Parables of privatization: a cautionary tale of two telcos

At a time when the Ontario Liberal government is planning to privatize Hydro One and other provincial governments are also planning significant privatizations, it’s instructive to look back and see what the impact of earlier privatizations has been.

There’s an excellent example right here in Canada of two neighbouring jurisdictions of a similar size, one of which privatized a utility and the other that kept its similar utility under public ownership. It should be seen as a cautionary tale and an indication of what is likely to happen with other privatizations.

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Rising debts: the real problems are the growing imbalances in our national balance sheet

There’s growing alarm over rising debt levels in Canada, but by just looking at household and government balance sheets, a big part of the picture—and the solution—is being neglected.

The Globe and Mail has published a week-long series on “Debt: Canada’s borrowing binge” that’s heavy on alarm, but short on solutions. And certainly the situation appears alarming.

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Alberta shows progressive alternatives can win

Immediately following the Alberta NDP’s historic and exhilarating election victory, the spin masters and political pundits went into full action. Some said the NDP’s victory was little more than a protest vote against the Conservative’s 44-year reign. Others put it all down to NDP leader Rachel Notley’s charisma, claiming that whatever party she led would have won.

There’s no question Premier-elect Notley is politically savvy, charismatic, intelligent, appealing to ordinary Albertans and ran an excellent campaign with her team. But to attribute the Alberta’s NDP’s election victory to protest votes and to Premier Notley’s charisma is demeaning to Notley, her team and to the 603,000 Albertans who voted for the NDP.

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Sex and spending: are federal budgets sexist?

One thing that really stands out about the Conservative government’s budgets and spending priorities is just how heavily they have focused spending in male-dominated sectors of the economy, while largely ignoring sectors where women predominate.

The 2015 Federal Budget, like previous budgets, gave priority to increased spending in infrastructure, construction, resource industries and in defence and security. Employment in each one of these sectors is heavily dominated by men, with women making up less than a fifth of their workforces. Sectors of the economy where women form a larger share of the workforce—health care, education, and social assistance—are almost completely ignored, as they have been for many years.

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Week in Review April 30, 2015

 Week in Review April 30, 2015

  • Economy no grow in February
  • Underground economy stable
  • GM to cut 1,000 jobs in Oshawa
  • Rising household debt shows generational divide
  • Never stop working?
  • One is too many workplace deaths
  • Business investment in R&D to drop
  • AG critical of expansion of Tory tax credits
  • Privatizing snow removal made roads less safe
  • Hydro payouts
  • Canadian business money in tax havens rises again
  • Average earnings up 2.7%
  • Pay equity pays off

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The Big Squeeze

Once you get past the hundreds of pages of budget documents, their carefully targeted baubles, the reactions, media commentary, the tweets and retweets, the promotional advertising and smoke and mirrors—if you’re still paying attention—there’s something basic underlying both federal and Ontario budgets neither admit to: the big squeeze on public spending is still on.

Austerity may be out of political fashion, but it’s clearly still in practice. They’ve just been doing it in slow-motion, hoping the public doesn’t notice.

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Week in Review April 24, 2015

Week in Review, April 24, 2015

  • Federal Budget comprehensive analyses
  • Harper’s granddaughter’s problems are getting bigger
  • Teachers reject austerity
  • Ottawa subsidizes VW expansion in Mexico
  • EI claims rising
  • Happy?
  • Early retirement
  • CEO payoffs under attack
  • Major corporation tax gap over $100 billion—and Canada now considered a tax haven
  • Restore the Royalties

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