gas companies simply provide the goods that people demand to maintain their “average” lifestyles.

But it wasn’t “average” North Americans who knowingly spread climate misinformation, funded climate denying organizations, leased record amounts of land to oil and gas companies, invested in highways over public transit, created and maintained subsidies to fossil fuel companies and promoted the construction of pipelines and export facilities that will neutralize any emissions reductions made in other sectors.

We live in a society in which responsibility for everything is being offloaded onto the individual,” says William Rees, professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia and originator of the “ecological footprint analysis.” “It’s this ‘there’s no such thing as society.’ That’s just not true. The real things, the real game-changers here, would be regulations imposed by government.”

But the “we” rhetoric  conveniently ignores the incredible access that oil and gas companies have to government via ongoing lobbying efforts.

For instance, since the Liberals were elected in October, Suncor has met with federal officials 54 times, including three times with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Imperial Oil and Shell Canada have contributed an additional 37 and 38 meetings, respectively.

Industry organizations have also done their fair share of lobbying, including the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (52 meetings), Canadian Gas Association (45 times), the Canadian Energy Pipelines Association (44 meetings) and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (36 meetings).

Most Canadians simply don’t have that kind of pricey access to pressure governments to shape policies. Nor can many throw large amounts of money at political parties during campaigns or pay thousands for exclusive access to premiers at fundraisers.
- Meanwhile, Adrian Morrow uncovers the identities of the donors paying for access to Kathleen Wynne. And CBC reports on Justin Trudeau's stay at "summer camp for billionaires".

- Jim Pugh makes the case as to how a basic income would be better for business than perpetual insecurity. And Steven Greenhouse examines the move toward organization among on-demand workers.

- Finally, Victoria Wiebe discusses the need to better coordinate primary health care and mental health resources.

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