Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Both Edward Keenan and the Star's editorial board take note of Thomas Mulcair's plan for urban renewal, with particular emphasis on its appeal across party lines:
Speaking directly to Toronto city council and Mayor John Tory, who won election largely on the basis of his promised SmartTrack “surface subway,” Mulcair said he would be a partner on transit: “Together we will get the people of Toronto moving.”

No wonder Tory declared himself “gratified and pleased” with Mulcair’s approach. Other elements of the NDP’s urban agenda include:
  • Appointing a minister responsible for urban affairs — someone to advocate for cities in federal cabinet when key decisions are made.
  • Delivering long-term, stable funding for affordable housing.
  • Identifying, within the first 100 days of taking office, “worthy extensions” of social housing investments that are set to expire and highlighting new spending necessary to ease a crisis in affordable housing.
  • Introducing $15-a-day child care nationwide, and funding 164,000 daycare spaces in the Greater Toronto Area alone. This should be of significant help to the 20,000 families in this city currently on waiting lists for affordable care.
  • Accelerating immigration process-times so families can be reunited faster — an important consideration in Toronto, which serves as a magnet for newcomers to Canada.
These are all valuable initiatives. Mulcair is demonstrating a clear understanding of Toronto’s needs and has made addressing them a welcome priority.
- Meanwhile, Carmichael Outreach is offering a series of proposals to address Regina's shortage of affordable housing. But as Wanda Schmockel reports, developers are determined to avoid having a dime spent on those efforts when it could instead be funnelled toward new profit centres. 

- Michael Geist follows up on how C-51 stands to harm Canadians' privacy. And Democracy Watch calls attention to the complete lack of internal and public accountability within CSIS as another reason to be concerned about handing over unchecked powers.

- L. Ian MacDonald discusses the need to move beyond the Cons' primeval politics in talking about security and culture, while Michael Den Tandt notes that the Cons' goal is to have us soaking in fear. Tim Harper observes that the bigoted bozos who were once so desperately suppressed by the Cons' central command now represent the party's most prominent public faces. Michael Spratt writes that the Cons are wrong on both the law and the facts in their anti-niqab fearmongering. And John Cartwright highlights the role of organized labour in pushing back against prejudice and inequality.

- Finally, Richard Trumka points out that attacks on unions serve the sole purpose of suppressing wages and working conditions. Bryce Covert discusses how work is far from a guarantee that a family can escape from poverty. And Robert Reich observes that we shouldn't count on employment relationships or other work conditions returning to how they previously operated:
We need a new economic model.

The economic model that dominated most of the twentieth century was mass production by the many, for mass consumption by the many.

Workers were consumers; consumers were workers. As paychecks rose, people had more money to buy all the things they and others produced — like Kodak cameras. That resulted in more jobs and even higher pay.

That virtuous cycle is now falling apart. A future of almost unlimited production by a handful, for consumption by whoever can afford it, is a recipe for economic and social collapse.

Our underlying problem won’t be the number of jobs. It will be – it already is — the allocation of income and wealth.

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