Saturday, June 19, 2021

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Joe Vipond, Kashif Perzeda and Danielle Cane write that Canada's failure to talk about the airborne transmission of COVID-19 (or the public health implications of what we've learned) is making it difficult for people to protect themselves and their communities. Gabrielle Douaud et al. study (PDF) the effects of COVID on the brain and nervous system. And William Werbel et al. find that  a third dose of vaccine may be needed to produce a full antibody response in transplant patients.

- Meanwhile, Kellyanne Navare discusses the rush to remove improvements to accessibility implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic - including ones which have long been requested by people with disabilities. 

- Christopher Reynolds reports on Jagmeet Singh's justified outrage in response to a terrorist attack on a Muslim family which reflects bigotry stoked for political purposes. 

- Finally, Jen Gerson writes that Justin Trudeau exemplifies a hollow national vision in which appearances trump any meaningful action. And Mumilaaq Qaqqaq writes about her experience in Parliament - and the failure of the people with power to improve the lives of her constituents:

I’m glad people are finally listening to what I’ve been saying over and over in my time in federal politics: Nunavummiut live in some of the worst conditions in Canada and the federal government is to blame. We have the highest suicide rate in the world. Housing costs are far beyond the reach of most Inuit. Mouldy and overcrowded public housing is the norm. Many don’t have clean water year-round. There’s a food security crisis. In Iqaluit, a gallon of milk costs $20. Even on an MP’s salary, raising a family in my riding would be extremely challenging.


Dealing with these constraints is one thing, but then I have to listen to flowery rhetoric from Liberal MPs, cabinet ministers and, yes, the prime minister, about “reconciliation” or “transformational change,” all the while seeing little to no real change on the ground.


Government members have told me over and over that they know action on housing is needed, but in two years they have done almost nothing to address the crisis. The minister for Indigenous Services, Marc Miller, told me that he hadn’t even bothered to read my report and Adam Vaughan, the Liberal point person on the housing file, answers my pleas for immediate assistance by tweeting “more to do, more to come” on social media. The situation is so dire that even the Conservatives are asking hard questions about mouldy homes and federal underfunding of housing in Nunavut during Question Period.

Even small proposals with tiny price tags have been dismissed out of hand by the Liberal government. Take my amendment to Bill C-19, which would have put Indigenous languages on election ballots. A COVID-19 election seemed like a perfect time to protect Canadian democracy through adding Indigenous languages on ballots. I thought that breaking down a long-standing barrier would be a no-brainer for the Liberals and Conservatives on the committee. I was wrong. They shot it down.

Every time I’ve tried to make change, I’ve been blocked by a Liberal (or a Conservative) who smiles at me and condescendingly compliments my courage while they slam the door on me. Sometimes my work feels meaningless when those with power keep acknowledging that I’m right while they continue to do wrong themselves.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Musical interlude

Metric - Blindness

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- CBC News reports on the expert response to deaths caused by the spread of the Delta COVID-19 variant in a Calgary hospital - including needed warnings that vaccinations aren't a bulletproof line of defence against it. And Mary Van Beukesom discusses how the combination of the Delta variant and increased spread among younger demographics is driving a new surge in the UK. 

- Jeremy Corbyn and Niki Ashton question the G7's willingness to prolong the COVID-19 pandemic in order to preserve the pharmaceutical industry's plans to turn the coronavirus into a long-term profit centre. And Grant Robertson reports on the data gaps which have reduced the effectiveness of Canada's vaccination efforts. 

- Kerry Campbell reports on the conclusions of the House of Commons' standing committee on human resources that Canada's EI system needs to be reworked to ensuring benefits are available for all types of workers. 

- Marc Lee discusses how spin about distant and selective "net zero" emission targets serves only to distract us from the need to actually reduce carbon pollution as soon as possible. 

- Finally, Tristin Hopper discusses a few of the systemic choices which have resulted in decent housing being unaffordable for far too many Canadians. And Martine August points out the rise of institutional landlords (driven by preferential tax treatment) which is driving up the cost of rental housing. 

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Jennifer Yang and Kenyon Wallace discuss how the Delta variant makes the COVID-19 pandemic far more dangerous than it had been before - even as far too many governments barge ahead with the elimination of public health measures. The Globe and Mail's editorial board writes about the work to be done to reach people who haven't yet been vaccinated. And Edward Nirenberg and Risa Hoshino remind us of the risk being foisted on children who aren't eligible for a vaccine, but face the threat of both severe short-term illness and long COVID. 

- Katrina Perehudoff, Nav Persaud and Lisa Forman write that we should treat access to needed medicine as a human right (and establish a national pharmacare system accordingly). And Jacob Albin Korem Alhassan, Cindy Hanson and Lori Hanson make the case for a national public transportation system to fill urgent needs which are only growing as provinces and the private sector abandon the field. 

- Elior Cohen studies the effect of providing housing to homeless people, and finds that up-front sticker price is largely recouped in reduced social costs within the first two years. 

- Tik Root reports on new research showing that the Earth is trapping far more heat than at any point in recorded history. 

- Finally, David Sirota and Andrew Perez write about the U.S.' "lottery society", where any sense of meritocracy has been overwhelmed by concentrations of money and privilege. Joe Roberts writes that Canada has historically had both an economy designed around the principle of wealth supremacy. And Andrea Reimer weighs in on the failure of our political system to reflect working class values. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Tavia Grant writes that a year and half of experience have confirmed that the most important element in reducing the workplace spread of COVID-19 is ensuring adequate ventilation - but that public health rules have utterly failed to reflect that knowledge. Mickey Djuric reports on the unions and workers pointing out that prematurely lifting mask mandates will only exacerbate the threat to front-line workers. And Ciara Linnane reports on the spread of the more infectious Delta variant which is becoming the dominant strain worldwide, while CTV News highlights how it looks likely to cause a fourth COVID wave in Alberta. 

- D.T. Cochrane argues that Canada needs to collect a fair amount of revenue from the rich and invest in a just transition. 

- Emma Pullman reports on the U.S.' use of privatized surveillance data - which could not legally be gathered by the government - to round up and deport immigrants. 

- Sheila Block, Grace-Edward Galabuzi and Hayden King examine how Canadian racial inequality persists into retirement. And James Murphy writes about the role of private schools in giving a wholly undeserved advantage to children of privilege. 

- Finally, Umair Haque discusses the dangerous political reality in which billionaires allow members of lower classes a measure of domination over out-groups as the price of being able to extract massive amounts of wealth from the general population. And Andrew Kersley writes about the growing threat of right-wing violence in the UK due largely to mainstream acceptance of fascist messages. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Naptime cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Jessica Elgot, Aubrey Allegretti and Nicola Davis report on the UK's delay in lifting coronavirus restrictions as it battles the Delta variant. Bruce Arthur discusses how Ontarians are largely on their own in trying to secure access to a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Ivan Pereira and Joshua Hoyos report on an anti-masker's killing of a cashier for attempting to enforce a mask policy in Georgia. 

- Emma Howard-Boyd highlights how any action to avert a climate breakdown needs to include support for developing countries to respond to extreme conditions and build clean infrastructure. And Patrick Greenfield notes that the price of avoiding the breakdown of ecosystems is extremely modest compared to the cost of letting our planet degrade. But Adam Radwanski notes that Ontario is going in the wrong direction by increasing its reliance on gas for energy, while Kim Siever reports on the UCP's continued funneling of public money into fossil fuel infrastructure (this time by increasing the financing provided to an oil refinery). 

- Bryan Carney reports on revelations that price-fixing between major Canadian grocery chains went far beyond the familiar collusion on bread prices. 

- Jodi Kantor, Karen Weise and Grace Ashford offer a behind-the-scenes look at the unacceptable conditions facing Amazon workers. And Reuters reports on a million-dollar fine facing IKEA for spying on its staff. 

- Finally, Brendan Kennedy reports on the Libs' continued court battles against First Nations children. And Tom Parkin discusses how Canadians are increasingly recognizing the place of racism and genocide in our country's development - and how Jagmeet Singh is giving a voice to that recognition. 

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Tom Parkin calls out Jason Kenney's defence of genocide and its architects in an attempt to keep his party's white supremacist base onside. And PressProgress notes that Kenney's insistence on turning an in-person Stampede into the greatest summer outbreak ever has large sponsors and even Canada's military keeping their distance.

- Kim Siever highlights the UCP's choice to hand a large private lab services contract to a major donor with massive lobbying influence rather than ensuring that needed services were delivered publicly. And Bob Weber reports on the findings of Alberta's Auditor General that the province is utterly failing to ensure polluters pay to clean up their messes at mine sites. 

- Meanwhile, Chloe Farand points out the absurdity of "net zero" spin from tar sands exploiters whose business model depends on standing in the way of a transition away from dirty fuels. Thomas Homer-Dixon and Duane Froese discuss the melting of permafrost as both an indicator and a cause of continued climate breakdown. And Oliver Milman reports on Antonio Gutierres' message that we're approaching a point of no return.

- Finally, Alex Boutilier reports on the RCMP's previously-denied use of facial recognition software - and it disregard for the law both in engaging in wanton violations of privacy, and in covering up its actions.