Saturday, December 01, 2018

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Stephanie Kelton, Andres Bernal and Greg Carlock highlight how a Green New Deal is entirely affordable south of the border. And Clayton Thomas-Muller examines what we could demand in a Canadian equivalent:
(I)f we’re going to do what the science says we need to do and stop expanding fossil fuels, we need a plan to transition to 100 per cent renewables within the two decades. For that, we need the federal government to step up and guarantee that every single worker, family and community impacted by this transition will be supported. The best way to do that is to borrow from the Green New Deal and implement a federal job guarantee that tells every single person in Canada that they don’t have to choose between putting food on the table and ensuring our children inherit a liveable planet. 
This kind of climate plan would ensure that Indigenous peoples have the ability to continue to hunt, fish, gather, practice ceremony and build sustainable economies on an adequate land base and it would support the restoration of lands despoiled by the fossil fuel economy. Put another way, a climate plan built on this basis could make good on so many politicians’ hollow promises around the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the ninety-four calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. 

This doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. In the United States, they’re calling it a Green New Deal, but I have a simpler name for it here in Canada – The Good Work Guarantee

It’s called the Good Work Guarantee because that’s exactly what it is, a guaranteed good job for workers connected at the hip to a climate policy that moves Canada off of fossil fuels and respects Indigenous rights. And, despite what our political leaders tell us, we have every reason to believe that this kind of bold policy is possible here in Canada.
- Meanwhile, Christo Aivalis points out the important lessons from GM's abandonment of Oshawa - including the pitfalls of depending on the corporate sector alone for economic development.

- Ricardo Tranjan examines Doug Ford's plan to undermine Ontario's welfare system by stealth through higher entry barriers and more haste in withdrawing supports.

- Abdi Latif Dahir discusses new research into the effect of cash transfers in alleviating poverty with substantially no side effects. And Matt Bruenig points out how a child allowance would reduce both the breadth and depth of poverty in the U.S.

- Finally, Karin Larsen reports on the effect of Vancouver's empty homes tax, which has raised tens of millions of dollars with little impact on housing availability.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Musical interlude

Zero 7 - Destiny

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Larry Elliott reports on another of UK Labour's proposals to democratize the economy, this time by giving consumers some say in executive pay.

- Alex Paterson comments on the relationship between the housing market and the investments of many pension plans - though it's worth noting that pensions would seem to be exactly the type of investors with a strong interest in achieving steady long-term returns from rental housing.

- The CP reports on the Lancet's latest study of the health costs of climate breakdown - including the response from Canadian health providers.

- Meanwhile, Andrew Nikiforuk points out that the manipulation of pipeline availability through the booking of "air barrels" both serves to favour some oil producers over others, and results in a misleading picture of the amount of pipeline capacity available. Robyn Allan highlights how the oft-repeated rhetoric about oil price differentials fails to acknowledge that the difference only applies to a small quantity of oil. And Gary Mason writes about the oil industry's plan to stick the Canadian public with massive cleanup costs.

- Finally, Martin Lukacs investigates how Canada's arms industry has contributed to the devastation in Yemen. And Sam Cooper, Stewart Bell and Andrew Russell report on the laundering of the proceeds of crime through B.C. casinos.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Trish Hennessy discusses the connection between child care deserts and child poverty, while pointing out the importance of eradicating both:
While the evidence shows the importance of greater learning and socialization opportunities in the early years, it also shows that Canada is home to extremely high child care fees—which is a barrier to low- and middle-income families. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) documents how some families pay child care fees the size of a monthly mortgage payment.

Some families simply don’t have child care options: the CCPA estimates 776,000 children (44 per cent of all non-school-aged children) live in what it calls child care deserts—a notion similar to food deserts, where some communities lack access to licensed child care spaces.
Back in 1999, the now-defunct National Council of Welfare put the importance of child care this way in its Preschool Children: Promises to Keep report: “Many social programs support families, but child care is the backbone of them all.”

What if Canada replaced its child care desert with an adequately funded national, universal, public child care program that is both high quality and affordable?

Mothers of young children would take up paying work, contributing to the family’s economic bottom line while ensuring their children have access to great socialization opportunities.
- Meanwhile, Jeffrey Sachs points out the numerous revenue tools available to ensure that funding is available to meet social needs. Melanie McFarland notes that the tax evasion and avoidance documented in the Panama Papers has direct consequences for everybody. And PressProgress exposes the offshoring connections of some of the big-money funders of British Columbia's anti-electoral reform campaign.

- Ken Kimmell and Brenda Ekwurzel write that Donald Trump's attempt to suppress and deny facts about our climate breakdown can't change the reality of a planet on the brink. And Fiona Harvey reports on a new UN report showing a need to triple even what's been promised to rein in greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid a catastrophic outcome.

- Meanwhile, Climate Justice Saskatoon studies the concerns of communities who currently rely on coal as a major economic driver, and notes how it's possible to achieve a just transition by taking into account the people affected by changes in energy sources.

- Finally, Christo Aivalis discusses how the Trudeau Libs have chosen to trample on labour rights in their pursuit of corporate convenience.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- In the wake of GM's abandonment of Oshawa, David Olive suggests that it's time for Canada to work on developing its own signature automaker. Sara Mohtehedzadeh writes that the Oshawa closure should serve as a warning for anybody who believes that big business will provide secure employment, while John Michael McGrath highlights the closure following massive public bailouts as a prime example of the futility of corporate welfare. Julia Conley examines the broader impact of GM's multiple plant shutdowns even in the face of multiple government concessions and giveaways. And Gerard Di Trolio, David Bush and Doug Nesbitt write that the labour movement needs to ensure that it's fighting for sustainable jobs and a just transition to clean energy, rather than hoping to preserve operations which have a limited shelf life. 

- Meanwhile, PressProgress points out why we shouldn't take the Libs' word for it that everything is hunky-dory for Canadian workers.

- Marco Chown Oved reports that Toronto's real estate market is vulnerable to the same type of money laundering that looks to have run rampant in Vancouver. And Abby Young-Powell offers a reminder of what we should want from our housing system - including building affordable communities and lives, not only bare accommodations.

- Finally, Ingrid Peretz reports on the first major Canadian climate change lawsuit challenging an avoidable climate breakdown as a violation of rights.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Robinson Meyer rightly criticizes the Trump administration for trying to bury a devastating national climate assessment on Black Friday.

- David Leonhardt discusses the U.S.' increasing corporate concentration and monopolization of nearly every major industry - and the resulting pressures on communities and workers in the face of shrinking choices.

- Meanwhile, Melanie McFarland writes that the tax evasion and offshoring reflected in the Panama Papers is far from a victimless crime, as everybody else ends up paying more for weaker public services as the wealthy stash their loot overseas. And Polly Toynbee points out that Britons have every reason to be unhappy with wealth inequality, but notes that the solution should be to seek economic justice rather than to withdraw from the world.

- The Economist makes the case for harm reduction rather than blanket prohibition as the best means of addressing the dangers of drug abuse.

- Finally, Christo Aivalis traces the Libs' history of trampling on collective bargaining rights from one Trudeau to another.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Crawford Kilian reviews Christo Aivalis' The Constant Liberal, and discusses how Justin Trudeau is continuing a family tradition of betraying progressive voters:
[Pierre Trudeau] wanted to strengthen unions and workers in general — up to a point. It wasn’t to help the workers; it was to use them “instrumentally,” to rescue liberalism from the dead end of the Duplessistes and right-wing Liberals and Progressive Conservatives in the rest of Canada. Otherwise, labour would move left again, back to its 1930s socialism.
Trudeau mocked Tory leader Robert Stanfield’s promise of wage and price controls in a time of soaring inflation, won the election with working-class votes, and promptly brought in wage and price controls. Labour and the NDP were furious because they’d been led to hope for “tripartism,” whereby workers, corporations, and the government would be equal partners. Instead, Trudeau cast unions as the greedy drivers of inflation and locked down their wages while the corporations found loopholes. Worse yet, the Charter was adopted without any guarantees of social or labour rights. 
Aivalis finds Justin Trudeau very much like his father: politically able to “hamstring” the NDP by attracting left-wing voters and then disappointing them by reneging on his promises (proportional voting) and taking labour-hostile measures (legislating an end to the postal workers’ strike).

“Ultimately,” he concludes, if it truly is ‘like father, like son,’ Canadians on the left might be wise to prepare for years, if not a generation, of deep disappointment.”
- Kerensa Cadenas points out how the U.S.' National Climate Assessment confirms that climate denialism only stands to be a drag on economic development in the long run. Jeff Lewis, Jeffrey Jones, Chen Wang and Renata D'Alesio report on the financial and environmental mess being made of Alberta's oil patch as the oil industry tries to simultaneously extract short-term profits and offload long-term responsibility. And Regan Boychuk comments on the massive cleanup costs likely to be left for the province after the oil barons have cleared any liabilities off their books.

- Meanwhile, Martin Regg Cohn discusses how Ontario's environment stands to suffer from the Ford Cons' plans to place any watchdog function in the hands of an auditor general's office which both isn't equipped for the job, and has been inexplicably cavalier toward environmental actions in the past. And Christen Shepherd comments on the elimination of Ontario's child advocate who served as a desperately-needed source of hope for vulnerable children.

- And in case there was any doubt how little interest Ford's government has in ensuring that any oversight is effective or unbiased, Rob Ferguson reports on directions from Ford's chief of staff to use law enforcement to raid cannabis stores in order to generate photo ops.

- Finally, Lori Culbert and Dan Fumano report on the failure of one of the B.C. Libs' private housing projects. And the Canadian Press reports that rather than following the same model, the Horgan government is providing direct funding for 1,100 homes for Indigenous residents.