Friday, August 30, 2019

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Rick Salutin writes that Canada's lack of accessible housing arises primarily as the result of general inequality. Derek Thompson notes that youth athletics are just one more sphere of activity in which concentrated wealth is driving out participation by people who don't have that advantage. And Michael Mendelson reports on Doug Ford's latest plan to remove what little support already exists for the people who need it most.

- Kevin Carmichael asks why our government isn't ensuring that digital giants pay their fair share to support a society which offers a source of massive profits. And David MacDonald and Chris Roberts examine how large corporations have stolen from their workers by deliberately underfunding pension plans while finding enough spare cash to pay out massive dividends.

- Gamechangers examines how Justin Trudeau's attempt to turn public works into a private profit centre included appeals to Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund.

- Finally, Chris Selley comments on the latest revelations about Trudeau's betrayal of progressive voters on electoral reform:
(W)e are asked to believe that this scholar of electoral reform, who felt quite strongly that proportional representation was “bad for Canada,” was convinced by his caucus to “leave the door open at least a crack for proportional representation” because he thought (per Wherry’s interviews) that he might be “willing to be convinced that (he was) wrong.”

There is no evidence he was, in fact, willing. Instead we are to believe that the committee of Trudeau’s MPs and those of other parties that Trudeau tasked to study and consult on this matter at great expense, and that ended up recommending PR, only to have then-democratic institutions minister Maryam Monsef dismiss their work as not what she asked for, only steeled his resolve against PR. We are to believe that Trudeau forgot to stump for ranked ballots even occasionally, once he became prime minister, because — per Katie Telford, now Trudeau’s chief of staff, to Wherry — “then we wouldn’t have been doing a lot of other things.”
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Truly, the mind boggles. A keen student of electoral reform would have known the New Democrats would never accept ranked ballots because PR is party gospel, and ranked ballots are beside the point to PR and not in their electoral best interests. A keen student of electoral reform would have known the Conservatives would never accept ranked ballots because they believe quite strongly in the status quo, and because they are also not in their electoral best interests.

The honest person Justin Trudeau purports to be cannot claim good intentions in this situation and expect to get away with it. I cannot ever recall seeing such an implausibly ambitious plea for clemency for such a transparently cynical record. It says a lot that he would even attempt it.

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