No 163 Posted by fw, April 27, 2011
The previous post, Is Election 2011 outcome really in the hands of ‘the less educated and less sophisticated parts of society”? cited Professor Peter Russell’s disquieting allusion that the outcome of Canadian Election 2011 may be in the hands of “the less educated and less sophisticated parts of society.”
As a former library and information science specialist who has studied the information seeking behaviour of scholars, scientists, students, professionals, and ordinary citizens, I can say with some confidence — and without prejudice or elitism — it is highly unlikely that a significant part of the Canadian electorate is getting its election campaign information from research bodies such as, for example, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
During the election campaign, the CCPA has been publishing Making It Count, a 2011 federal election blog designed to bring readers “expert analysis and commentary on the issues that will—or should—define the federal election.”
Consider, below, the quality of informed opinion that the less well informed are missing out on. Here is a recent sample of the issues that CCPA is covering in its Making it Count blog of informed opinion and analysis:
How the Financial Sector Can Pay Fairer Taxes, April 27th, 2011 · Kerri-Anne Finn
Canada’s financial sector has been the greatest beneficiary of recent corporate income tax cuts, as well as from preferred tax rates applied to capital gains taxes and stock options. In total, the value of these tax preferences and tax cuts now adds up to approximately $11 billion a year for Canada’s financial sector and is projected to reach over $14 billion a year in 2013.
A new CCPA study, by economist and CCPA Research Associate Toby Sanger, says Canada should join other countries in introducing fairer taxes on the financial sector that could generate over $10 billion a year. …Read more
How Much Will Stephen Harper Cost You? April 27th, 2011 · Armine Yalnizyan
Check out this cool tool.
It costs out how much you, dear voter, will be paying to support three – only three! – Stephen Harper initiatives: fighter jets, jails, and growing the oil patch. Based on costs of the F35s and prisons as estimated by the Parliamentary Budget Officer (could run higher, see the National Post today); and government records of subsidies to oil companies.
The blogosphere can make it pretty hard to duck accountability, eh?
Harper’s Attack on Democracy, Itemized by Lawrence Martin, April 27th, 2011 · Armine Yalnizyan
Lawrence Martin, columnist with the Globe and Mail, has written the best review, so far, of Stephen Harper’s one-man show The Attack On Democracy. It’s a must-read on the record thus far, particularly by colleagues, friends and family members who might not much like Harper, but like the other options far less. One can only imagine where he might it next with sufficient popular support. Originally appearing on the pages of ipolitics, it appears below in full
Read it and vote. After all, we get the democracy we deserve. …Read more
Is Harper The Best Person to Manage the Economic Recovery? April 26th, 2011 · Bruce Campbell
I’m puzzled that the Harper Conservatives’ are getting such a free ride from the other parties and from the media on their main campaign mantra: that they are the best economic managers, that Canada is leading the international pack to economic recovery, and that Harper knows best what’s good for jobs and the economy going forward.
Let’s look more closely at the Harper record, beginning with his response in the fall of 2008 to the recession that engulfed the world, the deepest since the Great Depression of the 1930s….Read more
Dispelling Middle-class Myths, April 26th, 2011 · Armine Yalnizyan
We’re in the last week of a federal election campaign, and every party wants you to believe they’re there for the hardworking families of a middle class under enormous pressure. That’s you, right? The idea of the middle class resonates, because it is a notion we all share. Time and again, opinion polling shows the rich think they are the middle class, and so do the poor. That’s because everyone wants to belong to the big tribe. Newspapers make their living by writing around the facts. But most Canadian media outlets have created a fictional middle that’s wildly out of step with the facts. …Read more
Does Not Play Well With Others, April 26th, 2011 · Erika Shaker
Note to the Harper family regarding your son Stephen;
I am writing on behalf of the daycare staff regarding your son Stephen and his ongoing behavioural challenges. A number of incidents have caused some concern among caregivers, children, and several parents, and after five years I regret to tell you we have reached a crisis point.
Over the years we have tried to address Stephen’s difficulty at playing well with others through redirection and positive reinforcement, but lately when we attempt to talk with him about his behaviour he insists that he will only answer one question a day from no more than three caregivers, and only if they stay on the other side of the play room. Last week he cut off questions altogether, saying he would not tolerate “gotcha” caregiving. …Read more
How Much Would Harper Cost Your Province? April 25th, 2011 · Erin Weir
As I note in the following op-ed in today’s Toronto Star, federal Conservative election promises entail significant fiscal costs for provincial governments. It is not the first time that Harper has tried to stick provinces with the tab. For example, his policy of increased incarceration imposes costs on provincial jails.
How to Help the Long Term Unemployed, April 24th, 2011 · Andrew Jackson
The OECD have weighed in on what policy measures are needed to limit the damage of long term unemployment in the aftermath of the Great Recession. I would judge the NDP platform – which includes a significant job creation tax credit and increased EI benefits – to be closest to the OECD prescription.
The OECD note in a pre release of a paper to be published in the next Economic Outlook that outflows from unemployment are low in many countries (notably the US) due to a weak economic recovery, and that the proportion of the unemployed who have been out of work for a long time is rising in most countries. …Read more
The Polls and the Proles, April 23rd, 2011 · Armine Yalnizyan
The polls are suggesting a Harper majority may be in the cards, but they may be counting out the wild card in this deck: young people.
How do polls work? Pollsters call people. On land lines. Who answers land lines? Not many young people anymore. They’re constantly connected through their cells, mostly through texts. But those numbers aren’t easily accessed. Even if they do answer a land line, they are less likely than older voters to take part in a survey of opinion.
So how do today’s young voters feel? Do they think a Harper majority is a good or bad thing? Are they undecided or just not interested? …Read more
The Cost of Doubling CPP, April 23rd, 2011 · Andrew Jackson
Barrie McKenna’s appraisal of party positions in the Globe today wrongly assumes that the NDP proposal to double CPP benefits would require a doubling of CPP premiums.
The current combined employee/employer premium rate of just under 10% of covered earnings was set a few years back to make up for a prior period of under funding when CPP operated on a pure PAYGO basis.
The Chief Actuary in the most recent report pegs the go forward rate needed to finance the program at under 6% of covered earnings, much less than the current premium. The go forward rate is theincrease that would be needed to double the CPP benefit moving forward on a fully pre funded basis, as is required by current legislation. …Read more
Clearly we have a wicked problem here. My proposed solution: To the popular media outlets — LESS INFOTAINMENT, MORE RESPONSIBLY INFORMED REPORTING please. Fat chance, eh!