Saturday, June 28, 2014

Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- Joseph Stiglitz wraps up the New York Times' series on inequality by summarizing how the gap between the rich and the rest of us developed, as well as how it can be reduced:
The American political system is overrun by money. Economic inequality translates into political inequality, and political inequality yields increasing economic inequality. In fact, as he recognizes, Mr. Piketty’s argument rests on the ability of wealth-holders to keep their after-tax rate of return high relative to economic growth. How do they do this? By designing the rules of the game to ensure this outcome; that is, through politics.

So corporate welfare increases as we curtail welfare for the poor. Congress maintains subsidies for rich farmers as we cut back on nutritional support for the needy. Drug companies have been given hundreds of billions of dollars as we limit Medicaid benefits. The banks that brought on the global financial crisis got billions while a pittance went to the homeowners and victims of the same banks’ predatory lending practices.
We need not just a new war on poverty but a war to protect the middle class. Solutions to these problems do not have to be newfangled. Far from it. Making markets act like markets would be a good place to start. We must end the rent-seeking society we have gravitated toward, in which the wealthy obtain profits by manipulating the system.

The problem of inequality is not so much a matter of technical economics. It’s really a problem of practical politics. Ensuring that those at the top pay their fair share of taxes — ending the special privileges of speculators, corporations and the rich — is both pragmatic and fair. We are not embracing a politics of envy if we reverse a politics of greed. Inequality is not just about the top marginal tax rate but also about our children’s access to food and the right to justice for all. If we spent more on education, health and infrastructure, we would strengthen our economy, now and in the future. Just because you’ve heard it before doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try it again.

We have located the underlying source of the problem: political inequities and policies that have commodified and corrupted our democracy...Widening and deepening inequality is not driven by immutable economic laws, but by laws we have written ourselves.
- And Carol Goar writes that U.S. municipal governments are beginning to fill the vacuum left by a dysfunctional federal system when it comes to boosting wages and reducing inequality.

- Meanwhile, Susie Cagle discusses the need for unions and workers to seek each other out in adapting to new forms of employment. And Jordan Brennan reminds us of the role the labour movement played in developing Canada's middle class, while recognizing that it figures to be all the more important in countering more sophisticated corporate wealth extraction schemes:
While many opponents of the labour movement readily concede that unions played an important historical role in elevating the conditions and compensation of work, this concession is invariably followed by the assertion that today’s unions are an impediment to economic progress. A brief encounter with the facts suggests otherwise.

Average hourly earnings (adjusted for inflation) are a good approximation for the level of prosperity in a society. In Canada, this metric closely tracks union density over the past century. Between 1910 and 1940, union density grew modestly and hourly earnings grew by 43 per cent. Between 1940 and 1977, density more than doubled and hourly earnings tripled. Between 1977 and 2012, density declined and hourly earnings stagnated, rising a paltry three per cent.
Using econometric techniques, we can determine what impact a change in unionization has on the national wage bill, and hence on average annual per person earnings. It turns out that for every percentage point change in unionization (up or down), the bottom 99 per cent of the Canadian workforce sees their annual income adjusted by nearly $500.

This implies that if unionization were to be halved from its current level — falling from 32 to 16 per cent — resulting, perhaps, from a dramatic change in labour laws of the kind proposed by conservative politicians in multiple jurisdictions, average incomes for the bottom 99 per cent of the workforce would decline from $48,062 to $40,560. That’s a 16 per cent drop.

Why? As the ranks of organized labour swell and collective bargaining pushes up labour compensation, corporate earnings margins are squeezed and the corporate profit share of national income is reduced, which leaves less firm revenue for executive compensation and dividends. Weaker unions, by contrast, translate into stagnant wages and provide the opening for increased executive compensation, plush dividends and heightened inequality.
- On the subject of wage suppression mechanisms, the Globe and Mail and David Macdonald both argue that we should be encouraging permanent immigration rather than following the corporate preference for easily-exploited temporary foreign workers. And Renata D'Alesio reports that the Cons' tough talk about cracking down on abusive employers has been based on zero information as to which employers have actually violated labour laws. 

- Finally, Lana Payne notes that Peter MacKay's latest misogynist eruptions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sexism in politics - particularly under a Con government determined to squelch any discussion of sex and gender equality.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Musical interlude

Ronski Speed feat. Lucy Saunders - Rise Again (Omnia Remix)

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Paul Krugman offers a response to the assertion that accumulated wealth should be considered as costless capital:
(I)f there’s one thing I thought economists were trained to do, it was to be clear about opportunity cost. We should compare accumulation of dynastic wealth with some alternative use of resources – not assume, as Mankiw in effect does, that if not passed on to heirs that wealth would simply disappear. Maybe he’s assuming that the alternative would be riotous living by the current rich, but that’s not a policy alternative.

In fact, what we’re really talking about here is taxation of wealth., and the question is what would happen to that revenue versus what happens if the rich get to keep the money. If the government uses the extra revenue to reduce deficits, then all of it is saved – as opposed to only part of it if it’s passed on to heirs. If the government uses the revenue to pay for social insurance and/or public goods, that’s likely to provide a lot more benefit to workers than the trickle-down from increased capital.

The point is that you can only justify Mankiw’s claim that inherited wealth is necessarily good for workers by insisting that the government would do nothing useful with the revenue from inheritance taxes. I’d call that assuming your conclusions; in any case, it’s a claim that deserves to be made openly, not smuggled in on the pretense that you’re just doing economic analysis.
(C)onservative economists are well aware of the danger of “regulatory capture”, in which public institutions are hijacked by vested interests, yet blithely dismiss (or refuse even to mention) the essentially equivalent problem of democratic institutions hijacked by concentrated wealth. I take regulatory capture quite seriously; but I take plutocratic capture equally seriously. And this is not an issue you can deal with by claiming that the benefits of capital accumulation trickle down to workers.
- And it's worth noting that precisely the same argument applies to tax cuts or privatization of services promoted on the basis that any good done by the public sector doesn't count, while anything measurable done by the private sector is good. Which brings us to PressProgress' debunking of an inane C.D. Howe Institute report which purports to show the importance of private-sector investment, but in fact proves nothing other than that profiteers will indeed make money off of public services if handed the opportunity to do so.

- Meanwhile, Mike Marqusee discusses what happens when vital interests are left in the hands of the corporate sector by pointing out prime examples of Big Pharma holding patients' lives hostage in the pursuit of disproportionate profits. And Roger Annis looks in detail at how a combination of corporate greed and negligent regulation killed 47 people in the Lac-Mégantic rail explosion.

- Ricardo Acuna offers up a well-deserved "I told you so" to a government which is now backtracking on a P3 scheme which can't be seen as remotely palatable no matter how the PCs cook the numbers. And of course, Saskatchewan citizens will want to file the experience away for future reference:
In 2007...the Canadian Union of Public Employees contracted economist Hugh Mackenzie to conduct an in-depth review of the Alberta government’s plans to build 18 new schools as P3s. What Mackenzie found was that the P3 would cost so much more, that building in the traditional way would have allowed the government to build 10 more elementary schools for the same amount of money. Likewise, a 2013 paper published by University of Toronto professors Matti Siemiatycki and Naeem Farooqi in the Journal of the American Planning Association found that using P3s adds, on average, 16 percent to the cost of infrastructure projects. There have been similar studies, reports and articles released over the past 10 years from the Parkland Institute, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, academics from around the world and numerous other organizations and unions.

Despite all this information, the Alberta government has held steadfast in its defence of P3s, and in its policy of defaulting to P3s for infrastructure projects. They have claimed all along that this method saves money, but they have never provided a shred of evidence that this is the case. What P3s actually do is facilitate the transfer of public money and private infrastructure to their friends in the private sector, padding their profit margins and bottom lines at our expense.

Now, for the first time ever, the government has admitted that building these schools through a P3 would cost more and is therefore not a good use of public dollars. Once again, however, we will not be allowed to see the full details of the accounting and calculations that led to this assessment. You can be certain that if the government is publicly owning the $14 million extra costs and actually backing off the P3 because of it, the real figure is significantly higher. Using Siemiatycki and Farooqi’s 16-percent figure, for example, would result in the traditional procurement method costing some $78 million less than the P3.
- Finally, Janelle Vandergrift writes that the familiar right-wing refrain of "just get a job!" is utterly counterproductive as a response to poverty.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Harry Stein discusses how government policy is currently designed to exacerbate inequality by subsidizing the concentration of wealth:
This issue brief puts aside the question of whether new policies, such as a global wealth tax, should be enacted to reduce economic inequality. Instead, it explores two existing policies that actually subsidize wealth inequality. First, reduced tax rates on capital gains and dividends increase the after-tax rate of return on wealth, which makes it more likely that the rate of return on capital will exceed the overall economic growth rate. Second, capital gains are never subject to the income tax at all if the investor dies, which subsidizes wealth concentration within a family dynasty.
American wealth is concentrated within the richest families at levels not seen since the 1920s, and the American people should ask whether our government should incur roughly $2 trillion in deficits over the next 10 years for two policies that subsidize wealth inequality. To start answering that question, the public benefits from these subsidies should be weighed against their fiscal cost, as all spending programs and tax expenditures should be. But even if these policies do have some merit, perhaps there are other ways to spend $2 trillion that deliver equal or greater public benefits without subsidizing inequality to such a dramatic extent.
- And Tax Justice points out that even the IMF is beginning to acknowledge that tax evasion (and the tax havens who facilitate it) contribute to poverty and inequality - particularly in the countries which can least afford to have revenue siphoned off.

- Les Whittington reports that Natural Resources Canada is fully aware of the catastrophic economic and health consequences of climate change (despite the Cons' desperate attempts to ignore the facts). And Chris Mooney notes that even in the U.S. where industry-funded denialism is at its strongest, there's relatively little disagreement on the need to prevent those consequences.

- Meanwhile, Robyn Benson sums up how the Cons' approval of Northern Gateway was based entirely on their selective listening - with Enbridge receiving privileged access, and any dissenting voices treated as traitors. And Eden Robinson writes about the increasing outrage among the people who were left out.

- Harsha Walia observes that all of us are affected by the temporary foreign worker program (along with the Cons' other regressive immigration policy). And Tamsyn Burgmann reports on one of the many loopholes left open by the Cons (in this case with an assist from NAFTA).

- Finally, Laurie Penny rightly recognizes that the fight against homelessness should involve ensuring that people have shelter - not the installation of spikes to clear out more-privileged areas.

New column day

Here, on how personal and institutional stress make it more difficult for people to defend their interests - and on the need to respond to political strategies increasingly aimed at exploiting that principle to reduce public participation.

For further reading...
- Again, Chris Mooney discussed the effect of stress on voter turnout here. And here's a reminder that the desire to suppress voter participation tends to be the result of underlying discrimination.
- See here, here and here for just a couple of the many reports on the devastating connection between poverty and personal stress.
- And without going through the far-too-long list in detail, here are reminders of the attacks we've come to expect on labour unions and environmental groups to prevent them from carrying out their work.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Gar Alperovitz suggests in the wake of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century that it's long past time to reconsider who controls capital - and make a concerted effort to democratize that control:
The name of the game — Piketty’s book fairly screams it — is capital: who gets to own it, benefit from it and derive political power from it. Accordingly, it may be of some interest to note that in significant part because of the pain and failure of our current reality, many of those local laboratories of democracy are, in fact, exploring new (and sometimes old) ways to own capital and are seeking to democratize it.

Take participatory ownership. Even as union membership has trended steadily downward, for instance, the number of people involved in worker-owned firms has increased, from 250,000 in 1975 to about 11 million working in more than 11,000 firms today. Add to this approximately 130 million Americans who are members of some form of co-op, another type of democratized ownership; this number is increasing daily just beneath the surface of what our hollowed-out local newspapers are able to report on. Credit unions — member-owned one-person, one-vote banks — control more than $1.1 trillion in assets, as much as those of some of Wall Street’s largest financial institutions.

New ways for capital to be owned broadly by the people — or, again, democratized — are also beginning to show up in city and state politics. Boulder, Colorado, for instance, is in the process of municipalizing its electric utility, what one might call localized nationalization. The city council of Richmond, California, recently voted in favor of the mayor’s plan to utilize eminent domain powers to prevent foreclosures by taking over housing from banks if a major fight over mortgages is not settled in a reasonable way. In recent years, some 20 states have had legislation introduced to establish state banks similar to the one that has been operating successfully in North Dakota for almost 100 years. Land trusts — public or nonprofit ownership of land to benefit the community in diverse ways — have increased from a mere handful three decades ago to more than 250 now operating in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

No one believes these experiments in democratic ownership are at this stage going to alter how capital is owned to deal sufficiently with Piketty’s big trends. On the other hand, powerful forces are driving the new developments — namely, growing social and economic pain and a sense that none of the old ways work.
- And Jared Bernstein and Matt Bruenig make the case for wealth taxes in particular to counter inequality (while likely leading to a more productive economy to boot).

- Thomas Walkom notes that the Cons are trying to take credit for radically changing the temporary foreign worker program when they're really doing little more than changing the titles applied to disposable workers. Bill Curry reports that Jason Kenney wants to preserve low-wage temporary worker streams at least past the next federal election - signalling the Cons' interest in avoiding answering for their efforts to drive wages down. And while Murray Mandryk is far too willing to buy the Cons' spin, he's absolutely right to point out the gall of the Saskatchewan Party in demanding that employers be handed cheap workers rather than paying market wages.

- Trish Hennessy suggests that Kathleen Wynne should use a majority government as an opportunity to eliminate Harris-era anti-tax legislation. And the CP introduces one of the next right-wing strategies to demand a response, as the Cons have assembled a panel to attack Canada's health care system at public expense.

- Finally, Mychaylo Prystupa reports that Kinder Morgan's idea of environmental responsibility is to recycle oil spill response plans which were rejected as ill-founded by the EPA - though there's no indication yet that a National Energy Board more interested in boosting oil shipments at all costs than looking at the merits of an application will take note of the faulty assumptions.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Downed cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Suzanne Goldenberg discusses the World Bank's findings that a smart set of policies to combat climate change can actually improve global economic growth. And Duncan Cameron makes clear that the perpetual austerity demanded by the same parties who insist we can't afford to act on climate change serves only to make sure that growth doesn't benefit workers:
Dating back to the 1980s, CUPE studies by John Calvert and his successor Toby Sanger, have shown how wages have consistently lagged economic growth. Both Andrew Jackson, and now Angela McEwan of the CLC have demonstrated how private and public wages have stagnated, though union members do make out better than non-union workers.

The CCPA Inequality Project has documented how the Canadian income gap is growing, partly as a result of poor wage growth. Anti-poverty activists and social economists point to the Canadian minimum wage as having peaked... in 1969.

It is reasonable for public workers to ask for a fair share of increases in public income. Stagnating wages causes the Canadian economy to underperform. By resisting further restrictions on wage growth OPSEU and the BCTF are trying to fix an economy that is not working for Canadians.

The quality of life is tied to how much people earn, not how much the stock market went up, or the price of gold increased. How long do people have to wait until the Ontario and B.C. governments recognize the need for public sector workers to be paid fairly?
- James Abro proposes that we should talk about poverty as "acute financial distress" to emphasize its possible application to nearly anybody.

- Chris Mooney ties financial problems to our democratic deficit, discussing how stress of all kinds can reduce voter turnout and political activity. And Cindy Blackstock describes the price being imposed on Canadian activists by telling her story about being spied on by federal officials.

- Finally, several scientists lament the Cons' efforts to break links between scientific evidence and public policy. And Ian Millhiser writes about the effect of broken or gridlocked government on progressive political discussion:
The problems Sotomayor described at the opening of the ACS convention are not easy problems to solve, and they will require considerable expertise to address in an effective an sensible way. The Congress that Newt built is ill-equipped for this task. Moreover, in this age of dysfunction, the dumbing-down of Congress is getting even worse. As former Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) told Glastris and Edwards, “those who are nourished by accomplishment are starving.” Hill staff typically “come highly motivated, they want to feel good about their challenge, their work, what they’re doing for the country. When they’re not getting that, they start looking around.”

This unfed hunger for accomplishment stretches far beyond the people who work on Capitol Hill. There is an entire network of advocates, public interest lobbyists, litigators and think tankers whose job is to influence Congress and the Supreme Court. If many of the best liberal lawyers in the nation are not able to see a clear path through a dysfunctional government, then these jobs become much less attractive. Bright young progressives choosing between a life of public service and a job that pays three times as much in the private sector will be much more inclined towards the latter. The brain drain is likely to extend far beyond the halls of Congress.

Meanwhile if conservatives like many of the lawyers I met at the Federalist Society awake every day believing that it could be the day when the justices hand them their next great victory, then their movement will only become more energized. The best, as William Butler Yeats once wrote, will lack all conviction, while the worst will remain full of passionate intensity.
 [Edit: added link.]

Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Thomas Frank discusses the corporate takeover of U.S. politics - and how even nominally left-oriented parties are willing to go along with the corporate position even as voters regularly demand something else:
One of the reasons the phrase appealed to me, 17 years ago, was my belief back then that there was something essentially brutal about raw capitalism; if the nation was to suppress the regulations and the workers’ organizations that had tamed the beast over the years—even if we did so with the best of intentions—the economy would return quite naturally to its savage, Gilded Age habits. Mainstream opinion of the 1990s held the exact opposite, however: That those regulations and those workers’ organizations were no longer needed because we had entered a “New Economy” in which the old rules no longer applied. Perfect information was building perfect markets wherever you turned. The Dow and the NASDAQ were mounting toward unbelievable highs, and our leaders assured us that it was all because history had turned a corner and the common people had been financially enlightened in some miraculous way.

Has there ever been an episode of economic mania so delusional and, ultimately, so destructive? In those days, CEO salaries were smashing every precedent in living memory and yet here were our thought leaders, telling us that what was really happening was a consummation of the nation’s democratic promise. For me, meanwhile, Mark Twain’s phrase seemed exact, almost clinical: What everyone thought to be a golden age was in fact merely gilded.
In 1992, one might conclude, the nation chose to reverse the plutocratizing effects of neoliberalism. What we got was something else—a soft Reaganism that admitted, “the era of big government is over.” And that’s why, in the months and years to come, we will see Clinton loyalists do all they can to delete that New Gilded Age from memory even as they rail against the current New Gilded Age. Were we to judge Bill Clinton by the standards of 1992, his presidency was something of a failure, eight years of deregulation and New Economy platitudes. If we judge him by the rich rewards that his booming stock market showered on the wealthy, however, his term in the White House was a towering success.

The original Gilded Age ended when Democrats and Republicans came together around the old populist program of financial regulation, antitrust enforcement, income tax, and legitimacy for organized labor. This time around there is no end in sight, because Republicans and Democrats have come together on a program that is almost the opposite—dismantling the regulatory state at the behest of the One Percent while assuring an ever angrier public that they feel our pain, that they’re Putting People First, that they’d be great to have a beer with, that Yes We Can. The heart sickens at the thought of these many long years of fake populism, and the stomach turns to imagine how little time there is before we are swept up in it all over again.
- Alan Pyke notes that greater unemployment benefits - of the type so often slashed in the name of forcing workers to lower their expectations - work wonders in reducing suicide rates, while the CBC points out that social assistance in Canada falls far short of what people need to meet even basic nutritional requirements. And the Broadbent Institute expands on the idea of a youth job guarantee to give young workers a fair chance to build a career.

- Roxanne Dubois discusses the move toward community unionism designed to make sure workers can be engaged with the labour movement - and protected by some collective strength - even without working in certified workplaces.

- Alison highlights how the Cons are continuing to encourage the use of temporary foreign workers to fill the few jobs promised as the result of the pipeline construction they so consistently demand. And Dan Leger skewers the Cons' wilful blindness to the costs of a single-minded obsession with resource extraction.

- Shorter Naomi Lakritz: In Peter MacKay's defence, isn't he at least as factually wrong as he is sexist?

- The Star calls for a functional access-to-information regime to replace the Cons' tendency toward total secrecy. But Michael Harris observes that the Cons seem perfectly happy to spend hundreds of millions of dollars fabricating an ad-based reality, while making no effort to inform either themselves or the public of what's actually happening.

- Finally, Will Hutton looks at the UK's National Health Service as another highly-valued public service which is being undermined in preparation for a fire sale:
Over the last six months, I've got to know the interior workings of UCH's leukaemia wards better than I, or any reader, would ever want. You just offer thanks that there is such a system on hand for the crisis my family and others are going through. And that the leukaemia wards are embedded in a general hospital with such depth of expertise and range of resource. Whatever cruel side-effects that emerge, there are experts and teams on hand to take charge as the needs arise. It is integrated 21st-century healthcare. It saves lives.

It is also value-driven, as is the case with all great organisations. Curing leukaemia often culminates in a bone marrow transplant, with the molecular structure of the donor's bone marrow carefully matched with that of the recipient. Only healthy new bone marrow will prevent the cancer from reappearing. But that needs donors. The Anthony Nolan Trust has more than half-a-million volunteers who give their bone marrow and blood for free; the bigger the pool, the better the chance of a match, and thus of survival. They are unsung heroes and heroines, the best of humanity.

These donors are animated by the same value system as the NHS. The nurses who inspect stools and the consultants who mastermind the cocktail of drugs are united by the drive to cure, to give health and life. They are givers and sharers. They know humanity demands solidarity, empathy and looking out for each other – or else, who are you?

Of course they are imperfect and sometimes make mistakes. The sums have to add up, as they do in any organisation, but they add up to serve this larger purpose. You give your bone marrow for free to a service that provides health for free, funded by commonly created resources. Life-threatening disease is a lottery. Before this existential truth we stand together. Profit maximisation cannot be the value system at the heart of our healthcare system.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Bryce Covert rightly challenges the claim that poverty bears any relationship to an unwillingness to work - along with other attempts to blame the poor for their condition:
In fact, the majority of able-bodied, adult, non-elderly poor people worked in 2012, according to a data analysis by economist Jared Bernstein. There were about 21 million non-disabled, poor adults that year, and about half of them, or 11 million, worked. Another 3 million didn’t work because they were in school. If those in school are taken out of the picture, 57 percent of the poor people we would expect to work did so. Five million didn’t work because they had an illness or disability.
It’s not hard to see why someone might work and still end up poor. Working a minimum wage job full time brings in about $14,500 a year, which leaves a parent of two $3,000 below the poverty line. The minimum wage isn’t enough to afford rent in any state in the country. This wasn’t always the case. In the 1960s, the minimum wage kept that family of three out of poverty, and even in the 1970s it kept a family of two above the line. Raising the wage would lift millions out of poverty and reduce the poverty rate.

There are other misconceptions about why the poor end up poor. Some think they bring hardship on themselves by being unwise with their money. But the poor spend a smaller percentage of their budgets on eating out and entertainment while spending more on the necessities than their better off peers. And while both rich and middle class Americans have increased their spending habits since the recession, the poorest have actually cut back.
- Meanwhile, Kayle Hatt reviews a Parliamentary study into youth unemployment and finds little to help young Canadians looking to start their careers:
A comprehensive made-in-Canada youth guarantee would be one good way to tackle our youth unemployment problem.

Other ideas to actually tackle youth unemployment that the committee heard in testimony: CCPA suggested, among other things, to expand federally funded summer youth employment programs, to set aside a portion of jobs in federally funded infrastructure programs for youth and hiring subsidies in certain areas. Several commentators, including CCPA’s Armine Yalnizyan and the Canadian Labour Congress, suggested mobility funding for youth who were moving to look for work.

It seems that the Finance committee, however, wasn’t looking for big ideas and possible solutions to address youth unemployment if it meant labour market interventions or actually spending money on the issue.

That’s a shame because the status quo isn’t working.
- But then, as Megan Leslie points out, the Cons have been going to ridiculous lengths to prevent Parliament from discussing other than Stephen Harper's talking points on any issue.

- Steve Rennie reports on Jason Kenney's latest move to make temporary foreign workers subject to an even more tenuous stay in Canada - while also exposing the complete lack of inspections which makes it clear the Cons have never taken employer abuse seriously. Paula Simons points out that additional churn doesn't help anybody - and least of all the workers being exploited. And Syed Hussan highlights the Cons' propensity for locking up immigrants without any fair review process.

- Finally, Roderick Benns wonders when recognition of the importance of the social determinants of health will spread past the medical profession.

Happy [REDACTED] Day!

Building on Nickie's idea, I figured we'll all feel a bit more festive this Canada Day using a Canadian flag as approved and redacted by the Cons and their Public Safety department.