Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Amira Elghawaby comments on the loss of empathy in Canadian politics - particularly due to a disproportionate focus on the perceived self-interest of a narrow group of upper-middle-class swing voters, rather than speaking to and about the people with the greatest need for collective voice:
A few years ago, psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley ran several studies that provide crucial insight into understanding this phenomenon. Paul Piff and Dacher Keltner wanted to investigate the role of social class. By measuring how those with more wealth, occupational prestige and education behaved while driving, they were able to conclude that those from more well-off backgrounds showed less empathy than others.

Luxury-car drivers were more likely than others to cut off other motorists, or speed past pedestrians, rather than give them the right of way. The researchers concluded that such attitudes were likely attributable to feelings of freedom and independence that negated the need to rely on others, or care about how others feel.

When governments and political parties are mostly concerned with wooing middle- and upper-class voters, it is small wonder that there is less focus on more niche social-justice issues, and more on issues perceived as directly affecting those broader segments of our society. When governments do buck the trend, segments of these privileged populations will often push back aggressively, attempting to drown out those less equipped to engage.

Take this line from a 2016 Environics study where the authors note that “acknowledgment of Aboriginal peoples as having unique rights is somewhat more evident among women, people born outside of Canada, and those with lower household incomes.”

Along with encouraging wider participation in the political process, there is urgency, too, in telling more stories to compel feelings of empathy throughout all communities.
- But in a promising sign, CTV reports that in Vancouver (as in Boston) a counter-protest has far outweighed a right-wing rally intended to foment bigotry.

- Andrew Coyne rightly argues that in the interest of genuine tax fairness, our public revenue system shouldn't encourage incorporation (or other strategic moves which allow for tax avoidance) in the first place.

- Cathleen O'Grady points out that in addition to having become entirely affordable, wind and solar power are already saving large numbers of lives compared to dirtier alternatives. Joel French discusses what needs to be done (beyond the first wave of modest carbon pricing) to rein in greenhouse gas emissions. And Hans Rollman contrasts the Libs' willingness to pump billions into questionable energy projects against their stinginess in funding equal services for Indigenous communities.

- Finally, Risa Schwartz offers some suggestions as to what a NAFTA chapter on aboriginal rights could look like. And the Globe and Mail's editorial board rightly proposes that the now-failing inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women should be turned over to Indigenous Canadians.

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of turning the inquiry over to FNs.