Monday, March 05, 2018

Leadership 2018 Reference Page

A one-stop source for general links on the 2018 Saskatchewan 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
Saskatchewan NDP Constitution (PDF)
Leadership Rules (PDF)
Leadership 2018

Candidate Information
Candidate Website Twitter Profile Platform Ranking
Ryan Meili @ryanmeili Profile

Trent Wotherspoon @WotherspoonT Profile

Other Resources

All Posts By Label

Twitter: #skndpldr

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Matt Bruenig writes that the concentration of wealth and power which is largely being attributed to crony capitalism is a natural byproduct of laissez-faire economics as well:
An economy that distributes the national income based solely on the marginal productivity of each unit of capital and labor is an economy that will still feature massive levels of inequality and poverty. This is so for three reasons:
  1. Around half of the population neither works nor owns a considerable amount of capital. Their true factor income is around $0.
  2. There are considerable productivity differences between different kinds of jobs, and so wage differences would also remain very high even in the absence of rent.
  3. Capital is distributed extremely unevenly and so capital payments would remain very unequal even without rents.
No amount of increasing competition, trimming intellectual property rights, or lowering barriers to entry would solve these problems. More specifically, eradicating rent-seeking would not solve these problems because these problems are not caused by rents. Instead, we need a big welfare state to fix problem one, strong (“rent-seeking”) labor organizations to fix problem two, and the redistribution and socialization of capital to fix problem three.
- Ed Pilkington explores the widespread poverty already present in the U.S. And Heather Keller and Leah Gramlich discuss the massive costs of malnutrition beyond its direct impacts on health care.

- PressProgress exposes how the Harper Cons suppressed the federal government's own research into the connection between mental health issues and terrorism in order to demonize minorities instead.

- Vito Pelici reports on the decrease in public information about Ontario's power system due to privatization. And Beatrice Britneff notes that the Trudeau Libs don't seem to have much interest in appointing a replacement for Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault as her retirement looms in two weeks.

- Finally, Seth Klein, Shannon Daub and Alex Hemingway offer their suggestions to shape British Columbia's referendum on electoral reform.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- Larry Elliott suggests we shouldn't be duped into thinking that policy biased in favour of the corporate sector is a necessity rather than a choice. And John Falzon notes that inequality too is the product of political decisions rather than an inevitability, while Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman highlight how the U.S. is going out of its way to make matters worse.

- Andrew Stevens discusses the fight for a fair minimum wage in Saskatchewan - and the fearmongering used to oppose one. And Kate McInturff writes about the persistent race and gender income gaps.

- David Weil writes about the challenging future faced by millenials stuck in increasingly volatile work arrangements. And Sam Riches offers an inside look at the realities of trying to juggle multiple gigs while lacking any income security.

- Andrew Jackson points out the continually-increasing level of consumer debt in Canada, and notes the reality that there's little apparent overlap between the many workers facing large debt loads and the privileged few who are accumulating assets.

- Finally, Adam Kassam highlights the many ways in which private dollars - in the form of both fees and donations - are papering over gaps in public funding for health care.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Musical interlude

Fluke - Pulsed

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Marco Chown Oved, Toby Heaps and Michael Yow discuss the long-term transition away from meaningful corporate tax contributions to Canada's public purse:
For every dollar corporations pay to the Canadian government in income tax, people pay $3.50. The proportion of the public budget funded by personal income taxes has never been greater.

At a time when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made tax fairness a centrepiece of his government, the Toronto Star and Corporate Knights magazine spent six months poring over tax data to determine how much income tax corporations are really paying.

We found the amount of tax most big companies pay has been dropping as a proportion of their profits for years, and not only because the corporate tax rate has been cut repeatedly. Canada’s largest corporations use complex techniques and tax loopholes to reduce their taxes significantly below the official corporate tax rate set by the government.
The 2011-2016 audited financial statements of all large Canadian corporations (those worth more than $2 billion) reveal they paid an average of 17.7 per cent tax.

During that time, the average official corporate tax rate in Canada for this group of companies was 26.6 per cent.

That 8.9 per cent gap translates into tens of billions of dollars that could have been used to pay for the schools, roads, hospitals, police and paramedics we all rely on.
- And Chown Oved also reports on the strong public appetite to close tax loopholes and ensure that corporations pay their fair share.

- David Macdonald and Martha Friendly study the glaring gaps in cost and availability of child care across Canada, while Randy Shore reports on the CCPA's proposed path to $10 per day child care in British Columbia.

- Erin Anderssen reports on new research showing the desperate need for improved access to mental health care in Ontario.

- Mark Hancock offers his take on what progressive trade policy should include - including a focus on what's best for workers and citizens rather than businesses alone. And Stuart Trew and Scott Sinclair discuss the possibility of seriously evaluating the effects of the many trade deals already on the books, rather than rushing into more.

- Finally, Shawn McCarthy reports on the World Bank's decision to stop lending to oil and gas projects as part of the world's transition away from dirty energy. And the CP takes note of Alberta's massive wind power savings resulting from its concerted effort to make a quick shift to renewables.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

New column day

Here, on how Quebec's latest poverty plan falls far short of the "basic income" title it's received in some national coverage - and on how we should insist on political leadership toward the genuine article.

For further reading...
- CBC has reported on the new plan and the response it's received, as well as the draconian requirements Quebec has previously placed on recipients of social assistance.
- Andre Picard asks whether the new plan provides assistance to the right people, while noting how the system remains downright punitive toward some.
- And Nicholas Keung reports on the Ontario Human Rights Commission's research showing that recipients of social assistance face prejudice from a substantial proportion of the public.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- PressProgress points out Statistics Canada's latest numbers on Canada's extreme wealth disparity - with 60% of the population owning only 10% of the wealth while a lucky few amass gigantic fortunes. 

- Jordan Brennan discusses how a lack of labour conflict has led to low levels of both wage increases and inflation while ensuring that productivity gains accrue only to the wealthy. And Harrison Samphir examines how Skip the Dishes is one of the poster children for the suppression of workers' rights and interests through precarious work arrangements.

- Darryl Greer notes that the Paradise Papers have shed new light on the use of offshore tax havens. But Marco Chown Oved and Robert Cribb report that federal and provincial finance ministers are electing not to set up a publicly-accessible register of beneficial ownership to reduce the secrecy behind corporate holdings.

- Somini Sengupta reports on the massive amount of food which gets wasted (up to a third of what's produced around the globe, and more than that in wealthier countries), as well as the greenhouse gas emissions dumped into our atmosphere in the process.

- Finally, Christo Aivalis points out how the net neutrality debate should lead us toward a broader discussion of social goods in contrast to capitalist exploitation:
(W)hy does the NN debate matter for the Canadian left specifically, and the general left more broadly? For Canadians, it matters because while NN in Canada doesn’t appear to be under assault from the current government, ISPs in Canada have been emboldened by the victories of their corporate analogues south of the border. Further, the fight against NN has been recently picked up by former Industry Minister and runner-up for the Conservative leadership Maxime Bernier. In both Bernier and the ISPs views, NN is little more than state interference into the rights of consumers and companies alike.
This is where the socialist moment reveals itself on the question of Net Neutrality. While many defenders of a free internet have made the argument that NN is actually the free-market capitalist way to run the internet, and the non-NN position is a ‘crony-capitalist’ bastardization, the reality is that opponents of NN are sincerely defending the ideals of liberal capitalism. They are quite correct—by the letter of capitalist law—that ISPs should be more than allowed to partner with certain websites to prioritize bandwidth to that site, or should be allowed to flex their market muscles to restrict access to their competitors’ holdings.

Here’s the crux of the issue: many people see capitalism as synonymous with the free market. But what this episode has shown us, more than anything else, is that the free flow of information exists not because of capitalism, but in spite of it. Capitalism is not a system of free exchange; rather, it is a system of profit maximization for those who own the capital. In some cases this may coincide with what are understood as free markets, but in a great many cases capitalists profit most by restricting the freedom of others, be it their workers, their consumers, or democratic institutions.
The fight for Net Neutrality is but the first salvo in a longer battle over the age-old debates about democracy. The left has to realize that the first stage of this battle is on easily winnable grounds. Capitalists and their ideological brethren have lined up to fight NN as a barrier towards their profit-making enterprise, and socialists can make the case that if capitalism means antagonism to the very concept that manifests a free internet, perhaps the owners of private industry shouldn’t be trusted with other important aspects of our daily lives. Winning this second stage—questioning the undemocratic ownership of major industry in general—is a harder slog altogether, but it must be won. We cannot have a democratic society where the internet is either constrained by ISPs, or dominated by a scant few companies. We cannot choose. The people—either directly or through their duly elected representatives—must control their own public venues, and in the 21st century, the internet is undeniably one of those most important public spaces... 
This is a great opportunity for democratic socialists but only if the message is cast consistently and thoroughly that the fight for Net Neutrality is in reality a battle against capitalism’s logical conclusions.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Nosy cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Tom Parkin duly slams the Libs for a "middle class" tax message being used to sell a giveaway to the rich:
Here’s the blunt facts: the tax cut by Finance Minister Bill Morneau gives $0 to anyone earning under about $45,000. Then the benefit starts phasing in. At $90,000, the benefit is $670. And every person earning over $90,000—even people with million dollar paycheques—gets the $670.

University of Laval economist Stephen Gordon recently pointed out that a $90,000 income is in the top 10% in Canada.

And according to Statistics Canada’s most recent full report of tax filing data, the middle point of Canadian incomes was $33,920 in 2015. That means half of all income earners are above $33,920, half are below.

The facts don’t lie. Morneau is giving $670 a year to everyone with a top 10% income. He’s giving $0 to actual middle income earners. His words are deceptive. It’s a tax cut for the affluent.

Of course, nobody would vote for an upper class cut taxes. So the Liberals said it was a middle class tax cut and hoped you wouldn’t figure it out.
- But Parkin does briefly go off the rails somewhat by focusing needlessly on debt rather than social costs. On that front, Paul Krugman offers a reminder that the right only cares about deficits as an excuse to avoid or destroy social supports. And Corey Robin's takeaways from the Republicans' plan signal the danger of allowing deficit hysteria to dominate the opposition message.

- And Gregori Galofré-Vilà, Christopher M. Meissner, Martin McKee and David Stuckler study how austerity politics were a major factor in the rise of the Nazi party.

- Patricia Aldana rightly argues that citizens need to start recognizing - and taking responsibility for - the damage Canadian-based exploitative resource companies are doing in Honduras and elsewhere.

- Finally, Brett Dolter offers his take on how the Saskatchewan Party's long-delayed excuse for a climate change strategy falls short of the mark.