Thursday, May 04, 2017

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- James Wilt argues that the labour movement should be putting its weight behind green housing which will produce both social and environmental benefits along with jobs:
Workers need affordable homes. Workers also need stable and properly compensated jobs, especially those transitioning from work in oil, gas and coal production. And those homes will have to be built in ways that reduce heat loss, cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for dramatically increased weather-related damages from flooding, winds and hail.

Sure, existing homes and buildings can easily be retrofitted with improved insulation, windows, furnaces, appliances and hot-water heaters; most jurisdictions have programs in place to provide subsidies or rebates for such upgrades. 

There are lots of good jobs in that field too: the One Million Climate Jobs — a collaboration between the CLC, Green Economy Network and Climate Action Network — estimates it could account for the creation of over 400,000 “person job years.”

But unions can and should be far more ambitious than this. After all, Canada is in the midst of a massive affordable housing crisis, a crisis that will only be resolved by the construction of thousands of new homes that the aforementioned retrofit programs won’t apply to. 
Millions of Canadian workers are in desperate need of truly affordable housing that is sustainable and prepared for the looming dangers of climate change. Many resource and construction workers are in need of jobs as well, which such a push could help facilitate.
To leave such conversations to the federal government, an entity which is clearly uninterested in the needs of the working class, would be deeply counterproductive and a huge missed opportunity for unions looking to attract new members and build militancy.
- Tanara Yelland reports on a call by anti-poverty groups for a maximum wage in Ontario. And Rupert Neale points out how extreme high-end wealth leads even people within the top 1% of the income distribution to face relative disadvantages.

- Ben Parfitt discusses how Christy Clark's B.C. Libs have allowed fossil fuel giants to skip any environmental assessment process before building substantial dams.

- Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood examines the Parliamentary Budget Officer's less-than-glowing review of the effect of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Europe. And in what's surely unrelated news, Andy Blatchford reports on the Trudeau Libs' efforts to limit the PBO's ability to report on anything without government approval.

- Finally, Chantal Hebert highlights how Justin Trudeau's ways are now anything but sunny. And John Ivison writes about the return of cash-for-access fund-raising at the federal level following the briefest of interruptions.

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