Canada’s National Energy Program, 1980-1985

As oil and gas producers practically beg, plead, and bribe the Canadian government into building and planning pipelines, Team Advantage asks: whatever happened to the National Energy Program? Yes, that NEP: conceived of by Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the bane of Alberta’s oil industry, that endless source of western alienation, the biggest power grab in history— what was it really about?

Journalist Taylor C. Noakes joins Team Advantage to discuss the genesis and legacy of the NEP, while pondering the state of the fossil fuel industry today. Could it be that some sort of economic planning could have resolved the problems we encounter today?

Follow Taylor @TaylorNoakes and read his CBC piece, It’s time to reconsider the NEP.

Universal Basic Income: Utopian, or Not Bold Enough?

Team Advantage convenes to discuss Universal Basic Income. Why is it, and why has it gained such popularity over the last few years? What’s so appealing about the proposal, and how does this appeal relate to left-wing politics and strategy more generally? What might be the benefits and drawbacks of such a program? What kind of social and political forces would be needed to mobilize for a program of this kind?

Further reading:
Dan Darrah in Canadian Dimension
Paris Marx in Tribune
Daniel Zamora in Jacobin
The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries by Kathi Weeks
Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams

Workers Fighting and Winning in Post-Secondary Education

Can workers fight a university administration dead-set on busting the union? The Athabasca University Faculty Association did exactly that— and won. AUFA President Dave Powell and AUFA Chair of Membership Engagement Committee Rhiannon Rutherford join Team Advantage to explain how organizing and engaging union membership helped stave off an effort by university administration to cripple the union.

Read more at and follow them on twitter @AUFacultyAssoc.

“Progressives Aren’t Going to Stand for Mediocrity:” Niki Ashton on the Progressive International and Jeremy Corbyn

What can be learned from the Corbyn project in the U.K. and the opposition it encountered, from both Conservatives outside the Labour party as well as Labour’s own right wing? What do recent attacks on the left of the NDP mean for the state of bold policy in Canada? Niki Ashton, MP for Churchill-Keewatinook Aski, joins Team Advantage to discuss the Progressive International and her upcoming event, a conversation with Jeremy Corbyn.
Purchase event tickets here through Eventbrite, and learn more at

Are the NDP Liberals in a Hurry?

Are the NDP merely liberals in a bit of a rush? Team Advantage examines Gary Teeple’s 1972 essay, ‘Liberals in a hurry’: socialism and the CCF-NDP. What role does the Fabian Society have in shaping the thought of the CCF, and later, the NDP? Can real socialist change be made through technocratic changes or parliamentary methods? Is moralizing about capitalism’s ill effects a useful way of bringing about political change?

Sweater Weather is a video & audio podcast about Canadian culture, politics & economics from a socialist perspective, hosted & produced by Aaron Giovannone. Follow Aaron on Twitter @SincerityCity, and follow the Sweater Weather series @canadiansweater and

Further reading:
Teeple, Gary. “‘Liberals in a hurry’: socialism and the CCF-NDP.Capitalism and the National Question in Canada. University of Toronto Press, 1972. 229-250.

The State: Seize It? Smash It? Take a Long March Through It?

What is to be done with the state? How does one’s assessment of the state relate to socialist strategy? Is the state merely a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie? Is it entirely captured by industry, or factions of capital, or does it operate independently? Team Advantage convenes to discuss theories of the state, and explains how state theory ultimately informs the approach one takes to social transformation.

Further reading:
Ralph Miliband, The State in Capitalist Society. 1969.
Ralph Miliband, The Coup in Chile. October 1973.
Miliband, Ralph. “Poulantzas and the capitalist state.” New Left Review 82.1 (1973): 83-93.
Rooksby, Ed. “‘Structural Reform’ and the Problem of Socialist Strategy Today.” Critique 46.1 (2018): 27-48.

Small Businesses Are Capitalism

Are small businesses really the backbone of our economy? Team Advantage examines the realities of small businesses in our society. How do big corporations benefit from small businesses being the front-facing, friendly face of modern capitalism? What do Marx and Engels have to say about “small capitalists?” How do working conditions fare in a small business environment? Will socially progressive small businesses usher in an era of social change?

Want to replace every mention of “small business” in your browser with “small capitalist?” Install the Tampermonkey extension, and add the small capitalists script.

Farm Crisis, Climate Crisis

How can we reduce agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by half by mid-century? And how can steps to do so help strengthen and safeguard family farms? Darrin Qualman, director of Climate Crisis Policy and Action for the National Farmers Union and author of Tackling the Farm Crisis and the Climate Crisis: A Transformative Strategy for Canadian Farms and Food Systems joins Team Advantage to discuss farms, food, and the climate crisis.

A New Party? The NDP and the 2001 New Politics Initiative

In 2001, a campaign to reconstitute the NDP into a new party emerged, calling itself the New Politics Initiative. It proposed a party with stronger links with social movements and the anti-globalization campaigns that had been growing over the previous years, and had some high-profile spokespeople. What happened with this initiative? What was the response from within the NDP? Can anything be learned from this effort to reshape the NDP towards a more explicitly left-wing vision?

Listeners may also be interested in this 2018 episode, The Waffle, the NDP, and Full Breakfast Socialism.