Saturday, September 25, 2021

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Karl Nerenberg notes that taxes on the wealthy represent an excellent starting point in ensuring that it's possible to pass progressive policy in a minority Parliament. And Katrina Miller, Toby Sanger and Alex Hemingway point out the role the provinces can play in developing a more progressive tax system while funding the services and social investments we need.

- But Michael Roberts warns that there's little indication yet that we'll change course from an economy dangerously reliant on dying resource industries and zombie corporations. 

- Meanwhile David Roberts, points out that Illinois is setting new standards in developing an equitable transition plan to a clean economy.

- Kandist Mallitt calls out the increasing use of violent police force to displace homeless people based on the view they have no place in a commercialized housing market. And Jesse Jenkinson and Stephen Hwang write that we should be making tent encampments unnecessary rather than illegal.

- Finally, Umair Haque discusses Britain's continuing failure to realize that it's shot itself in the foot by pushing through Brexit in the absence of any coherent reason or rational plan.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Musical interlude

Japanese Breakfast - Be Sweet

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Katherine Wu, Ed Yong and Sarah Zhang set out six rules which will shape how we handle the next wave of COVID - including recognition that vaccination alone isn't going to be sufficient to avoid a tragic human toll.

- Yasmine Ghania reports on the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation's rightful frustration with the lack of isolation for COVID-positive students. Zak Vescera reports on some of the patients who are missing out on needed care and treatment because the Moe government has allowed COVID to run rampant. And the Canadian Press reports on the suspension of organ donations as a particularly damaging outcome. 

- Linda McQuaig calls for the NDP to use the balance of power to pursue hearings on a wealth tax - though the more substantive option would seem to involve avoiding that step and pressing the demand directly. 

- Meanwhile, Sabrina Maddeaux writes that we shouldn't be surprised to see the Libs refusing reform of an electoral system which disproportionately benefits them at the expense of other parties and interests. 

- Finally, Wyatt Schierman writes about the lack of much for anybody to celebrate arising out of Monday's election. And Sonia Theroux notes that if Justin Trudeau were serious about wanting stability and a longer mandate, he'd be best served working on a formal agreement rather than continuing his pattern of repeated games of confidence-vote chicken. 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

On echoes

Plenty of commentators have pointed out the symmetry between this year's election and that of 2008 in terms of low voter turnout and general dissatisfaction with the outcome on the part of all parties. But it's worth noting the similarities between the two campaigns and their aftermath on the part of the NDP in particular.

2008 was treated as a golden opportunity for Jack Layton and the NDP to improve their standing. But even with the most popular leader among the national parties, a well-run campaign, and seemingly uninspiring or downright self-destructive competitors, the NDP ended up with...a small increase in the percentage of the popular vote due to declining overall turnout; a slightly improved seat count which fell far short of the party's number of targeted ridings and left it in fourth place in the Parliamentary standings; and punditry which questioned Layton's strategy of running for the position of Prime Minister, and asked whether he might have hit his ceiling as the party's leader. 

Sound familiar?

Needless to say, it was for the best that Layton was able to continue applying his experience and popularity to the cause of building the NDP for another election cycle. And any attempt to treat the replacement of a generally popular and able leader as a cure-all is as misguided now as it would have been in 2008. 

Indeed, the next election cycle may well match 2011 as one in which a leader with strong recognition and approval is a particularly potent force. 

The Cons look to be deciding whether or not to push Erin O'Toole out the door for making even token efforts toward moderation. And any review process and leadership campaign on their end raises a real possibility of schisms within the party, an extreme shift to the right which could disqualify them as a perceived alternative government, or the Cons' version of Michael Ignatieff's saviour complex and lack of self-awareness. 

Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau's negative impressions figure to be thoroughly baked in at this point, meaning that voters may be primed for change by the next (hopefully non-pandemic) election. Yet unlike some commentators, I'd have to see it as unlikely that he'd be pushed without wanting to leave - or that he'll choose to leave government without pursing another shot at a majority as long as there's any hope of winning one. 

To be clear, there's plenty the NDP needs to reckon with as a result of the campaign. Among others, those include the need for clearer and more ambitious policy (an area where I'll again point out COVID response as an obvious lost opportunity), as well as concerns being raised about a centralized campaign which spent plenty in the pursuit of a relatively small number of ridings, yet had difficulty converting those into seats. 

But the fact that there's room to learn lessons doesn't mean it's time to throw out the work the NDP has already done. And it shouldn't come as any surprise if the path of slow progress leading to a breakthrough is one the NDP can navigate again. 

[Edit: fixed typo.]

#Elxn44 Roundup

News and notes from the aftermath of Canada's federal election.

- Christo Aivalis is the latest to point out that nobody emerged from the election as a winner. And John Packer writes that there's an ever-stronger case for a coalition government given the low level of popular support for the party with a plurality of seats. 

- Katrina Miller notes that the idea of taxing the rich isn't about to disappear anytime soon, and that it makes sense for it to be one of the outcomes of Monday's election. 

- Karl Nerenberg writes about the multiple barriers to voting which limited turnout and affected the fairness of the election. And Ole Hendrickson argues that the low turnout also serves as evidence of discontent with an electoral system which fails to reflect the will of voters. 

- Pam Palmater highlights why we need to be worried about the PPC's increased number of votes as an indication of a dangerous far-right movement. 

- Finally, Nia Williams writes about the demand by Canadian fossil fuel workers to see the Libs make good on the promise of retraining as part of a just transition. 

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- The Institut economique Molinari studies how COVID Zero strategies have not only kept populations healthier, but helped to preserve higher levels of freedom than plans which instead allow for avoidable community transmission. And Andrew Conway-Harris et al. find (PDF) that air filtration is extremely effective at removing COVID-19 and other airborne diseases from hospital wards. 

- Which is to say that responsible governments should be able to minimize the continued spread of COVID. But instead, Jason Warick reports on the repurposing of Saskatchewan health care providers to brace against an avoidable fourth wave, while Taz Dhaliwal highlights the rightly outraged response of doctors now being told by Scott Moe that they bear responsibility for not sufficiently countering his constant minimization of the pandemic. And Zak Vescera reports on the ballooning number of COVID cases in Saskatchewan's under-19 population. 

- Geoffrey Morgan reports on the growing concern that the massive liabilities associated with a declining oil patch will be dumped onto governments and landowners as oil companies shed idle wells. And Niciolas Van Praet reports on the attempt by fossil fuel companies to use trade agreements to prevent any transition away from new production to help avert climate disaster. 

- Michael Sean Winters discusses how more progressive taxes on the rich represent both a popular step and a smart policy choice. And Chris Dite interviews Marie Sneve Martinussen and Seher Aydar about the success of Norway's Red Party in turning class messaging into both electoral and social change. 

- Finally, Sean Isaacs writes about the encroachment of financialization on nearly every aspect of our lives, and the resulting increase in capital's control over people. And Karin Larsen reports on the underhanded tactics of one prominent Vancouver landlord in seeking to evade rent controls by setting up an artificial "utility provider" which would not be subject to any caps (while still using the threat of eviction to force the payment of its bills). 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

 Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Julian Borger reports on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' call to address major inequities, including in climate action and vaccine distribution. And Stephanie Nolen and Sheryl Gay Stolberg report on the pressure rightly being applied to the Biden administration to open up access to vaccine production so that pandemic suppression can take precedence over pharmaceutical profiteering.  

- Meanwhile, Sareth Peiris writes that the immediate effect of the public health measures delayed so long by Scott Moe serves only to show that action should have been taken far sooner. Zak Vescera reports that the list of crises bubbling up in Saskatchewan's health care system includes an imminent shortage of COVID-19 medication. And Colleen Silverthorn reports on the lengthy list of recent outbreaks in Saskatchewan long-term care homes, while Richard Adams discusses the massive spread within schools in the UK. 

- Matt Elliott laments Toronto's choice to spend $2 million to forcibly eject dozens of homeless people from parks rather than using its resources to actually ensure housing is available. 

- Finally, David Moscrop writes that the latest federal election is just the latest example of the failings of a political system designed for two parties when voters demand multiple options. 

#Elxn44 Roundup

Assorted reactions to a federal election which changed so little.

- The Canadian Labour Congress points out that we can't afford to be stuck with the status quo when there's an opportunity for parties to chart a more equitable and sustainable course for Canada. And Aaron Wherry wonders how the federal parties will adapt to another apparent run of minority Parliaments by working on systemic cooperation rather than turning every confidence vote into a game of chicken, while Alex Marland points out the range of outcomes in historical minority governments from generational change to complete gridlock. 

- Seth Klein writes that the new Parliament will hold Canada's climate future in its hands. And Morgan Sharp argues that young voters will be looking for the parties to work together on that front, while Vijay Tupper makes the case that Jagmeet Singh needs to serve to counterbalance the influence of the fossil fuel sector. 

- Justin Ling writes that the main factors driving the outcome proved to be fatigue and resignation. Cameron Holmstrom writes that there were ultimately no winners among Canada's political parties.  

- Meanwhile, PressProgress reports on the problems with ballot box access in a pandemic election, including unconscionably long lines in some areas and a complete lack of polls in others. 

- Finally, Armine Yalnizyan offers a reminder that the pandemic's disproportionate impact on women is far from over - and that countering its effects needs to be another top priority in the next Parliament.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Alert cats.


Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Alexander Quon reports on Alexander Wong's call for far more public health measures to alleviate COVID's unmanageable strain on Saskatchewan's health care system. And Libby Giesbrecht reports on the conditions in emergency rooms which are seeing patients wait for days (requiring the attention of paramedics the entire time) before being admitted.  

- Meanwhile, Andrea Germanos writes that the failure of rich countries to provide vaccines to less-wealthy ones is resulting both in gross inequality in vaccine access, and far more dangerous outcomes for everybody. 

- Alex Hemingway discusses the need for progress on sick leave in British Columbia, as well as the danger that corporate influence will once again leave workers to fend for themselves. And Charles Smith discusses what the Co-op refinery lockout means for the wider labour movement. 

- Finally, Peter McCartney offers some important suggestions as to what the next federal government can do to step up the fight against a climate breakdown - though there's little reason for optimism given the Libs' smug determination to avoid doing anything that doesn't fit into immediate economic models. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Doug Cuthand discusses how everybody is worse off as a result of the combination of government negligence and individual vaccine hesitancy. And Liam Harrap tells the story of a cancer patient struggling to get access to needed care due to the pandemic which has been allowed to burn out of control. 

- Meanwhile, Amanda Sealy reports on the prospect of vaccines being available for ages 5-11 within a matter of weeks - making it all the more galling that conservative governments have facilitated a fourth wave by eliminating public health rules too soon then taking too long to revisit their talking points.  

- Jonathan Tirone discusses how the "locked-in" emissions even from existing refineries will lead to climate catastrophe if they're spewed out as planned.

- Rosie Collington and Mariana Mazzucato comment on the disastrous results of replacing knowledgeable and effective government with reliance on expensive and self-interested corporate consultants. 

- Finally, Owen Jones comments on the widespread dissatisfaction with capitalism among young adults who see their futures being mortgaged for the sake of making the obscenely rich even wealthier. 

#Elxn44 E-Day Links

News and notes as Canada's federal election draws to a close.

- David Moscrop discusses how a campaign nobody wanted is leaning toward grudging continuation of the status quo which the Libs tried to discard. And Ryan Maloney reports on the technical problems arising largely out of a snap pandemic election. 

- The Star offers its endorsement - which predictably supports the Libs, but recognizes both the contribution the NDP has made in responding to the pandemic so far and the need for it to be strengthened in pushing for progressive policy going forward. And Alex Ballingall reports on Jagmeet Singh's pursuit of tax fairness as the key to NDP support once voters have had our say. 

- PressProgress reports on the choice of multiple Con MPs to use a petition service which sends signatories' data to be used by far-right groups in Europe. And Caroline Orr writes about the connection between anti-vaxxers and the far-right PPC - and how the election doesn't figure to be the end of the story. 

- Meanwhile, Dave Cournoyer discusses Alberta's impact on the election - which now figures to be based primarily on the motivation of voters across Canada to avoid a Kenney-style catastrophe. 

- Finally, Olamide Olaniyan writes that systemic racism should be a major election issue - though it's worth noting that at least one party does actually take it seriously from a policy standpoint. 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

#Elxn44 Roundup

The latest from Canada's federal election campaign.

- Victoria Nicolau reports on the Native Women's Association of Canada's campaign scorecard, showing the NDP well ahead of other parties in addressing the issues facing Indigenous women. And Omayra Issa and Theresa Kliem talk to young Indigenous people in Saskatchewan about what they want to see - and how the establishment parties are falling short.

- Katrina Miller and Jamie Kirkpatrick discuss how the Cons' refusal to even countenance a necessary transition to a clean economy stands to endanger the future of young Canadians both in polluting their planet and denying them a place in the global economy as it develops. 

- Toby Sanger writes that the Cons' economic plans predictably involve taking services away from people who need them in order to hand money to those who already have more than enough. And Patrick Brethour notes that the Libs' tenure in office has fallen short of Justin Trudeau's promises of economic growth.

- Catharine Tunney discusses why it may take several days to learn conclusive results from tomorrow's election. And John Brewin explores what we might expect in the Parliamentary session to follow.

- Finally, Nancy MacDonald examines what's new in the NDP's campaign. And Christian Paas-Lang wonders whether the 10th anniversary of the first Orange Wave in Quebec might see a resurgence - in part due to some familiar faces who have returned to the political fray.