Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Ed Broadbent discusses how Bernie Sanders offers an example to emulate - and in some cases a source of ideas well beyond what Canada has implemented so far:
It was clear to everyone watching that Canadians, in fact,  have a few things to learn from Bernie Sanders. His speech was significant for two reasons.

First, he is an unapologetic social democrat who has inspired a whole new generation of voters with those values in a country where hyper-capitalism is king. The enthusiasm he has generated has carried over to young people here in Canada and around the world.

Second, Bernie urged us to keep on fighting, to maintain and improve our healthcare system. He knows Canadian healthcare is under constant threat not just from right-wing forces, but also from complacency. He told the audience to “speak loudly” about the virtues of universal healthcare, because our public system not only needs to be protected, but urgently needs to be expanded.  

Social democracy transformed politics in the post-World War II era. We provided a political framework based on the belief that markets should be regulated and put in the service of social aims, and that high levels of social and economic rights like pensions, healthcare, and employment insurance should be available to all. These policies and programs lifted tens of millions in Europe and North America out of poverty.

It was our generation of social democrats, and that of our parents, that fought for such government investments in the common good, the protection not only of political and civil rights, but also of social, and economic rights – these were the original Game Changers. Thanks to successful struggles here in Canada, crucial social programs are now at the heart of our identity - Medicare, the Canada Pension Plan, and accessible post-secondary education. All of these had their origin in the egalitarian philosophy of social democracy.

As a lifelong social democrat, I am deeply troubled by rising inequality and the emergence of far-right political extremism today. I came of age believing that such things were relics of the past. Sadly, we are witnessing their growth once again.  As in the 1920s, economic insecurity and severe income inequality are sowing the seeds of division and resentment.

It’s our responsibility to stand up to the right-wing politicians. We must show Canadians that we can solve our social and economic problems, not by the politics of division and exclusion, but by banding together and taking on directly the cause of our political and economic inequalities. 
- Nils Pratley comments on a shift toward the nationalization of services after people experience the inferior quality and higher cost of privatization, with a particular focus on the offshoring and environmental damage by Thames Water.

- Lana Payne highlights the fact that governments could build far more at a lower cost by financing projects directly rather than looking for excuses to enrich third parties. And Keith Schneider points out the failure of the megaproject model for infrastructure.

- Trevor Hancock writes that urban sprawl is an important public health issue, but one which is a long way from being meaningfully addressed.

- Finally, Andrew Nikiforuk examines British Columbia's massive methane emissions - and how they were covered up by the responsible regulator under the Clark Libs. And Sarah Cox notes that the province lacks many kinds of environmental data to make informed decisions about the risks to its water supplies.

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