The precariat…

Dec 29, 2016

World Economic Forum – Guy Standing
The precariat, populism and robots: is basic income a political imperative?

Standing, a University of London researcher, offers a question about the need to re-frame the current assumptions around the income inequality and the chances of wages by themselves to seriously address the problem.  Standing offers five reasons for a basic income approach without attached conditions while suggesting that Trump-like protectionists will simply spur an increase in automation and robots.  This is the third of a series from the folks who bring you Davos.   Related article:  Tyee (BC) – Crawford Kilian   The End of Capitalism and the End of Our World – Author makes compelling case that capitalism is collapsing and there is nothing to replace it   (The article is a book review of Wolfgang Streeck, a 70-year-old German sociologist and director emeritus of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, (who) thinks capitalism’s end is inevitable and fast approaching. He has no idea what, if anything, will replace it.)

iPolitics – Michael Harris
The price we pay for punishment – Crime is dropping, but the cost of corrections is exploding

Harris tackles the operation of the federal corrections system.  He comments on the role of TV in the public perception of crime and he explores the approach of Federal Public Safety Minister John McCallum who is new to this portfolio.  He also comments on the approach of the Harper government and then the experience and insider knowledge of Howard Sapers, the former Correctional Investigator and now advisor to the Ontario government’s Correctional Services.  This is the third of a series that Harris has produced, all available at the link.

iPolitics – Benjamin Perrin
There’s a rift on the Supreme Court over ‘judicial activism – Not everyone on the top court is singing from the same song sheet

Perrin announces that the rift once exclusively attributed to the critics and pundits of the court has now surfaced among the Justices themselves.  The argument is about the role of the court in commenting and encouraging social policy, though by some to be well beyond the interpretation of the law and belonging rather to the House of Parliament.  Perrin illustrates the dilemma and the players in several cases to date. 2016/12/22/theres-a-rift-on-the-supreme-court-over-judicial- /

Policy Options – Daphne Gilbert, Elizabeth Sheehy, Lise Gotell
Justice Robin Camp should accept the consequences of his breach of judicial standards.

The article is a thoughtful, and compassionate, reflection by three law professors in Canada who specialize and teach in the law around sexual assault.  The issue in the case of a judge offending brings also the issue of men of influence and privilege.

Policy Options – Ian Morrison
Local media and the democracy deficit…

Morrison raises the future of media outlets that are diminishing, many of which may face extinction by 2020 in both the major media and in local media.  The problem appears as pointed as the solution is simple, given his arguments in favour of a solution.  The Canadian government can revisit its decision in the seventies to protect Canadian media from internationally controlled advertising through taxes.  What is striking in his assertions is the comparative revenue generation stemming from the internet vs the print media.  The CRA, says Morrison, needs to revisit the decision that a “web site is not a newspaper, a periodical or a broadcasting undertaking,” meaning that all Internet advertising was deemed tax deductible, regardless of site nationality.”

BC Tyee – Madeleine de Trenqualye
Climate Change Politics in the Age of Trudeau and Trump: What’s Next?

The link is to an interview with Kathleen Harrison, UBC political science professor and climate change expert.  Harrison thinks that the weakness of the environmental movement is not creativity and innovation which abounds but policy that creates the incentive for the creativity to flourish.  She goes question / answer with Trenqualye looking at what happens to policy when the Trump / Trudeau dynamic kicks in.

iPolitics – Janice Dickson
‘You’ll just test positive for everything’: The fight to retire CSC’s drug scanner – The ION scanner is controversial technology with a dire record for error

The MOMS of Ottawa (Mothers for Mutual Support) have an electronic petition building asking the government to close down the use of Ion scanners which are notoriously faulty with extensive fall out on the victims following the false readings.  The scanner are used to detect minute amounts of drugs, even as little as one may find from handling a $5 bill in general circulation and exposed at one point to an illicit drug deal.  Here’s the story about how the petition got started.   Like many structural obstacles we may wonder why CSC persists in its use, given the unreliability of the device.

Abacus Data – Bruce Anderson & David Coletto
Muslims and Indigenous People Face the Most Discrimination in Canada, According to Canadians

This poll reminds us of what challenges are before us in 2017, especially in the light of political philosophies driving recent elections in North America and in Europe.  The survey presents several graphics with both Canadian results and a comparison chart with the US.  The charts offer province by province results and male/female breakdown, race and gender discrimination.  There are also summary interpretations of the authors.

Globe and Mail – Grant Robertson
Canadians not told about banned pesticide found in medical pot supply

Nobody’s talking but a banned pesticide has been found in a medical and federally licensed pot suppliers’ marijuana.  It appears that both the feds and the supplier knew of the presence of this pesticide in the product but neither informed the public.  Myclobutanil is not approved for use on plants that are combusted, such as tobacco or cannabis, and is known to emit hydrogen cyanide when heated.  The three US states where marijuana is legal introduced emergency legislation post-legalization to confront the problem.