Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Duncan Cameron writes that Stephen Harper's CETA triumphalism may result in serious long-term damage to Canada for the sake of a temporary political reprieve:
Promoting the big bamboozle means Harper is gambling with Canada's economic future. The PM is touting a deal not yet finished. Making himself its chief sales agent encourages the Europeans to get tough in negotiating the hard parts to come, knowing Harper has overplayed his hand, just like Mulroney did before Canada signed a bad deal in 1988.

Harper has made himself politically vulnerable by his penchant for secrecy and conspiracy against potential adversaries. The draft CETA accord is unknown to cabinet, let alone parliament, and every aspect of the negotiation has been kept hidden from Canadians, including provincial leaders, who are as much in the dark as anyone else.

Harper came back from Brussels with an interim trade agreement, what the Europeans called a "political" understanding.

Following four years of secret negotiations not one page of official text has been released. Unlike with the Canada-U.S. negotiation, no serious public consultations have been undertaken by parliamentary committees. The Conservatives must believe the more the public learns about commercial accords, the less they will find to like...
- But plenty of commentators have declined to let the Cons set the agenda - with John Ivison, Andrew Coyne, Aaron Wherry, Michael Den Tandt and others noting that Mike Duffy's revelations of Harper and the Cons' involvement in his expense scandal figure to offer a lead story for plenty of time to come.

- PIPSC's poll results quantify just how far the Cons have gone in suppressing independent and accurate commentary on their actions in government by the people charged with guarding the public interest.

- Keith Banting and John Myles discuss why we need a new politics to address inequality. And Patrick Cain and Anna Mehler Paperny highlight how the Cons have trashed the data needed to help people on social assistance - adding yet another layer of public expense to the task of trying to alleviate poverty:
“Unless a policy-maker knows how those poor families live, how can he or she know how to reach them, or what those families need?” said Carleton University economist Frances Woolley. “How can the policy-maker prevent poverty, unless he or she knows what causes people to fall into poverty?”

Public health agencies and other groups who’d normally rely on census data are now wondering what they’ll do without it. Many may try to collect it themselves – paying for data collection by cutting the very services they’re trying to provide.

“It means that I have to take some of the funding that’s available for programmatic activity and redirect it into information collection,” said Paul Van Buynder, Chief Medical Officer for Fraser Health in B.C.’s Lower Mainland.
- Finally, David Doorey thoroughly rebuts the claim that right-to-work-for-less laws will do anything but further squeeze workers in Ontario (or anywhere else).

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