Posts from our progressive community

Isn't That How Democracy Works?

Northern Reflections - Tue, 06/21/2016 - 05:19


Despite howling from the Conservatives and the Fraser Institute, Ottawa and the provinces have reached a deal to expand the Canada Pension Plan. A short time ago, such an outcome seemed impossible. However, Canadian Press reports:

Following weeks of talks and an all-day meeting in Vancouver on Monday, finance ministers emerged with the agreement-in-principle.

Even provinces such as Saskatchewan and British Columbia, which had expressed concerns about the timing of CPP reform, had signed on. Only Manitoba and Quebec declined to agree to the terms.

The agreement came together as pollsters pointed to overwhelming popular support for public pension reform amid concerns about the adequacy of retirement savings.

The federal Liberals ran on platform to upgrade the public pension system, as did their Ontario cousins. The result also means Ontario will abandon its project to go it alone with its own pension plan.
Why such an abrupt change in the winds?

Sources familiar with the talks said doubters had concerns about the potential economic impact of boosting the CPP, even at the late stages of negotiations.

They said Ottawa made a major push in the final days and hours, which helped secure enough country-wide support to expand the CPP. To make the change, they needed consent of a minimum of seven provinces representing at least two-thirds of Canada’s population.

The sources also suggested Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself was involved in the extra effort.On top of that, Ontario, which had been moving forward its more-ambitious pension plan proposal, backed away from its earlier demands that CPP reform should be just as robust. 
But, then, isn't that how democracy is supposed to work?

Image: nupge.ca

Stephen Harper and the Afghan Torture Scandal

Montreal Simon - Tue, 06/21/2016 - 03:00


For years there have been rumours that Stephen Harper knew that some of our soldiers in Afghanistan were torturing the prisoners they captured. Or did nothing to stop others torturing them.

But didn't do anything about it, because he just didn't care, and always enjoyed the pain of others.

And the truth about what happened was covered up, or lost in the fog of war.

But now at last that scandal may be coming back to haunt him.
Read more »

The Con Plan to Hurt the Old Goes Down in Flames

Montreal Simon - Tue, 06/21/2016 - 01:16


I can only imagine the frenzied state the scary Con Lisa Raitt must be in right now. But you can be sure it isn't pretty.

And she is no doubt still howling at the moon, like her miserable leader Rona Ambrose.



But it won't do those ghastly Cons any good, because their desperate attempts to sabotage plans to enhance the CPP have gone down in flames.


Read more »

Site C Dam : Leave the Peace in peace

Creekside - Mon, 06/20/2016 - 13:12

"All over the world countries are tearing out old mega-dams because they are expensive and destructive. Yet in British Columbia the government is forging ahead with the Site C hydro dam even though there's no immediate need for the power and it means displacing farmers from their land, destroying First Nations territory and flooding agricultural land that could feed an estimated one million people."
"Since 2005, domestic demand for electricity in BC has been essentially flat. I think we're making a very big mistake, a very expensive one." ~ Harry Swain,  Chair of Joint Review Panel on Site C Dam.
Petition : PM Trudeau: Don't sign construction permits for the Site-C dam  'Site C is a disastrous plan to build a giant dam in the Peace River Valley of northeastern BC. It’s an $8.8 billion project that will flood 83 km of farmland, drown wildlife habitat, and trample indigenous rights — all to supply electricity for dirty tar sands extraction and fracking. The most expensive, unnecessary public project in BC history, the Site C dam could also trigger a massive rate increase on BC hydro bills — between 30 – 40% within three years.Farmers, environmentalists, First Nations, and the public are united against the project, and want this massive amount of money to go towards sustainable local energy instead. First Nations are fighting a legal battle to defend their Treaty rights to hunt, fish, and trap on the lands Site C will destroy.Despite the overwhelming opposition, BC Premier Christy Clark is bulldozing through her plans to build Site C – a project that few want and nobody needs.
The federal government is caught in the middle. PM Trudeau will have to pick a side within the coming weeks because Premier Clark needs federal permits to ramp up construction on the dam. She wants to build Site C past the point of no return, before the courts rule on the outstanding First Nations legal challenge.[5]Under increasing pressure from Premier Clark, PM Trudeau could sign federal construction permits at any moment. If we all speak out, they’ll have the support they need to do the right thing: side with First Nations, environmentalists, and farmers and stop construction on Site C until the court has ruled on the legal challenge. [Your name here].
 

Who Is Guaranteed to Win the American Elections This November?

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 06/20/2016 - 12:36

As Chris Hedges sees it, this election is in the bag. There's only one possible outcome. Corporatism wins, again, hands down.

During the presidential election cycle, liberals display their gutlessness. Liberal organizations, such as MoveOn.org, become cloyingly subservient to the Democratic Party. Liberal media, epitomized by MSNBC, ruthlessly purge those who challenge the Democratic Party establishment. Liberal pundits, such as Paul Krugman, lambaste critics of the political theater, charging them with enabling the Republican nominee. Liberals chant, in a disregard for the facts, not to be like Ralph Nader, the “spoiler” who gave us George W. Bush.

The liberal class refuses to fight for the values it purports to care about. It is paralyzed and trapped by the induced panic manufactured by the systems of corporate propaganda. The only pressure within the political system comes from corporate power. With no counterweight, with no will on the part of the liberal class to defy the status quo, we slide deeper and deeper into corporate despotism. The repeated argument of the necessity of supporting the “least worse” makes things worse.

Change will not come quickly. It may take a decade or more. And it will never come by capitulating to the Democratic Party establishment. We will accept our place in the political wilderness and build alternative movements and parties to bring down corporate power or continue to watch our democracy atrophy into a police state and our ecosystem unravel.


Electoral Reform and Referenda

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 06/20/2016 - 12:23

Most of us seem to support ending the First Past The Post electoral system. Our multi-party reality means that it is possible for one party to win a hefty majority of seats with what can be little more than the largest minority of votes. Governments elected by two out of five voters effectively rule over the three out of five that did not support them.

With a benevolent, open and democratically-minded government prepared to heed views other than its own the outcome can be, if not ideal, at least bearable. Recent experience has shown us that will not always be the case and then the government can become tyrannical. We don't want a repeat of the Harperian era and the best way to achieve that is voting reform.

It would be great if there was one, perfect solution to FPTP? Flip the switch from A to B. Yet there are more than one option and varying permutations of each. The choices present a confusing array of strengths and drawbacks, the perception of which may be further clouded by political persuasion.

Should the choice be based on which party each system allegedly favours? Should the choice rest with a slate of core benefits offered by the competing systems? Should we modify not just our votes but the composition of the legislature itself to accommodate both elected and appointed law makers?

Then there's the debate over whether proposed voting system change should be put to a referendum. Should eligible voters get to choose how they will vote?

The referendum idea sounds great. What would be more democratically empowering that to allow voters to decide how they will vote? Yet it is an idea fraught with drawbacks.

A huge problem is the decision-making process itself. How do people tend to vote on referenda? Presumably the viability of the choice has some bearing on the state of mind of those casting votes. How well informed are they of the issues and the choices? How many options should be on the ballot? Do the voters really understand what they're voting for or what they're effectively rejecting? What other factors are influencing their votes? To what extent can the referendum outcome be skewed by collateral factors? What percentage of the eligible public will even turn out to vote? Should a minimum percentage turnout be required?

There's a major referendum in three days hence. British voters will go to the polls to decide whether their country should remain in the European Union. What is pertinent to our debate is not what is at stake or the possible outcome but how public opinion has shifted in the runup to the vote.  For quite a while the "Stay" camp held a comfortable lead. More recently the "Leave" side pulled ahead by several points. Now, with the balloting just days away, the polls show "Stay" edging out "Leave" by a thin margin.

Is this no-yes-no pattern endemic to referenda? Are voters fickle? Do they go from bold change to play it safe as voting day nears? Is the outcome of any referendum at least partly pre-determined?

British Columbians wrestled with electoral reform in 2005 and again in 2009. In the first referendum, a 57.69% majority voted to change to a Single Transferrable Vote system. Tantalizingly close, but no cigar. It was close enough, however, to lead to another FPTP/STV referendum in 2009. This time the STV camp was hammered, dropping to just 39.09% support. FPTP was upheld by 60%. Turnout was 55%. What a disappointment that was.

Ontario's 2007 voting reform referendum saw FPTP do even better, over 63%. It seems to have been more thoroughly analyzed. The voting public seemed poorly informed and the major newspapers opposed reform which must have had some influence on the outcome. The LeDuc report (post-mortem) went further: 

"The political advantage in referendum campaigns, particularly those dealing with unfamiliar issues, often seems to rest with the NO side. Those opposed to a proposal do not necessarily have to make a coherent case against it. Often, it is enough merely to raise doubts about it in the minds of voters, question the motives of its advocates, or play upon a natural fear of the unknown." 


Does this dynamic explain why Mulroney's referendum on the Charlottetown Accord (deservedly) failed and why the Brexit vote seems just days away from also going down to defeat?

There are a good many of us who argue that something as fundamental as voting reform should be a question for the citizenry to decide. Yet the evidence suggests that a fair referendum with a suitably informed electorate is almost impossible to achieve. It's a stacked deck.

Maybe the only way forward is to have Parliament implement some form of proportional representation or STV. Let the voters have two elections under the reformed system to get familiar with it and then have a referendum on whether to keep it or find something else.

Meanwhile, eyes on Britain this week.

Last week in Real Change™

Creekside - Mon, 06/20/2016 - 11:40
FRIDAY June 17
No need for inquiry into Afghan detainee torture, Liberals sayFederal Liberals who argued for a public inquiry, while in opposition, into the treatment of prisoners during the Afghan war, now say they will not conduct such an investigation.Assisted Dying Bill C-14 Passes Senate With Liberals' Restrictive Approach
Canadians suffering intolerably from non-terminal medical conditions can no longer seek medical assistance to end their lives, thanks to a restrictive new federal law enacted Friday.
THURSDAY June 16 

The curious case of MP Ouellette   **
Libs vote down motion to have Finance Committee study feasibility of guaranteed income   

Liberals reject Senate bid to expand eligibility for medically-assisted death


WEDNESDAY June 15

Ottawa owes veterans no ‘duty of care,’ federal lawyers argue in case
The federal Liberal government says it agrees with an argument advanced – and later abandoned – by the former Conservative government that Canada owes no special duty of care to those injured in the line of duty.
TUESDAY June 14

Canada now the second biggest arms exporter to Middle EastCanada has soared in global rankings to become the second biggest arms dealer to the Middle East on the strength of its massive sale of combat vehicles to Saudi Arabia
MONDAY June 13

The Liberal government has no plans to decriminalize marijuana before legalizing it, Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould said Monday.

** Terrific piece by Mia Rabson on what I often see in committee - Libs argue passionately in favour of some progressive motion in committee, then unanimously vote it down.
.

You Can Handle the Truth…..

Left Over - Mon, 06/20/2016 - 10:14

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); Jewish Voice for Peace

 

This is an excellent introduction for those who do not understand the issue..should be required viewing in every high school in Europe and North America (USA and Canada) so that over time education does what the limited means of Palestinians cannot..that is, educate the next generation in the reality of the Occupation..nothing works like education, no bomb or apartheid or mistreatment can stand against it…

I am always at a loss  for a simple way to  explain my POV to those who  are ignorant on the subject, whose only  contact with it  is through the MSM which is so one-sidedly Pro Israel that it is impossible to  expect those who do not search for the truth to ever reach it..this is all I can contribute, and  Jewish  Voice for Peace is a wonderful  site I found through  Facebook and can recommend to anyone searching for  answers..it is produced  by Jews who are eager to tell the world  what is really going on..I am grateful to  them.


Monday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Mon, 06/20/2016 - 08:13
Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Andrew Leach's after-the-fact addendum to his review of Alberta's climate change policy offers an important reminder as to the costs of inaction on climate change - and the message is one which applies equally to other jurisdictions which are seen as climate laggards:
Our emissions do not simply come from our large industries—almost everything else we do has greenhouse gas emissions impacts, whether it’s driving our cars and trucks, heating our homes, or purchasing goods delivered here by plane, truck or train. Reducing emissions in Alberta will not be easy—we don’t have a magic wand, and if cost-effective, lower-emissions substitutes were available in all cases today, we wouldn’t be facing this problem. But, not reducing emissions in Alberta is also potentially very costly. We’ve already seen policies and actions aimed at our resource sector whether through the rejection of pipelines, the application of low carbon fuel standards, or challenges to companies investing here from their shareholders or from sustainable investors. If Alberta chooses not to act, those costs won’t go away. And, we’re part of a federation, and our federation has committed to an ambitious target to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions. There will be costs if Alberta is not a constructive partner in those efforts—continued market access challenges or unfavourable policy design. Those costs may be difficult to quantify, but that doesn’t mean they’re not real. Finally, of course, we know that emissions impose costs on others around the world—if we use the most recent estimates, we are each imposing on average $2,800 to $4,500 worth of costs on current and future global citizens every year with our emissions, and many of these impacts affect some of the poorest countries on earth.
...
(T)he business-as-usual case that a modeller might use to assess the costs of these actions does not exist for Alberta. We see today increasing pressure on firms to mitigate carbon risk, increasing pressure on governments to achieve their Paris commitments, and increasing focus on Alberta as a symbol of inaction on climate change. We do not see how a comparison to a case where Alberta can continue to find viable markets for its products and see investment return to the oil sands in the absence of credible action on greenhouse gases exists. What would likely exist as an alternative is a world where Alberta faces increasingly discriminatory and punitive policies and barriers to trade both from within and from outside Canada, and where firms face mounting shareholder and institutional investor pressure not to invest in Alberta. The costs of these are speculative, and more difficult to quantify, but we are confident that they far and away exceed the cumulative costs of the actions we’ve recommend. - Meanwhile, Larry Buhl reports on widespread wage theft by the U.S.' oil industry.

- Rejean Hebert makes the case for publicly-funded home care and long term care to avoid the need to use our hospital care system to address disabilities and chronic conditions.

- Charles Smith points out the dangerous (if consistent) precedent set by the Saskatchewan Party's refusal to fund the contract it negotiated with Saskatchewan's teachers.

- Finally, Martin Regg Cohn traces the path toward an expanded Canada Pension Plan. And Mark Hancock writes that an improved CPP needs to produce a more secure retirement for everybody, rather than being whittled down to nothing by exceptions and carve-outs.

EC group at CAPE – pay attention!

Trashy's World - Mon, 06/20/2016 - 06:31
The rest of you need not read further as you’ll have no idea what I am writing about. But for the ECs… Please vote and vote against the 3 resolutions we are being asked to consider. The radical leadership of our once moderate labour group wants nothing more than to introduce this “progressive” dues structure […]

Watch out, the "NDP sex Marxists" are out to get you!

kirbycairo - Mon, 06/20/2016 - 06:27
Why is it that some people (and rightwingers are particularly notorious for this) think that they can just throw out provocative words and imagine that they are saying something?

Such was the case the other day when the perpetually failed candidate of Alberta politics Larry Heather tweeted out that "NDP sex Marxists are dissolving the basis for the cohesion of Alberta, leading to the breakup of the Province."

Now, I don't know what a "sex Marxist" is but I personally think it sounds pretty interesting. Larry not so much. Mr. Heather's syntax and grammar, much like his politics, are perpetually confused (and certainly confusing). When questioned by another tweeter, "what the hell is a sex Marxist?" Larry replied, in his inimitable style, "Marxists seek to dissolve the class system and family control - the attack against Gender [sic] is certainly a part of this."

Well, that's about as clear as mud. Now, while criticism of the economic and social class systems is certainly part of much of Marxist discourse, the issue of "family control" is a bit out of left (or should I say right) field. What exactly "family control" means is a bit of a head scratcher to begin with. However, if you have spent any time with Central American, Marxist-inspired groups you know that traditional family ties continue to an important part of their social philosophy. While, no doubt, most leftwing activists encourage the principle of questioning authority, this is a far cry from dissolving "family control" unless Mr. Heather is talking about jettisoning arbitrary authority, in which case let's have at it.

More importantly, what exactly do rightwingers like Larry Heather think "the attack against Gender" is? And why is the word "gender" capitalized? The very idea of an attack against gender is nonsense. Instead, there is a rebellion against the imposition of strict gender identity, and that is very different. The difference lies in the fact that when you impose a gender role on someone, you are de facto attacking them because you are attempting to create their identity for them from outside.

But more importantly, the issue of gender, as it is currently being seen and discussed in contemporary society, has nothing to do with Marxism as a philosophy. I guarantee that 90% of people who question traditional notions of gender are not Marxists, nor could they identify Marxism any better than Mr. Heather. And this is the only reason that it is worth discussing an obscure and insignificant conservative activist like Larry Heather, because in their political efforts such rightwingers will simply throw out provocative words, in an uninformed, intentionally inflammatory manner in order to scare people who, like them, don't even vaguely understand the concepts and philosophies that they are addressing.

Marxism is, of course, partly about greater social and economic equality. But then, most people who strive for greater equality are not Marxist; they don't identify as such, and probably wouldn't even if they understood the complexities of Marxist philosophy. Putting aside the syntactical absurdity of Mr. Heather's statement (an abusrdity that would be akin to me accusing someone of being an "exercise Freudian" or a "hamburger Hegelian"), this kind of thing is typical of the rightwing, throw out some provocative words and hope you can whip up the fear and anger of the rabidly conservative and perpetually ignorant base.

There is, unquestionably, something going on in society. People are questioning all sorts of traditional roles and beginning to call for greater equality in a society that has become marked by a significant increase in inequality over the past generation. This is very good news for us as a society. But when such a change begins to creep into our social discourse some people are inevitably threatened. And in our society, those who are most threatened are white, heterosexual males who see their power slipping away. Such people often turn to religion, and unfortunately to violence, to bolster their traditional claim on power. Through the struggle continues, we are fortunate that not all white men are as backward and slow-witted as Larry Heather.

Donald Trump: A Searing Assessment By A Legendary Journalist

Politics and its Discontents - Mon, 06/20/2016 - 04:52
Appearing on CNN’s Reliable Sources, legendary journalist Carl Bernstein ripped into presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, calling him America’s first major party “neofascist.”

The former Washington Post reporter who was part of the team that uncovered the Watergate scandal in the 70’s, offered a very harsh assessment of Trump, saying “very little truth that comes out of his mouth.”

Trump has “shown himself throughout this campaign to be a pathological liar,” Bernstein stated.”There’s very little truth that comes out of his mouth, so let’s start there.”



A pity not all of the press is prepared to make such an uncompromising and accurate assessment of a very, very dangerous man.Recommend this Post

A Pretty Accurate Assessment

Northern Reflections - Mon, 06/20/2016 - 04:19
Now that the House has risen, Michael Harris has given Justin Trudeau his report card. He has given Trudeau quite a few A's (or dimes, which we used to get with good marks):

Trudeau gets another dime for keeping the promise to pass legislation on medically assisted dying, despite the political, ethical, and emotional minefield that had to be navigated to pull this off. For all the dark murmuring about Trudeau’s alienation of the Senate, he got Bill C-14 through the Red Chamber without compromising the government’s commitment to retain some limits on access to doctor-assisted suicide.

Who knows? With his arm’s length advisory board recommending merit-based senate nominees, the PM may be well on the way to transforming the Red Chamber into an independent body capable of fulfilling its parliamentary obligations without a constitutional amendment. That’s a lot better than a Senate that played partisan stooge to the PMO’s dark machinations during the Harper years, culminating in the Wright-Duffy fiasco.

 Trudeau gets an A+ and a big bag of dimes for each of unmuzzling scientists (with the notable exception of Patricia Sutherland) withdrawing Canadian jets from Iraq and Syria; bringing gender equality to the cabinet table; bringing back the long-form census; and lowering middle-class taxes while creating a new tax bracket on income over $200,000 — all in jig time.

This gives hope that the momentous issues ahead might actually be delivered as promised — the inquiry into missing and murdered native women; a revamped electoral system that will do away with the partisan nonsense that the Tories tried to pass off as democratic reform; the legalization of marijuana; a nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations; the amending of the secret police provisions of Harper’s so-called national security legislation, Bill C-51; a new Health Accord with the provinces, and a national framework for fighting climate change.
But not all of Trudeau's marks are the praise worthy:

The guy who paddled the Rouge River in Scarborough and then set McDonald’s aflutter by dropping in for a bite, gets a D for leaving Canadian veterans waiting on key elements of his reform plan to undo the damage of the Harper years. Disabled veterans are still awaiting pension reform promises and the reopening of those nine Veterans Assistance Centres closed during the Harper years to help his government “balance” the budget.

The PM gets an F for allowing Harper’s sleazy “future appointments” to stand, largely it seems, from fear of lawsuits that might arise if he cancelled these jammy gigs. For that matter, he gets another F for letting Harper-appointed public servants hang around key departments he must ultimately redirect if he is to fulfill his legislative agenda. Insiders saw stark evidence of that at the climate talks in Paris. Too much retro-Harper think.

He also gets an F for not sending all of the proposed pipeline projects back to square one of the environmental assessment process. For starters, a complete reset was what he promised First Nations, environmental groups, and several British Columbia mayors during the election campaign. But more importantly, Harper had made a mockery of the assessment process and the National Energy Board to the extent that none of its previous decisions can be trusted. They need to be revisited if public confidence is to be restored in how the government green lights major pipeline projects.
And then there's the biggest F of all:

And now for Trudeau’s biggest F — as in FU — the Saudi arms deal. No matter how many tortured political yoga positions adopted by Foreign Affairs minister Stephane Dion, this is a stinker. It is not about Canada keeping its word: it is about Canada abandoning its core values. This is checkbook pragmatism at its worst. This is feeding people to the sharks for money.

The Saudi Royal family makes Henry VIII look like a new-age, sensitive guy. They cut off heads at the drop of a veil. They mete out a thousand lashes for a few words of free expression. They crush the slightest movement toward democracy and they do it with equipment purchased from the Americans — and now from Canada. And if that isn’t enough reason not to sell them armoured vehicles mounted with heavy machine guns, how about the Saudi-led genocidal war against Yemen?
All in all, it strikes me as a pretty accurate assessment.

Image: DiurnaLearn.blogspot.com

Is Donald Trump's Campaign Going Down in Flames?

Montreal Simon - Mon, 06/20/2016 - 04:19


For a long time it seemed that nothing Donald Trump said or did could hurt him, or put a dent in his polls.

But now that seems to be changing.

Because after a very bad month, his campaign is now starting to look like a slow motion train wreck.

Or plane crash.
Read more »

The Canada Pension Plan and the Cruelty of the Cons

Montreal Simon - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 23:31


As long as Stephen Harper was in power there was never any hope of enhancing the Canada Pension Plan.

Because he always claimed the economy was too fragile to afford it, he didn't like the idea of pensions, and believed that Canadians should save for their own retirement.

So I'm glad that now that he is gone, the federal government and the provinces will be meeting in Vancouver today to see what can be done to enhance the CPP.

But I'm not surprised that the Harper Party hasn't changed its position.

Read more »

it's crunch time at the bargaining table

we move to canada - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 15:00
Now here's an interesting calendar of events.

June 27-29: The Negotiating Committee for CUPE Local 1989, Mississauga Library Workers Union, returns to the bargaining table for three days.

June 30: The Negotiating Committee presents membership with a settlement offer. If the bargaining team recommends ratification, there is a ratification vote. If we do not recommend ratification, there is a strike vote.

July 2: Summer programming begins at all our libraries. Free programs for children and youth attract a huge number of customers.

July 4: The City of Mississauga and CUPE Local 1989 are in a legal or lockout position.

July 7-8: The director of our library system hosts an annual conference of the Ontario Library Association.

We played a long game of cat-and-mouse to make this timeline happen. It took a lot of resolve and a fair bit of luck. Now that we're here, perhaps our employer will be very motivated to avoid a strike.

* * * *

Brampton is a neighbouring city. Mississauga, Brampton, and one other city comprise the Region of Peel. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie has been making public statements about pulling Mississauga out of Peel.

From 1974 when towns and villages were amalgamated to form Mississauga, until 2014 when Crombie was elected, Mississauga had only one mayor. That is, Crombie is only the second mayor to hold office in this city.

Crombie has convened a Mayor's Advisory Board on Poverty and Homelessness, part of the Peel Poverty Reduction Strategy. Although there is ample reason for skepticism, this is potentially a big improvement over the former mayor's inaction. It took Hazel McCallion until 2010 to even acknowledge there was poverty in Peel.

Then there's the Fight for 15, the growing public discourse on precarious work and presenteeism, and the fact that more than half of Mississauga Library staff are precarious workers.

There are the (mostly male) Mississauga transit workers, who recently ratified a new contract, and kept their premium pay for Sunday work. The (mostly female) library workers are fighting to keep theirs, too.

And finally, there's this fact: there has never been a strike against the City of Mississauga.

* * * *

Last night, watching Endeavour, I heard this line: Sometimes you've got to put all you are, against all they've got.

I've been repeating this to myself, thinking about all I am, all our team is, and all our members are.


"They're Coming": A Paranoid NRA Interpretation of The Orlando Massacre

Politics and its Discontents - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 11:30
A little something to disturb your Father's Day celebrations:
In the wake of the massacre at Pulse night club in Orlando, National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre argued on Sunday that American families should arm themselves because terrorists were “on the verge of overwhelming us.”

LaPierre told CBS host John Dickerson that “we all mourn” for victims of the Orlando shooting, “but we face a terrorist challenge where they are on the verge of overwhelming us.”
Recommend this Post

Sunday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 08:36
This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Brian Nolan, Max Roser, and Stefan Thewissen study (PDF) the relationship between GDP and household income across the OECD, and find a nearly universal pattern of nominal economic growth which isn't finding its way into households (which is particularly extreme in the U.S.). Roy van der Weide, Christoph Lakner and Elena Ianchovichina examine (PDF) high-end house prices as an indication of the exorbitant high-end incomes which don't show up in individual tax records. And Sean McElwee and Roberta Barnett discuss how big-money donors are able to distort U.S. politics.

- Sujata Dey points out that even from the standpoint of gross economic numbers, there's reason to be wary of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other new trade agreements. But Cory Doctorow highlights the greater danger of deals which undermine democratic decision-making and public interests.

- Steven Chase reports on Canada's increased sales of military equipment to human rights abusers.

- Rob Carrick points out that financial institutions are being forced to plan for a millenial generation with little capacity to borrow or save.

- Finally, Nicholas Kristof acknowledges that the theory behind draconian welfare policies was entirely wrong - and that the primary effect of restricting access to social programs has been to foment poverty in a country which can afford to eliminate it.

The Bloated Ambition of the Con Bigot Jason Kenney

Montreal Simon - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 06:53


For a long time after his Cons were crushed and humiliated, the foul Harper stooge Jason Kenney kept a very low profile.

So low in fact that some of his closest accomplices feared he had lost his mind at the thought of losing so much power.

But now he's back.

His burning ambition has inflated him like some ghastly blimp.

Read more »

Making Three Point Shots

Northern Reflections - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 03:12


Justin Trudeau is changing the rules about how to do politics. Evan Solomon writes:

“We were perhaps behaving in a way that was resembling more the previous government,” Trudeau told stunned reporters as he explained that he would cede to opposition requests to more fairly distribute seats on his electoral reform committee—a sudden and surprising climbdown. Did Trudeau just compare himself to Stephen Harper? Yes, he did. This was after he’d already reversed course on the assisted-dying bill’s Motion 6, which would have limited opposition debate. And after he’d apologized—numerous times—for the infamous elbow incident. Trudeau was just doing what he has done since the campaign: breaking the five cardinal rules of political communication.
Those five cardinal rules -- up until now --  have been:

1. The flip-flop rule: Reversing decisions makes you look indecisive. Stick to your promises or people will stop trusting you.
2. The loser rule: Never repeat your negatives because you end up validating them. It goes without saying that you don’t compare yourself to the man you just defeated.
3. The blabber rule: Once you’re explaining, you’re losing. Keep messages simple.
4. The message-control rule: Never let the opposition or caucus take over the agenda. Leaders control; leaders look strong.
5. The wimp rule: Never give in to the opposition’s criticisms. Their job is to oppose. Your job is to lead.
Trudeau's approach, Solomon writes, is the equivalent of the three point shot in basketball:

Every time Trudeau fades back and launches another of his high-risk moon shots—legalizing pot, pricing carbon, buying navy ships, changing the way elections are won—you think he’s going to fail.

There are misses, for sure, lots of them, as Trudeau is the first to admit. But when he scores, he scores big. The age of political incrementalism, the policy layup shot, is over. Trudeau is breaking the rules and hitting all net.
There are a few other mistakes I'd like to see him admit -- starting with the Saudi arms deal. But, if he admits too many mistakes, his fans may not fill the seats.

Image: celticslife.com

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