Category Archives: Activism

Shaming Chauvinists 101

Hey, Canada. Don’t you just hate it when other countries make us look so 20th century?

In the UK, they’re going to publicly shame employers who maintain gender wage disparities. Sure, it’s not legislated pay equity, but it’s a start. And they’re ahead of us.

Seriously, how hard is this? Come on, read on. I dare you!

Businesses that perpetuate the wage gap will be exposed.Source: U.K. to Name and Shame Companies That Pay Men More Than Women

U.K. officials announced legislation Friday that will require businesses with more than 250 employees to publish the differences in average salaries and bonuses between male and female employees. A government-sponsored website will rank businesses by their gender pay gap, spotlighting companies that have failed to address wage disparities.

“In recent years we’ve seen the best employers make groundbreaking strides in tackling gender inequality,” Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan said in a statement. “But the job won’t be complete until we see the talents of women and men recognized equally and fairly in every workplace.” She added that such measures would leave “nowhere for gender inequality to hide.”

If Beyonce…

If Beyoncé could do THAT at the Superbowl, what could happen at the oh, so white Oscars?

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It’s Time for a National Housing Strategy

One of the big bads from the 1980s is starting to emerge again in Alberta. Jingle mail — the act of walking away from an underwater mortgage by mailing your keys back to the bank — is a peculiarity of the Alberta residential market and an act of desperation. However, a combination of high debt and lost jobs make it an option in a province going through a significant economic reckoning.

Source: Jingle mail rears its ugly head in Alberta again – Calgary – CBC News

In Vancouver, people are secretly salivating when our real estate market is in the stratosphere with London and Manhattan.

Secretly, because it makes people feel like they’re big on bashing the homeless and the affordability crisis if they’re too gleeful about how much [notional] equity they’re building.

But watch the ripples:

  1. Pockets of Alberta are at risk of upside-down mortgage default.
  2. Over-reliance on commodities create huge housing precarity.
  3. In Vancouver there is a net outflow of kids from k-12 because trying to raise a family is a death sentence for the dream of owning real estate in Vancouver
  4. Huge assessment increases in parts of BC make people want to cash out, but young families are increasingly not in a position to buy into homes in expensive areas.
  5. Watch for more school closure.
  6. Have you heard of the sub-prime crash of 2008 and the rampant moral hazards? Have you seen Margin Call or The Big Short?

These are just a few snippets of the kinds of housing crises facing Canada. And that’s without even going into the state of housing on reserves.

A national housing strategy would be like creating Medicare, or the CPP or student loans. A national plan for people to be secure in their housing.

There are capitalist pariahs who have long opposed all three of those national plans because it cuts into their potential profits in inelastic markets.

So too, housing.

As a society, we need to say enough!

Homes matter. Utah has cured homelessness by [get this!] building homes for homeless people. Medicine Hat is walking down that road and soon Kamloops will too.

Do YOU have anything against a national housing strategy?

Sanders’ Iowa “Win” and Clinton’s Entitlement

Clinton breathed a sigh of relief and spun the result: thanks for the “win.”

Source: From Iowa to New Hampshire: Latest Updates on 2016

This was no win. Despite the massive corporate media campaign to ignore Sanders, he did exceptionally well because he resonates with actual people.

Democratic Results in Iowa »

  Pct. Delegates
 Hillary Clinton
49.9% 22
Bernie Sanders
49.6 21
Martin O’Malley 0.6

If Clinton were to switch back to the Republican Party right now, I’m sure she’d win the White House easily. But being the corporate candidate in a leftward drifting Democratic Party, she has everything to lose.

With Sanders’ lead in NH polling, a win there may cripple the Clinton campaign.

By the way, have you read Michael Moore’s endorsement of Sanders yet? There’s a great image that explains how Clinton loses, if she does.

And a special note for Canadians…A Sanders presidency is the best hope we have of scuttling the TPP for Canada!

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We Must Completely Obliterate the BC Liberal Party

School Earthquake Drill During an earthquake drill

The provincial government has told the Vancouver School Board it will not fund any more seismic upgrades unless it agrees to close schools.

Source: Some parents fuming over BC Ministry of Education decision – NEWS 1130

What kind of premier threatens to withhold seismic upgrading funds until the school board closes schools?

What kind of person does that.

Is it blackmail? A slow motion hostage-taking?

What kind of analogy could you come up with to rationalize this?

I’m at a loss.

This is a new level of disturbing, even for the BC Liberals.

So. Go read the title again.

Where to Put the Homeless?

Source: A groundbreaking study suggests giving homeless Canadians homes first saves money

So, giving homeless people homes saves money [and shhhh, it’s the RIGHT thing to do!]…who knew!

Utah, that’s who. They’ve been at it for a while now.

It’s a report that could change the way that homeless people are treated in Canada. Funded by the federal government, “At Home/Chez Soi” is the largest study of its kind, with five years of research conducted in five major cities. It’s estimated that more than 150,000 people are homeless across the country, costing Canadians $1.4 billion each year.

The report suggests putting homeless people in housing, even before they have dealt with other problems such as mental illness and addiction, works to improve their lives. And it saves money.

Mulroney’s Gift to the NDP

Thanks Brian Mulroney!

You’ve done what no one else in Canada could do: by endorsing him, you’ve explained just how bad Trudeau and the Liberals would be for Canada.

Sure, Mulroney, you are sad that Harper’s Reform Party has eradicated your Progressive Conservatives and started using the “Conservative” word.

Sure, Mulroney, you know that Harper is bad for Canada.

But so were you and your Liberal counterparts:

  1. Trudeau started the Free Trade Agreement with USA and you finished it.
  2. Then there was NAFTA and the GST which you and Chretien handled.
  3. Then there was Martin’s Liberal budget of 1995 that decimated health and social spending and stole money from the EI surplus to balance the budget.
  4. Then there was the APEC, the FTAA and a myriad of other regressive federal social and economic policies.
  5. Now Trudeau is afraid to say where he stands on the TPP, he and his minions voted for C-51 even though he didn’t need to, and Trudeau won’t restore health spending cuts Harper has triggered.

So yes, Mulroney, Trudeau is your man. So was his dad.

And you’ve given the great gift of clarity to those who want to restore Canada to the potential of awesomeness!

Trudeau and the Liberals are not a progressive alternative for Canada, the NDP is.

So thanks Mulroney for making that clear for everyone!

Why I Joined Team Mulcair

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair speaks at a campaign event in Toronto, Aug ...

After years of concern about what a second Harper majority government would do to eradicate the rest of what I love about Canada, I’ve been able to reject fear and embrace change. But it was a long process that required coming to terms with Tom Mulcair. And I did.

And so should you, which is why you should also be able to let go of any urge to vote for the Liberal Party.

As trade unionists we should be voting not only in our interests, but in the interests of the country. The great thing about being in the working class is that those interests are largely aligned.

We should not be fooled into thinking that terrorists are on the verge of blowing up our hallowed hockey arenas and legislatures. That’s Harper’s fear we need to continue rejecting.

We also should not be fooled into thinking that the Occupy Movement was irrelevant. As a political economist, one of my hobbies is to monitor right wing, neoliberal institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

But what I’ve tracked very closely is that all three right wing organizations, and many others, have started insisting that economic inequality is a huge threat to global stability: the core idea in the Occupy Movement.

But how do all these ideas lead to our fall election?

Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are bad for Canada and Canadians.

And the trick has been in how to actually get rid of him, considering how much his party has cheated in and between the last few elections.

A luring notion has been percolating since the 2011 election: some sort of electoral co-operation, if necessary. And why not? Our current first-past-the-post electoral system continues to reward majority governments with absolute power to parties that get less than 50% of the popular vote.

And the big idea was to look to the Liberals and NDP to oust Harper’s Conservatives. The NDP’s Orange Crush brought the party to official opposition status. Jack Layton had just died. Ignatieff drifted back to Harvard and a younger Trudeau emerged as a contender to lead the Liberals into a new era.

And many people examined Mulcair, and found his personality, leadership charisma and appeal lacking. After all, Jack Layton was a beacon of optimism.

The NDP leadership race came down to Cullen, Topp and Mulcair.

Nathan Cullen touted co-operation with the Liberals to save Canada from Harper. Leadnow.ca, the powerful citizen mobilizer group, embraced that goal as well.

Brian Topp had never been elected and was running to become leader of the opposition, which was a stretch despite his history as a campaigner.

Tom Mulcair was successful in helping deliver Quebec, which had already warmed to Jack Layton, and was an experienced.,effective parliamentarian.

I supported Cullen and a co-operative approach, with the hope of achieving electoral reform as well.

But I joined Team Mulcair this past spring. And I had a number of compelling realizations as I changed my mind about how to save Canada, which I present here, chronologically:

  1. The political economist in me was impressed with Mulcair’s ability to litigate and coherently attack Stephen Harper’s anti-Canada agenda during question period in the House of Commons. Justin Trudeau has been largely ineffective in parliament.
  2. Starting in mid-2014, the NDP started releasing its election platform, well over a year before the fixed election date of October 19, 2015. After hearing little from the party about what policies the Mulcair-led policy would champion, I was impressed. There was action on climate change, an inquiry into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, economic equality policies, treating veterans with dignity, and many more. Meanwhile the Liberals had little to offer that was inspiring at all.
  3. Then, last Spring, Trudeau criticized the NDP for providing parliamentary office space for its staff union, but this nasty turn should not have surprised unions so much. Last decade, the Liberal Party promised to vote for federal anti-scab legislation. Then, they voted against it. The Liberal Party is not the party of unions or working people.
  4. Also last spring, as Mulcair continued to expand his personality and charisma, and win over NDP activist friends of mine who found him more engaging and inspiring than I ever had, the NDP stood strong and voted against the fascist bill C-51. Trudeau voted for it, despite claiming it was bad, but that he’d fix it once in power. In wanting to avoid alienating the right wing of his party, he alienated the many of the rest. This fence-straddling is typical for this party historically. But no more free pass for the party that campaigns from the left and governs from the right. I’m done with that kind of lying.

And by the summer, the Liberals were dropping in most demographics, the NDP was ahead of the Conservatives almost everywhere and voting Liberal anywhere in the country became impotent.

Looking back, the NDP won 103 seats and came second in over 100 ridings in 2011. Trudeau is missing. Mulcair has come into his own. Alberta inspired the whole country by embracing the NDP for change provincially. And Harper has driven our economy, rights and freedoms into the ground.

The NDP are fully capable of ridding us of Harper’s Conservatives for good.

That’s why I joined Team Mulcair. And so should you.

A version of this piece shows up in the Labour Day 2015 issue of Our Times magazine.

Ashley Madison Is Not Nearly So Black and White

https://i2.wp.com/cdn0.dailydot.com/cache/f5/99/f59976d08ba0afb60314ad3938f74e59.jpg?resize=474%2C237
The Ashley Madison hack is bad news for cheaters—and just as terrible for everyone else – By Harris O’Malley

It’s like the royal family: glamorize them so we can bash them down to earth.

A bit of a mindfuck.

If Ashley Madison were a straight infidelity website among heterosexual couples in a world of simple heterosex, then yes, let’s judge all these people. Because we love to judge.

But if you’re interested to see what kind of other people use[d] Ashley Madison for arguably not so black-and-white sinful reasons, you may realize that quite a few people are getting hosed here.

But Harris O’Malley said it better.

If you can read this piece and still remain steadfast in black-and-white judgement, then you should explain how that works for you in the comment section below.

As always, inane commentary is nuked. 🙂

 

Why Are Harper and Kenney Such Liars?

Chronic Liar.

We all know Stephen Harper is fond of lying.

During the debate this month there were a myriad of drinking games around the country for whenever one of the other leaders called him a liar.

Here’s one clever analysis of his tendency to LIE TO US TO GET US TO GIVE HIM MORE TIME TO DESTROY CANADA!

And what about Jason Kenney: Mr. Liar McMakeItUp.

Here’s what’s up with his chronic lying.

We. Must. Punish. These. Liars.

Let’s make them unemployed on October 20. If we’re lucky they and their lying colleagues will pull a Prentice!