Friday, March 02, 2018

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

-Tom Parkin laments the timidity of the Libs' budget, while recognizing the opportunities it creates for the NDP:
Over $7 billion in infrastructure investment, the cornerstone of the Liberals 2015 election appeal, was cut and pushed past the next election — despite the sorry state of our social housing, transit, roads and schools.

And just two days after the Liberals implied they would support a national pharmacare plan, Finance Minister Bill Morneau ruled it out, saying the Liberals would only create a piecemeal drug scheme. The U-turn probably pleased Big Pharma. After all, pharmacare lowers drug prices by using its universal, single-buyer model to squeeze better prices from drug companies.

Across all fronts, the Liberals took timid steps, failing to use their power to help Canadians stretch their paycheques right when interest rates are about to take a bigger bite from the economy. And that timid approach makes it harder to keep growth going.

For NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh it’s a big opportunity. Singh’s NDP has consistently advocated childcare, pharmacare and public infrastructure — and the NDP governments in BC and Alberta are now getting the job done. That bolder approach will now contrast sharply with that of the Liberals — who continue to serve-up a watery gruel to voters who thought they’d ordered a hearty stew.
- Thomas Walkom calls out the Libs' immediate backtracking on the prospect of pharmacare, while Andy Blatchford reports on the justified call for Bill Morneau to avoid making decisions about the issue when the firm bearing his name makes substantial profits from a patchwork system of drug coverage. And Trevor Hancock offers an upstream look at the causes of - and solutions to - the opioid crisis.

- Erica Johnson has reported on Bell Canada's false "guarantees" and pressure on salespeople to mislead customers.

- Finally, John McDonnell and Hilary Wainwright discuss UK Labour's plan for a new form of economics built around administration by and for the public. Fred Harris and Alan Curtis comment on the U.S.' unfulfilled promise of racial and economic equality. And Iglika Ivanova reminds us that we have a choice as to the effect of new technology on workers and inequality.

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