Et oui, faisons du fleuve une personne
Expand the social safety net to protect all workers
There is no question freelancers and other gig economy workers toil hard. And often for crumbs. I should know; I’ve been a freelancer for decades and I drove for Uber just over a year (new book alert!) between mid-2018 and late 2019, after a separation left me with few (haha) immediate job options. Freelancers and “giggers” work. Hard. Most of them don’t mind. I know I didn’t. Most of them also know there is no safety net under them. You get no paid vacations, no sick leave, no pension, no nothing. You work, you get paid. You don’t work, you don’t get paid.
Now many of them are asking to be included in measures that protect other kinds of workers against loss of income resulting from something that’s not their fault. Employment insurance is there to cover employees who get laid off, and employment standards make sure there are certain minimal conditions met.
Usually the people who object to offering protections to gig economy workers say we can’t afford them. I submit to you it’s more expensive not to.
Jim Stanford, director of the Centre for Future Work, said precarious self-employment grew slightly during the initial months of the pandemic, and fell after July when economic conditions improved.
Stanford suggested the pandemic may have initially driven some people to take up new gig-type jobs that don’t normally qualify for EI.
“During the pandemic these workers had nothing to fall back on. That posed a threat to public health, as well as equity, because these people were compelled to keep working no matter what,” Stanford said.
“It is urgent that the federal and provincial governments expand and reform existing income (support) and labour policies to make sure that gig workers have something to fall back on.”
A society where people keep working no matter what – no matter the costs to themselves, their families and the larger public – is a very expensive proposition indeed.
Faire du fleuve une personne
Le gouvernement fédéral devrait-il attribuer au fleuve Saint-Laurent le statut de personnalité juridique qui permettrait d’accorder à la faune et la flore qui en dépendent des droits inhérents à la protection ?
Le Nouveau Parti démocratique (NPD) croit qu’une telle mesure s’impose. Et la formation politique dirigée par Jagmeet Singh s’inspire du cas de la rivière Magpie, sur la Côte-Nord, pour lancer le débat sur l’avenir du fleuve.
Oui, oui, et trois fois oui. Il s’agit là du moyen le plus sûr et efficace d’accorder des protections durables et justiciables aux cours d’eau. Et aux forêts, aux montagnes, pour qu’on arrête enfin de les surexploiter pour le bénéfice financier des uns.
Et pour les fin-finauds en arrière qui trouvent ça drôle, je vous fais une proposition. Soit on accorde le status juridique à la nature, soit on le retire aux sociétés et autres compagnies. Ah oui. Parce que si c’est correct d’accorder le statut juridique à une corporation, c’est correct de l’accorder au fleuve aussi.
Yes, we can
We do not have to put up with one more highway expansion after another. We can stop them. Because they’re not useful, equitable, sensible, environmentally-friendly or, frankly, rational at this point. So imagine how cool it is to hear that one such project, in Texas of all places, got halted by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
In the summer of 2019, the expansion of Interstate 45 in Houston appeared to be a “done deal,” according to transportation policy advocate Harrison Humphreys.
The project would add or expand miles of freeway in an attempt to ease congestion and shorten commute times as the region’s population grows. It would also tear through historically African-American neighborhoods, remove thousands of residential and commercial structures, and thicken air pollution, leading members of the community to cry foul.
But two and a half years later, the project has been at least temporarily halted, thanks in part to action by the Biden administration that advocates say could be an early indication of the new Department of Transportation’s approach to equity in transit policy under Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
In a March letter, federal transportation authorities asked Texas to pause contract solicitations on the project while they examine potential racial justice complaints under federal civil rights law.
That makes me want to bike for joy.