Friday, December 09, 2016

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Hassan Yussuff and other labour leaders offer their take on how we can develop a more equitable global trade system:
The next challenge before us is to build on and improve all post-CETA trade and investment deals to ensure they meet a progressive trade model. We suggest several principles that should guide governments engaged in these negotiations.

First, civil society should be engaged, from the outset, in a democratic and transparent process. Agreements that are negotiated behind closed doors are bound to be viewed skeptically by citizens and provoke protest and social unrest.

Second, these agreements need to have iron-clad protections for public services. International treaties cannot be a short cut to privatizing valuable public services. Regulating services in the public interest cannot result in lawsuits between investors and states.

Third, these agreements need to allow for effective enforcement of labour and environmental standards. That includes sanctions in the case of violations of labour or environmental rights.

Finally, we need to emphasize the responsibilities of corporations and not just prioritize their rights. Eliminating dispute mechanisms granting special rights to foreign investors, which have proved disastrous in Canada, is an important first step toward that goal.
- Meanwhile, Dennis Howlett takes a look at the executive stock option loophole which the Libs are now preserving after promising to eliminate it as part of a more fair tax system. And Nicky Woolf reports on one intriguing example as to how inequality can be reduced through public policy, as Portland has passed a higher income tax applicable to corporations with disproportionate CEO compensation.

- Aaron Wherry explores the different meanings of "elites" which tend to result in confusion as to the real target of right-wing populist politics. And Michael Schwalbe highlights the challenges in speaking clearly about class, while pointing out the importance of framing a class analysis in terms of the end of exploitation.

- Jenna Russell and Maria Cramer write about the connection between grossly inadequate mental health systems and chronic homelessness. And Jennifer Saltman reports on Surrey's new pilot program to address those issues together.

- Finally, Bruce Campbell asks whether we've learned the lessons which should have been obvious from the Lac-M├ęgantic rail disaster.

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