Friday, November 05, 2010

Friday Morning Links

- I've pointed out the glaring problems with the Libs' pension policies before, with the most obvious being the fact that it's utterly useless for anybody who doesn't already have spare money that they don't know what to do with. But their White Paper adds into the mix the radical idea of...holding a meeting. Which will surely have retirees sleeping more soundly at night.

- The CCPA has produced a handy list of claims made under NAFTA. But while its focus is on the number of claims, it's also worth highlighting just how broad a scope of government action has been challenged.

Many of the claims involve environmental issues, ranging from conservation measures to limit the number of caribou hunted and salmon fished, to bans on dumping garbage in lakes, to laws prohibiting bulk water exports. But the scope of NAFTA chill also includes the laws that serve to protect a publicly-funded health care system, the decision to close the income trust tax loophole, and the operation of Canada Post - and there's no telling how many ideas have been squelched in the meantime due to fear of similar claims.

- Andrew Jackson offers his take on the ongoing potash issue:
It is easy to cast the Conservative decision as pure politics, and surely Harper and Clement were pushed into this against their will. But the fact remains that a major crack and division has opened up within the ranks of the conventionally wise, and that a welcome precedent has been set. If a take-over serves only the needs of investors and does not serve the national economic interest, then it should be rejected.

We can and should build on this decision to push for transparent public interest reviews of takeovers, and effective enforcement of any conditions imposed. Some foreign investments do make sense, but most come at a cost - the loss of head office and supplier jobs; the weakening of local economic linkages; loss of corporate tax revenue as higher corporate debt is taken on to finance the transaction; and, often, direct job losses and a deterioration in industrial relations as operations are squeezed to pay for the often excessive take-over premium.
- And finally, we can add another $300 million to the pile of money frittered away by the Cons with nothing of value to show for it.

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