What are we reading? October 17, 2019


Each week, BIV staff will share with you some of the interesting stories we have found from around the web.


Kirk LaPointe, editor-in-chief:

Two lengthy pieces examine Amazon, one on Jeff Bezos’ big scheme, one on whether the company can (even should) be stopped. They are neither nice nor confidence-building. But they merit attention. – The Atlantic and The New Yorker





I bought the Edward Snowden memoir, and before I could read it, author Jonathan Lethem produced this great essay that made me feel as if I didn’t need to read the book now. – The New York Review of Books



For some of us, vacation time looms as the weather falls into gloom. This handy guide reassures you that nothing much bad happens to you on holiday, but . . .it never hurts to plan. – The New York Times



Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

What airline passengers want – aside from more legroom, better entertainment options and less sub-zero refrigerated air – according to the  International Air Transport Association's 2019 Global Passenger Survey. 



Working 9 to 5 or longer. RS Components crunches International Labour Organisation data to compare the average number of hours people work per day in various countries around the world. China is not included in the grid, but slackers should avoid Mongolia, Myanmar and Qatar. – RS Components



A recent OECD report provides insights into which countries wring the most tax revenue out of their tax base as a percentage of GDP. Tax fans should catch the next flight to France. For those not so keen on government money grabs, Indonesia, Mexico and Chile would make more appealing destinations. – OECD



Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor:

Are Canada’s politicians missing the big picture when it comes to one of the most pressing long-term problems facing the country?

“While the election campaign has focused on issues like cell phone bills and boutique tax credits to quell discomfort among Canadians, economists say that a long-term fix would require increased government and private investment targeted at raising productivity.” – U.S. News & World Report



Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has promised to build a coast-to-coast “energy corridor” to “move oil, gas, hydro, telecommunications and accommodate other linear infrastructure.”

But as energy journalist Andrew Nikiforuk notes, these kinds of megaprojects don’t exactly have a bright and shiny history in this country. – The Tyee



Nelson Bennett, reporter:

Canada is experiencing a bit of inflation, which is good news because it means Canada is defying the prevailing wisdom that it’s economy should be starting to contract. So far, Canada’s economy has not experienced the contraction that was expected in 2019, writes Kevin Carmichael. – The National Post



In recent weeks, tweets from President Donald Trump were so over-the-top that many readers might at first mistake them for parody accounts. Now, Fox News anchor Trish Regan has released a letter she obtained – in which Trump writes to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the Trump-induced slaughter of Kurds in Northern Syria – that beggars belief. It lllustrates that, even when he’s communicating privately with other world leaders, he sounds like an oaf. “Don’t be a tough guy!” he warns Erdogan, while trying to play the tough guy himself. – Mashable



Glen Korstrom, reporter:

One blog post I found interesting this week related to the CBC’s decision to sue the Conservative Party over it using media clips in an ad.  Law professor Michael Geist documents why he thinks the CBC’s arguments are weak, explains why the Tories are likely to use the argument of “fair dealing,” and advocates for political parties to be able to use CBC media clips that were created using taxpayer money. – Michael Geist’s blog



This website has links to show each riding in Canada – who’s running, what happened last time and what is likely to happen this time. It contains public posts that contain a wide array of perspectives on each riding. Site administrators then determine what the prediction should be. It is worth a read to get a sense of what is likely to happen on Monday. – Electionprediction.org 



Tyler Orton, reporter:

This expert guide to minority scenarios — something looking increasingly likely ahead of Monday’s vote — breaks down all you need to know if no party nabs 170 seats. There’s an aversion in Canada to coalition governments, which are fairly common in other developed democracy. And I still sense that aversion will persist in this country no matter what comes of the election results. – Maclean's https://www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/an-expert-guide-to-minority-scenarios/


Hayley Woodin, reporter: 

Approximately 70% of the world’s Indigenous population resides in the Asia Pacific. That represents a great opportunity for Indigenous businesses in Canada looking to expand to new markets. The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada has published the first guide of its kind – one designed to provide Indigenous businesses with first steps toward engaging in Asia Pacific trade. – APFC