Democracy and corruption
13/12/2012, 12:01
Filed under: Culture, Politics, Sociology

In the early days of Quebec’s ongoing anti-corruption commission, a handful of nationwide experts were asked to comment on the breadth and extent of corruption and mafia influence in Canada. In the days that followed, a handful of headlines reiterated their message that dirty dealings might be just as prevalent in Ontario as it is in Quebec.

This morning the CBC reported on a Quebec developer that moved to Alberta some years ago to escape corruption only to be put out business for refusing to pay kickbacks.

Quebec’s anti-corruption commission, and the resultant resignations of a couple of the province’s most high profile mayors, has made Quebec the butt of any discussion of corruption in recent months. But to suggest that Quebec is the most corrupt province in Canada is probably going to far.

In all honesty, we just don’t know. Continue reading

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“Toyotism” vs. “Volvoism”
11/12/2012, 19:08
Filed under: Economics, Politics

I just learned Volvo is a Swedish company. No wonder the educated upper-bourgeoisie love them. Did I mention how much I adore Volvo?

But in all seriousness, I just finished reading and article from the early 90s, entitled, “The Economics of Job Protection and Emerging New Capital-Labour Relations.” In it, French economist Robert Boyer details the Fordist approach to job protection and capital-labour relations, questions the radical neoclassical call for complete flexibility, and proposes that we are faced with a choice: either “Toyotism” or “Volvoism.” Continue reading

Harper’s “New Vague”
08/12/2012, 19:34
Filed under: Economics, Politics

Harper’s approach to the foreign take-over of Nexen is incoherent at best, a recipe for corruption and patronage at worst.

Yesterday, Steven Harper announced that the government of Canada would allow the selling of Canadian privately owned Nexen to Chinese state-owned CNOOC. 15.4 billion dollars will exchange hands.

Harper is aware that the move will be unpopular, even among his base in Alberta. So, the Prime Minister took a reluctant tone.

But I’m not concerned by the politics of the decision. I’m concerned by how the decision was made, and, ultimately, the precedent it sets for how decisions will be made in the future. Continue reading

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A new kind of online survey
28/11/2012, 13:52
Filed under: Culture, Ephemera, Politics, Statistics

Today the CBC reported that, based on a recent online survey carried about by Leger Marketing for the Association for Canadian Studies (ASC), as many as two-thirds of Quebecers view a flag hanging in the provincial legislature as a source of pride.*

The article goes on to claim,

The findings shine a light on public opinion in a province that has been sending mixed political messages lately: Quebec recently elected the pro-independence PQ — but only with a minority, and at a time when polls suggest support for independence is low, while the PQ’s sister-party in Ottawa, the Bloc, was nearly wiped off the map barely a year earlier.

Setting aside what I think about whether the polling and voting habits of Quebecers actually send mixed messages,** my first instinct upon reading this bold statement and “online survey” in the same article was righteous indignation: “This study shines no such light!” Continue reading

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Tax hikes can lead to economic growth
15/09/2012, 18:03
Filed under: Economics, Myself, Policy, Politics

I spend a lot of time studying economic indicators and reading what various analysts have to say about them. I’m a PhD student in economic sociology and a paid policy analyst. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to reference all these years upon years of study and reflection every time I open my mouth to make a point.

So it’s always nice when the New York Times assembles a pithy infograph that communicates something that I and everyone else that spends all their time thinking and reading about this stuff takes for granted.  Continue reading

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Election hangover
06/09/2012, 17:56
Filed under: Culture, Politics

Election results are in. What happened? The PQ got lucky. The Liberals got lucky too.*

The Liberals got lucky because the PQ dropped the ball—they weren’t obliterated.

The PQ got lucky, because just enough people despised the Liberals enough to overlook the fact that the PQ dropped the ball—they won a weak minority government.  Continue reading

Psychoanalysis still not dead
28/08/2012, 12:05
Filed under: Ephemera, Politics, Thought

BC Liberal MLA offers a psychoanalysis of NDP MLA’s Marxist tendencies,  Continue reading

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