Sunday, November 06, 2016

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Andrew Jackson writes that the Libs' fall economic statement represents a massive (and unjustified) shift away from promised infrastructure funding even while planning to privatize both existing operations and future developments. And Joie Warnock highlights why it would represent nothing short of scandalous mismanagement for the Wall government to follow through on its musings about selling off SaskTel.

- The Canadian Press reports on the Assembly of First Nations' call for immediate resources to meet a need for housing on Saskatchewan and Manitoba reserves. The Star's editorial board questions why the Libs haven't matched their rhetoric about reconciliation with substantive action. And Doug Cuthand suggests that a major part of the problem is a federal department designed for a colonial model rather than one oriented toward treaty relationships.

- Jaime Porras Ferreyra discusses the atrocious reputation of Canadian mining companies around the world - and how the Trudeau government is following the Harper Conservatives' pattern of facilitating their abuses:
Mr. Trudeau has been silent when it comes to one key issue for Latin Americans, an issue that has soiled Canada’s image with thick layers of sludge: the reprehensible behavior of mining companies in the region. Mr. Harper enthusiastically promoted Canadian participation in extractive industries beyond its borders, and in the last few years, between 50 percent and 70 percent of mining projects in Latin America have been carried out by Canadian companies.

Reports by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs and the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project have shown how some Canadian companies harm the environment, ignore the interests of indigenous communities, pressure governments to write favorable local laws, and support the criminalization of social protest, among other questionable behavior.
During a recent visit to Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, St├ęphane Dion, Mr. Trudeau’s foreign affairs minister, said that the Canadian government wanted its companies to operate according to the same standards inside and outside Canada. However, there’s been no information on how it will achieve this goal.

Canadian companies are not the only ones at fault. The long list of Latin American problems contributing to this situation is well known: deficient judiciary systems, rampant bribery, an urge to create employment in spite of social, economic and environmental costs.
Recommendations in the reports to address the problems include a Canadian monitoring office that would have real power, the possibility of ensuring effective access to justice before Canadian institutions, allowing legal actions in Canada by individuals or groups harmed abroad to obtain justice and reparation, and an end to government sponsorship of companies involved in human rights violations.
- Mike Seccombe points out how cherry-picked complaints about the amount of social benefits serve only to distract from how woefully inadequate they are to begin with. And Austin Frakt highlights the high costs of depriving workers of paid sick leave.

- Finally, Ingrid Peritz reports that Quebec will be holding an inquiry into police surveillance of journalists and their sources. And Nora Loreto rightly argues that the surveillance-state mindset and unconscionable tactics used to interfere with reporters are equally inexcusable when directed at activists and the general public.

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