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No struggle for what you believe in is ever futile.
Updated: 46 min 35 sec ago

Saturday Morning Links

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 08:54
Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Jordy Cummings exposes the shady side of Justin Trudeau's shin persona. Dimitri Lascaris interviews Nora Loreto about Canada's relationship with the U.S. And Michal Rozworski challenges Trudeau's decision to serve as a prop for Donald Trump rather than defending Canadian values:
The point to remember is that there would be intense pressure from within the US business world to prevent a trade war in the first place. Given today’s highly integrated supply chains, even a proportionately small volume of trade can still be crucial. It matters less that trade with Canada accounts for just 5% of GDP if some of that 5% is specialized parts and inputs that can cripple production. And it’s not that easy to replace Canadian-made goods in this case: doing so would require long-term investments with considerable fixed costs in plant and equipment. It could be done, but it won’t be the result of one critical statement.

Nevertheless, Trudeau acts as if that’s a real risk. Even if there might be no personal love lost between our cosmopolitan neoliberal leader and his nativist protectionist counterpart, officially this week it was all smiles and handshakes. Trudeau ducked questions from reporters at his joint press conference, stating, “The last thing Canadians expect is for me to come down and lecture another country on how they chose to govern themselves.” This condescension misses the fact that a majority thinks that even worsening trade relationships would be a price worth paying for standing up to Trump—nevermind that fears of a worsening are overblown. Past prime ministers have been willing to stand up to US presidents over smaller things despite the trading relationship.

Trudeau has to be aware of Canada’s unequal standing in its relationship with the US but he doesn’t have to cower in the corner waiting for a strike from the bully that may never come. Being in less powerful in a trading relationship doesn’t equate to moral paralysis in other spheres. Economic disruption cannot be a cover for lack of spine. My hunch is that Trudeau knows this—that his failure to stand up to Trump is cowardice that has its source in political calculation not economic necessity.- Brent Patterson comments on the need for Canada to seriously evaluate the dangers of the CETA and other corporate control agreements. And Stuart Trew and Scott Sinclair map out the road ahead as CETA undergoes scrutiny from the EU's member states.

- Alex Hemingway and Iglika Ivanova examine how the B.C. Libs have gone out of their way to impose a regressive tax system. And Marco Chown Oved reports on the Conference Board of Canada's study showing that Canada may be missing out on up to $50 billion every year in uncollected taxes.

- Meanwhile, the Economist notes that one of Trump's first major moves has been to facilitate bribery and corruption by allowing resource giants to conceal payments to foreign governments.

- Finally, Dan Durcan and Faiza Shaheen take a look at the realities of work in the U.K., where reasonable surface numbers of jobs are outweighed by the fact that the new work is generally low-quality and precarious.

On non-solutions

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 07:45
Tammy Robert thoroughly documents how Brad Wall's billion-dollar deficit has nothing to do with either resource revenues (being Wall's primary excuse for blowing up the budget), or public services (which are his first target for attacks):
I can’t consider the way the Saskatchewan government has handled the prospect of streamlining public service – or even this deficit – credible, because all they’ve demonstrated so far is that they’re primarily interested in brazenly protecting their political tails by dividing and confusing the narrative, instead of even pretending to consider well-planned or strategic spending decisions.

What I know for sure that the mess we’re in is not just about reduced resource and taxation revenue (the latter of which has been at a record high, thanks in part to both increased population numbers and a run of successful years in agriculture).

No, the financial dumpster fire we’re fighting has everything to do with the fact that this government has jacked up spending – even with the best of intentions – to unsustainable levels, and has simultaneously ran out of money trees, aka the GFSF and the Crown Corporations, to continue to fund their spending habits.Meanwhile, in case anybody was under the illusion that the Saskatchewan Party's current spin about a sudden budget crisis represents anything but an excuse to open up a new front in Wall's long-running war on public servants, here's his finance minister (emphasis added):
Doherty said the goal would be to hold compensation costs steady or reduce them if possible.

The austerity measures would be maintained over the long term, not just for the upcoming year, he said.If Wall wanted to deal with the full range of options to improve Saskatchewan's fiscal picture, provincial employees would be well down the list of logical places to look. (On that front, CBC's look at the revenue effect of tax changes shows that merely mirroring Manitoba's PST could pay for all of the province's public service salaries another time over.)

And if he was acting reasonably in response to budget problems which he thought were temporary, he'd be asking for "sacrifices" which fit that bill - rather than demanding permanent reductions in the standard of living experienced by the people who keep Saskatchewan running, while asking nothing of his corporate benefactors other than that they keep funneling copious amounts of money into his political machine.

Instead, Wall is making abundantly clear that he sees his own billion-dollar deficit as nothing more than one more excuse to keep slashing away at Saskatchewan's workers. And it's about time that both the blame and the responsibility for fixing Wall's mess were placed squarely on his shoulders.

Musical interlude

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:00
Matthew Good Band - Strange Days

Thursday Afternoon Links

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 14:55
This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Jonathan Charlton interviews Danielle Martin about the health benefits of eliminating poverty. And the Equality Trust studies expenditures by household income level, finding among other areas of gross inequality that the rich are able to spend more on restaurants than the poor are able to put toward housing and energy.

- Bruce Livesey, Robert Cribb and Marco Oved report on the precedent set by FINTRAC in allowing a bank to break the law with total anonymity. And Neel Kashkari looks at capital requirements as another area where banks are allowed to operate under different and more favourable rules than mere people.

- Tyler Kustra examines Justin Trudeau's broken promise of electoral reform. And Colin Walmsley highlights how it figures to facilitate the rise of the Canadian Trump by keeping in place a system which artificially consolidates power based on a minority of votes.

- Meanwhile, the Star's editorial board recognizes a developing crisis of trust which can only be exacerbated by Trudeau's self-serving politics.

- Finally, Martin Regg Cohn discusses why we shouldn't treat the Trump administration as an excuse to back off of action against climate change.

New column day

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 11:37
Here, on Brad Wall's choice to cover up the truth behind the Saskatchewan Party's Global Transportation Hub scandal - and the most plausible (if still inadequate) explanations for that decision.

For further reading...
- Again, the latest public revelation was Geoff Leo's reporting of political pressure to pay inflated prices for land. And Leo also reported on the role of Saskatchewan Party MLAs in the coverup, including by refusing to allow people who were actually involved in dubious land deals to answer questions about them. 
- And Murray Mandryk writes about the GTH deal as a precedent for other land acquisitions. But I'd think its significance goes much further in demonstrating the utter lack of judgment of the Wall government - particularly at a time when it's asking the province to accept massive cuts.

Wednesday Morning Links

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 07:58
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Tom Parkin calls out the Libs' latest laughable excuse for breaking their promise of electoral reform - being the threat that a party like the one which just held power for 10 years might win a few seats. Andrew Coyne notes that we shouldn't accept Justin Trudeau's bogeyman as an excuse for doing nothing. And Abbas Rana and Derek Abma report that the focus of Lib MPs is to avoid political fallout from their party's betrayal of voters, rather than to try to live up to their commitment.

- Meanwhile, Susan Delacourt sees the electoral reform farce as a prime example of the Libs using a surface consultation process to paper over their basic lack of interest in actually listening to the public.

- Ellen Smirl examines the conservative voting patterns of many rural residents despite their commitment to co-operatives, credit unions and other collective alternatives to domination by the market. 

- Conor Dougherty hypothesizes as to how our economy would be different - and fairer - if we didn't rely so heavily on housing as an investment.

- Finally, Carole Cadwalladr interviews Daniel Dennett about the costs of declining co-operation and trust. And Trevor Hancock comments on how increasing inequality eats away at both:
“When inequality becomes too great, the idea of community becomes impossible”. If you want to create a healthier community, you need to address this issue head-on.
It’s hard to imagine the super-wealthy, or even the wealthy, having much shared understanding of the situation of their fellow citizens. This is compounded by the deliberate strategy, coming from the right, of labelling people as taxpayers rather than citizens. As taxpayers, people focus on their taxes, and are encouraged to resent paying them; this makes tax dodging and even tax-evasion socially acceptable.

Yet the whole point about community is a sense of shared identity and interest. But when the gap between the wealthy and the poor becomes so great there is no ‘we’, just ‘them’ and ‘us’. And pretty quickly ‘we’ don’t want to pay for ‘their’ children’s education, ‘their’ health care, ‘their’ public transit, roads or pavements.

But citizens, seeing themselves as part of a community, focus on their shared interests, common purpose and the common good. They understand, as US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes put it a century ago, that taxes are the price we pay for civilisation.

Revolution is an understandable response to exclusion and unacceptable inequality. Arguably, what we have just seen in the US is a revolution, although in this case a revolution from the right, as was the case in Germany in the 1930s. But it’s not the best or healthiest way to change society. Here in Canada, we still have time for evolution and reform. If we want healthier communities and a healthier society, we need to embrace that opportunity.

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 15:52
Feline flops.

Tuesday Afternoon Links

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 13:44
This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Martin Kenney comments on Canada's continuing role in "snow washing" offshore tax evasion. The Conference Board of Canada examines the massive gap between what Canada should receive in public revenues, and what's actually taken in to keep our society functioning. And Kamal Ahmed highlights how employers are avoiding their responsibilities by relabeling work relationships.

- Joe Romm points out that Donald Trump's obsession with coal power - like that of other right-wing politicians - is doomed due to the ready availability of more efficient energy sources. Andrew Nikiforuk points out the $30 billion liability for inactive wells which may be absorbed by Alberta's citizens due to the lack of any requirement for the oil sector to clean up its own messes. Carol Linnitt notes that the Libs' promised tanker ban on British Columbia's north coast is anything but. Zoe Todd reports on still more research showing the connection between fracking and earthquake activity. And Melissa Davey discusses new research showing that the impact human activity on our changing climate far outweighs any natural effects.

- Nicholas Kristof reminds us how the trumped-up threat of terrorism pales in comparison to risks we think nothing about facing every day.

- Evan Dyer reports on the Libs' plans to sacrifice national sovereignty along with travellers' privacy and security in the interest of appeasing the U.S.' irrational fears. And Stuart Trew examines the lamentable track record of cross-border deregulation which has harmed the public in Canada and the U.S. alike. So suffice it to say that Michael Harris' hope that Justin Trudeau would doing anything besides go along with Donald Trump to get along is sadly misplaced.

- Finally, Sam Wong points out that even monkeys and dogs judge humans based on how well they treat others - making it all the more bizarre that so many voter pools seem to have decided to do otherwise.

Sunday Morning Links

Sun, 02/12/2017 - 09:55
This and that for your Sunday reading.

- David Suzuki discusses the merits of a four-day work week in improving both working and living conditions:
 It’s absurd that so many people still work eight hours a day, five days a week — or more — with only a few weeks’ vacation a year, often needing two incomes to support a household. Our economic system was developed when resources seemed plentiful if not inexhaustible, and physical infrastructure was lacking. We need an overhaul to meet today’s conditions rather than those that existed decades ago when we were unaware of many of the potential negative consequences of our actions.

Research points to many advantages of reforms such as reduced work hours and universal basic income. In Gothenburg, Sweden, workers at a care home for the elderly were put on a six-hour workday as part of a two-year controlled study. Although hiring 15 new employees to cover the workload drove costs up by about 22 per cent, spending was reduced in areas like covering sick leave, which dropped by 10 per cent. Workers reported health improvements at rates 50 per cent higher than workers at institutions with regular working hours. Patient care also improved. Women with children benefited substantially.
A better work-life balance also brings many individual and societal advantages. Family life is strengthened, people have more time for creative or educational pursuits, and happier, rested employees are more productive. As more people share in available jobs, social service costs go down and more people are able to contribute to economic prosperity.

A lot needs to be done to reform our economic systems and to address critical issues like pollution and climate change. Reducing work hours is one way to make substantial gains.- C.J. Polychroniou interviews Ha-Joon Chang about the myths of neoliberalism, including the belief that it's either inevitable or desirable to continue imposing burdens on workers to benefit the wealthy.

- Thomas Frank highlights how Donald Trump was able to harness the understandable frustrations of workers - due in no small part to the impression that other politicians weren't willing to pursue meaningful change of any sort. And Andrew Sullivan discusses the disastrous results for the U.S. of allowing a reality-averse megalomaniac to take power, while Andrew Coyne comments on the need for collective action internationally to stand up to Trump.

- Warren Bell examines the undemocratic implications of Justin Trudeau's broken promise of a more fair electoral system.

- And finally, Simon Enoch tears into Brad Wall's obsession with privatizing SaskTel by pointing out how a selloff would be disastrous for Saskatchewan's residents as citizens, consumers and workers alike.

Saturday Afternoon Links

Sat, 02/11/2017 - 13:25
Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson comment on the moral and practical harm done by continued inequality:
Inequality matters because, as a robust and growing body of evidence shows, the populations of societies with bigger income differences tend to have poorer physical and mental health, more illicit drug use, and more obesity. More unequal societies are marked by more violence, weaker community life, and less trust. Inequality also damages children’s wellbeing, reducing educational attainment and social mobility.
You might think that evidence of harm, alongside the growing concerns of world leaders, academics, business, civil society, and government would be enough to turn this problem around. But from our perspective as social epidemiologists working on inequalities, the record on tackling health inequalities does not inspire optimism. Decades of research has led to a consensus among public health academics and professionals that we need to tackle the structural determinants of health if we want to reduce health inequalities; yet this has not happened and health inequalities have not diminished. In many cities in the UK and US, for example, we continue to see life expectancy gaps of five to 10 years, and occasionally 15 to 20 years, between the richest and poorest areas.
The long term failure, even of ostensibly progressive governments, to tackle these glaring injustices is perhaps one of the reasons why public opinion has swung so strongly away from the established political parties. And the public’s sense of being left behind will only be exacerbated by the negative health effects of austerity, which are starting to emerge in our health statistics....During the last generation, economic growth ceased to improve health, happiness, and the quality of life in rich countries. Now, more than ever, we need an inspiring vision of a future capable of creating more equal societies that increase sustainable wellbeing for all of us and for the planet. - On that front, Andrew MacLeod examines how British Columbia's disability income assistance is nowhere near enough to allow people to live with security and dignity. And Lynne Fernandez and Simon Enoch write that Brad Wall and Brian Pallister seem determined to inflict austerity measures which will make matters even worse for people already facing an uphill battle to get by in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

- David Cay Johnston highlights how Donald Trump's economic policy looks to instead reflect nothing more than allowing the corporate sector to shamelessly fleece the public without repercussions. And Sean McElwee, Jesse Rhodes, and Brian Schaffner discuss how big money distorts the U.S.' political system.

- Finally, Jesse Winter reports on today's protests against Justin Trudeau's broken promise of electoral reform, while PressProgress weighs in on the unprecedented 100,000 signatories to Nathan Cullen's petition demanding the Libs live up to their commitments. John Ivison notes that Trudeau's tone-deafness is making him a punchline for progressive Canadians, while Greg Squires examines the bridges he's burned among core voting groups. But Karl Nerenberg argues that the greatest danger arising out of the preservation of first-past-the-post is to Canadian democracy, not merely to the Libs' political fortunes.

Musical interlude

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 14:59
Tame Impala - Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

Friday Morning Links

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 07:46
Assorted content to end your week.

- Bruce Campbell points out how Donald Trump's blind hatred toward any type of regulation can impose costs in Canada and elsewhere to the extent we're bound by trade deals which make "harmonization" an expected standard. And Pia Eberhardt recognizes that there's no point in locking ourselves into the CETA as a response to Trump's view of trade - though that excuse should ring particularly hollow given that the same voices pushing it were demanding exactly the same corporate privileges when Barack Obama was setting the U.S.' trade policy.

- Meanwhile, the Tax Justice Network highlights the latest revelations from the Panama Papers showing that thousands of U.K. intermediaries have been facilitating offshore tax evasion.

- Sheila Block examines the effects of Ontario's increased taxes on the 1%, and concludes that they substantially increased public revenues without doing anything to affect gross incomes.

- The Star's editorial board makes the case for Canada to suspend its "safe third party" agreement with the U.S. until there's some reason to think refugees are actually going to receive a fair hearing under the Trump administration.

- Finally, Tom Parkin writes that Justin Trudeau's broken promise of electoral reform was exactly what made him seem different from his failed predecessors. And Laurin Liu calls out Trudeau for using women as political cover for his most dubious choices.

Thursday Evening Links

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 17:57
This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Simon Enoch explains why the Sask Party's plans to inflict an austerian beating until economic morale improves is doomed to failure:
It is now abundantly clear that the Saskatchewan government’s “transformational change” agenda is in reality a not-so-subtle euphemism for provincewide austerity in response to the current economic downturn. Premier Wall’s recent comments suggesting “very deep cuts” to education, health care, municipal revenue sharing and civil service salaries make it clear that the government’s plan for the economy is to “cut its way to growth.”

The problem with this plan is that it is exactly the worst possible course of action to take while the province is still mired in economic stagnation.

As a latecomer to economic downturn, Saskatchewan has the advantage of being able to assess the efficacy of policy responses by those who have gone before us, as national and state-level governments across North America and Europe have sought to effectively respond to the economic downturn inaugurated by the 2008 financial crisis. What this wealth of examples clearly demonstrates is that austerity measures undertaken during an economic downturn have the perverse effect of prolonging economic stagnation, increasing unemployment, exacerbating deficits and hindering economic recovery.
In addition to the economic argument against austerity, there is also a moral one that governments must consider. Austerity assumes that everyone shares in the pain of cuts equally. This is simply not true. Given that austerity measures primarily target public spending for programs and services, the effect will be to punish those who rely on these programs and services far more than those who do not — in particular the poorest and most vulnerable in the province. It seems particularly cruel to put the burden of cuts on those at the bottom of the income distribution who were least likely to have shared in the province’s prosperity during the boom period, and may have even been negatively impacted by the rising living costs associated with the boom years.

The sad truth is that the government relied far too much on inflated resource prices as a major source of revenue during the boom period. These resource revenues were effectively used to subsidize tax cuts that with the end of the commodity boom now appear unwise and unsustainable. The decline of revenues now has the government contemplating certain tax increases. As the government considers new sources of revenue, we would ask the government to consider the moral argument of austerity — ensuring that those least able to absorb tax increases are not asked to bear the majority of the burden for the rest of us.
The Saskatchewan government is in its current fiscal position because it made certain choices during the economic boom that have now come back to haunt us. The government needs to seriously consider the available evidence on austerity and recognize that the path it has set upon — while perhaps politically the easiest — is not necessarily the wisest. - Meanwhile, Jeff Labine reports on some of the effect of the Sask Party's cuts - including limiting the ability of school divisions to work on ensuring higher graduation rates.

- But Geoff Leo's latest revelations about the Global Transportation Hub scandal signal that good advice to the Wall government from anywhere - including from officials pointing out the foolishness of lining donors' pockets at the public's expense - tends to be ignored and buried.

- Marc Lee highlights B.C.'s giveaway of natural gas resources. And Brad Plumer points out that solar energy is new far outperforming coal in generating jobs, while being well on its way to doing the same in terms of power sources.

- Finally, Thomas Walkom notes that Bill Morneau seems to be following the all-too-familiar pattern of confusing the concept of free money for rich people (and an attitude of "let them eat cake" for everybody else) with a viable economic plan. And Michal Rozworski goes into more detail about the bad ideas on tap from Morneau's hand-picked advisory council.

New column day

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 16:06
Here, expanding on this post about the Libs' electoral reform betrayal - and the likelihood that it will encourage future Stephen Harpers to exploit the distortions created by first-past-the-post.

For further reading...
- I've linked to plenty of other commentary on the Libs' broken promise here, here and here. And we can add new material from the Council of Canadians and Shawn Garbutt, along with a useful refresher from Max Fawcett.
- The Government of Canada page highlighting the problems with first-past-the-post was once here - though it (along with other related content) seems to have now been removed. But fortunately Jason Wagar has preserved it for posterity.
- And finally, the formal petition sponsored by Nathan Cullen pushing for the Libs to live up to their promise is here - and rapidly approaching its 100,000th signature.

Wednesday Morning Links

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 07:53
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Louis-Philippe Rochon writes that while American voters had to know what they'd get in casting their most recent ballots, far too many Canadians may have believed the Libs' promises of something else:
On this side of the 49th parallel, however, when Canadians elected Trudeau a little over 15 months ago, on Oct. 19, 2015, we were led to believe he was some sort of a progressive politician with respect to social and economic issues, which essentially is what got him elected.

What a difference a year makes.

In recent months Trudeau has behaved very little like a progressive economist and has instead embraced with great fanfare some oddly conservative policies. In doing so, has Trudeau revealed himself to be a conservative wolf in liberal clothing? If so, it would appear the fix is in: Canadians voted for one guy but got another.  It was the classic political bait and switch: the great Canadian hoodwink.
[Under a privatized structure,] any infrastructure project will easily cost twice as much over a 30-year period. In other words, for any project, Canadian taxpayers will end up holding the fiscal bag through higher fees and taxes, whereas the government could finance the project at much cheaper rates. This makes no economic sense, which raises the question, is the government doing this simply as a way of thanking their financial supporters?

There is a more sinister argument looming under all this, and it regards the role of public spending and the privatization of the state. Indeed, with all these musings about privatizing airports, ports and public spending, Trudeau is in fact championing the privatization of the state itself, robbing it further of its powers to create jobs and regulate unstable markets. This is clearly not what Canadians were expecting when they elected him last year. - Christopher Majka highlights how Justin Trudeau's choice to break a core promise on electoral reform can only be explained by his taking Canadian voters for fools, while Scott Baker and Mark Dance write that it's bound to fuel voter cynicism. Tom Parkin discusses Trudeau's dishonesty on the issue, while Lawrence Martin emphasizes the damage the decision will do to Trudeau's core brand. And Karl Nerenberg points out how the retention of first-past-the-post is a gift to the right wing.

- Meanwhile, Michael Taube rightly observes that the Liberals' choice to nix electoral reform doesn't mean the issue will disappear. And Michael Morden and Michael Crawford Urban comment on the need for improved voter turnout as a means of ensuring better governance.

- Jugal Patel reports on a giant crack in Antarctica's ice shelf as yet another vivid reminder of the drastic effects of climate change.

- Finally, Andre Picard rightly questions why the Quebec City mosque massacre hasn't led to a discussion of gun control.

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 16:05
Floored cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 05:55
This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Kevin Young, Tarun Banerjee and Michael Schwartz discuss how capital uses the exact tools it's working to take away from labour - including the threat of strikes - to impose an anti-social agenda on the public:
Capitalists routinely exert leverage over governments by withholding the resources — jobs, credit, goods, and services — upon which society depends. The “capital strike” might take the form of layoffs, offshoring jobs and money, denying loans, or just a credible threat to do those things, along with a promise to relent once government delivers the desired policy changes.

Government officials know this power well, and invest great energy and public resources in staving off fits by malcontent capitalists. The profoundly rotten campaign finance system is just one manifestation of business’s domination over government policy. The real power resides in the corporate world’s monopoly over the flow of capital.
Dewey’s analysis calls for the elimination of concentrated economic power — that is, the elimination of capital’s capacity to disrupt a nation by withdrawing investment. Only by targeting the “substance” of corporate power — rather than its shadow, the government — can major progressive change be achieved and sustained.

Expanding on this insight, we believe that progressive social movements should directly target business elites. They are the main enemies of change, but they also have the power to facilitate reforms if they face sufficient pressure. If movements can alter capitalists’ cost-benefit calculations, government action favorable to popular interests becomes much more likely.

Workers’ rights movements in the 1930s and civil rights struggles in the 1960s succeeded largely by exerting pressure on business owners, who eventually supported progressive policy reforms as a way of cutting their own losses. Business elites’ structural power was greatly mitigated — and in fact harnessed to movement goals — when activists imposed high enough costs.

Ultimately, the capital strike teaches us that reform is not enough. Power over investment brings power over the political process. - Speaking of which, Bill Curry and Sean Silcoff report that Bill Morneau's hand-picked economic advisers are pushing the Libs to delay retirement for working Canadians.

- Jean Comte reports on the EU's efforts to develop a common list of tax havens - with Canada currently looking to be among the candidates for facilitating tax evasion.

- Jim Edwards examines how the UK's economy is only getting more unequal with time, due in large part to the gap between homeowners benefiting from soaring property prices and renters facing stagnant wages and higher costs.

- Toni Pickard argues that progressives should make the case for a fair and generous basic income to ensure that a policy receiving support across partisan lines isn't used to undermine the welfare state. And Poverty Free Saskatchewan's submission to SaskForward points out some transformational changes which could end poverty in the province.

- Finally, the Star's editorial board highlights why we shouldn't take a bare request to "trust us" as the basis for providing unaccountable power to a surveillance state. And Elizabeth Thompson reports on the use of public resources to monitor peaceful activists for an inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women.

Monday Morning Links

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 05:13
Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Sarah-Taïssir Bencharif discusses her experience facing prejudice against Muslims in Canada. But Ashifa Kassam reports on the growing public response to violence, as communities across the country formed "rings of peace" around mosques during their prayers on Friday.

- Meanwhile, Maher Arar points out how Canada's security state has been built around Islamophobia. And Manisha Krishnan argues that any real security threat comes from the radical right.

- But then, Kyle Curlew makes the point that we should be more skeptical of the basis for an unaccountable and intrusive security state to begin with. And CSIS' wanton intrusions into personal privacy (which it can't even be bothered to document) look to reinforce the position that the only reasonable direction to pursue is that of dismantling baseless surveillance.

- Finally, the Star's editorial board writes that it's long past time for the federal government to stop breaking its promises and obligations to Canada's First Nations.