Duncan Cameron

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Born in Victoria B.C. in 1944, Duncan now lives in Vancouver. Following graduation from the University of Alberta he joined the Department of Finance (Ottawa) in 1966 and was financial advisor to the Canadian Delegation at the United Nations General Assembly in 1967. After working at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), he went on to complete a doctorate from the University of Paris I (Paris-Sorbonne) in 1976. Duncan is an adjunct professor of political science at Simon Fraser University, a director of the Karl Polanyi Institute of Political Economy at Concordia University in Montreal, and a research fellow of the Centre for Global Political Economy at SFU. He was a member of the political science department at the University of Ottawa from 1975 until 2004.He is the author, co-author, editor or coeditor of 11 books including Ethics and Economics (with Gregory Baum), The Other Macdonald Report (with Daniel Drache), The Free Trade Papers, The Free Trade Deal, Canada Under Free Trade (with Mel Watkins) and Constitutional Politics (with Miriam Smith).
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What happens when oil prices go down instead of up

Photo: Sten Dueland/flickr

Luck plays a part in any political career. Napoleon famously asked of a general recommended to him for his military prowess: "so he is good -- but is he lucky?"

A barrel of oil that was selling in the US$110 range last summer, now sells for less than US$70. That was not the future Stephen Harper and his ruling Conservatives expected when the party leader touted Canada as an energy superpower, based on massive petroleum reserves -- the world's third largest after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela -- locked away in the bitumen sands of Alberta.

But there is good news for the Conservatives in the bad news.

Lower gasoline and heating oil prices will put money into the pockets of strapped Canadian workers, helping to drive up consumption and employment.

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Recognizing Mike McBane: Reflections on social justice

Photo: David Goehring/flickr

On November 27 the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives gave its first Social Justice Award to Michael McBane, who has just stepped down as National Coordinator of the Canadian Health Coalition. What follows is a condensed version of my remarks in honour of his receiving the award.

It is good to find Michael among friends, companions, comrades.

That's where the word social comes from -- Socius -- Latin for allies, companions, people we know, those we live with, and who matter to us.

To honour Mike, I want to reflect on social justice, not limit my remarks to how much he is appreciated. 

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Tom Mulcair's election-ready tour

Photo: Patrick Imbeau/flickr

The Leader of the Official Opposition has the next election on his mind. Invited to address the BC Federation of Labour convention on Monday, Tom Mulcair came early for a weekend visit to British Columbia, a key battleground where the NDP must make a strong showing if it hopes to form a government. 

On Saturday night Mulcair spoke at a fundraising cocktail reception for Vancouver-area riding associations, sponsored by the MP for Burnaby-Douglas, Kennedy Stewart.

Stewart introduced Mulcair as a tough debater who makes the prime minister squirm: so much so that Stephen Harper is avoiding attending the House of Commons for question period.

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Managing the message: Brisbane G20 host stumbles

Photo: pmwebphotos/flickr

When the G20 meetings in Brisbane, Australia broke up last weekend, the usual "time to manage the news" approach of the host government ran into some serious difficulties.

Supremely unpopular at home, instead of massaging international public opinion in the hopes of improving his domestic image, the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott seemed intent on gaining ground in the world's unloved leader sweepstakes.

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Dishonouring Remembrance Day: Harper's photo-op hop across the Pacific

Photo: pmwebphotos/flickr

Stephen Harper left the Beijing APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation) conference early. Following the official photo op, Minister Stephen Harper hopped back across the Pacific to Canada for Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Cenotaph (rebranded as the War Memorial) in Ottawa, and more photo ops.

The APEC meetings took place with world tensions building in the Pacific region. There is bad blood between Russia and the West over Ukraine; relations between China and Japan have deteriorated: and the U.S. "pivot" towards China causes deep concern in Beijing.

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Privatization: Stealing from the public since 1980

Photo: Rob Swatski/flickr
In the 1980s governments began selling off public assets to private corporations, in a practice called privatization. It should have been called theft, since it amounted to stealing from the public.

Related rabble.ca story:

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Privatization: New ways of profiting at public expense

Photo: Rob Swatski/flickr

In the 1980s governments began selling off public assets to private corporations. Government debt and deficits were the excuse. Citizen-owned wealth, held in trust by governments was transferred to profit-seeking companies. Public inheritance was turned into a one-time payment applied to the provincial or federal debt.

This practice was called privatization. It should have been called theft, since it amounted to stealing from the public what belonged to it.

The only way the practice of "selling the house to pay the mortgage" made any sense was if you were the one buying the house.

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Ottawa shooting: Putting security before liberty

Photo: Xiaozhuli/flickr

The Ottawa murder of a Canadian soldier last Wednesday brought a sudden outpouring of sentiments as large numbers of people felt his loss.

The senseless tragedy brought crowds out to gather at cenotaphs across Canada to honour the memory of Corporal Nathan Frank Cirillo. In bad times people want to come together, experience solidarity, what it means to be a part of something bigger than a family, or a neighbourhood.

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Your vote: It's what the Harper Conservatives fear the most

Photo: Andrew Bates/flickr

Less than a year from now, on October 19, 2015, Canadians will vote, or not, in the next federal election. If the next election is like four of the last five contests, about 40 per cent of Canadians will not cast a ballot on election day.

Choosing not to vote is as good as voting Conservative. If you did not vote in the last election, you put Stephen Harper in the prime minister's office with a majority government.

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