Thursday, April 30, 2020

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Maxwell Smith, Ross Upshur and James Downar warn us against mistaking a temporarily flattened curve for a final victory over the spread of COVID-19.

- Leilani Farha questions how it's possible for people to help fight the coronavirus by staying at home when they don't have a secure home to begin with. And Duncan Cameron suggests that we can provide needed community housing by repurposing spaces which no longer work for retail businesses.

- George Monbiot argues that we shouldn't be bailing out the fossil fuel sector (including airlines and the auto sector as currently structured) when it's based on a model which causes unconscionable damage to our planet. And in response to Jason Kenney's reactionary attacks on the concept of a Green New Deal, Bronwen Tucker highlights how Alberta would stand to benefit from a transition to clean energy.

- Finally, Ed Broadbent and Rick Smith set out a progressive framework for a COVID-19 recovery plan:
1. Prioritize the needs of people. We need to work with employers to save and create jobs, but the focus should be on bettering the lives of individual Canadians. Financial aid to corporations should be much more conditional than in past rescue packages. Any recovery must ensure by law that public dollars are not diverted into exorbitant executive compensation packages, stock buybacks or increased dividend pay-outs.
2. Reinforce people’s economic and social rights. Temporary fixes must be changed into longer term reforms, such as reconfigured income supports to supplement EI; extension of the scope of public health care to home care, long-term care homes and universal public pharmacare; and the implementation of a “decent work” agenda with paid sick days and liveable wages.
3. Public investment. With families and corporations deep in debt even before the crisis, and with some sectors (such as tourism and oil and gas) very unlikely to recover quickly, public investment will have to drive recovery. Such investment should be focused on job-rich areas that deliver on our collective goals, like green infrastructure (renewables, energy conservation, public infrastructure) and affordable housing.
4. Transition to greater national self-sufficiency in some sectors. The global economy is here to stay, but we need to rebuild Canadian productive capacity to meet key needs such as food security and medical supplies rather than rely exclusively on global markets.
5. Spend what it takes. The Bank of Canada is providing the resources we need short term to support Canadians. A longer-term public investment program intended to address income inequality will also require radical tax reform, including taxation of wealth.

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