Happy Thursday Regina, how are you? Despite all the war, corruption, suffering and Tumpery going on in the world, the sun still came up today, at 8:54, and it’ll hang around until 5:20. As you might have noticed, it’s not the hottest. As of noon it was -29 and there’s an extreme cold weather warning in effect. It’s supposed to limp up to -27 before dropping to -32 tonight. It will get warmer soon but in the meantime, the -42 windchill means your exposed skin is just a 10-minute drive from Frostbite City. Be careful out there!
1. TAXES GOIN’ UP The City of Regina’s draft budget calls for a 4.18% tax hike, which will probably be watered down before it’s passed, he wrote cynically. Too bad — taxes should be at a level to keep services sustainable, so if this increase is what the city needs, I hope it will go through as is. And yeah, sure, it”ll hit rental property owners. That’s fine; they made their fortunes over more than a decade of boom-time rent hikes. Dechene will live-tweet his reading of the draft budget summary at some point — follow him @PDcityhall for the deets.
2. GOVERNMENT PRIVATIZES 250 JOBS Desperate times call for screwing over fairly-paid workers, according to the Brad Wall government. Oh well, what’s the big deal? It’s just 250 people who will order less food from local restaurants and shop less at local businesses.
3. THE BIG PRESCRIPTION PRESCRIPTION DRUG RIP-OFF Pharmaceutical companies persuade doctors to prescribe expensive drugs over cheaper alternatives and it costs Canada $3 billion a year, says The Fifth Estate.
4. GET IT TOGETHER, GRITS High profile Liberals tweeted links to non-partisan government job ads, which is cool. Unfortunately some of the tweets had Liberal logos. Bad. The government is not a political party.
5. OPPOSITION PARTIES WANT A PER-VOTE SUBSIDY BACK So do I. Who would you rather have pay for our democracy (and yes, it does have to be paid for): rich people and businesses or everyone who votes, equally? “It was the fairest of all the ways in which political parties received public support,” says Elizabeth May. Still think getting rid of the per-vote subsidy was one of Harper’s more evil maneuvers.
6. NEED FOR WEED An armed forces vet is worried about federal plans to cut back the amount of prescription marijuana he and others will be reimbursed for.
7. TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMPY TRUMP-TRUMP From Rob Ford’s whining to Stephen Harper’s calculated clampdowns, politicians with things to hide have been undermining the press more and more this young century. Donald Trump, who’s been bashing the media since this fiasco started, just took this nakedly self-serving strategy to a new level by having his staffers cheer him on at the first press conference he’s held in, apparently, six months. It’s ridiculous, inappropriate and dangerous. The Guardian’s Richard Wolfe says this is the beginning of a “shambolic presidency”. The Toronto Stars’ Daniel Dale, who probably thought he was done with this kind of whackjob egomaniac after Rob Ford, has a wrap-up. Best sentence: “It is not clear how well Trump’s scorched-earth transition is working for him.” Meanwhile, The Washington Post, New York Times and other news outlets are following the developing, what, scandal? Crisis? Disaster? A Globe And Mail editorial calls it “the sum of all fears”, after the Tom Clancy book that took its title from a Winston Churchill quote. Finally (because I don’t have all day to rorage for links), we don’t know how much impact Russia really had on the U.S. election, but it seems plausible and maybe likely that Clinton would’ve won if FBI director James Comey hadn’t brought up the Clinton e-mails days before the election. The Justice Department is now investigating. Commentary here.
8. OBAMACARE DEATH WATCH Ugh. Republicans consistently hold the flagrantly immoral position that only Americans who can afford it should get health care. They sabotaged the Clinton health care plan in the ’90s and now they’re going to kill Obama’s health plan. Somebody better mobilize those 20 million people who could lose their insurance.
A BRILLIANT MOVIE IS AT THE RPL TONIGHT The library’s got a free screening of Jaques Tati’s Playtime, a hilarious satire brilliantly disguised as a pointless snooze-fest. There’s nothing else like it, and if you haven’t seen it you should go. It’s at 7. Don’t let the cold win!