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.