Saturday, July 21, 2012

On known unknowns

Others have already weighed in on City Council's rush to lock in a stadium plan before anybody has a chance to ask serious questions about it. But let's take a closer look at what looks to be the most important additional question beyond the ones I already identified here.

Bruce Johnstone's defence of the agreement so far includes an assumption that the Saskatchewan Roughriders will cover $100 million in operating costs through a new lease - which looks to be based on his conflating the money raised from an unrelated facility fee with the terms of the team's lease.

But the City's actual summary of the project (see chart at bottom of this story) leaves any lease with the 'Riders "to be negotiated".  Which means we have no information whatsoever as to what the anchor tenant for a new stadium can or will pay in a lease to use a facility being built primarily for its benefit - leaving the City entirely on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in operating and maintenance expenses.

And that in turn figures to allow the team to reinforce assumptions like these put together by CBC that it won't have to contribute another dime. Indeed, if CBC's breakdown is correct, the 'Riders would siphon off all the benefits of a building designed to maximize the team's revenue, while contributing nothing but its small share of initial construction costs.

Now, I very much hope that won't be how any eventual lease is actually structured. But the fact that nothing on paper suggests otherwise signals that the City has done absolutely nothing to ensure the main beneficiary of a stadium makes a fair contribution to the costs of its administration and maintenance - even while negotiating the terms of construction with that same tenant.

So it's looking like there's more and more reason for residents to speak out against an attempt to lock Regina's citizens into who-knows-what at the behest of a lame-duck Council. If nothing else, it's impossible to make an informed choice without knowing what the 'Riders can and will contribute toward operating costs - and any Council vote based on wilful blindness on that point should be a firing offence.

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Doug Saunders discusses how corporate cash hoarding is limiting any economic recovery - and what we can do about it:
(T)his should be a great time for companies to invest: low prices, low interest rates, cheaper labour costs. A sensible company would build up cash during boom times – when investments are more expensive – and spend it during recessions, when consumer demand is weak and capital is cheap.
Yet this is the precise opposite of what actually happens. Companies look at the low consumer demand and become terrified, failing to recognize their own role in creating it.

This has become a public issue. There are some very important reasons why we need investment and spending now – and why chopping down the cash mountains should come before filling in the debt pits.

Unemployment is threatening to cripple an entire generation in many countries. The worldwide food crisis has returned, for no good reason; with more investment, the world could produce more than enough food. There are serious housing shortages in most Western countries. The drive to reduce carbon emissions has stalled, due to a shortage of investment in nuclear and alternative-energy power sources.

If the economy doesn’t start moving, there is something else we could do: start taxing those cash reserves – especially those held overseas. If we make hoarding expensive, companies will find it more desirable to use earnings to increase market share, improve products through research or expand into new markets.
- Sarah Schmidt reports on the Cons' choice to prioritize an unregulated junk food industry over the advice of health experts on trans-fat monitoring.

- Don Morgan helpfully responds to criticism of his government's attacks on a hundred years of labour progress by saying that his own consultation paper means nothing whatsoever. Meanwhile, Erin Weir points out that Saskatchewan residents are facing real cost-of-living increases which the Sask Party has gone out of its way to avoid ameliorating.

- The Guardian highlights that the NDP is making inroads in Prince Edward Island, both in terms of general organization and a provincial leadership race.

- Finally, Gerald Caplan suggests that the Cons' environmental and military debacles are doing the NDP's work as an official opposition for it:
The first was the huge hole blown in their single most significant economic initiative – unwavering support for Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to the Pacific. The second was the blow to their vaunted managerial efficiency that was to be demonstrated by a modernized Canadian military machine, central to the warrior culture the government wants to make a cherished Canadian value.

In each case, the week’s bad news happened to be the fourth in a series of bad stories that have begun to undermine these two major projects. Oil pipelines received the most coverage, all of it damning. Enbridge’s very public humiliation at the hands of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, for a serious pipeline rupture in Michigan in 2010, reminded Canadians that no fewer than three large oil spills had taken place in Alberta itself just the previous month. That in turn evoked unwelcome memories of last year’s massive spill near Peace River, Alta., which then led to reminders that besides the Michigan disaster, 2010 also saw an average of two pipeline failures every day in Alberta. No one, it seems, had remembered this distressing record – until now.

Suddenly, the existing political equation was turned on its head. Instead of the Harper-led attacks on opponents of the Northern Gateway pipeline project as radicals, Canadian politicians and oil interests were now falling all over themselves to insist they put safety first. The villains had become, in the words of one American regulator, Enbridge’s “Keystone Kops.” And instead of Mr. Mulcair being characterized as the mindless arch-enemy of an ever-expanding energy sector, he seemed increasingly credible as a voice of elementary commonsense, as polls indicate.
So the competent Harper economic managers cannot properly supply the armed forces they’ve tried so hard to elevate as a symbol of conservative Canada. And their signature economic policy cannot advance without a guarantee that some time, somewhere, Canada will continue to pay massive environmental costs for it. It seems the Conservatives are graciously doing a good deal of Mr. Mulcair’s work for him.
But I will caution that the Cons have offered plenty of examples of their own incompetence before which weren't enough to cause voters to turf them from office. And the NDP's real work likely lies in making sure that these types of stories stay at the forefront of Canadian political discussion, rather than allowing the Cons to deflect attention elsewhere.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Musical interlude

Serge Devant feat. Hadley - Peace

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Sid Ryan takes on the Harper/Hudak double-team effort to prevent workers from having any voice in our political direction:
(T)here can be little doubt that what really offends Hudak is the fact that union members pool their resources to participate in municipal, provincial and federal elections. When voters pulled the rug out from under Hudak's 2011 electoral campaign, he blamed Harris-weary union members for campaigning against him and running television ads to expose his agenda.

It is no coincidence that Hudak released his 20 page attack on basic workers' rights immediately after an Ontario court struck down -- for the third time -- his legal challenge against the Working Families Coalition ads. A defiant Conservative MPP, Lisa MacLeod (Nepean -- Carleton), told reporters: "we will continue to fight this in the court of public opinion." And fight they did -- issuing their call for all workers to be stripped of their collective rights.

Stripped to its core, Hudak's vision is not about "modernizing" the labour market in the interests of prosperity for all. He seeks to usher in an era of permanent uncertainty for all working people to the overwhelming benefit of corporations. To accomplish this task, Hudak must neutralize his opponents in every possible arena, from the workplace to elections.
-  Meanwhile, Paul Krugman hurts some high-roller fee-fees:
“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” So wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald — and he didn’t just mean that they have more money. What he meant instead, at least in part, was that many of the very rich expect a level of deference that the rest of us never experience and are deeply distressed when they don’t get the special treatment they consider their birthright; their wealth “makes them soft where we are hard.”

And because money talks, this softness — call it the pathos of the plutocrats — has become a major factor in America’s political life. 
Not only do many of the superrich feel deeply aggrieved at the notion that anyone in their class might face criticism, they also insist that their perception that Mr. Obama doesn’t like them is at the root of our economic problems. Businesses aren’t investing, they say, because business leaders don’t feel valued. Mr. Romney repeated this line, too, arguing that because the president attacks success “we have less success.”

 This, too, is crazy (and it’s disturbing that Mr. Romney appears to share this delusional view about what ails our economy). There’s no mystery about the reasons the economic recovery has been so weak. Housing is still depressed in the aftermath of a huge bubble, and consumer demand is being held back by the high levels of household debt that are the legacy of that bubble. Business investment has actually held up fairly well given this weakness in demand. Why should businesses invest more when they don’t have enough customers to make full use of the capacity they already have?

But never mind. Because the rich are different from you and me, many of them are incredibly self-centered. They don’t even see how funny it is — how ridiculous they look — when they attribute the weakness of a $15 trillion economy to their own hurt feelings. After all, who’s going to tell them? They’re safely ensconced in a bubble of deference and flattery. 
-  pogge nicely sums up why we shouldn't be too quick to ascribe bad motives to Elections Canada - while at the same time making clear that we do need to keep a close eye on its actions in dealing with the Robocon electoral fraud and other key issues.

- John Geddes offers his take on the parts of Canada's system of government that have served us well in comparison to the U.S.:
John Palmer, the former top federal banking watchdog, told me for this story a couple of years ago that the key to Canada’s 1996 reforms was that the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions was given the authority to issue highly discretionary instructions to banks as dubious lending patterns or other vulnerabilities on their balance sheets took shape. So the subprime mortgage portfolios taken on by U.S. banks before the 2008 market meltdown would have set off OSFI’s alarms, at least in theory, before they grew so recklessly huge.

The willingness and ability of Ottawa to impose this more assertive banking regulation tells us something. So do the persistence of higher Canadian taxes and the resilience of federal transfers for provincial social programs. Only a few years ago, regulation, taxation and social spending were routinely cited as serious Canadian economic liabilities. Lately, you don’t hear that so much.
- Finally, yet another study has confirmed a link between wealth gaps and health outcomes - in this case finding an infant mortality rate twice as high in inner-city Saskatoon as elsewhere in the city. And on a related note, CUPE's Wants Vs. Needs site looks to be nicely framing the choice for Regina voters in this fall's municipal elections.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thursday Morning 'Rider Blogging

The Saskatchewan Roughriders' third win of 2012 involved a rather different path than the previous two.

Instead of dominating the line on either side of the ball, the 'Riders' win over B.C. featured a Lions team that largely controlled both sides of the ball. Travis Lulay put together a fairly stellar passing performance, while Saskatchewan's offence once again settled for modest gains while having trouble generating any big plays.

But that doesn't necessarily guarantee victory against a team which takes advantage of its few opportunities. And once again, the 'Riders couldn't have done much better on that front.

Most obviously, Tristan Jackson put together exactly the performance 'Rider fans have been waiting for since he was first added to the team. But his 129-yard touchdown run was far from a solo effort: instead, the 'Riders' field-goal blocking team allowed Jackson to wait for the Lions' cover team members to be levelled before patiently picking up 15 or 20 yards at a time. And the combination of an explosive returner and well-prepared blocking unit may help the 'Riders down the road by forcing opponents to rethink long field goal tries.

Meanwhile, B.C. had plenty of opportunities to break the 'Riders' zero-turnover streak - only to have at least one would-be interception slip through a defender's hands, while an apparent Kory Sheets fumble was overturned on replay. And those scattered plays along with an uncharacteristically poor performance by Paul McCallum were enough to swing the game in Saskatchewan's favour and hand the Lions their first loss since last October.

Naturally, the Lions' control of the line of scrimmage meant the 'Riders figure to have plenty left to improve in order to be able to beat the CFL's best teams consistently. But for now, a win is enough to keep the 'Riders on the right track - and the victory over the defending CFL champions confirms there's nobody beyond the team's reach.

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Vaughn Palmer discusses the unfortunate gap between the outrages that may lead to a government being pushed out of power, and a new government's ability to actually reverse what's been done. Which, a propos of nothing, makes it rather important to push lame-duck incumbents to respect the democratic will of citizens rather than pushing through controversial plans without even the bare pretense of public consultation.

- I don't have any problem with the idea of "hardheaded socialism" as a successful economic and political model, particularly as it fits the NDP's historical pairing of fiscal responsibility and social generosity. But I'm rather wary of any attempt to claim Canada has actually enjoyed a genuinely thick safety net under a series of federal governments who have consistently undermined it.

- Am Johal interviews Ryan Meili about A Healthy Society, including this on First Nations health:
AJ: Policies and programs directed towards the Aboriginal community too often are not culturally sensitive nor are they delivered by Aboriginal organizations. Do you see a shift in health care delivery related to Aboriginal communities. What changes would you like to see?

RM: The transfer of control of health services to First Nations communities has been a mixed blessing. The ability to make decisions about health services offered and to be directly involved in identifying community health needs is a necessary and important step. We can and should involve communities even more in determining the best means to address the health issues they face. Unfortunately, this policy has too often also served as a means for governments to wash their hands of responsibility, including the key responsibility of adequately funding health services. Many bands have seen their health funding frozen at 1990s levels, despite populations that have grown quickly and despite new health challenges that have emerged. This results in an underfunding of key services and worse health outcomes.

A responsible approach to health transfer needs to include transparency not only around decision-making in service provision and human resources, but also around the availability of sufficient funds to provide services.
- Embassy reports on what looks like the latest evidence that the Cons are going full-on Republican wingnut - as the Harper government is actually pushing to weaken an international arms treaty (including any tracking of ammunition or technology, as well as "high volume transfers") because of a laughable claim that they'll somehow affect individual hunters.

- Finally, Dan Gardner points out that the Cons' consistent mistreatment of Omar Khadr - with their breaking an agreement to process his readmission to Canada serving as just the latest outrage - actually speaks volumes about how little they value citizenship in general.

New column day

Here, on Mitt Romney's nine-figure individual retirement account - and the lessons we should learn for our own tax policy.

For further reading...
- D.M. Levine and William Cohan are among many who have speculated as to how Romney may have amassed his IRA.
- Eugene Robinson comments on how the U.S.' retirement savings scheme has served to benefit those who can afford to ruthlessly exploit it, while at least one financial services provider has some ideas to go beyond Romney's tax sheltering.
- And the single definition standing between Canada and comparable abuses is this one.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Michael Harris continues to highlight some of the fundamental problems with the Cons' view of politics, this time identifying Stephen Harper as being afflicted with "master of the universe syndrome":
When you control all the levers of power, when you have no scruples, when you are surrounded by nutters who will do anything you say without thinking, when you conceive of language as disconnected from objective reality, when you believe biz bull and Beatle songs are enough to bamboozle the Great Unwashed, it’s understandable in certain personality types that the conviction begins to take hold that you are a master of the universe.

Here are the main symptoms of MOUS. You stop caring about what others think about you. They are merely the Plankton People – Vladimir Putin’s ringing coinage for the human flotsam and jetsam who throng to those soon-to-be terminated protests against his dark dominion in Russia. The kind of people, I might add, who now find themselves under arrest when a Harper cabinet minister is heckled...

When you have MOUS, it never crosses your mind that people would like more from their government than a cattle prod in their junk. That’s because being Boss is in your blood. You, and you alone, know what’s good for everybody. And what’s good for everybody? Well, it just happens to be what’s good for your friends. The pipeline people, the military, and of course, the Harper Party.
- NUPGE identifies several pieces of the Sask Party's labour and employment plans which violate well-established and internationally-recognized labour rights:
Implementing any of the following legislative changes would be seen as a violation of Canada's (and Saskatchewan's) commitment to adhere to ILO fundamental principles of freedom of association:
  • excluding some employees from the right to collective bargaining;
  • restricting unions from democratically deciding how they spend dues revenues;
  • allowing individual members to opt out of paying dues;
  • allowing individual members to make decisions on what their dues are used for that are contrary to the financial decisions made democratically by the majority of union members;
  • eliminating 'dues check off', the process where an employer deducts union dues from employees' pay on behalf of the union; and
  • denying essential employees the right to strike without access to impartial third party arbitration.
- Vass Bednar and Mark Stabile comment on the Cons' continued attacks on evidence-based policy in general and Statistics Canada in particular:
We would argue that there is a strong case to be made for a publicly funded and administered statistical agency that collects the kind of robust information required for government, business and individuals to make the best decisions they can.

For without being able to accurately describe the characteristics and trends of what that "problem" is, society will simply have to make policy in the dark.

Evidence-based policy-making requires just that - evidence - standard, reliable metrics whose quantification and legitimacy is widely agreed upon. In their absence, policy-making at all levels and in every sector will be as expensive as it is hopeful, while policy actors are forced to gingerly "guess and check" over time.

In the absence of good data, our ability to fully comprehend complex policy issues will grow anecdotal and inconsistent. As admirable as the quest for efficiency in the public sector is, it can't be worth the confusion that it will promise in the future. Truly realizing the kind of savings that Statistics Canada claims to strive for in this budgetary cycle means continuing to invest in the foundational information that has wisely informed our nation for decades.
- Stephen Maher reports on the latest in Helena Guergis' defamation claim. But the most noteworthy part of the story may be the one tossed in as an afterthought: all investigation and discussion of the criminal case against a past Conservative MP - who was married to a then-current MP and cabinet minister - was shot down by yet another future MP and cabinet minister in Julian Fantino.

 - Finally, the Star-Phoenix editorial board has some pointed questions about the plan for a new Regina stadium.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Levelled cats.

Patient Zero

Paul Krugman highlights what seems to him the first example of the "repeat a lie until it's taken as conventional wisdom" messaging strategy of the North American right:
I originally got the term “zombie lies” from the healthcare field, specifically Canadian health care, where there are certain stories — like the one about hordes of Canadians crossing the border to seek treatment — that remain part of what everyone, or at least everyone on the right, knows to be true no matter how many times they have been shown to be false. Kill them, and they just keep shambling along.

The reason this happens so much in health economics is clear: the realities of health care — especially the complete absence of free-market success stories and the evident superiority of public systems at cost control — are just not supposed to happen in the conservative world view. Hence the temptation to make stuff up, to seize on stories that are what right-wingers think should be happening and pretend that they are what really happens.
Zombie right-wing lies: a proud part of our Canadian heritage. In fact, Jim Flaherty's announcement of a commemorative wooden nickel is being planned as we speak.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Dave Coles writes that the Harper Cons are using their power to protect the privacy of international arms dealers, while at the same time demanding stringent reporting requirements for labour unions and their members:
Labour unions are among the few institutions that can and do provide a counterbalance to the power of corporations. Yet the Conservatives are not requiring companies that bargain with trade unions to file detailed reports to the Canada Revenue Agency on their salary, political or lobbying spending. Additionally, they are not requiring other professional associations that collect fees or dues from their members, such as the Canadian Medical Association for example, to follow the terms of Bill C-377.

They are only requiring the institutions created to represent the interests of millions of workers across the country to file these detailed records. There is no other way to interpret this than as an attempt to disarm a political opponent.

Much like what Habib Massoud was hinting at when talking about those involved in the arms trade, the detailed reporting required by Bill C-377 will be burdensome, costly and threaten the privacy rights of many individuals, companies and organizations that work with unions. Incredibly, under the proposed legislation, labour-associated pension and benefit plans will be required to publicly disclose “the name and address” and a “description” of benefits paid to individuals greater than $5,000. This could include personal medical information.
- Barrie McKenna notes that Jim Flaherty is once again using the power of the federal government to let banks do whatever they want without consequences. And unfortunately Canada's government is far from the only one which is utterly failing in its obligation to defend the public interest in dealing with banks.

- And indeed, the U.K. is standing out in its emphasis on corporate "property", going so far as to make the names of seasons off limits for anybody other than Olympic sponsors:
Wearing purple caps and tops, the experts in trading and advertising working for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) are heading the biggest brand protection operation staged in the UK. Under legislation specially introduced for the London Games, they have the right to enter shops and offices and bring court action with fines of up to £20,000.

Olympics organisers have warned businesses that during London 2012 their advertising should not include a list of banned words, including "gold", "silver" and "bronze", "summer", "sponsors" and "London".
- Finally, Erin Weir contrasts the Wall government's willingness to put public money into a new stadium in Regina against its missed opportunity to invest in renewable power. And the Globe and Mail points out the coincidence that the federal Cons are funding attacks on wind power while refusing to acknowledge massive health, safety and environmental risks associated with non-renewable resource extraction.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Lana Payne sees reason for hope in the sheer breadth of citizens who are protesting against the Harper Cons:
Scientists. Doctors. Nuclear engineers. Academics. Researchers. Stephen Harper has a big problem.

He has ticked them all off. And they are not suffering their grievances or concerns for informed, fact-based public policy and decision-making, the environment, the health of Canada’s most vulnerable citizens and the safety of all of us in silence.

No. Instead they are protesting, marching, disrupting government news conferences. They are mobilizing.
(T)his is a prime minister and a government who have mobilized Canadians to take action, to protest, march and speak out. Canadians who would not normally do so. Canadians who care about the country, who care about how we treat the most vulnerable among us: the poor, the elderly. Who care about facts.
(T)he provinces have power. The premiers just need to figure out how they want to use it and whether they can agree among themselves how best to do so. This won’t be easy, but it is not impossible.

It will require courage and leadership and an understanding that Canada is truly great when we are more than the sum of our parts.

It’s time for the premiers to start fighting back. And when they do, Canadians, the vast majority of us, will be with them.
- But then, we can't assume that all provinces are particularly interested in hearing about the needs of Canada's most vulnerable citizens either - as sadly demonstrated by the Sask Party's decision to de-fund Equal Justice For All.

- Fortunately, at least some others are picking up the slack in documenting how people are affected by uncaring decision-makers. For example, Rob Rainer and Linda Silas discuss how inequality is making Canada sick.

- And the CAW looks into the job market facing laid-off manufacturing-sector workers, and finds that there's plenty of reason for concern:
A groundbreaking study tracking a group of laid off workers in Ontario shows that they continue to struggle to find decent jobs amidst the turmoil of the current labour market.

The final phase of the CAW's Worker Adjustment Tracking Study released earlier today shows that many laid off workers are forced into lower quality and more precarious jobs (including temp agency work), with a significant reduction in pay following the loss of good full-time employment.
Other study highlights include:
- Over 1 in 5 reported being without income for longer than one year;
- 31% reported their general health has deteriorated as a result of layoff;
- 48% reported they had done without something they needed in order to pay the rent or mortgage;
- Employment and job characteristics for most workers are poorer than in their previous jobs;
- Nearly 60% of those who completed job retraining programs found related employment.
 - Finally, Craig McInnes is the latest to weigh in on how Enbridge's utter irresponsibility in causing its Michigan spill should make us wary of its intentions in ramming through a Gateway pipeline.

On ballpark figures

John Klein and Marian Donnelly have already raised some important questions about this weekend's stadium funding announcement. But while the biggest problem with the announcement may well be just how obvious it is that some key issues haven't yet been worked out in the slightest, I'll toss a couple more into the mix.

First, particularly in light of the fact that Regina's City Council will be asked to vote on the deal within the next month, the announcement reeks of being cynically timed to allow a current council to lock the city into an agreement which voters may want to reject. And so it will be worth keeping an eye on exactly what steps are intended to be taken before the election - and holding the current Councillors who are running again strictly accountable for any choice to deprive voters of any say.

Second, there's the cost involved in the project. While Bruce Johnstone for one takes at face value the claim that the province's "roof ready" requirement won't add to the price tag, I'm curious as to how the cost of an open-air stadium has jumped just under $90 million (for a stadium with 5,000 less seats) since the province carried out its 2009 stadium concept review.

Otherwise, the announcement at least looks to reflect a more sensible funding model than most that have been floated to pay for a new stadium - with the Roughriders and attendees picking up at least a substantial part of the initial tab (though the city looks to be on the hook for overruns). And so the question will indeed be one of priorities rather than whether there's much more to be done to improve what a stadium project looks like.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your weekend.

- Will Hutton discusses how the increasing gaps in economic equality are leading to radical differences in opportunity - with the U.S./U.K. push toward private schooling serving as a particular source of exclusion:
(T)he middle class of whatever ethnic background is spending more on what Putnam calls its children's "enrichment activities" so important for psychological wellbeing and character building; in fact they are spending 11 times more than those at the bottom. In 1972, working-class children from the bottom quartile of earners were just as likely to participate in a wide range of sporting and cultural events as children from the top quartile. No more. A chasm has opened, claims Putnam. Whether it is captaining a school sports team, winning an internship or being read to at night the middle-class child's chances are at least two times better.

As a result, the arteries in American society are hardening. Social mobility is in decline, but, worse, the general drop in trust observable in all social classes is most marked among the poorest third of Americans. Nor should it be any surprise that they are "cynical and even paranoid", writes Putnam: it is a rational response to their situation. Every institution that might be expected to alleviate their plight – family, school, voluntary organisations and church – has become dysfunctional.
Private schools are much more important in Britain and America than in Canada and Australia; unsurprisingly it follows, as the Carnegie Corporation/Sutton Trust recent social mobility summit found, that social mobility is much lower in Britain and America. The privately educated, the quintessential expression of enrichment activity, not only dominate the upper echelons of British society, so do their children. Private schools play a pivotal role in repressing mobility; however good state schools become, private schools' well-understood job is to stay a step ahead and deliver economic and social advantage.
 - There's been plenty of talk of how Enbridge's disastrous failure to deal with its failing Michigan pipeline will affect its plans for a Gateway pipeline, with Barbara Yaffe and the Globe and Mail recognizing that the project (at least as it stands) is likely to fail utterly in B.C. while groups in Alberta also call for some serious scrutiny. And Peter O'Neil notes that Enbridge's own complete lack of responsibility only makes it less likely that anybody can take their reassurances seriously.

- But naturally, the Cons are trying to change the subject from real environmental disasters caused by their oil-sector cronies by launching a witch hunt against wind power. And all this as they refuse to even consider the possible environmental damage which might soon be caused by fracking.

- Keith Reynolds documents how the B.C. Libs rewrote their own P3 rules to ensure that development was privatized even when there was no rational basis for pushing in that direction.

- Finally, Tabatha Southey previews some of Jason Kenney's website petitions to come.