Friday, May 14, 2021

Musical interlude

Deftones - This Link Is Dead

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Michael Smart compares Canada's fiscal response to the COVID crisis to the reaction to previous recessions - finding that benefits for people are being cut back to normal levels in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, while corporate profits continue to soar. And David Dayen writes that while employers bleat about labour shortages based on their refusal to offer more than starvation wages, what's actually proven scarce in the U.S. attention to the needs of people.

- Meanwhile, Corrie Schneider discusses the importance of having sufficient support to avoid forcing women to choose between abuse and poverty. 

- The Globe and Mail's editorial board asks whether Canada's provincial governments have learned any lessons from removing public health restrictions too soon - though it's difficult to be optimistic at this point. And Chris Kai and P R Sanjai examine India's stark example of the human cost of prematurely declaring victory over COVID-19.

- Luke Malpass reports on New Zealand's introduction of Fair Pay Agreements to ensure that wage floors can be bargained on an industry-wide basis.

- Finally, Cathy Holtslander highlights how the updated NAFTA has sold out some of what little scope Canada had to protect agriculture - and how the U.S. is pressing its advantage to try to deregulate the seed market to ensure both lesser consumer protections and the ability to squeeze farmers on price.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Matt Gurney discusses the need for public health planning to reflect the predictable reactions of people whose compliance affects the viability of any rules. Guy Quenneville reports on the federal government's justified skepticism of Scott Moe's plan to focus on vaccinations alone, rather than actual viral spread. Kenyon Wallace notes that a euphemistic focus on geographic "hot spots" misses the social inequity which has resulted in disadvantaged groups bearing the brunt of COVID-19. And Robert Nam writes about Ontario's freeze on cancer care as one of the side effects of a mismanaged pandemic.

- Amber Cortes and Carl Nelson offer a graphic portrayal as to how COVID-19 has only further exposed and exacerbated the U.S.' homelessness crisis. And Doug Nesbitt discusses how the pandemic has strengthened the case to put an end to profiteering long-term care. 

- Robert Hiltz calls out Jason Kenney and the UCP for prioritizing corporate revenue over people's lives. And in a stark example of that calculus, Wallis Snowdon reports on the massive outbreak at CNRL's Horizon oilsands mine - accompanied by the argument that the public should be entirely satisfied with protocols argued to have met minimum standards even if thousands of people were infected at CNRL sites.

- Meanwhile, Kim Siever points out that record oil production in Alberta isn't translating into a return to past employment levels. And Sarah Anderson weighs in on the gap between soaring CEO pay and stagnating wages even at a time when workers are being praised for being essential. 

- Finally, Paul Krugman offers a reminder that while Republicans may occasionally try to use worker-friendly rhetoric, their actions are aimed at nothing but fighting a brutal class war on behalf of the rich.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Duncan Cameron discusses how right-wing nationalism is contributing to the destruction of our planet and the exploitation of people. Don Braid highlights how right-wing fringe politics and governance are damaging Alberta. And Murray Mandryk notes that Scott Moe's reliance on an anti-science and anti-social base is the only explanation for his refusal to call out white nationalists.  

- Meanwhile, Meghan Grant reports on the choice by the Kenney and Moe governments to make it more difficult to enforce federal quarantine rules. And David Pugliese reports that instead of protecting against the actual threats posed by public health objectors and violent racists, Canada's security apparatus has used the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to put Black Lives Matter organizers under surveillance.

- Kim Mackrael discusses how British Columbia's action to control the spread of COVID-19 variants is being looked at as a model around the globe. Gary Mason contrasts that against Alberta's newfound status as North America's COVID hotspot (as well as the home of Canada's highest concentration of anti-vaxxers), while Melanee Thomas points out that it's not fair to treat the anti-science movement as a matter of urban vs. rural populations. And Alison Durkee reports on a study showing how school reopenings (absent needed precautions) increased the spread of the coronavirus even in the fall before the variants of concern emerged.

- Sarath Peiris rightly argues that if Moe were remotely reasonable, he'd happily sign on to the federal child care plan - though the next evidence that the Saskatchewan Party values benefits for the public over picking fights with Ottawa will be the first.

- Rebecca Solnit makes a cautious case for optimism in averting the worst of a climate breakdown. Joanna Partridge reports on new research suggesting that electric vehicles will be less expensive to manufacture than combustion vehicles within a matter of years. And Emma Graney reports on the IEA's observation that renewable energy is growing at a historic rate.

- Finally, Charles Smith calls out the Libs' contempt for the Charter right to strike reflected in their legislation (supported and eagerly waved through by the Cons) to allow employers at the Port of Montreal to impose longer hours without any collective bargaining recourse.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Marcin Osuchowski et al. highlight the importance of updating our understanding of COVID-19 rather than presuming it behaves the same way as previously-studied diseases. Sandy Barnard writes that we can't blame service workers for deciding they're best off not risking their lives for poverty wages from employers who don't value their health or well-being. And Gavin Fridell argues that Canada can't keep clinging to the unethical position that intellectual property monopolies over publicly-developed vaccines are more important than controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.

- Naomi Klein writes about the intersection of crises in California as climate breakdown-fuelled wildfires are leaving people without any ability to find scarce housing.

- CBC News talks to Angela Carter about the reality that Newfoundland and Labrador is past the point where it can count on oil revenues to fund a just transition. Jeff Lagerquist reports on a new survey showing how Canada is falling behind other countries in investing in clean energy. Arjun Makhijani and M.V. Ramana highlight why small nuclear reactors aren't a viable part of a transition to clean power. And Sharon Riley examines how the global steel industry is moving away from the use of coal - even as Jason Kenney and other try to peddle strip mining for that purpose now that they've given up the pretense of needing coal power.

- Elizabeth Thompson reports on PIPSC's recognition that the federal government is making the choice not to ensure that sufficient resources are available to investigate offshore tax evasion.

- Finally, Sabrina Eliason writes about the urgent need for improved child care and developmental supports to make life easier for Alberta parents.

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Zeynep Tufecki writes about the deadly delay in recognizing the reality that COVID-19 spreads largely through aerosol transmission. Elliot Hannon reports on new research suggesting that the U.S.' already-appalling official death toll from the coronavirus represents a severe undercount. notes that the third wave of COVID-19 was entirely preventable in Canada if we'd taken a responsible approach, while Birgit Umaigba discusses what it looks like from the perspective of the health care workers forced to deal with its most direct effects. Lauren Pelley talks to experts about the likelihood that Canada will face both a severe fourth wave and ongoing outbreaks if we don't do everything we can to push for zero COVID now. And Abdul Malik writes that if the summer Olympics ultimately go ahead, that will only reflect the failure of countries around the globe to properly value human health and lives as compared to opportunities for nationalism and profit. 

- Duane Bratt discusses Alberta's problems with public health compliance - and their roots in the messaging and policy choices of the Kenney UCP. And Taylor Lambert comments on the causes of the province's vaccine hesitancy.

- Amanda Connolly reports on Naheed Nenshi's recognition that anti-vaxx messaging is tied into white nationalism. Zak Vescera reports on bigoted responses to a health care provider survey which show how far Saskatchewan has to go in treating Indigenous people with basic human respect and dignity. And John Cameron documents how anti-trans speakers at a recent Regina City Council meeting are tied into national and international networks of hate, rather than reflecting local views.

- Finally, Meagan Day highlights how organized labour can help to ensure that workers aren't easy prey for bigoted far-right demagogues as a perceived form of resistance against deteriorating working conditions and unfair treatment.