Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Arjumand Siddiqi and Faraz Vahid Shahidi remind us how inequality and poverty are bad for everybody's health:
In Toronto, as elsewhere, the social determinants of health have suffered significant decline. As the report makes clear, the poorest among our city’s residents have borne the greatest portion of this burden.

These trends have affected the health of the poor in countless ways. They have constrained access to quality health care. They have increased susceptibility to harmful health-related behaviours, such as smoking. They have compromised the adequacy and stability of housing conditions. They have restricted access to nutritious foods. They have heightened exposures to daily experiences of stress and adversity that get under our skin and harm not only our minds but our bodies as well. In fact, what research has shown is that economic conditions underlie almost every pathway leading to almost every health outcome.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that, despite a decade of public programs intended to promote health equity, the health status of the poorest Torontonians hasn’t improved. Given what we know about the social determinants of health, the persistence of health inequalities was entirely predictable.

At the heart of the issue are two important insights provided by our best available science. First, public health programs that are designed to encourage people to alter their lifestyles and behaviours simply do not address the myriad other associations between economic position and health status. Attempts to address any one problem do little to fundamentally interrupt the overall correlation. Second, because public health programs do not address the “causes of the causes,” they are incapable of stemming the tide of new individuals that develop poor health-related behaviours. No sooner has one cohort been exposed to a health promotion program than another cohort is ready and waiting.
- But Dennis Gruending points out that the Cons' budget conspicuously avoids even mentioning poverty, let alone doing anything at all to reduce it. And Michal Rozworski notes that the Cons are merely continuing a pattern of destructive austerity.

- Meanwhile, Juliette Garside reports on the increase in wealth inequality in the UK. And Suzanne Daley points out that income-based fines and penalties can serve both to ensure that punishments are more fair, and that the enforcement of regulatory law slightly helps inequality generally.

- Andrew Mitrovica tells Benamar Benatta's story as a painful example of how individuals can get caught up in a Kafkaesque terror trap even absent the blanket secret police provisions the Cons want to impose through C-51. And APTN's report on two deaths in Winnipeg offers another example of law enforcement running amok, in this case be seizing media cameras without a warrant.

- Finally, Jesse Myerson offers some suggestions as to how to respond to public protests.

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