Showing posts from March 17, 2015

The melting of Antarctica was already really bad. It just got worse.

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[Putin is not what we should be afraid of. *RON*]

By Chris Mooney, Washington Post, 16 March 2015
A hundred years from now, humans may remember 2014 as the year that we first learned that we may have irreversibly destabilized the great ice sheet of West Antarctica, and thus set in motion more than 10 feet of sea level rise.

Meanwhile, 2015 could be the year of the double whammy — when we learned the same about one gigantic glacier of East Antarctica, which could set in motion roughly the same amount all over again. Northern Hemisphere residents and Americans in particular should take note — when the bottom of the world loses vast amounts of ice, those of us living closer to its top get more sea level rise than the rest of the planet, thanks to the law of gravity.

The findings about East Antarctica emerge from a new paper just out in Nature Geoscience by an international team of scientists representing the United States, Britain, France and Australi…

National Pharmacare Program Could Save $7.3 Billion: CMAJ Study

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["...Canada is the only country with universal health care that does not also have universal coverage for prescription drugs." Instead, Harper is pushing us toward adopting trade agreements with Europe that would see the price of drugs rise radically. *RON*]
By Helen Branswell, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 16 March 2015

TORONTO - A national pharmacare program wouldn't break the bank and should in fact save taxpayers billions of dollars, a new analysis suggests.

Spending on prescription drugs in Canada could drop by 32 per cent or $7.3 billion if the country adopted a universal public drug plan, the authors said in the article, published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

They noted that Canada is the only country with universal health care that does not also have universal coverage for prescription drugs.

Instead drug costs are absorbed by a crazy quilt of payers: the federal government covers First Nations'…

CSIS Helped Government Prepare For Northern Gateway Protests

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[The surveillance state in service to the corporatocracy. Concern for the environment = terrorism = bring in the secret police. Oppose Bill C-51. See also This might be our last chance to stop C-51. *RON*]
By Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 17 March 2015

OTTAWA - Canada's spy agency helped senior federal officials figure out how to deal with protests expected last summer in response to resource and energy development issues — including a pivotal decision on the Northern Gateway pipeline.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service prepared advice and briefing material for two June meetings of the deputy ministers' committee on resources and energy, documents obtained under the Access to Information Act show.

The issue was driven by violence during demonstrations against natural-gas fracking in New Brunswick the previous summer and the government's interest in "assuming a proactive approach" in 2014, says…

The bigger, the less fair

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[Size matters; larger corporations contribute more strongly to wealth inequality. *RON*]
Free Exchange Blog, The Economist, 14 March 2015

SINCE its publication last year, Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” has ignited a furious debate about inequality in the rich world. He focuses on the increasingly unequal distribution of wealth, and pays less attention to the growing disparity in wages over the past three decades. Yet that disparity is ballooning, too: in America, for instance, the best-paid 1% of workers earned 191% more in real (ie, inflation-adjusted) terms in 2011 than they did in 1980, whereas the wages of the middle fifth fell by 5%. Similar trends can be observed all over the world, despite widely varying policies on tax, the minimum wage and corporate pay.

The standard explanation says that technology plays a big role: modern economies require more skilled workers, raising the pay premium they can demand. A new paper…

Niqab controversy: Judge struck down ban without referring to charter

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[Religious bigotry in the name of politics. In a rather nice smack-down, Harper has been told by a federal judge that it is illegal for this Ministers to usurp the authority of citizenship judges. "...if he purports to make law or make a rule or command a citizenship judge to do something that takes away from the citizenship judge's discretion, and even more, commands the judge to do something that is directly contradictory [to what] the law says, then the minister himself is acting unlawfully." See also Harper's rhetoric fuels racist and xenophobic expression, and 'Stay The Hell Where You Came From': Tory MP Sorry For Niqab Remarks. *RON*]

By Mark Gollom, CBC News, 16 March 16, 2015

When Federal Court Judge Keith Boswell ruled last month that a woman could wear a niqab while taking her oath of Canadian citizenship, supporters may have thought the decision was another victory for charter rights.

During the controversy o…

Where do Canada's post-secondary dollars go? Tuition fees on the rise, public funding on the wane

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[As government withdraws from its duty of funding public education the system is increasingly privatized. Predictably, as in corporations, the money starts flowing toward management with costs being passed along to the 'customer' - i.e., students. Any sense of this being a public good and an investment in our future evaporates. Under-employed and indebted students contribute further to the cycle of wealth inequality and so it goes. *RON*]

By Janet Davison, CBC News, 16 March 2015
When teaching assistants went on strike recently at two Toronto universities, their job actions were only the latest reminder of the fiscal strife that has run in lockstep with the significant growth at Canadian post-secondary schools over the past two decades.

Any talk of money in post-secondary education involves big numbers that just seem to keep getting bigger.

Income splitting to cost Canada $2.2B and have ‘near zero’ impact on low-income households, PBO report says

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[Furthering the divide. This is what it was always intended for. In fact it works best with a very 'traditional' (i.e. Conservative) family in which a man makes the lion's share of the income while wifey takes care of the home. See also Why TFSA doubling will exacerbate income inequality by imposing a convenient fiscal straight jacket on future administrations. *RON*]

Josh Wingrove, Bloomberg News / Financial Post, 17 March 2015

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s proposal to introduce so-called income-splitting will cost Canada $2.2 billion in government revenue while having a “near zero” impact on low income households, a new report from the country’s budget watchdog says.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer report, published Tuesday in Ottawa, estimates that middle- and higher-income households will benefit most from the plan, announced last year, one that was a pillar of the governing Conservative Party’s 2011 election platform.

It will …