Killing the Welfare State: Liberals and the 1990s

Remember when the Liberals campaigned on expanding national child care, but eviscerated the welfare state instead? Oh, the 90s!
Doug Nesbitt, founding editor of rankandfile.ca, joins Team Advantage to discuss the reign of Canada’s Liberal Party through the 1990s. How did austerity and double-digit unemployment become normalized? What happened to Canada’s social programs? How did the business lobby exert such influence? How did the media manufacture a fiscal crisis?

Fossil Capital: Nova Scotia Coal Edition

“A Simple Life, House 8 x 10 Mill Cove, N.S.” From Ian McKay, The Quest of the Folk: Antimoderism and Cultural Selection in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia.

What happens when a community depends on fossil fuel extraction and the industry always calls the shots? Team Advantage digs into the history of coal mining in Nova Scotia, examining the role of the labour movement, deindustrialization and attempts at nationalization, the history of mining disasters, and the long-term effects of regional decline. What might Alberta glean from Nova Scotia’s experience?

Special thanks to Socalled for the intro track “Springhill Mine Disaster” (also known as the Ballad of Springhill).

MINI-EP: Wealth Tax!

What if we started taxing the accumulated wealth of billionaires? Alex Hemingway, Economist and Public Finance Policy Analyst at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, joins Team Advantage to discuss his recent piece, A wealth tax on the super rich is within reach. How might we tax wealth, and what do the proposals to do so look like? What are the effects of massive wealth inequality in our society? How would we enforce a wealth tax? What other measures can be taken to address the growing inequality we face?

Follow Alex on Twitter @1alexhemingway, and follow his work at policynote.ca and policyalternatives.ca.

Shelter in Place? Canada’s Housing Crisis

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted a range of problems with housing in Canada, and in particular the relative failure of the market to deliver safe, accessible, and affordable housing to Canadians. As Canada’s housing market heads into a likely decline, Team Advantage assembles to discuss why housing should not be a commodity to be bought and sold, Kate’s important opinions about landlords, and what could be done to bring housing into common or public ownership.

Your Home Is A Factory: Social Reproduction and COVID-19

How might we consider all the unwaged and unpaid work that goes on “behind the scenes” of waged labour? Why is it that the work that makes waged work possible in our society —like cooking, cleaning, and child-rearing— is rarely paid for by capital? How has the COVID-19 crisis made evident the importance of this labour, and how might we envision a society that accounts for this work in a fair and equitable manner? Join Team Advantage as they discuss social reproduction in the age of COVID-19.

Further reading:
Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression – edited by Tithi Bhattacharya
Family, Economy & State: The Social Reproduction Process Under Capitalism – James Dickinson and Bob Russell
The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries – Kathi Weeks
Women and the Canadian Welfare State: Challenges and Change – Patricia Evans and Gerda Wekerle
A crisis like no other: social reproduction and the regeneration of capitalist life during the COVID-19 pandemic – Alessandra Mezzadri
Social Reproduction Theory in and beyond the Pandemic – Aaron Jaffe
Constituting Feminist Subjects – Kathi Weeks

Fear of a Green New Deal

Across Alberta’s political spectrum, no one dares to utter three terrifying words: Green New Deal. Jason Kenney famously had a meltdown about it, but even Alberta’s NDP MLA Shannon Phillips, former Minister of the Environment, isn’t sure if it’s a good idea. What gives?
Emma Jackson, organizer with Climate Justice Edmonton, joins Team Advantage to discuss the lack of imagination and political cowardice that seems to be plaguing our province.

Excerpts from this episode are taken from an interview Shannon Phillips conducted with the Forgotten Corner podcast. Check out the full interview here: https://www.forgottencornerpod.com/episodes/episode-2

Special thanks to Scott Schmidt, Jeremy Appel and Mo Cranker allowing us to use clips from their podcast.

Follow Emma Jackson on Twitter @emmajackson57, and follow Climate Justice Edmonton on Twitter @CJEdmonton and on Facebook at facebook.com/ClimateJusticeEdmonton.

For further information on using polarization as an organizing tactic, see this blog series based on Mark & Paul Engler’s 2016 book, This Is An Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping The Twenty-First Century:
https://masscommons.wordpress.com/2018/07/26/this-is-an-uprising-dividing-to-conquer/

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Meat the Rich Who Butcher Workers: Our Beef with the Meatpacking Industry

Meatpacking plants were the sites of COVID-19 outbreaks across the continent, and the outbreaks in Alberta killed several meatpacking workers. What is it about this industry that made workers so vulnerable to this pandemic, and why do the corporate meat-packing giants command such influence and power? Team Advantage examines the role of corporate agribusiness in rural Alberta and the labour struggles that have shaped the industry.

Further information:
Alberta Labour History Institute: Alberta’s Summer of ’86
24 Days in Brooks [National Film Board documentary]
Michael Broadway: Small Town, Big Changes Meat-packing, refugees and the transformation of Brooks. [Alberta Views, 2006]
George Melnyk: Faces of the Lakeside Packers Strike [Alberta Views, 2006]
Michael Broadway: Cut to the Bone: How changes in meatpacking have created the most vulnerable worker in Alberta [May 2012]

What Is Long Term Care, and What Does It Need to Be?

Long-Term Care facilities have been the sites of deadly COVID-19 outbreaks, in Alberta and across the country. But what is long-term care? How is it funded, and who operates it? What are conditions like for persons in care, as well as for workers? Lastly, as our aging population requires increasing care, how might we build a system that treats our elders and those who cannot work with dignity and respect— while providing low-carbon, green care-work jobs?

Further Reading:
Re-imagining Long-term Residential Care in the COVID-19 Crisis (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, April 2020)
Losing Ground: Alberta’s Residential Elder Care Crisis (Parkland Institute, 2016)
Deaths in Residential Care in Canada by facility (tracker updated daily by Nora Loreto)
Sizing Up the Challenge: Meeting the Demand for Long-Term Care in Canada (Conference Board of Canada, 2017)
Before It’s Too Late: A National Plan for Safe Seniors’ Care (Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, 2015)

James Wilt DESTROYS Elon Musk with PUBLIC TRANSIT

Automated, shared, electric: these buzzwords and the tech giants who promote them claim to shape the future of transportation. But what would a truly democratic, green, and equitable transportation system look like? James Wilt joins Team Advantage to discuss his latest book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Cars? Public Transit in the Age Google, Uber, and Elon Musk.

Purchase the book here:
https://btlbooks.com/book/do-androids-dream-of-electric-cars

Follow James on Twitter @james_m_wilt.