Ever since the global meltdown of 2008, it's been an article of faith in Canadian economics that we somehow handled the whole mess better than the rest of the world. No banks collapsed. Our recession, while painful, was not nearly as bad as America's. Our deficits were smaller, and will disappear sooner. Not surprisingly, there's a strong political aspect to that smug mindset: Federal Conservatives never tire of claiming credit for this supposedly superior performance.
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…from the mountains of the Mexican Southeast…
On Friday May 2, 2014 an Indigenous Zapatista teacher, Jose Luis Solís López -- known by his name 'in the struggle' as 'Compañero Galeano' -- was ambushed and murdered. He was beaten with rocks and clubs, hacked with a machete, shot in the leg and chest, and as he lay on the ground gasping for air -- he was executed by a final bullet to the head.
At this point in the political cycle, with 18 months to go before the next federal election, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) is working hard to make its agenda items resonate, not just with the Harper government, but with the business-friendly Liberals and key MPs from the Official Opposition New Democrats.
Having done most of the thinking about the economic and social policy direction for Canada since the early 1980s, the CCCE knows that the best time to establish in the minds of Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau what business wants to see from the next government is before the next election, not after.
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The announcement that Canada Post will be phasing out door-to-door mail delivery starting in 2014 is a logical extension of the deregulation, privatization, free trade, public austerity and tax cuts agenda being followed since the 1981-82 recession served as an excuse to roll back public services, and thwart wage and salary gains for working Canadians.
"Wise" is not a word frequently used to describe Stephen Harper or his policies. Partisan, ideological, narrow, secretive, devious, or controlling come up more often.
The opposite of wise is foolish or ignorant. Both are brought to mind when assessing the performance of the Canadian prime minister at the G20 leaders summit in Russia last week.
Those who follow the business press closely, and listen attentively to corporate economic commentators, are still mainly in the dark about "who is actually getting what" in the business world.
Some very interesting information does turns up. A current New York Times series entitled "The United States of Subsidies," covers business subsidies handed out by U.S. local governments. It cost $80 billion to attract and keep companies in local communities, the NYT estimated.