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

Monday, November 20, 2017

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- George Monbiot writes that the erosion of government for the public good stands to lead to an authoritarian state:
All that remain as widely shared, commonly accepted sources of national pride are our public services: the NHS, the BBC, the education system, social security, our great libraries and museums. But all have been gutted, disciplined and undermined by those who roundly assert their patriotism.

When the enabling state, providing robust public services and a strong social safety net, is allowed to wither, what remains is the authoritarian state, which must coerce and frighten. Consider the decline of neighbourhood policing – essential for preventing crime and gathering intelligence on everything from vandalism to planned terror attacks – and its replacement with ever more draconian laws.

As the enabling state shrinks, the flags must be unfurled, the national anthem played, schoolchildren taught their kings and queens, and more elaborate pieties offered to dead soldiers, because nothing else is left with which to hold us together. National pride becomes toxic, and is used as a weapon against anyone who seeks to express their love for the country by reforming it. The institutions charged with defending the national interest become its deadly enemies.
- Jonathon Rothwell examines the connection between sheltered industries and economic inequality. And Howard Gold discusses how the U.S. Republicans are looking to make matters far worse with a tax giveaway to the wealthy. 

- Meanwhile, Branko Milanovic makes clear that degrowth isn't an option to address global inequality.

- Nicholas Kristof highlights how moralistic public policy only tends to lead to exactly the social breakdown it's intended to prevent, while investments in public services allow people to make choices which better suit their needs.

- Finally, Umair Haque writes about the dopamine economy which leaves consumers constantly seeking instant gratification.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Brent Patterson discusses how the Libs are putting the hands of their already-dubious "infrastructure bank" in the hands of people with a track record of turning public services into private cash cows.

- David Suzuki takes note of another U.S. government climate report on the dangers of climate change. And the Guardian reports that Norges Bank - manager of Norway's trillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund built initially on oil royalties - is recommending a move away from reliance on fossil fuel investments.

- But James Wilt writes that Canada is fighting its own evidence as to the effects of oil extraction, arguing that leaking tar sands tailings ponds don't exist even though its own studies confirm their contamination of drinking water.

- Warren Bell highlights how a proportional electoral system ensures balance between the views and interests of multiple political parties.

- The Star's editorial board argues that Canada's federal government should go beyond reversing the Harper Cons' targeted attacks on charities to clarify that issue advocacy is a valid function.

- Finally, Doug Cuthand discusses the racism behind Bronwyn Eyre's desire to segregate Indigenous people and stories in Saskatchewan's provincial curriculum, and her dishonesty in trying to create a basis for that position. And Cam Fuller serves up the non-apology to end all non-apologies - which sadly figures to be used as a template by the Saskatchewan Party in response to outrages to come.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Leadership 2018 Links

The latest from the Saskatchewan NDP's leadership campaign - though it's noteworthy at the outset how little of the activity in the race is taking place in the public eye. (One key exception there is the policy front, where both candidates have been very active - and which I'll address in future posts.)

- I haven't focused much on endorsements so far due to the reality that both Ryan Meili and Trent Wotherspoon figured to have ample support behind them. And I'll note that the start of the campaign has confirmed that expectation - with Meili unveiling endorsements from Cathy Sproule, Sheri Benson and Ron Fisher, and Wotherspoon enjoying the backing of Nicole Rancourt, Warren McCall, Carla Beck, Danielle Chartier, Buckley Belanger, Doyle Vermette and Lorne Scott.

- Chris Vandenbreekel reports on the candidates' time at the Saskatchewan Teachers' Association's member forum. And Alex MacPherson's weekly notebook series has offered a useful roundup of what's been happening in both the NDP and Saskatchewan Party leadership campaigns.

- Finally, Dennis Raphael argues that Meili's focus on a healthy society is reminiscent of Tommy Douglas' vision and leadership.

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Peter Goodman examines how a basic income could relieve against some of the most harmful effects of capitalist economics. And Sarah O'Connor discusses the plight of towns which have been left behind by economic change.

- Meanwhile, Matt Bruenig offers a reminder that most extreme high incomes are the result of capital ownership rather than labour.

- Alex Hemingway points out that a more progressive tax system is a key element of the fight against inequality. James Wilt looks into the use of tax havens by Canada's fossil fuel sector as yet another means by which public wealth has been hijacked for private profit. And Roberto Saviano notes that the techniques now used to withhold corporate wealth from public revenues were developed first to protect criminal enterprises:
The mechanisms are the same. Only the consulting firms involved and the islands where the news originated have changed. In the Paradise Papers there’s a bit of everything: from the legitimate—though ethically questionable—creation of offshore companies to lower tax liabilities to shell companies that could hide assets of a criminal origin.

Tax havens are where criminal capitalism and legal capitalism meet and merge. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. So is the fact that mafia organizations were the first to create and facilitate money-laundering mechanisms through tax havens.
I am convinced that the Panama and Paradise Papers represent only the tip of the iceberg and that we have no idea of the true shape or size of this problem. What has come to light in both the Panama and Paradise Papers leak proves that in tax havens, cocaine money, money from tax evasion, and legal money all live together, legitimizing one another.

Legal capitalism has learned from criminal capitalism that in the world of money, only rule-breakers survive. Drug traffickers were the pioneers of a free market model that has been slowly adopted by the legal economy.

Cocaine combined all of the pillars of contemporary capitalism: speed, globalization and economic power. Nowhere is this synthesis better in display than in offshore tax havens
- Gordon Hoekstra reports on the hundreds of millions of dollars in fines administered by the B.C. Securities Commission which have thus far gone unpaid, as fraudsters have been able to retain the fruits of their wrongdoing. 

- Finally, Jill Treanor reports on new research showing that the UK consumers who can least afford additional debt are disproportionately likely to have their credit limits increased without requesting it.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Musical interlude

Blue Stone - Waters Flow

Friday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to end your week.

- Laurie MacFarlane points out how increases in land values have resulted in massive and unearned disparities in wealth.

- Kevin Page, Claudette Bradshaw, Geoff Nelson and Tim Aubrey write that a national housing strategy needs to focus on the availability of both affordable housing, and social supports to allow people to stay in it. And Charles Gauthier highlights the importance of viewing people in homeless shelters as neighbours rather than outsiders.

- Michael Plant and Peter Singer discuss the folly of failing to provide mental health supports which would substantially improve well-being at no net cost. And Jim Guy comments on the need for pharmacare to complete Canada's health care system.

- But Alex Matthews-King reports on a new study showing the connection between austerian governments and a disregard for human life, as upwards of 120,000 people may have died from the UK's cuts just since 2010. And Frances Ryan notes that austerity politics are designed to do the most damage to the people who can least afford it:
I can’t decide what’s worse. That for the best part of a decade, this government and its predecessor have brought in a relentless string of cuts, and lined up the most marginalised members of society to take the burden; or that they are doing so while deliberately failing to monitor the damage it’s causing.

Setting a fire and then walking away doesn’t mean no one is going to get burned. Nowadays, for some, the flames are increasingly hard to avoid. This week alone, academics released research establishing austerity can be linked to 120,000 extra deaths between 2010 and 2017, with cuts to the NHS and social care dubbed “economic murder”. Meanwhile, as more than 40,000 children prepare to be left with no money over Christmas because of the rollout of universal credit, the Trussell Trust estimates that food banks will need an extra 2,000 tonnes of food because of the hunger this will cause.

It’s little wonder ministers are doing all they can to avoid a chain of evidence linking what’s happening in this country to the policies they’re bringing in. The Conservatives may not want the public to know, but thanks to the EHRC, it is there in black and white: while the wealthy are being protected, seven years of austerity is inflicting gross hardship on Britain’s poorest.
- Finally, Thomas Walkom comments on the massive gap between the Libs' rhetoric and actions on climate change and human rights. And Jordan Press fact checks Justin Trudeau's false claims about his response to tax evasion.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Canadians for Tax Fairness discusses the appallingly small tax contributions made by Canada's largest companies, the vast majority of whom have foreign subsidiaries to avoid paying their fair share.

- Meanwhile, Robert de Vries and Aaron Reeves point out the unfortunate reality that far too many people are prepared to overlook how the wealthy manipulate our tax systems while holding people living in poverty to a spotless ethical standard.

- Martin Regg Cohn writes about the Ontario Libs' purely political choice to hand free money to businesses as the price of increasing the province's minimum wage.

- And Sara Mojtehedazeh reports on the Wynne Libs' decision to open the door to massive loopholes to allow employers to impose unpredictable scheduling on workers.

- Josh Gordon discusses the need for a property surtax in British Columbia to ensure both a modicum of tax fairness, and sufficient funding to provide public services.

- Finally, Tim Quigley asks whether Saskatchewan voters can reasonably trust a Wall government which has repeatedly broken its promises on Crown corporations - and rights argues that if not, then an immediate repeal of Bill 40 is in order to protect our Crowns. 

New column day

Here, on the Trudeau Libs' willingness to favour the concentration of money, power and privilege.

For further reading...
- Peter Zimonjic reported on the fallout from Bill Morneau's profit off of his own decisions as Finance Minister, while Kathleen Harris discussed his belated attempt to distance himself from his own choices. And in the example of appalling coverage discussed in the column, Donovan Vincent managed to allow Morneau to portray himself as Bruce Wayne while glossing over or outright ignoring the ethical lapses which have put him in the headlines.
- Harvey Cashore, Chelsea Gomez and Gillian Findlay reported on Stephen Bronfman's involvement in Cayman Islands tax sheltering, then followed up with both their own confirmation and the response from Bronfman and Trudeau.
- Finally, Peter Mazereeuw reports on the Libs' credibility gap in talking to the middle class while serving as a government of, by and for the privileged few. Justin Ling weighs in on Trudeau's immodesty - most recently in attempting to substitute his personal mandate letters for the Libs' election promises. And Andrew Coyne points out how even an effort at self-promotion is only highlighting the Libs' broken promises.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Dani Rodrik writes that politicians looking to provide an alternative to toxic populism will need to offer some other challenge to a system biased in favour of the wealthy and powerful:
(P)oliticians who want to steal the demagogues’ thunder have to tread a very narrow path. If fashioning such a path sounds difficult, it is indicative of the magnitude of the challenge these politicians face. Meeting it will likely require new faces and younger politicians, not tainted with the globalist, market fundamentalist views of their predecessors.

It will also require forthright acknowledgement that pursuing the national interest is what politicians are elected to do. And this implies a willingness to attack many of the establishment’s sacred cows – particularly the free rein given to financial institutions, the bias toward austerity policies, the jaundiced view of government’s role in the economy, the unhindered movement of capital around the world, and the fetishization of international trade.

To mainstream ears, the rhetoric of such leaders will often sound jarring and extreme. Yet wooing voters back from populist demagogues may require nothing less. These politicians must offer an inclusive, rather than nativist, conception of national identity, and their politics must remain squarely within liberal democratic norms. Everything else should be on the table.
- Meanwhile, Marco Chown Oved reports on the widespread use of tax havens by Canadian businesses - and the tens of billions of dollars lost to the public purse as a result.

- Reuters reports on Credit Suisse's finding that millenials are worse off than the generation before them. And Samantha Beattie reports on new research showing that nearly half of Ontario students have missed school due to anxiety.

- Alissa Tedesco, Katie Boone, Chetan Mehta and Jim Deutch argue that a fair basic income funded by progressive taxes would work wonders to alleviate the health and social consequences of poverty.

- Finally, Tzeporah Berman offers a reminder of the environmental devastation wrought by the extraction of Canada's tar sands.