links for 2011-05-05

  • MAY 2011: Over the two decades to the onset of the global economic crisis, real disposable household incomes increased in all OECD countries, by 1.7% a year, on average (Table 1). In a large majority of OECD countries, household incomes of the top 10% grew faster than those of the poorest 10%, leading to widening income inequality. Differences in the pace of income growth across household groups were particularly pronounced in some of the English-speaking countries, some of the Nordic countries and Israel. In Israel and Japan, real incomes of people at the bottom of the income ladder actually have fallen since the mid-1980s.
  • 04b: In practice, citizens are able to organize into trade unions:

    "…according to a 2007 report of the International Labor Organization, COUNTRY BASELINES UNDER THE 1998 ILO DECLARATION ANNUAL REVIEW (2000- ), section on Canada (pages 14-18) — "the legislation in several Canadian provinces/territories does not comply with C.98 and there is no willingness of these provinces to harmonize their laws with the ILO Conventions; (ii) some categories of workers are excluded from the legal framework on the PR (members of the medical, dental, architectural, legal and engineering professions, when employed in their professional capacity, agricultural workers and privately employed domestics); (iii) there is an excessive government intervention in collective bargaining in the private sector, which provides ways for the employer to bypass the union as collective bargaining agent."

  • Despite its reputation as one of the world's "cleanest" democracies, Canada is not without anti-corruption challenges. The ability to request information from the government is not as effective as one might expect, especially concerning the timeliness and quality of govrnment responses. Canadian law continues to treat the asset disclosures of senior civil servants as private and confidential, in contrast to many countries which make the information freely available to the public. Despite those pockets of weakness, Canada's public integrity and anti-corruption system is relatively robust. The media is able to freely report on corruption cases, and the integrity of elections are rarely questioned. The country's taxes and customs agencies are assessed as professional and independent, and the justice sector is perceived as independent and effective despite the high costs of bringing cases to court and the executive's control over judicial appointments.
  • Canada drops from 11th to 19th out of 100 countries assessed since 2007 — A "Real Accountability Act" needed to end secret donations, gifts and lobbying; excessive secrecy overall; patronage appointments; conflicts of interest; arbitrary election calls; lack of PM, judicial and Senate accountability and; to strengthen whistleblower protection and good government enforcement agencies