Saturday, June 27, 2020

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Mark Smolinski writes that wearing a mask to limit the spread of COVID-19 is best characterized as a sign of mutual respect. (But sadly, that goes a long way toward explaining the anti-mask movement among adherents to political movements built on exclusion and dehumanization of others.) And John Michael McGrath argues that Ontario should be moving toward a rule requiring masks, rather than resting on its laurels in having merely flattened the curve.

- Iglika Ivanova examines how different types of workers have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic in British Columbia - with people already facing precarious work situations suffering the most. And Bruce Arthur comments on how migrant farm workers in Ontario have been left to bear the risks of COVID-19 with no support from the employers or governments who have chosen to put them in danger.

- Nick Falvo examines the stingy social policies in Canada and other English-speaking countries - including a pitiful ratio of 15 units of affordable housing being lost in Canada between 2011 and 2016 period for every subsidized unit created.

- Meagan Day writes about the increasingly-recognized connections between race, class and police violence. Elizabeth Renzetti discusses how Indigenous women are all too often hurt rather than helped when they seek assistance from law enforcement, while Kim Beaudin and Justin Piché note that the continued mass incarceration of Indigenous people is an insurmountable obstacle to reconcilation. And David Bell reports on the violence used by Calgary's police against a man who was sleeping peacefully until their arrival.

- Finally, Nora Loreto discusses how Canada too easily avoids answering for its own structural racism by pointing to the U.S.' failings.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Musical interlude

Whale and the Wolf - Touch

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Lee Stevens writes that the coronavirus pandemic has exposed longstanding weaknesses in our social safety net which have caused large amounts of avoidable poverty:
A generation ago, our income support and social service programs were working (albeit not perfect) since it was possible to get a good job with just a high school diploma and support a family with the earnings from that job. But the economy of today is much different. Wages have stagnated while the cost of living has not; more people have a university education but are still having to assemble a range of temporary, contractual and freelance work just to make a living. Those full-time, long-term jobs are few and far between, leading to a rise in what is being referred to as shorter-term “gigs,” and our social safety net has not kept up. This has left many people without any type of income security, paid sick leave or labour protection — a disaster in a public health crisis.

Those who have worked all their lives and have suddenly found themselves dependent on government benefits are beginning to question their beliefs that “having a job” is the best social program. It’s a bitter pill to swallow when you “did all the right things,” finished school, secured a job (or jobs), only to realize that everything that you worked for has disappeared. And, while many of those people probably don’t see themselves as living in poverty, they are certainly in need, and it wasn’t because they made bad choices in life. The chasm between “those people” and the rest of us is becoming smaller, and that’s a little scary. So, it’s no surprise to see a sudden rise in citizen engagement and cries for a Just Recovery as systemic inequalities are becoming painfully clearer during COVID.
- Ewa Krajewska, Veronica Sjolin and Teagan Markin write that there's no valid reason to use rhetoric about civil liberties to avoid life-saving mandatory masking rules. Victoria Gibson reports on the Ford government's plans to endanger public health by allowing people to be pushed out of their homes. And Marilyn Slett, Judith Sayers and Joe Alphonse call attention to the need for even basic precautions for Indigenous people in British Columbia.

- Scott Gilmore suggests responding to Donald Trump's anti-immigration policies - most recently including the cancellation of workers' visas - by ensuring that workers able to work remotely have an opportunity to live in Canada.

- Meanwhile, Ethan Cox notes the importance of ensuring that unscrupulous employers don't turn remote work into a means of slashing wages. And Meagan Day interviews Erin Hatton about the foundation of economic coercion underlying the capitalist relationship between employers and workers.

- Lily Batchelder highlights the need to make sure the rich and their heirs pay their fair share. And the New York Times' editorial board writes about the gap between a the concentration of wealth at the top, and the stagnation of wealth for everybody else.

- Finally, Linda McQuaig makes the case to nationalize the production of necessary medicines in Canada.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Simon Enoch studies how P3 projects result only in public money subsidizing private profits. And a new report from the Canadian Labour Congress warns about the dangerous consequences of privatizing public goods and services.

- Amanda Follett Hosgood examines how the authority of courts is being used to protect corporate interests at the expense of people's freedoms of speech and assembly. And Carol Linnitt exposes the predictable astroturfing behind the anti-environment Canada Action, which falsely claimed to be a "grassroots" organization while being funded by the oil industry.

- Richard Denniss and Matt Grudnoff study the effects of free child care as both a form of immediate stimulus, and a means for women to fully participate in a sustainable economy. But Bryce Covert highlights the risk that in its absence, women will be left behind in a transition to an environment of increased work from home.

- Robert Russo argues that a path to permanent residency is essential to protecting the rights of migrant farm workers.

- Finally, Seth Klein makes the case to ensure young people have opportunities to shape their future - including by being able to vote.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Richard Shearmur discusses the risk that employers will use an increase in remote work to extract even more value from workers. And Tara Deschamps reports that the plan may extend beyond offloading costs to outright cutting pay.

- Meanwhile, Inayat Singh reports on the systemic failure of employers and regulators to recognize COVID-19 as a safety issue meriting protection for workers. And PressProgress exposes Ontario's explicit position that employees need to wait for known cases of the coronavirus in their workplace before being able to refuse work.

- David Macdonald calculates how executive bonuses could fund a fair wage for the front-line grocery workers facing the risks of the coronavirus on a daily basis. And Anita Elash examines some of the lessons we can learn from the (however temporary) economic security provided by the CERB.

- The Guardian notes that even the world's fossil fuel giants recognized that their days are numbered - even as they lobby furiously for handouts and regulatory exemptions to do as much damage as possible while they can. John Quiggin charts a path for Australia to quickly end its reliance on coal power. And Emily Gosden discusses the case for large-scale electrification as part of our plan to recover and rebuild from COVID-19.

- Finally, Angella MacEwen highlights how Canada can readily afford the cost of a well-planned recovery - and indeed can't afford to skimp on the effort. And Greg Rosalsky recognizes that reopening businesses alone won't accomplish anything while a public health menace continues to loom, while Patrick Cain reports on the close link between mandatory mask wearing and control over the spread of COVID-19.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Restful cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Anca Matei writes that the coronavirus pandemic has provided us with another vivid example of how the accumulation of wealth (particularly in a small number of hands) has little to do with social health and well-being. And Rosa Pavanelli writes about the importance of rebuilding public services in the wake of COVID-19.

- Meanwhile, Richard Warnica reports on how Doug Ford's budget cuts and poor management undermined Ontario's public health agency just when it was needed most. And Phillip Inman points out that the UK Cons are treating a public health crisis as an opportunity to hold a fire sale of public land.

- Catherine Pearson reports on polling showing how teenagers have been affected by the pandemic - and the implications for already-insufficient mental health supports. 

- Michael Prince proposes that Canada establish a federal basic income for people with disabilities, with any savings to the provinces then allocated to personal supports and community services.

- Finally, Adam Galinsky discusses the brutality that results when police are equipped and trained to be military forces - though reports on the RCMP's plans to keep stockpiling armoured vehicles even in the face of additional scrutiny. And Philip Moscovitch writes about his reasons for never again calling police to check on his son's well-being.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Julia Horowitz discusses how the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated wealth inequality in the U.S. And Jason DeParle writes that the U.S.' temporary COVID-19 relief resulted in a lower poverty rate in the midst of a pandemic-induced recession than would normally exist - signalling both how easy it is to ensure people have the necessities of life, and how inhumane it is to refuse to do so.

- Justine Hunter discusses how British Columbia's work on the health and safety of migrant workers - including by directly providing quarantine services rather than counting on employers to ensure the safety of people all too often seen as disposable - resulted in it avoiding the major outbreaks which have become commonplace in Ontario.

- Laurie Monsebraaten reports on Child Care Now's push for child care funding as part of any effective plan to safely reopen parts of the economy which depend on women's labour. And Barbara Biasi and Heather Sarsons study (PDF) both the continued gender pay gap, and the reality that employer "flexibility" serves only to exacerbate it.

- Finally, Fiona Harvey writes about the International Energy Agency's recognition that we only have a matter of months to chart a path toward avoiding a lost-pandemic surge in greenhouse gas emissions. And Mark Paul, Carla Santos Skandier and Rory Renzy make the case to nationalize the fossil fuel sector in order to eliminate its undue influence over public policy. 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- PressProgress examines the strong public support for the ability for all workers - including gig workers - to be able to engage in collective action to improve their pay and benefits. And Anthony Forsyth notes that the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of unions as a voice for workers. But Alec Stromdahl writes that far too many governments (including the federal Libs) are instead focused on using the power of the state to undermine workers' ability to stand up to employers - even as Kevin Carmichael writes about Galen Weston's refusal to pay fair wages unless governments force him to.

- Alexandra Mae Jones reports on the additional care work burden - and resulting anxiety - forced on women in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. And Julie Bosman reports on the WHO's warnings that we're entering another extremely dangerous phase in dealing with the coronavirus, even as far too many right-wing governments try to pretend that any risk has passed. 

- Jeff Berardelli reports on the unprecedently hot temperatures in Siberia - including the first-ever 100 Faherenheit temperatures ever measured north of the Arctic Circle. And Emily Eaton examines some of the steps Regina can take to transition fully to renewable energy.

- Thomas Wiedmann, Manfred Lenzen, Lorenz T. Keyber and Julia K. Steinberger find that a disproportionate amount of damage to our climate is being done by the discretionary spending of the wealthy few.

- Finally, Lisa Van Dusen discusses the similarities between denial of systemic racism and climate denialism - particular in their common goal of delaying any meaningful action. And in another important parallel, Patrick Sharkey writes about the deliberate choices to impose racist structures which are now perpetuated largely thanks to the perception that it's too much work to transition to less harmful policies.