Vanishing Canada: Why we’re all losers in Ottawa’s war on data. [Maclean's Magazine]
Stories about government data and historical records being deleted, burned—even tossed into Dumpsters—have become so common in recent years that many Canadians may feel inured to them. But such accounts are only the tip of a rapidly melting iceberg. A months-long Maclean’s investigation, which includes interviews with dozens of academics, scientists, statisticians, economists and librarians, has found that the federal government’s “austerity” program, which resulted in staff cuts and library closures (16 libraries since 2012)—as well as arbitrary changes to policy, when it comes to data—has led to a systematic erosion of government records far deeper than most realize, with the data and data-gathering capability we do have severely compromised as a result.
FINLAND: New Government Commits to a Basic Income Experiment - "The Finnish government of Juha Sipilä is considering a pilot project that would give everyone of working age a basic income."[1,2,3] (via) [more inside]
Who's influencing reproductive policy in Canada? Unfortunately, the difference between the religious right in Canada and our neighbours to the south is not so much doctrinal as it is window dressing. The Tea Party’s "late term abortion" red herring with its attendant gruesome imagery very much parallels the "gender-selection" trope of the Conservative base in Canada. It’s a matter of media and public relations, knowing your audience and playing to its sympathies.
Are Social Impact Bonds a good way to invest in public services? "Imagine a contract where private investors are paid by the government if there's a decrease in homelessness or convicts re-offending. It's a an idea that's taking shape in the UK and some US states. And now the Canadian government is considering piloting social impact bonds. Critics say it's a way of governments shirking their responsibilities." CBC's "The Current" reports. [more inside]
Years of labour peace between the government of Ontario and teachers came to an end this year. Like their colleagues in British Columbia, Ontario teachers and support staff are complaining of unfair, unnecessary, and unconstitutional legislation -- the Putting Students First Act, 2012 -- that gives the Education Minister, Laura Broten, unchallenged power to ban strikes, job actions, set compensation and benefits, and to take over local school boards who are non-compliant. Ontario school boards are unanimously opposed to the Act, which reduces their power, and so are teachers and support staff, who feel the government is manufacturing a crisis. Most see this as a cynical ploy to capture public support for two by-elections this week that could nudge the Liberal government into majority status. ETFO and OSSTF, two of the teacher unions involved, have repeatedly pointed out that "the school year is not in jeopardy", that they had already accepted a wage freeze, and that local bargaining is proceeding well. As legislation looms aheads, teachers, support staff, and labour activists are wondering: is this the end of collective bargaining for the public sector? [more inside]
Collusion, vandalism and violence—all for something as banal as snowplowing. If you think it seems too extreme, you don’t understand how public contracting in Montreal works, said the former employee of the major company. The same tactics are used throughout the city, even in the tiniest industries; it’s a culture, a way of life. “I have seen a guy get threatened when he bid on a grass-mowing contract in Ville St. Laurent. They don’t care. It’s just about maintaining control over those areas,” he explained. “The people that talk about corruption in the construction industry don’t realize it’s not just construction. It’s everywhere in public works.” [Getting Plowed]
Verisign today seized control of a .com domain belonging to a Canadian online gambling business operating in Canada (inasmuch as an online business can be said to be operating in Canada), on behalf of Federal Authorities. [more inside]
Why I Quit My Job Kai Nagata on why he just quit his job as CTV's Quebec City bureau chief at age 24: a critique of Canadian government and media.
"There are no national standards or regulations regarding forensic pathology and practices vary widely from place to place."
The Hardest Cases: When Children Die, Justice Can Be Elusive A joint investigation by PBS Frontline, ProPublica and NPR has found that medical examiners and coroners have repeatedly mishandled cases of infant and child deaths, helping to put innocent people behind bars. (Via. (Article contains descriptions of children that have been killed by abuse. May be disturbing / triggering to some readers.) [more inside]
Scientists working for the Canadian government aren't allowed to talk to journalists without permission from Ottawa. And the restriction isn't limited politically sensitive topics like climate change and the Alberta oil sands -- the co-author of a recent Nature article about flooding at the end of the last ice age was told to "wait for clearance from the minister's office" before talking to reporters about his work. The policy has only been in effect at Natural Resources in Canada since March, but Environment Canada has had the same rules since 2008. (Previously.)
A new report from the Climate Action Network Canada- Réseau action climat Canada details a “troubling catalogue of actions” by the federal government to muzzle its own climate scientists and weaken the research capacity of Canada’s climate science community.
"You can not come back to Canada until you have been criminally rehabilitated." Ann Wright, who had 29 years of military and govt service, resigned in protest on the eve of the Iraq War from her position as deputy ambassador to Mongolia. In this hour long talk, she discusses her story and the story of several others from various countries who resigned in protest. Her new book, Dissent: Voices of Conscience, details the story of 24 people who resigned in protest. [more inside]
Culture en péril - In these Canadian election times and in response to the recent Culture cuts from Conservatives - three of the best Quebec talents in music, theater and humor join forces and hit back hard (lol) with a highly satirical imagining of the replacement program (captioned).
As Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were honouring four fallen RCMP officers today, a nation turned its attention to The House of Commons in Ottawa. A vote was held on whether to ratify a coalition budget with the NDP, or to effectively dissolve Parliament and call an early election. Days ago, a young rookie MP crossed the floor and joined the governing Liberals, leaving the Conservatives. With all MP’s towing party lines it came down to three Independents. [more inside]
Canadian Tax Dollars at Work I am sure there are some hard
drinking working Metafilterites out there that could be Canada's official wine co-ordinator. You would have to give wine away to senior politicians and hard stuff like that.
Looks like a minority liberal government for Canada. The entire process will have been completed in a single day. The voters used pencils to mark X's on paper ballots, which were stuffed into ballot boxes then counted by hand. Despite the differences in population, is there a lesson here for our southern neighbours?
Canada's Supreme Court Trashes Citizens' Property Rights. Canada's Supreme Court ruled: “Parliament has the right to expropriate property, even without compensation, if it has made its intention clear and, in s. 5.1(4), Parliament's expropriative intent is clear and unambiguous.” The Supreme Court ruling also stated: “Lastly, while substantive rights may stem from due process, the Bill of Rights does not protect against the expropriation of property by the passage of unambiguous legislation.” M.P. Breitkreuz notes "They even ruled that the Bill of Rights ‘does not impose on Parliament the duty to provide a hearing before the enactment of legislation.’ So if the property rights guarantees in the Canadian Bill of Rights don’t protect an individual’s fundamental property rights, what good are they?"
Doesn't this site violate Canada election laws? They claim they will be posting election results as the polls close. Under Canadian law, time zones that are still voting aren't allowed to know who is winning further east. First up: Newfoundland.