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Showing posts from February 21, 2014

The real cause of income inequality

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By William Falk | 10:05am ET
When management and stockholders pocket all the profits, the middle class falls further behind

If you're lucky enough to have a job, you probably work extremely hard. Thanks to the power of technology and successive waves of downsizing, people today are doing the work that it took two or three people to perform decades ago. Employees put in frequent 10-hour days to meet their bosses' demands, and often work remotely from home on nights and weekends. With productivity continually climbing, corporate profits have soared to all-time highs; the stock market gained more than $6 trillion in value in 2013. Yet Americans' real disposable income went up a mere 0.7 percent the same year. What happened to the workers' raises? Don't ask. Remember: You're lucky just to have a job.

It's this devaluing of middle-class workers, says economist William Galston in The Wall Street Journal, that more than any other fact…

Corporate Faces Behind Privatized Public Services Exposed

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[Those overpaid public servants are, nowadays, actually corporate contractors. *RON*]
Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer, February 20, 2014 by Common Dreams

Report details highest payed 'government workers' in era of privatization

To some it may come as no surprise that America's highest paid government workers are not teachers, nurses, or sanitation workers. However, according to a report released Wednesday by the Center for Media and Democracy, the highest paid "government workers" are not even employees of the federal government.
As CMD explains in EXPOSED: America's Highest Paid Government Workers, a group of private corporate executives across the country have increasingly pushed for the privatization of public services while maneuvering high-paying contracts with the government "and then pay themselves and other executives eye-popping salaries."

B.C. Teachers' Court Ruling Will Cost Millions, Cause Massive Disruption

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[What they are actually saying is that following the rule of law is inconvenient for meeting their political and economic goals. *RON*]

CP | By The Canadian PressPosted: 02/21/2014 2:34 pm EST | Updated: 02/21/2014 2:59 pm EST


VANCOUVER - The B.C. government says allowing a court ruling on teachers' bargaining to stand would cause massive disruptions as classes are reorganized and school districts search for tens of millions of dollars to cover the additional costs.

The province is appealing the lower court decision that found it unconstitutional for the government to retroactively remove class size and composition from the collective agreement reached with teachers.

The government wants the B.C. Appeal Court to stay the ruling until their appeal is finished.

Government lawyer Karen Horsman says forcing school boards to implement the ruling now would cause disruption and require layoffs in some areas in order to hire more teachers.

Horsman says if the …

Study showing tailings ponds leakage demands oilsands slowdown: critics

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[Groundwater around tailing ponds contains highly toxic, carcinogenic chemicals - government says "more study needed." *RON*]

By The Canadian Press, Updated: 02/21/2014 1:59 pm EST

EDMONTON - Environmentalists and opposition politicians say research suggesting that oilsands tailings are leaching into groundwater should convince governments to slow the industry's growth

But industry and government officials say the Environment Canada study isn't conclusive and more study is needed before action is taken.

The study used new technology to fingerprint chemicals in groundwater around two tailings ponds.

It found those chemicals — some of which are cancer-causing and highly toxic — matched those found in water from the ponds.

Alberta New Democrat Rachel Notley says the government should stop approving new projects until it's sure the leakage isn't harming the environment.

Study author Richard Frank says his work is just starting to answer th…

CSIS still the cat in the birdcage

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['We don't break the law - we simply strategically withhold crucial information from the courts on the advice of our departmental counsel.' *RON*]
 BY MATTHEW BEHRENS, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

A few years ago, Canada's bird lovers came in for some well-deserved looks of bemusement when many wondered why their cute little budgies and canaries kept disappearing every time a cat was placed inside their birdcages. After all, it was argued, cats were subject to significant and robust oversight mechanisms such as the Feline Activities Review Committee, to ensure the birds would be safe from purring predators.

That refusal to recognize the nature of the beast also infects the ongoing discussions within the "national security industrial-academic-media complex" about what to do with the fact that Canada's spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), along with its next-door neighbor, the Communications Security Establishment …

Shutting down our libraries broke the law

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[Good for Elizabeth May! *RON*]

On Thursday, February 6th, 2014 in Island Tides

In every one of my January town hall meetings, certain issues were always raised. Constituents of Saanich-Gulf Islands spoke out against the Enbridge and Kinder-Morgan projects for risky tankers and pipelines, were appalled by lifting the moratorium on toxic fish factories, expressed concern about contamination from Fukishima, Canada Post cut-backs, our dysfunctional voting system, and scandals in the PMO and Senate. As well, at every session, people expressed outrage about the destruction of our libraries.

As reported in the Globe and Mail, (Gloria Galloway, Purge of Canada’s fisheries libraries a ‘historic’ loss, scientists say, Jan 7, 2014) scientists working within the Department of Fisheries and Oceans had known since last spring that the department was reducing its regional libraries from eleven to four. Still, it was a shock to see records taken to the dumpsters.

Jason Kenney gives provinces break on job grant matching funds

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[Some break. They have still taken the money away from the Provinces; the only difference is they are not demanding that the Provinces take additional money out of their own pockets to get their money back. *RON*
Ottawa offers more flexibility to jobs plan, but no new funding

By Susana Mas, CBC News Posted: Jan 15, 2014 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Jan 15, 2014 6:43 PM ET
Canada's provinces and territories will no longer be required to match the federal government's contribution toward the Canada Job Grant plan, under a revised proposal sent to them by Employment and Social Development Minister Jason Kenney.

"We're pleased that the matching requirement has been removed," Brad Duguid, Ontario's minister responsible for overseeing the plan, told CBC News on Wednesday.

The original Canada Job Grant plan, as it was introduced in last year's federal budget, would have provided up to $15,000 per worker toward skills training to find a new…

Revenue Canada offers rewards for tips against offshore tax cheats

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[CRA lost out on hundreds of tips on offshore tax dodgers in the past because they wouldn't pay for information leading to conviction, as they have long done in the US (where they pay as much as six times as much for their rewards). Meanwhile, CRA is cutting more than 2,500 jobs, including 39 offshore auditors.*RON*]
Government promised offshore informant hotline in last year's budget

CBC News Posted: Jan 15, 2014 4:11 PM ET Last Updated: Jan 15, 2014 6:21 PM ET
The Canada Revenue Agency has launched a new snitch line for ratting out people who funnel money offshore to dodge taxes, with cash rewards promised for successful tips.

People ready to inform on offshore tax cheats can call as of today, Revenue Minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay announced, and if the tip pans out, receive a reward of between five and 15 per cent of the cash collected.

“This will be a critical tool for recovering taxes that might otherwise be lost to tax cheats,” Findlay said at a …