Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Leadership 2017 Reference Page (Pinned)

A one-stop source for general links on the 2017 NDP leadership campaign, to be updated as the race progresses. Please feel free to add additional suggestions in comments. (And note that new posts will appear below this one.)

General Information
NDP Constitution (PDF)
Leadership Rules (PDF) - Voting Process
NDP Leadership 2017
Leadership Debates: Ottawa (March 12) - Montreal (March 26) - Sudbury (May 28) - Halifax (June 10) - Saskatoon (July 11) - Montreal (August 27) - Vancouver (September 10)

Candidate Information
Candidate Website Twitter Profile Analysis Ranking
Charlie Angus CharlieAngusNDP.ca @CharlieAngusNDP Profile

Niki Ashton NikiAshton2017.ca @NikiAshton Profile

Guy Caron GuyCaron.ca @GuyCaronNPD Profile

Ibrahim Bruno El-Khoury n/a n/a

Peter Julian PeterJulian.ca @MPJulian Profile

Pat Stogran n/a @PatStogranNDP Profile

All Posts By Label

Babble threads: 1 - 2 - 3
Peter Julian Forum
Twitter: #ndp - #ndpldr

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Coupled cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Andre Picard talks to the Current about the need to start demanding more from our universal health care system, rather than being persuaded to put up with less. And Canadian Doctors for Medicare offers its support to the Ontario NDP's pharmacare plan, while Chris Selley writes that it looks to be a winner both in terms of policy and politics.

- Richard Lewontin points out that inequality is far from natural or inevitable - no matter how much pseudoscience is assembled to pretend otherwise.

- Meanwhile, Tara Garcia Mathewson reminds us that poverty results in entirely unnatural changes to the developing brain, while Dawn Foster recognizes its link to mental health issues. And in the wake of British Columbia's election campaign, Katie Hyslop rightly asks how anybody can trust a government to deal with poverty if it remains idle when it has money to burn.

- Kevin Carmichael discusses the risk of a Canadian financial crisis, most recently due to the lack of any meaningful policy response to real estate bubbles in Vancouver and Toronto. And Richard Florida highlights how progressive city planning is needed to avoid segregation by income.

- Finally, the Star calls for the federal government to reverse the Harper Cons' punitive policy on criminal pardons. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Paul Krugman notes that after promising to bring some outside perspective to politics, Donald Trump is instead offering only a warmed-over version of the Republicans' typical voodoo economics. And John Cassidy highlights how Trump's plan appears to be nothing more than to wage class warfare on behalf of the rich.

- Meanwhile, Phillip Inman offers a reminder as to one of the ways in which our economy is already rigged against workers, noting that the cost of child care in the UK in some cases forces families ot effectively pay to work.

- Geoff Leo exposes the terms of the Saskatchewan Party government's land deal with CP - which features the public giving away land for free even as it was overpaying to buy it through Sask Party donors.

- Jason Hammond lists a few of the lessons Elwin Hermanson and the rest of the Saskatchewan Party could learn if they visited a library rather than merely threatening to cut funding. And CKRM highlights the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association's recognition that the Sask Party's contempt for local government is unprecedented. 

- Finally, Duncan Cameron points out how Justin Trudeau has followed in Stephen Harper's footsteps with a top-down, PMO-controlled government. And Tom Parkin writes that Trudeau's model for the Senate is managing to prove even more regressive than Harper's version by imposing roadblocks to a government bill intended to facilitate union organization.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Nick Bunker points out that the worst of the U.S.' growing inequality since 2000 has come from the growing share of income going to capital concentrated in the .01%. And Lynn Parramore highlights Peter Temin's case that the U.S. is regressing into a developing country for the majority of residents:
America is not one country anymore. It is becoming two, each with vastly different resources, expectations, and fates.

In one of these countries live members of what Temin calls the “FTE sector” (named for finance, technology, and electronics, the industries which largely support its growth). These are the 20 percent of Americans who enjoy college educations, have good jobs, and sleep soundly knowing that they have not only enough money to meet life’s challenges, but also social networks to bolster their success. They grow up with parents who read books to them, tutors to help with homework, and plenty of stimulating things to do and places to go. They travel in planes and drive new cars. The citizens of this country see economic growth all around them and exciting possibilities for the future. They make plans, influence policies, and count themselves as lucky to be Americans.

The FTE citizens rarely visit the country where the other 80 percent of Americans live: the low-wage sector. Here, the world of possibility is shrinking, often dramatically. People are burdened with debt and anxious about their insecure jobs if they have a job at all. Many of them are getting sicker and dying younger than they used to. They get around by crumbling public transport and cars they have trouble paying for. Family life is uncertain here; people often don’t partner for the long-term even when they have children. If they go to college, they finance it by going heavily into debt. They are not thinking about the future; they are focused on surviving the present. The world in which they reside is very different from the one they were taught to believe in. While members of the first country act, these people are acted upon.
We’ve been digging ourselves into a hole for over forty years, but Temin says that we know how to stop digging. If we spent more on domestic rather than military activities, then the middle class would not vanish as quickly. The effects of technological change and globalization could be altered by political actions. We could restore and expand education, shifting resources from policies like mass incarceration to improving the human and social capital of all Americans. We could upgrade infrastructure, forgive mortgage and educational debt in the low-wage sector, reject the notion that private entities should replace democratic government in directing society, and focus on embracing an integrated American population. We could tax not only the income of the rich, but also their capital.
Along with Thomas Piketty, whose Capital in the Twenty-First Century examines historical and modern inequality, Temin’s book has provided a giant red flag, illustrating a trajectory that will continue to accelerate as long as the 20 percent in the FTE sector are permitted to operate a country within America’s borders solely for themselves at the expense of the majority. Without a robust middle class, America is not only reverting to developing-country status, it is increasingly ripe for serious social turmoil that has not been seen in generations.
- Meanwhile, Daniel Tencer discusses the spread of precarious work in Canada - along with the temp agencies and other actors who profit from it.

- Paul Wells examines the early development of the Libs' infrastructure bank, while pointing out the risk that infrastructure designed to facilitate profits rather than benefit the public will serve only to bring lower standards to public services. And Percy Downe discusses the need for political and organizational will to match new federal funding to combat overseas tax evasion.

- Tim Fontaine reports on the multiple social factors which contribute to illnesses for indigenous people both on and off reserve. And Joshua Tepper comments on the health challenges for people living in northern Ontario.

- Finally, Natalie Bennett comments on the role a more fair electoral system could play in ensuring stronger environmental policy in the UK - and the lesson applies equally to Canada.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Eva Schaherl offers her take on how to fight against climate change:
  • Stop being distracted by the “Sad!” theatre of the Greatest Show on Earth across our southern border. In Canada our leadership debates should be focused on how to save the world’s life-support systems, not imitating the hateful squabbles of our U.S. neighbours.
  • Make climate the central issue in every byelection, election, leadership contest and international powwow. If our only sandbox falls apart, every other issue from migration to the economy becomes unsolvable.
  • Ask young people what they think. They’re going to be stuck with this overheated planet, rising seas and unstable climate. Maybe we should lower the voting age to 16. It’s their future we are deciding now.
  • We need to build a sustainable, renewable energy infrastructure that’s needed today and for the future. Not pour any more resources into extracting and burning fuels that will have to be phased out by the time our kids are having their kids.
- Meanwhile, in the "what not to do" department, Carl Meyer reports on the Trudeau Libs' decision to let oil lobbyists dictate environmental policy yet again, this time by delaying the implementation of methane emission rules past the next election. And Brent Patterson rightly points out that meeting a target 8 years down the road doesn't do anything to remove the added pollution which the Libs plan to allow in the meantime.

- Michael Harris writes that under Christy Clark's regime, the domination of policy choices by big and dirty business is equally apparent in B.C. And Laila Yuile points out the massive gap between the effort the B.C. Libs put into spin and empty promises, and their utter lack of interest in following through on anything that could benefit people.

- Similarly, Trish Hennessy notes that Kathleen Wynne is in election-year mode - which means trying to get Ontarians to forget how she's sold them out since taking majority power.

- Finally, Nick Falvo calls out Brad Wall for delivering a reverse Robin Hood budget which takes from the poor to give to the rich.

Leadership 2017 Links

The latest from the NDP's federal leadership campaign.

- The Canadian Press reports on Pat Stogran's official campaign launch. And Alex Ballingall highlights Stogran's criticism of Justin Trudeau's empty-suit governance, while Jeremy Nuttall focuses on his message about challenging politics as usual.

- Charlie Smith interviews Peter Julian about his "just transition" energy policy and its appeal to MPs from Quebec and elsewhere. Niki Ashton writes about the importance of economic justice - both as a campaign theme, and a focus for activism. Ben Leeson talks to Guy Caron about his plan for the NDP to set a different path and deliver on the change promised (but not delivered) by the Trudeau Libs. And Liam Casey reports on Charlie Angus' continued work to ensure a safe home for the Kashechewan First Nation in the wake of another evacuation.

- Tom Parkin argues that there's a need for the leadership candidates to tell a stronger story as to how many Canadians are being left behind by economic structures designed to benefit the few.

- And finally, Ian Capstick talks to Libby Davies about her experience working with Jack Layton as the NDP's leader, as well as her hopes for the new candidates to match both his authenticity and his interest in working with others.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Musical interlude

Suncatcher & Exolight - Memory of You

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Andrew Jackson discusses the problems with increased corporate concentration of wealth and power - including the need for a response that goes beyond competition policies.
In the 1960s, institutional economists like John Kenneth Galbraith described a world of oligopoly in which a few firms, such as the big three in auto, set prices in order to achieve profit targets. This cozy world was disrupted by increased international competition, and by deregulation and privatization of the utilities, transportation and financial sectors, but corporate concentration has staged a major comeback

Mr. Galbraith advocated countervailing power rather than competitive markets as a way to constrain large dominant firms. In his view, corporate power had to be balanced by the power of organized labour so that profits were shared by workers, and by the power of democratic governments to regulate prices, service quality, and product and environmental standards in the public interest.

A similar argument has been advanced by Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz in a publication of the Roosevelt Institute, Rewrite the Rules. Mr. Stiglitz believes that extreme income and wealth inequality in the United States is indeed closely associated with the increased market power of large corporations, and argues for increased regulation (especially in the finance sector), support for trade unions and stronger labour standards, and corporate tax reform.
In this new age of corporate concentration, we certainly need a much broader response than competition policy alone.
- Janine Berg and Valerio De Stefano discuss the need to provide regulatory protections for workers in the gig economy, while Rebecca Greenfield points out how a shorter work day can produce better results for workers and employers alike. And Laurie Monsebraaten highlights some of the hopes for Ontario's basic income pilot project in providing basic financial stability for people who currently lack anything of the sort.

- Meanwhile, Ivona Hideg points out how the Libs' plan to draw out maternity leaves only helps families who can afford to have a parent out of the workplace for an extended period of time. And Evan Johnston rightly rebuts the anti-worker proposals being made by corporate groups participating in Ontario's workplace consultations.

- CBC reports on this week's new research study showing how Christy Clark's Site C debacle represents a waste of billions of public dollars. And Carol Linnitt highlights five particularly egregious realities about the project.

- Finally, Geoff Leo exposes the shady connections between Saskatchewan Party MPs and holding companies whose purposes haven't been publicly disclosed. And Murray Mandryk notes that tolerating glaring conflicts of interest is business as usual for Brad Wall and his party.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Martin Patriquin takes Saskatchewan's increasing recognition of the Wall government's institutional corruption to the national stage:
Politicians who navigate a corrupted political system have some of the easiest jobs in the world. With the weight and legitimacy of the state behind them, they need not sell anything more than access to themselves. And it is a seller’s market.
To be fair to Quebec’s political parties, it took over 30 years to perfect the scheme. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and the party he leads have figured it out in about 10 years — and they didn’t have to break a single law to do it.

Political parties are generally discreet about fundraising on the backs of their leaders. The Saskatchewan Party, which has ruled over the Land Of Living Skies since 2007, does so with the cheeseball gusto normally reserved for televangelists and used car salesmen.
In Quebec, companies and corporations had to break the law to donate to political parties. In Saskatchewan, it is entirely out in the open, and there is no limit to the amount an individual or a corporation can give. Hell, even companies based outside of the province can donate — and they have, including Calgary-based Trans Canada Pipelines and Vancouver-based Telus Inc., among dozens of others.

Wall himself is so nonplussed at the rather disastrous optics of all of this that he could barely muster a shrug when it was revealed that he owned shares in an oil company his government was lobbying to come to the province.
In politics, you eventually become what you profess to hate. The Saskatchewan Party was born out of a sense of austere populism in 1997 — the hardscrabble laypeople rising up against the entrenched establishment. After barely a decade in power, it has become quite the opposite: a political entity that proudly sells access to its leader, just as it does to the naming rights on its golf carts.
- Jordon Cooper recognizes that the most alarming part of Eric Olauson's plan to document and attack constituents who dare to question government actions is the fact that it seems to be standard practice for the Saskatchewan Party.  And the Treaty 6 Justice Collective reminds us of the importance of fighting back against austerity and antisocial policy. 

- Jim Sinclair rightly pushes back against the desire of Brian Day and other corporate health care promoters to scrap equal access to care in favour of pay-for-play health. And CTV reports on Mohammed Hajizadeh's research documenting the unfairness which already exists in favour of the wealthy in seeking out care, while Jane Gerster points out how "prominent" Manitobans are able to jump the queue.

- Meanwhile, Peter Goffin discusses Health Quality Ontario's study showing the lack of adequate care in northern Ontario. And the CP reports on the Canadian Human Rights Commissions' latest annual report - which deals particularly with how children are being left behind on many crucial rights issues.

- Finally, Neil MacDonald comments on the absurdity of the Trudeau Libs continuing to jail people for marijuana-related offences while (supposedly) charting a path toward legalizing its use. And Rob Gillezeau examines how the Libs' planned changes to the Parliamentary Budget Officer's mandate will insulate dubious policy choices from important checks and balances.

New column day

Here, pointing out that the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (PDF) serves no useful purpose even on the terms of its advocates following the unveiling of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (PDF) - and asking whether we'll see any action to eliminate its downsides.

For further reading...
- I've previously discussed how the TILMA (which was of course rebranded as the NWPTA later on) in fact includes none of the balance or interest in harmonized and high regulatory standards promised when it was introduced.
- And it will particularly be worth comparing the Wall government's willingness to allow corporations to sue for damages against its refusal to allow municipalities to do the same in the face of breaches of contract.