Saturday, October 10, 2015

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Don Pittis examines the Cons' record on jobs and the economy, and reaches the inevitable conclusion that free trade bluster and corporate giveaways have done nothing to help Canadians - which makes it no wonder the Cons are hiding the terms of the deals they sign. And John Jacobs writes that the Trans-Pacific Partnership only stands to make matters worse:
Canada is exporting goods that create few domestic jobs and importing goods that create jobs elsewhere. This accounts for some of the decline in manufacturing employment over the past decade in Canada and points to long-term challenges in creating jobs and increasing wages. The exchange rate volatility associated with being a “mining and energy superpower” has also contributed to the decline in manufacturing jobs. For workers, Canada’s free trade experience is one of stagnating wages, increasing income inequality, and relatively higher levels of unemployment.

The TPP, like all modern “free trade” agreements, contains no concrete measures to directly protect or create employment. On the contrary, it ties governments’ hands in pursuing employment and industrial strategies. Jobs are simply assumed to follow automatically from tariff reduction and providing increased protection for investors. They, and not the government, should have complete freedom to decide when, where and how goods and services are produced. Recent history tells us that companies have a poor track record when it comes to translating this freedom into jobs or growth.

Ultimately, though the TPP is not about trade or increasing prosperity for most Canadians, one can understand why Canada’s corporate elite are cheerleading the deal. It entrenches their role as drivers of the Canada economy and “consitutionalizes” their rights to profitably exploit Canada’s resources. For the rest of Canadians, accepting the TPP will have long-term detrimental impacts on the prospects for full employment, economic prosperity, and the ability of Canadians to sustainably manage their economy.
- Anne Kingston highlights how the Cons' and Libs' promise of increased parental leave may only push women out of the workforce if it isn't paired with either specific second-parent leave, or a commitment to the availability of child care. And Sara Mojtehedzadeh notes that at the moment, child care is often problematic both for the parents who can't find it and the workers who are severely underpaid for the responsibility.

- Tasha Kheiriddin speculates that the Cons' continued attacks on women who wear niqabs are based more on a desire to create divisions between minorities than an expectation of exploiting general prejudice - though it's hard to see how either could be excusable as a basis for political decision-making. Tabatha Southey offers a twist on the "leader you'd like to have a beer with" test by pointing out Stephen Harper's choice to bring a bear to the bar with him. And Naomi Lakritz readies her own complaint about Stephen Harper to the Cons' barbaric cultural practices hotline.

- Mike Robinson writes about the Cons' deliberate suppression of altruism as a Canadian value, while calling for our other parties to stand for cooperation and mutual recognition. And Kady O'Malley notes that the NDP is again taking a stand for exactly that in order to ensure a new and better government.

- Finally, Carol Goar writes that the Cons are trying to fundamentally change Canadian democracy by eliminating any meaningful connection between representatives and voters. And Andrew Coyne suggests some simple steps to start repairing Canadian democracy.

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