Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Timothy Wilson reports on the emerging revelations of Enbridge's paying to harass environmental activists. And Jeremy Appel offers the background facts as to W. Brett Wilson's abandonment of wells operated by Forent Energy - leaving Alberta's public to pick up the tab for his company's failure to clean up its messes. 

- And based on those stories among others, there's ample reason both to agree with Nicolas Perrone's argument that we shouldn't pay reparations to fossil fuel companies for transitioning to a cleaner society, and take into account his warning that they'll consider themselves entitled to nothing less.

- Amanda Follett Hosgood reports on the RCMP's pitiful response to the report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. And PressProgress exposes how Lib MP Kevin Lamoureux arranged to pay public money to a "subject matter expert" to prepare a petition to treat criticism of police as hate speech. 

- Robert Baird writes about the history of the idea of "whiteness", as well as the role it's played in justifying or excusing the treatment of people as subhuman.

- Finally, Dale Smith discusses how the Cons are using concern trolling and delay tactics to prevent the passage of legislation to ban conversion therapy.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Elevated cats.





Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Matt Gurney discusses the complete lack of leadership which has led to catastrophic public health results in Ontario, while Haley Steinberg talks to Andrew Morris about the Ford PCs' utter disregard for evidence-based recommendations to limit the spread of COVID-19. Davide Mastracci bluntly observes that Ford and his ilk can only be described as mass social murderers. Alexander Quon traces the connection between the ill-advised relaxation of public health rules and the spread of COVID variants in Saskatchewan. And Murray Mandryk recognizes the complete disconnect between the Saskatchewan Party's spin about the pandemic, and the crisis facing Saskatchewan's health care system and the people whose survival depends on it.

- Kelly Geraldine Malone reports on the growing calls to prioritize Saskatchewan teachers for vaccination - particularly after the death of Victor Thunderchild. And Leslie Boehm and Greg Marchildon make the case for Canada to develop its own domestic vaccine-making capability.

- Brendan Kennedy writes about the obvious connection between the increased concentration of wealth in the course of a pandemic, and the growing calls for a wealth tax to ensure that newly-generated riches serve the public good. And Melvin Krauss theorizes that the U.S. and France may be able to pave the way for international agreement on both a global corporate tax, and taxes on big tech.

- Finally, David Macdonald highlights how some of the lessons we've learned from the coronavirus pandemic have been reflected in the federal budget released this week. Sean Speer writes that the budget offers an important indication that progressives are winning the battle of ideas in Canada, while Aaron Wherry agrees that it reflects a break with neoliberal orthodoxy. And Jim Stanford writes that the long-delayed announcement of a national child care plan will produce far greater economic impacts than assumed (at least as long as the federal government follows through with it).

Monday, April 19, 2021

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Andrew Nikiforuk calls out the premiers who continue to spout talking points about "balance" while failing utterly to control the spread of deadly COVID-19 variants. Jillian Kestler-D'Amours discusses how Ontario's medical calamity was entirely preventable, while David Moscrop makes the case for Doug Ford to resign due to his gross failures of leadership (though he's predictably decided to try to distract from that push with a cabinet shuffle). And René Bruemmer points out that Quebec's comparatively substantial response to the emergence of variants of concern has allowed it to reduce the harm from its third wave compared to other large Canadian provinces. 

- Meanwhile, Alexander Panetta points out that the U.S. will soon be facing an issue of having an oversupply of vaccine which people aren't prepared to accept - with Canada likely to face a similar issue within a matter of months. And Danielle Ivory, Lauren Leatherby and Robert Gebelof highlight the connection between vaccine hesitancy and support for Donald Trump.

- Jenn Jeffreys writes that Canada needs to be prepared to respond to still more waves of violent right-wing extremism - due both to continued spillover from the Trump movement in the U.S., and our own hate groups at home. 

- Finally, Vikram Dodd talks to Andy Cooke about the reality that social action against poverty and inequality serves to reduce crime as well as ill health.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Peter Lozinski discusses the confusing and conflicting messages from Scott Moe which are making it difficult for well-intentioned residents to know what exactly they're supposed to do. Christo Aivalis weighs in on Doug Ford's choice to attack civil rights rather than taking any action which could possibly slow the spread of the coronavirus. David Rider offers a reminder that Ford's PCs (like other right-wing governments) had planned deeper cuts to the public health units responsible for responding to a pandemic. And Anne Huang comments that our handling of the third wave of COVID-19 are make it painfully clear which lives our current governments don't value.

- Daniel Hoyer examines how the federal budget can secure needed revenue from the wealthiest few to fund a just recovery. And Pat Armstrong, Marjorie Cohen, Laurell Ritchie, Leah Vosko and Armine Yalnizyan highlight the need for investment in our care economy as a focal point for the impending budget and our future planning.

- Janyce McGregor reports that foreign workers were relegated to unsafe housing after being recruited to work in Kingston. David Milstead discusses how for-profit long-term care home operators have handed their executives "attaboys" and and bonuses after being responsible for the deaths of large numbers of residents in the course of the pandemic. And Norm Farrell points out how the fines associated with harm to people's health or the environment are all too often treated as an expected cost of doing business to be paid out of corporations' petty cash.

- Amanda Connolly reports on the Libs' (and Bloc's) choice to shut down a defence committee study of sexual misconduct. And Robert Hiltz discusses what that default toward cover-ups and surface investigations says about our system of government more generally.

- Finally, Seth Klein discusses how the Trudeau Libs are failing to develop an effective response to the climate crisis due to their refusal to build any meaningful case for strong collective action. And Grace Blakely offers a reminder as to how ineffective and uncaring centrism as the "left" alternative has stoked the fires of right-wing fascism.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Justin Ling writes that the third wave of COVID currently swamping conservative-run provinces can be traced back directly to our leaders' refusal to acknowledge and act on scientific realities. Nora Loreto discusses the super-spreader events in workplaces which governments have consistently covered up and enabled. The Canadian Medical Association calls for extraordinary measures to control the spread of the coronavirus, while Bruce Arthur writes about the alarmed response from Ontario's health care workers in the wake of Doug Ford's decision to impose a police state rather than doing anything to rein in the spread of COVID-19. Ellen Mauro talks to some of the public health experts whose warnings have been ignored for months, while Sara Mojtehedzadeh and Rosa Saba highlight the obvious options to provide paid sick leave and shut down non-essential work. And Laura Woodward reports on some of the Saskatchewan experts similarly trying to get through to a wilfully-ignorant government. 

- Linda McQuaig writes about the need for our own, publicly-owned biotech manufacturer to ensure Canada doesn't face the type of supply delays and risks it's run into with coronavirus vaccines. Crawford Kilian points out that while vaccines sit unused over trumped-up fears about blood clotting, even that single symptom is more likely as a result of COVID itself than any vaccine, while Elizabeth Renzetti offers the sound evaluation of risk that it's more dangerous to drive to a vaccination centre than to receive any of the ones now available. And Jen Gerson comments on the dangers of treating vaccines as a consumer product which allows for arbitrary personal whims, rather than a social good whose distribution needs to be maximized for everybody's safety.

- Andrew Jackson makes the case for higher corporate tax rates on an international scale based on our lived experiences with the false promise of trickle-down economics. Darren Shore points out that Chrystia Freeland's writing about plutocrats should put her in an ideal position to ensure they pay their fair share - at least unless her goal is primarily to serve them rather than the public interest. And for those looking for new models to ensure a fair tax system, Emmanuel Saez and Gabrien Zucman examine the opportunities in taxing corporations' stock shares (PDF) and billionaires' unrealized capital gains (PDF).

- Finally, Nick Falvo examines the federal role in housing policy - including its far larger investments in propping up the prices of detached houses than in ensuring that homes are available for everybody.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Musical interlude

Donovan Woods - Whatever Keeps You Going


Friday Afternoon Links

 Assorted content to end your week.

- Alex Hemingway writes about the massive concentration of wealth among the richest few Canadians while most people have struggled through the pandemic. And Derrick O'Keefe follows up by pointing out how that accumulation highlights the need for a wealth tax, while Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks comment on the strong public support for ensuring the wealthy pay their fair share. 

- Mark Rendell wonders whether the federal government will take up a long-awaited opportunity to develop real industrial policy. And David Macdonald notes that instead of obsessing over deficits, we should be locking in future investments at record-low interest rates.

- David Climenhaga writes about the film-flammery behind the small nuclear reactor road show regularly presented by right-wing premiers as an excuse for negligent climate policy. And Arthur White-Crummey reports on Saskatchewan's continued place as the worst offender in Canada when it comes to emitting carbon pollution, while Sarath Peiris points out the silliness of the Moe government's decision to make cleaner vehicles more expensive.

- Finally, Scott Schmidt calls out the Kenney UCP's curriculum cheating as an indicator of the need to demand better from the province's leaders.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Robyn Urback criticizes the Ford PCs' habit (matched by other conservative governments) of responding to COVID-19 with continued cycles of procrastination followed by panic. And Rachel McLay highlights how political will has been the key factor in Atlantic Canada's success in suppressing the coronavirus.

- Andre Picard writes about the complete loss of perspective involved in focusing on remote risks of vaccines while ignoring the far more severe public health cost of delaying or preventing their use. And Alexander Zaitchik discusses how Bill Gates' involvement in vaccine development and distribution includes pressuring countries to prioritize pharmaceutical monopolies (and associated profits) over the distribution of vaccines.

- Nathalia Passarinho and Luis Barrucho report that the COVID-19 death toll in Brazil includes thousands of young children. And Hannah Ellis-Pedersen discusses a new wave (sparked by new variants) threatening to produce absolute calamity in India. 

- Hawa Mire notes that Ontario's ineffective vaccine rollout has been caused largely by underlying inequalities. And Andrew Jackson and Katrina Miller offer their take on the new normal we should be working to build as we recover from the pandemic.

- The Guardian highlights the need for the media to report on the climate emergency with appropriate coverage - both in paying due attention, and discussing it in sufficiently serious terms. 

- Finally, Martin Lukacs exposes the Libs' secret committee with oil lobbyists which served to ensure that neither any pandemic relief nor any recovery infrastructure would affect the continued dominance of petropolitics in Canada. Christian Favreau characterizes the Trudeau strategy as one of denialism through gradualism. The Canadian Press reports on the continued growth of greenhouse gas emissions due to the weakness of the Libs' half-efforts, while Bob Weber discusses new research showing how Canada is consuming a grossly disproportionate share of the global carbon budget. David Thurton reports on the tens of billions of dollars we continue to spend subsidizing the fossil fuel sector every year. And David Cochrane, Salima Shivji and Aaron Wherry report that the Cons' competing plan is to do even less to price carbon pollution, with a pinch of corporate cronyism tossed in.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Toby Sanger points out how Canada could gain tens of billions of dollars annually by working with Joe Biden to apply a global minimum corporate tax. And Linda McQuaig reassures us that a wealth tax can have a profound impact on inequality without collecting from anybody but the richest of the rich.

- Mae Watson Grote writes about the need to address structural causes of inequality and poverty, rather than pretending that "financial literacy" is of any use compared to the systemic barriers which keep people in precarious circumstances. And Paul Krugman discusses the importance of public policy which allows for the growth and strengthening of the labour movement.

- Simone Tagliapietra discusses the impossibility of trying to rein in the climate crisis without simultaneously improving the conditions facing vulnerable people.

- Jim Stanford highlights how corporate-funded opposition to a fair minimum wage depends on obsolete economic theory which has been proven wrong in practice.

- Bruce Arthur slams Doug Ford for his reckless games of chicken against the coronavirus, while Matt Gurney takes note of the complete lack of thought or responsibility behind Ontario's pandemic response. And the Globe and Mail's editorial board writes that all levels of government have failed Canadians by not ensuring workers have paid sick leave available in order to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

- Finally, Molly Bernstein and Sean McElwee point out the strong support in the U.S. to redirect resources from police to alternative emergency response mechanisms.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Kitchen help cats.




 

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Sam Cowie writes about the devastating effect of COVID-19 in Brazil, where a particularly dangerous viral variant is combining with the anti-social Bolsonaro government to cause widespread illness and hunger. And Jenna Moon highlights the worst-case scenario facing Ontario's health care system, where hospitals lack the staff to operate temporary beds and are facing painful decisions as to how to triage care for people who need it. 

- Meanwhile, Anna Mehler Paperny reports on the delayed pivot toward vaccinating frontline workers to stop COVID-19 spread where it's most likely to take place.

- Chris Hatch is reassured that the general public has maintained its concern about climate change in the face of the pandemic. But Noah Smith warns that we shouldn't treat carbon pricing as a cure-all - no matter how often it's portrayed that way by both economists with tunnel vision, and businesses looking to avoid more direct responsibility. And Michaela Solomon compares the Saskatchewan Party's gratuitous punishment of electric vehicle drivers against the steps taken by other governments to reduce carbon pollution by incentivizing their use.

- PA Media reports on the latest data showing the carbon dioxide content of our atmosphere at the highest level in recorded history.

- Finally, Doug Cuthand writes about the need for funded harm reduction sites to reduce the toll in health and lives from drug use in Saskatchewan.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

On giveaways

It seems that our former Lib MP is chuffed about the corporatized FCL's takeover of the assets of True North Renewable Fuels. But Regina's citizens may have some questions.

After all, it was just a month ago that City Council approved a million dollars' worth of public money to fund an engineering study for True North. And one would think the decision-making process would have looked rather different if the proponent was one which could easily have funded the expense itself.

Moreover, if True North's assets are being transferred, the grant money and any results of the study would figure to form part of that - while any ability to repay the City will be in severe doubt.

So let's ask: how did True North's valuation for sales purposes change as a result of the City's grant? How much will FCL benefit from a public grant intended to support a new operator rather than an existing corporate monolith? And how much information - or how little - about the now-concluded sale was communicated to the City when it made its decision?

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Anya Zoledziowski discusses how we're only facing a third wave of COVID-19 due to avoidable political choices, while the Globe and Mail's editorial board laments the epidemic of political negligence which has resulted in severe consequences for public health and welfare. Elizabeth Payne reports on the painful choices facing health professionals as serious coronavirus cases swamp an already-stressed health care system. Adam Miller points out that we need to revise our assumptions as to what's safe based on the spread of more easily transmissible and more dangerous variants, while Bhinder Sajan reports on the reduced room for error. And a group of experts, doctors and citizens is circulating a petition to finally shift to a COVID-zero strategy to keep people healthy and safe, while Ian Welsh recognizes that it's been obvious from the beginning how that was the only viable choice if we value people's lives. 

- Meanwhile, Tonda MacCharles writes about the reality that individual vaccination doesn't mean that anybody can go back to living as if the pandemic didn't exist.

- BBC News reports on the WHO's desperate plea for wealthy countries to prioritize vaccine availability around the globe over profits for manufacturers. And Linda McQuaig offers a reminder that the only way to ensure a secure supply of medicine is to maintain our own, rather than hoping we can throw enough money and privileges at big pharma to bump us ahead of other countries.

- Finally, Carlito Pablo discusses how work from home during the course of the COVID pandemic has affected productivity - concluding that the result has included both more production, and longer hours. And Rick Salutin writes about the continued refusal of Doug Ford (and other politicians) to put sick leave in place to allow workers to stay home and keep people healthy.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Maxime Taquet, John Geddes, Masud Husain, Sierra Luciano and Paul Harrison study the broad and severe neurological impacts of the coronavirus. Pamela Downe and Jared Wesley survey how the public in Saskatchewan and Alberta views the response to COVID-19. And Jason Warick reports on Bishop Michael Hawkins' comment from experience as to how the Moe government is failing Saskatchewan and its people in facilitating avoidable community spread.

- Jessica Wong reports on the concern with students who have fallen between the cracks of Ontario's school systems which haven't been reinforced to withstand the pandemic. And Stephanie Hogan highlights how far too many Canadians haven't been provided the supports they need to follow the direction to stay home if they feel sick, while Patrick Brethour explains why the federal substitute for actual sick leave has seen very little uptake. 

- Simon Enoch highlights how the best one can say about the Moe government's budget this week is that it's mostly put off the type of destructive attacks on services we'd have expected based on the party's 2017 precedent. And Sareth Peiris points out the utter lack of any vision at a time when the Sask Party seems determined to lock in infrastructure spending for its entire term in power.  

- Meanwhile, Saskboy calls out the Saskatchewan Party's attacks on cleaner vehicles and the people who have responsibly chosen to own them. And Laura Woodward reports on the callous choice to keep refusing funding to harm reduction sites which would save both lives and money.

- Finally, Ricardo Hausmann discusses the problems with basing economic thought on the assumption of perfect individual choices. And Vass Bedner and Robin Shaban comment on the problems with Canadian competition policy which favours the accumulation of wealth and power in the name of economic efficiency, rather than providing any protection for the people subject to the use of that control.

On unconventional circumstances

Like 2,000+ other members across the country, I've been participating in the NDP's convention over the course of the weekend. And with one day in the books, I'll take note of a few of the differences between this and traditional in-person conventions - as well as the effects they've had on the party's effort to connect people in advance of an election anticipated in the near future.

On the plus side, it's always a plus to hear direct perspectives on what's happening at different levels of government. That said, it's been striking how narrow the list of invited speakers in two respects. 

First, it's consisted entirely of people with formal party affiliations rather than anybody with similar goals without a direct role within the party - which has the unfortunate effect of building affinity relationships at the expense of outreach. And second, among those speakers, nearly all of the time allocated to individuals has been allocated to party leaders. 

That's consistent with the choice to focus federally on running a centralized, leader-focused campaign. But in addition to limiting the diversity of the speakers in terms of equity factors, it also sets up a perception of a top-down view of the party which should be anathema a party committed to diversity and egalitarianism.

Meanwhile, there's been plenty of familiar criticism of the lack of time to debate and vote on resolutions. Predictably, that issue has been exacerbated by the virtual format and associated decisions about process. (And if the precedent set yesterday of allowing for amendments from the floor continues, that could get all the worse.)

But while that represents a perennial complaint, I've been more surprised to see training and networking largely taken out of the picture. To be fair, the party is doing plenty on those fronts outside of the convention - but the opportunity to gather this large a group of participants seems like it's wasted in the absence of to learn from or talk to any new people.

For more, see commentary from Christo Aivalis.

Friday, April 09, 2021

Musical interlude

Katie Malco - Animal


Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Don Pittis writes about Janet Yellen's work to ensure that corporations pay their fair share, rather than being able to structure and artificially locate operations in order to exploit countries without contributing to them. And David Paddon discusses how Canada would stand to benefit from a global minimum corporate tax.

- Chris Giles reports on the IMF's call for a tax on wealth and windfall profits to ensure the people with the most actually fund relief and recovery efforts.

- Christine Saulnier and Charles Plante study the costs of poverty in Canada's Atlantic provinces, confirming that an investment in a decent standard of living for everybody will benefit the public purse as well as people's well-being. 

- Lawrence Mishel writes about the effect the erosion of collective bargaining has had on wages and economic equality in the U.S. And Paris Marx calls out Uber's attempts to have its workers permanently branded as sub-employees, turning a business model based on evading existing employment standards into a permanent feature of law.

- Finally, Jorge Barrera reports on the Lib government's efforts to prevent the development of an accurate historical record of the atrocities of residential schools. And Doug Cuthand writes about the desperate need to rewrite our received history to properly treat genocide and racism as the outrages they are, rather than minor blemishes on the historic record.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Susan Michie, Chris Bullen, Jeffrey Lazarus, John Lavis, John Thwaites, Liam Smith, Salim Abdool Karim and Yanis Ben Amor highlight the desperate need for maximum suppression of COVID-19, rather than an attempt to present a false balance between lives and economic activity. Steven Lewis, Nazeem Muhajarine and Cory Neudorf call out Scott Moe in particular for harming both health and economic welfare by sticking to talking points about the need to make tradeoffs between them. And Tracey Lindeman discusses the reasons for Canada's underwhelming vaccine rollout.

- Robert Hiltz writes that any public health measures need to be developed based on recognition of the risks borne by workers. And Ken Babstock offers his account of the choices facing people who took up the offer of needed pandemic income through the CERB, only to have been confronted with unexpected demands for repayment now.

- Meanwhile, Julia Rock and Andrew Perez expose how the message to shareholders from McDonalds' and other exploitative employers about the effect of a more reasonable minimum wage bears no resemblance to their public posturing.

- Kate Aronoff points out how the fossil fuel industry is slashing jobs even absent a shift away from dirty energy. Oliver Griffin reports on the Colombian oil workers joining in an anti-fracking campaign and pushing for a move to renewable energy. Emma Graney reports on TD's call for a responsible transition plan to support the workers affected, in contrast to the denialism of right-wing governments. And Zeke Housfather highlights how numerous countries are showing it's possible to combine economic growth with reductions in carbon pollution.

- Finally, George Monbiot discusses the importance of treating our oceans as a vital part of our planetary environment rather than merely a source of food to be exploited.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Gary Mason writes that our leaders appear to have learned nothing as we face a third wave of COVID-19. Hasan Sheikh and Munir Sheikh point out how the insistence of right-wing governments in taking ineffective half-measures rather than action which could actually provide some hope to limit the spread of the virus reflects a complete misunderstanding of human behaviour. And Bruce Arthur discusses the consistent toggling back and forth between magical thinking and panic resulting from the initial failure to control the coronavirus.

- Erik Strikwerda discusses how the UCP's regressive, plagiarized and useless curriculum is turning Alberta into a laughingstock. And Francois Biber reports that Scott Moe's punishment for electric vehicle owners - incentivizing air pollution while requiring the owners of cleaner vehicles to pick up the tab for costs being rebated to gas guzzlers - figures to do the same for Saskatchewan. 

- The Winnipeg Free Press reports on Brad Wall's comically biased and misleading report to try to turn Manitobans against public power and open it up to be sold off. And Steve Buist, Noor Javed and Emma McIntosh expose how Doug Ford is trying to ram through the construction of a new highway to directly benefit his donors, despite the obvious lack of any public interest justification.

- Alex Ballingall discusses the Cons' attempt to use the language of the working class to induce people to vote for corporate interests. But Tom Parkin notes that while that plan has worked for Republicans in a two-party state, it only figures to boost the NDP in a political system where voters are already well aware of a true labour option.

- Finally, Nora Loreto writes about the white supremacism behind the anti-public health movement in Canada - along with the utter failure of most of the media to connect the two.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Alert cats. 





Tuesday Evening Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Aaron Wherry discusses how the pandemic response across far too much of Canada has been (increasingly) marked by political calculation and triangulation rather than decisions aimed at fighting a deadly disease in the public interest. And Philip Preville writes about the added stress and anxiety created by a "finish line" framing of COVID-19. 

- Seema Marwaha and Sabina Vohra-Miller point out how high-risk areas have an urgent need for access to vaccines. And Alexander Wong writes about the need to prioritize front-line workers rather than mechanistically continuing to vaccinate only by age, while Megan Ogilvie and May Warren share the perspective of those workers as to how variants have made matters even worse. And Zayn Jinah reports on the direction given to Toyota workers in Ontario that they return to work as a form of "isolating" in the face of exposure to COVID-19.

- Graham Readfearn and Adam Morton write that every choice matters in trying to avoid catastrophic climate change. Fiona Harvey reports on new data showing the increased destruction of desperately-needed forests. And William Gillies writes about the need for a just transition in Nova Scotia as its coal industry declines.

- Finally, Zach Dubinsky and Frederic Zalac report on Canada's pitiful response to the Panama Papers - with roughly 900 parties identified in offshoring resulting so far in zero charges and only 35 cases of identified money to be returned.

Monday, April 05, 2021

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Eric Andrew-Gee reports on the likelihood that Canada's current COVID casualty numbers are a significant underestimate. Sabrina Jones highlights how health professionals are begging for a serious response to the new dangers posed by COVID-19's third wave, while Crawford Kilian comments on the particular problems with the P-1 variant which has been unleashed in British Columbia and Alberta. And Kyle Anderson discusses why we can't pretend personal responsibility is a substitute for effective public health policy:


- Meanwhile, Adrian Di Stefano and Drew Silverthorn call out the City of Toronto for taking away the shelters of people in tent camps without providing any support to enable them to stay sheltered and healthy.

- PressProgress reports on Doug Ford's order that Ontario school divisions spend insufficient education funding on advertising denying his government's austerity.

- Lisa McKenzie writes that our current state of precarity and inequality is the result of class divides which cut across generations. And Canadians for Tax Fairness points out some of the work being done to ensure more fair taxation on a global basis.

- Finally, Jim Stanford discusses the importance of reining in the raw power of corporations through progressive tax systems and stronger unions, rather than hoping that people presented with a mandate to pursue unchecked wealth and power will use it for anybody's benefit but their own.

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Andrew Nikiforuk writes about Canada's contributions to the evidence showing how COVID-zero strategies have produced better results in terms of both health and economics - though sadly the Conservative-governed provinces are determined to keep up the harm from allowing the spread of the coronavirus (including its new variants of concern). And Katherine Wu writes about the dangers of people taking time off from the requirements of public health rules and recommendations, while  Stephanie Hogan discusses the stress the pandemic is putting on everybody affected by it.

- Nafeez Ahmed writes about right-wing anti-science disinformation as it's been applied to the coronavirus pandemic. And Heather Mallick offers a reminder that individual decisions not to get vaccinated (or otherwise take responsible steps to stop community transmission) will have real consequences for others who don't enjoy the same choices.

- Paola Rose-Aquino reports on positive news from the CDC to the effect that vaccination appears to prevent an individual from spreading COVID-19. 

- Robert Hiltz calls out Jason Kenney's insistence on fighting Bigfoot rather than lifting a finger to deal with the real problems facing Alberta. And Max Fawcett discusses how Kenney's decision to inflict an outdated and laughably biased curriculum on students doesn't offer a lesson in anything but pitiful governance.

- Finally, Alex Nguyen reports on new research showing no scenario in which using public money to complete the Trans Mountain pipeline offers any net benefit to Canada. And Ian Sherriff-Scott reports on the CCPA's latest report on the importance of legislated support for workers in transitioning to a clean economy.

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Emma Jackson highlights why we shouldn't treat carbon pricing as anything more than a tiny piece of a plan to avert a climate breakdown. Hadrian Metrins-Kirkwood writes about the importance of passing an ambitious Just Transition Act into law at the federal leve. And Noah Smith discusses how the U.S. (and other wealthier countries) can help to lead the technological side of a just transition, while Lara Fominoff reports on Ryan Meili's call to create green jobs and technology in Saskatchewan. 

- Meanwhile, Oliver Milman reports on the oil companies who have collected massive amounts of public subsidies linked to COVID relief while still laying off workers. And Loren Steffy discusses how abandoned oil infrastructure is posing an environmental and economic menace in Texas just like in Canada's petroprovinces. 

- Rebecca Solnit writes about the air pollution epidemic which kills millions every year - but which is largely ignored due to the limited wealth and power of the people who suffer from it.

- Yasmine Ghania reports on the passage through committee of a bill to effectively implement a global treaty against plastic waste - with the Libs filibustering and voting it against based on their desire to include a loophole allowing waste to be exported through the U.S.

- Finally, Tess McClure reports on New Zealand's new steps to increase taxes on the rich and enact a liveable minimum wage.

Friday, April 02, 2021

Musical interlude

Christine and the Queens - People, I've Been Sad


Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- John Michael McGrath discusses how Ontario (like so many other jurisdictions) has walked directly into a third wave, resulting in people dying for no reason other than government negligence. Matt Gurney likewise notes that there are no longer any excuses for insufficient action given the extensive experience we have with the coronavirus (and the dire consequences of failing to respond appropriately). Andre Picard notes that the attempt to substitute empty words for meaningful action is resulting in the filling of ICUs. And Jen Gerson theorizes that a widespread tendency toward complacency has much to do with the poor responses across much of Canada.

- Meanwhile, Cecile Philippe and Nicolas Marques examine (PDF) what governments have won when they've pursued a COVID-zero strategy - including both superior health outcomes, and far less economic disruption.

- The Globe and Mail's editorial board writes that there's no longer any justification for offering vaccinations by age rather than by more meaningful risk profiles (including exposure to people as an essential front-line worker). And Emma Teitel pairs a similar call to vaccinate frontline workers with another needed appeal for paid sick leave.

- Finally, Bernie Sanders offers a reminder of the obscene gap between rich and poor in the U.S. - and the readily available policy options to close it. Scilla Alecci discusses new research from the International Centre for Tax and Development on the amount of wealth being stashed offshore by corporations to avoid contribution to the social good. John Burbank writes about Washington state's move toward implementing a wealth tax. And Phillip Inman reports on the IMF's call for more progressive tax systems to reduce growing inequality of income and wealth.

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Michael Atkinson and Haizhen Mou discuss their new polling showing that Canadians are particularly concerned with climate change and good jobs as part of our recovery from the pandemic - making a Green New Deal an obvious win-win. And Seth Klein writes about both the opportunity for the Alberta NDP and other parties to offer a clear path toward a just transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, and the risks in both political outcomes and policy results if they fail to do so.

- Peter Hotez writes about the damage being done to people's lives by the anti-science movement and its right-wing adherents and enablers around the globe. And PressProgress reports on the social conservative takeover of the Cons' national council as a vivid example of organized ignorance translating into substantial power. 

- Marc Lee writes about some of the ancillary policy changes which may help public and non-profit housing developments to succeed. And Kate Bezanson, Andrew Bevan and Monica Lysack note that when it comes to child care, funding is the primary hurdle standing in the way of a national system.

- The New York Times' editorial board points out how third-party verification of business income could go a long way toward ensuring that corporations and wealthy individuals pay their fair share of taxes. 

- Finally, Andrew Jackson reviews Mark Carney's new book - and highlights how it only confirms the strict limits of neoliberal politics in which the role of elected governments is merely to shape the distribution of private capital:

It is refreshing to see recognition of the limits of private ownership and markets by such a prominent establishment figure, especially when it comes to dealing with financial excess, the climate crisis and rising economic inequality. However, Carney, while recognizing the need for government regulation and a non market sphere, emphasizes most the need to shift to stakeholder capitalism and socially responsible investment. Indeed he does so to the point of naivete.

...

Realists will doubt with good reason that stakeholder capitalism and social investment amount to much more than corporate PR. One can readily point to manifestly predatory corporate behaviour when it comes to price gouging monopolies, speculative finance, corporations undermining health and safety standards and promoting dangerous goods and practices (as in the opioid crisis), or profiting from intellectual property ownership of medically necessary vaccines and drugs, denial of labour rights and standards and resistance to unions, wilful denial of climate change by large energy companies over many years, pervasive corporate tax evasion, systemic discrimination in employment, and so on.

In fairness, Carney does not deny the need for government supervision and regulation to balance corporate capitalism with broader social goals. But his faith in socially responsible capitalism is excessive.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jim Stanford weighs in on the need for increased worker input into economic decision-making - particularly as change is otherwise imposed by management with little regard for the people most affected.

- Nathaniel Erskine-Smith makes the case for a wealth tax to recoup some of the windfall the wealthiest few have received during the coronavirus pandemic - though it's of course worth noting that more substantial policy would be even better, and that he and his party have voted against the NDP's efforts to pursue anything of the sort. And Umair Haque rightly questions the U.S.' idolization of the people who extract the most from their communities for their own personal gain. 

- Joe Roberts offers a reminder that poverty is the result of policy decisions which can easily be changed if we care enough to ensure people have a secure income. And Marc Lee pushes for British Columbia to adopt the poverty reduction proposals - including both improved income supports and social infrastructure - proposed by that province's basic income panel.

- Max Fawcett writes about the developing conflict between an oil and gas industry seeking to keep wringing profits out of dirty energy regardless of the impact on anybody else, and a financial sector coming to terms with the broader costs of carbon pollution. And Nicholas Rivers, Kathryn Harrison and Marc Jaccard discuss the problems with relying on offset credits rather than real emission reductions in trying to avert a climate breakdown, while Alexander Quon reports on the foolishness of Scott Moe's plan to turn carbon pricing into a fossil fuel subsidy in order to avoid any emission reductions.

- Finally, Andrea Reimer discusses how Canada can keep big money out of politics - while pointing out how Saskatchewan ranks as the worst of the worst in allowing it unfettered influence over the political scene.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Connected cats.





 

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Katie Raso describes the coronavirus pandemic as the neoliberal Chernobyl, having exposed how we're not only unable to respond to a disaster in progress - though it's worth adding the even more alarming reality that we're even falling short of consensus as to the fact that it's happening. Stephen Maher and Tonda MacCharles each offer their take on the government response after a year. And Aaron Wherry talks to Dan Gardner about how the pandemic demonstrates the danger of prioritizing short-term interests over long-term planning for entirely predictable events.

- Mariano Zafra and Javier Salas offer a look at how air circulation is crucial to limiting the spread of COVID-19. The Globe and Mail's editorial board warns that the virus is currently spreading far more quickly than vaccines can catch up to provide any protection,. And Abby Goudnough writes about the varied steps needed to get staff vaccinated at a single nursing home, while Martin Regg Cohn theorizes that we'll eventually need to make vaccinations mandatory. 

- Julie Ireton discusses how Canada's record of long-term care deaths in the midst of COVID is the worst among wealthy countries. And Karen Howlett focuses on the reality that some of those deaths can be traced to a failure to provide health care resources where they were desperately needed. 

- Meanwhile, Sharon Kirkey reports on Ontario's growing number of severe cases among younger people, while Alexander Quinn takes note of the same danger in Regina.

- Charles Rusnell and Jennie Russell report on Alberta's choice to mislead Cargill workers into thinking their workplace was safe in order to keep meat production going as a COVID outbreak tore through the plant. And Caryn Lieberman reports that public health experts are pulling their children from Ontario schools as the Ford government refuses to either shut them down or invest in making them safer.

- Finally, Umair Haque writes that Britain is destroying itself as a nationalist narrative of trying to hoard the spoils of development gives way to a massive selloff to foreign capital.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Mariana Mazzucato responds to Boris Johnson by recognizing that capitalism has no viable answers for collective action problems such as the ones posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

- Scott Schmidt discusses how the familiar right-wing attempt to squeeze the wages and working conditions of public servants does nothing but harm to both the services we need, and the economy as a whole. And Fife Ogunde argues that the people providing services that we treat as essential deserve to be paid accordingly. 

- Owen Jones warns that our living environment can't survive the single-minded pursuit of immediate profit over the well-being of its inhabitants. Tariq Fancy discusses how sustainable investing in its current form falls far short of the mark in averting a climate breakdown. And Andrew Leach wonders whether the Supreme Court's decision upholding federal carbon pricing in Canada will represent the end of a loud and scientifically-illiterate resistance to climate policy.

- Adam Morton reports on a new study showing how Australia could reach net-zero emissions by 2040 with a transition to wind and solar power. And Dirk Meissner reports on British Columbia's steps to set emissions targets for industries and communities.

- Angus Reid's latest polling finds large numbers of Canadians facing financial insecurity both in general, and particularly in light of the coronavirus pandemic. 

- Finally, Lee Stevens examines the glaring gap between the social programs available in Alberta and the support needed to lift people out of poverty. And Jason Hickel highlights why there's reason to be skeptical of claims about the elimination of extreme poverty which depend on both questionable assumptions about past standards of living, and an an exceedingly low standard to define the term today.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Alexandre Tanzi highlights how the 1% in the U.S. made out like bandits even as the country suffered through a pandemic year in 2020. And Karim Bardessy reminds us that there's plenty we can do to remedy the problem.

- Bruce Arthur writes that the third wave of COVID has arrived - and that there's precious little indication that we've learned from the previous two, raising a strong likelihood that this will be the worst yet. Andrew Nikiforuk weighs in on the Auditor General's findings as to how Canada has failed on a national level in its response to COVID-19, while the Canadian Press reports on Theresa Tam's urgent call for far stronger public health measures as variants increase the danger we face. Diana Zlomisic reports that even after an investigation has been conducted into last year's devastating death toll in long-term care homes, the Ford PCs continue to lack of any idea of the scope of the risk facing the residents still in the system. 

- Kelly Grant writes about the spillover effects of COVID-19 on our health care system, including the development of backlogs which may require years to be cleared. Nina Lakhani reports on the thousands of U.S. deaths which could have been avoided if people hadn't been cut off from water supplies. And Kaamil Ahmed points out that among other markers of growing inequality in education, millions of children around the globe have been delayed in developing basic skills due to the pandemic. 

- Ken Rubin points out how governments have cynically been using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to restrict access to information - even as they've also treated the public health threat as an opportunity to ram through unpopular policies while it's more difficult for the public to organize any resistance.

- Finally, Doug Cuthand discusses how the RCMP Civilian Review and Complaints Commission's report into the investigation and handling of the killing of Colton Boushie reveals the continuing effects of structural racism. And Mim Fatmi comments on the hate against Muslim women in Alberta, while also emphasizing the importance of claiming a place in public spaces rather than being hidden.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Julia Wong reports on the building third wave of COVID-19 in Alberta. And Ricardo Tranjan examines how little the Ford PCs actually put into the education system to address the additional demands created by a pandemic.

- Dana Nuccitelli discusses new research showing that a transition to a low carbon emission economy would generate substantial economic growth for the U.S. And Jakob Kapeller, Rafael Wildauer and Stuart Leitch discuss how a wealth tax can help to fund a fair and clean recovery.

- Alexander Panetta reports that even the U.S.' main oil lobby group is accepting the need for carbon pricing while Canada's conservative premiers either refuse to plan for them, or scheme to turn it into a subsidy for additional emissions. And Bob Weber reports on the use of the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to stop enforcing environmental standards - with Jason Kenney's Alberta predictably ranking as the worst offender.

- But Drew Anderson writes that the UCP is on shaky ground after falsely assuming that Alberta's general public would be as willing to be told lies as Kenney is to dispense them.

- Finally, Adam King highlights the need for workers who don't have the protection of a union in their workplace to nonetheless have more of a say in the terms and conditions of their employment.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Musical interlude

Danko Jones - I Want Out


On fossilized assumptions

The comparative cost of different power options in the real world:

The world’s best solar power schemes now offer the “cheapest…electricity in history” with the technology cheaper than coal and gas in most major countries.

...

Across the U.S., renewable energy is beating coal on cost: The price to build new wind and solar has fallen below the cost of running existing coal-fired power plants in Red and Blue states. 

 ...

Building new wind and solar plants will soon be cheaper in every major market across the globe than running existing coal-fired power stations, according to a new report that raises fresh doubt about the medium-term viability of Australia’s $26bn thermal coal export industry.

While some countries are moving faster than others, the analysis by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a climate finance thinktank, found renewable power was a cheaper option than building new coal plants in all large markets including Australia, and was expected to cost less than electricity from existing coal plants by 2030 at the latest.

The default assumption in Saskatchewan's fossilized media:

And even if they were to, there is the messy problem that we still must burn coal for the lion’s share of our electrical needs because solar and wind remain costly and we aren’t blessed with hydroelectric resources.

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- John Smith discusses the importance of recognizing and repairing the weaknesses in our social fabric which have been laid bare by the coronavirus pandemic. And George Monbiot discusses how the force of consumerism has warped the way we live.

- Rachel Aiello reports on the Auditor General's conclusion that Public Health Agency of Canada was both unprepared to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and slow to understand the scope of the problem. And Matina Stevis-Gridneff reports on Europe's plans to restrict vaccine exports which are putting Canada's progress on that front at risk.

- Meanwhile, as variants of concern rage out of control across much of Saskatchewan, Zak Vescera reports on the northern First Nations who have succeeded in flattening the curve by valuing public health over immediate profit and convenience. Mike Moore reports on Newfoundland's immediate and effective management of a variant outbreak. And Andrew Nikiforuk highlights how it's been open to any government to be free of the worst of COVID-19 by prioritizing disease control.

- Sarath Peiris argues that Scott Moe shouldn't have much choice but to take climate change seriously now that the Supreme Court has ruled on the validity of federal carbon pricing - though it's hard to see a particularly defensible reason for his stubborn refusal to do so sooner. And Cam Holmstrom comments on the modern application of the notion of peace, order and good government.

- Finally, Robert Hiltz writes about the travesty that was the RCMP's response to the killing of Colton Boushie. And Ethan Cox recounts just one example of how the use of police to respond to a mental health crisis produced gratuitous violence without making anybody safer.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Armine Yalnizyan highlights how our failure to put adequate resources into the caring sector stands in the way of both a COVID recovery and sustainable longer-term economic development.

- Jessica Wildfire writes that our economy has been set up to be unaffordable for nearly everybody in order to allow profits to be skimmed off the top of everything we do. And Bob Lord discusses how a fair and progressive tax system is a must to avoid the toxic concentration of wealth in the hands of a greedy few.

- Joe Nocera comments on the importance of seizing a moment in which workers and unions are rightly seen as a necessary collective counterweight to corporate control.

- John Clarke writes about the need to develop class solidarity across international borders, rather than presuming that the fate of individual politicians or states represents an acceptable proxy for the public interest. And Lachlan Markey notes that the U.S. is seeing a concerted effort to push the Biden administration leftward. 

- Finally, Aaron Wherry discusses Erin O'Toole's failed attempt to have the Cons pay so much as lip service to the climate crisis. And Gillian Steward points out how the Cons have chosen to render themselves irrelevant to discussion around one of the most important issues we face - particularly as the implausible attempt to undermine even modest action through the courts has failed.