Saturday, July 01, 2017

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Alan Freeman discusses the real costs of ideologically-driven deregulation:
The idea that “the market” will root out bad actors in any industry and that regulations are just a hindrance to economic vitality is a dangerous concept. Companies, like individuals, will do what they can get with. If there were no costly traffic tickets or demerit points, some drivers would speed along residential streets at 100 kilometres an hour and routinely jump red lights. It’s no different for corporate behaviour, whether it’s banks making risky loans, companies selling flammable cladding or meatpackers taking shortcuts on hygiene.

Only strong laws backed up by robust enforcement and big penalties for offenders, including jail time if necessary, can truly protect society. When it came to the poor residents of Grenfell Tower, light regulation proved to be a death sentence.
- Pierre Laliberte and Scott Sinclair examine the effects of NAFTA and its possible termination, and find that there's no reason for Canada to make significant concessions in the name of preserving continental free trade. And given Canada's woeful track record in NAFTA challenges (as pointed out by Mia Rabson), there may in fact be plenty to gain by removing one particularly damaging restraint on democratic governance.

- Meanwhile, Andy Crosby points out how the same federal government which has gone so far out of its way to sell out the public interest in corporate trade deals has taken a brutally hard and cynical line in dealing with First Nations on issues of treaty rights. Ben Parfitt focuses on how the fossil fuel lobby has run roughshod over British Columbia First Nations whose water is endangered by fracking operations. And the CCPA highlights the role of long-overdue reconciliation in building a more fair and sustainable Canada. 

- Paul Wells writes that the Libs are following in the Cons' footsteps by pushing politicized and corporate-oriented funding models for research - even as scientists tell them that's exactly the wrong approach.

- Finally, Michal Rozworski is among many economists signing on to support a $15 minimum wage based on its economic and social benefits. And Lars Osberg, Craig Riddell, Rozworski and Jim Stanford explain their support in more detail.

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