Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- In an excerpt from his new book, Martin Lukacs examines the disappointment Justin Trudeau has inflicted on anybody who thought his carefully-cultivated progressive image would be matched by action:
Long before photographs of Trudeau partying in black-face and brown-face in his twenties surfaced in the fall of 2019, his carefully cultivated image as a champion of progressive causes was looking tattered. Trudeau had promised to replace an antiquated first-past-the-post electoral system as part of sweeping democratic reforms, but reversed his position when it became apparent that the wishes of Canadians for proportional representation would not favor his incumbent government. In June 2018, he bought into public ownership the Trans Mountain pipeline from US magnates for $3.4 billion, in order to expand the export of Alberta’s dirty tar sands oil, spending far more on a piece of fossil-fuel infrastructure than on any single renewable energy project. Each year since his government had signed on to the Paris Climate Accords in 2016, the gap between Canada’s official carbon reduction targets and its spiralling emissions has grown wider.
In late 2018, this avowed friend of labor legislated away the right to strike of a postal union that wanted safer working conditions; this champion of equality gave profitable multinational corporations giant hand-outs, maintaining multibillion-dollar subsidies to oil companies and granting $10.5 billion in tax breaks on the heels of similar measures by Trump; and this advocate of women’s rights set a record selling weapons to the theocratic, patriarchal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, even as their war on Yemen escalated. Private wealth continued to soar, without any discernible benefit to the public good. Much-needed universal social programs like childcare or the extension of healthcare to cover the costs of medicines in Canada—which are the second highest of any country—never materialized. Within a year of Trudeau’s election, Canadians stopped hearing much at all about his vaunted assault on income disparities—except for an occasional proclamation, usually issued abroad to a less discerning international press corps, to sustain the impression that economic justice was still at the top of his agenda.

Shedding tears about the injustices of the country’s past, inveighing against the inequalities of the present, pledging a dynamic politics of the future: Justin Trudeau was a dazzling simulation of defiance against the social and economic order that he would ultimately seek to defend.
- Meanwhile, Vincent Bevins takes note of the success of Portugal's Socialist government under the type of proportional electoral system deemed unacceptable by Trudeau. 

- Mike Drolet reports on the obvious public demand for a national pharmacare program and the politics and corporate interests standing in the way. And Meghan Collie reminds us that employers demanding sick notes are making everybody less healthy - both by wasting medical resources and by ensuring the spread of disease.

- Erin Gray and Calvin Sandborn discuss the need for Canada to stop subsidizing the fossil fuel sector.

- Finally, George Monbiot discusses how to counter the stoking of anger and division by right-wing demagogues by refusing to engage on their terms.

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