Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading...

- I haven't yet commented on the latest effort to tie Canada's regulatory and structures to the U.S., and will plan to get there shortly. But for now, go read Alison on the inevitability that the Security and Prosperity Partnership would emerge in a new form, and Thomas Walkom on the futility of selling out sovereignty for supposed border convenience that's never going to come.

- I'll agree with Andrew Coyne that we could do wonders to improve the balance between party leaders and other elected representatives by eliminating the requirement that leaders sign off on all nominations.

But while I do think elected MLAs and MPs should have a greater role in being able to represent their constituencies, I do have to ask: since when are they the be-all and end-all of party preferences? And what rationale can there possibly be for deliberately excluding all ridings which don't have an elected member - but who may be crucial to the party's cause in seeking to form government - from a decision as to who's going to serve as the top figure within the party?

- Jeffrey Simpson rightly points out that while John Baird is providing his usual supply of hot air for domestic consumption, there's no reason for anybody at the Cancun climate negotiations to listen to a word he has to say:
Even before his departure, Mr. Baird began blaming China, India, Brazil and others for not doing nearly enough to bring down greenhouse-gas emissions. It was largely the fault of developing countries such as these that the Kyoto Protocol failed, he claimed, and why a new climate-change agreement wouldn’t work.

Canada is right to urge big developing countries to do better and more than what they’ve thus far proposed. Canada also would be right to do something serious itself before lecturing others, since Canada has the worst record in the advanced industrialized world.

Mr. Baird’s aggressive message – a classic instance of throwing stones at glass houses – was designed entirely for Canadian consumption, since Canada long ago lost any shred of credibility on the world stage for climate change.
The world understands this. It knows Canada is deeply hypocritical when it criticizes others, because Canada, as one of the world’s largest per capita emitters, attends every climate-change meeting with dirty hands, empty rhetoric and inadequate policies. It knows the Harper government doesn’t like the climate-change file, wants desperately to protect the oil and gas industries, and doesn’t believe there’s a single vote in climate-change action.

No one at Cancun would pay serious attention to Mr. Baird. His bluster was intended for domestic consumption, to reassure those Canadians – many of whom are lodged in the Conservative Party and the media’s right-wing elements – who want no action taken against climate change.
- And finally, the Star nicely comments on the need for a serious push to deal with inequality in both power and money between the corporate sector and mere citizens:
For generations, people have come to this country to find a better life for themselves and their families. They have helped build a prosperous nation, where most people had access to a decent job and reasonable income.

Governments created laws that struck a balance between the power of corporations and the rights of working people. Most of us were able to find respect for our skills and knowledge, and to be paid accordingly.

In recent years, however, much has changed. The immense greed that fed the global financial markets has seeped into the core values of Canadian business.

Nowadays companies are only happy if there are tax cuts, subsidized profits and a pliable workforce. The same powerful actors who nearly wrecked the world economy are now shamelessly demanding that governments and workers do their bidding — or suffer the consequences.

There’s no doubt that a lot of these guys wear quality timepieces worth more than the rest of us earn in a year. The gap between rich and poor in this country has grown tremendously in recent times.

And unless something happens, it will only grow wider as mid-level incomes disappear from the reality of many families.

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