What's Left 2016-09-05 Volume 72

Trudeau smiles for cameras, happy to leave Harper policies in place; Labour Day reading ; Employee diversity is critical when making design decisions; Endangered wolves in Washington killed for behaving normally; Emotions are hard but men must to do a better job of dealing with them

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Trudeau smiles for cameras, happy to leave Harper policies in place

While Trudeau gives speeches telling workers and families that a new era in Ottawa is well underway, little of substance has changed.

The Trudeau government has:

  • failed to remove Harper-appointees from Canada Post (nearly causing a strike) - done nothing to help Hamilton steelworkers still fighting for pensions they have spent their lives earning - enabled further abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker program - continued to deny employment insurance to millions of Canadians - refused to introduce a $15 federal minimum wage - proceeded with pushing through the devastating Trans-Pacific Partnership - failed to meaningfully include indigenous and locally affected communities when assessing the environmental impacts of pipelines and other infrastructure projects - happily sold millions of dollars in weapons to oppressive governments - continued to use Conservative Bill C-51 to spy on and violate the rights of Canadians

If Trudeau is serious about shifting the political landscape in Canada, these are just some of the places he should start – and it’s up to progressive Canadians and those in the labour movement to make him realize that the status quo just isn’t good enough.

Why Trudeau is no friend of labour

Justin (sunny ways) Trudeau talks left wing, governs right

Like it or not, Trudeaumania is a thing that progressives must confront


Labour Day reading

Today Belongs to Workers “Labor Day was born from the most radical struggles of the nineteenth century. Celebrate it.”

Companies exploit millennials, pushing them toward poverty “According to the CLC report, unemployment among young workers aged 15-29 is “consistently double that of core age workers.” One-third of young workers are in temporary positions, and 13.2 per cent of 15–29 year olds are unemployed. And, along with part-time work, unpaid internships are also on the rise. There are currently over 300,000 unpaid interns in Ontario alone.”

Is it time to rethink Toronto’s air show? “Some people love the spectacle; others hate the disruption, or object to the military display. But for some in the city it can also have an unsettling, perhaps even traumatic, effect.”


Employee diversity is critical when making design decisions

Last month, Snapchat launched a new “anime” filter that offended many. It allowed users to skew their faces so that they appeared as an exaggerated caricature of East Asian peoples. This is just the latest example of how the broadly white software development industry fails to understand the implications of their design decisions.

The diversity of a workplace has a vital influence on the creative process and how people interact with the resulting products, services, and the world around them. This isn’t just a matter of bias based on ethnic background, but based on class and ability as well.

Discrimination By Design

Endangered wolves in Washington killed for behaving normally

Washington State’s Department of Fish and Wildlife intends to kill an entire pack of eleven wolves (including four cubs) for hunting and killing about twelve cattle over the summer. This is signficant as there are only about 90 wolves in the state (there are 1.15 million cattle).

Under a bizarre state law, if a group of wolves kills four or more cattle in a year, the government can kill the entire pack of wolves. This is made all the more odd because grey wolves are endangered in Washington. In 2008, there were only five wolves in the wild and their numbers grow slowly.

It seems an incredible overreaction to kill 12% of an endangered wolf population in response to the killing of 0.00001% of the cattle population … especially given the fact that the cattle are killed by humans in far greater numbers.

Washington State Is Killing a Pack of Endangered Wolves to Keep Ranchers Happy

Emotions are hard but men must to do a better job of dealing with them

What happens when we do something that hurts someone else and they challenge us on it? It seems that all too often men take these sudden feelings of guilt and shame and, instead of owning their actions, they tend to blame the victim for causing them to feel bad.

It may not always be obvious, but it is exactly for that reason that we need to be so vigilant about taking ownership over harmful behaviour – even when the harm is unintentional or unnoticed. It involves wrestling with our own emotions, and let’s be honest, that is something most men struggle with.

This inadequacy in dealing with emotion is what underpins the performance of male privilege, requires the constant reinforcement of the male ego, and often causes men to lash out at others. There is a logic to these reactions that echoes emotional confusion and immaturity, but these reactions remain inappropriate and harmful.

Crucially, we must understand that it is not the injured party’s responsibility to address and correct our actions. We need to own, apologize for, and address our own behaviour and the harm we cause – regardless of whether the harm was intentional.

Own, Apologize, repair: Coming back to integrity

Make Sure You Choose a Knife That Can Cut Through Bullshit