Monday, February 20, 2017

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Martin Lukacs argues that the way to avoid a Canadian Donald Trump is to ensure people have a progressive challenger to the corporate establishment:
Trudeau’s social liberalism has been partnered with the very economic policies that have cemented inequality and savaged people’s quality of life—and which are now fuelling such unprecedented rage at politicians. The Liberal government’s plan to privatize our world-class public sector, a pro-business trade agenda, tax loopholes for the rich, the short-changing of healthcare, and climate policies that go easy on polluting corporations: this is a sure-fire recipe to continue enriching the wealthy and pissing off the rest of us.

For four decades, the Liberals as much as the Conservatives have been shredding our social programs and starving state spending, showing through such neoliberal policies their true colours: subservience to the corporate elite. These kind of policies are what have created such fertile ground for the new right-wing populism that has viciously triumphed in the United States and is now emerging in Canada.
It’s long past time to direct anger in the right direction. A report produced last month by Oxfam revealed that two individuals—David Thomson and Galen Weston Sr—own as much wealth as the bottom 30 percent of Canadians, or 11 million people. Why is the New Democratic Party not broadcasting this scandalous fact from every conceivable pulpit? The rich are treated to off-shore havens and historic low tax rates rates, while the rest of us have to make do with less and less, roiled by anxiety that our children will have it even worse. Canada is practically screaming for a bold and unapologetic redistributive agenda.
There are no quick fixes, no easy way of stopping O’Leary or spurring Trudeau. It will take face-to-face organizing among hundreds of thousands of people in Canada, part of a task of fostering new momentum behind left-wing movements. But the country is as primed for it as it ever will be. You don’t want a Canadian Trump to ascend in Canada? Start building this progressive populist alternative.
- Meanwhile, Michael Laxer responds that the crucial part of that analysis is the presence of a genuine left-wing option. And Stephany Griffith-Jones offers her suggestions as to the alternative progressive policies needed to give voters a real choice.

- Noah Richler highlights how the Libs' sudden reversal on electoral reform reflects their contempt for Canada's voters (and associated sense of entitlement). And James Wilt examines just a few of the Libs' key broken promises when it comes to the environment and indigenous rights.

- Stephen Hume discusses how a meager, election-year trinket from Christy Clark falls far short of what's needed to ensure that British Columbians with disabilities can live with dignity, while the Star's editorial board is rightly skeptical about the federal Libs' delays on a national anti-poverty strategy. And Nick Falvo and Chidom Otogwu write that Rachel Notley's Alberta NDP offers an example of how to turn a commitment to poverty reduction into action - while also noting there's still plenty left to be done.

- Finally, Jordan Brennan discusses how corporate mergers serve only to enrich insiders at the expense of the broader economy. And Nick Dyrenfurth writes that it's long past time to stop pretending that self-regulation is an answer to excessive executive pay and inequality (among other problems which involve the corporate extraction of wealth from society at large).

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