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Archive for March, 2007

Elizabeth May, Income Trusts and Foreign Ownership

A rather strange – not to say bizzarre – hypothesis on the Conservative decision to restrict income trusts was put forward today (March 31) by Green Party Leader and ostensible progressive, Elizabeth May. Speaking to the Council of Canadians Integrate this! conference on the “deep integration” Security and Prosperity Partnership with the US, May said […]

Police Investigate Ottawa Election

As the National Union of Public and General Employees reports, the Ottawa and District Labour Council played a key role in initiating this investigation: OPP investigation launched, thanks to Ottawa labour council The question remains – why was it left to an outside group like the labour council to take the initiative?Ottawa (28 March 2007) […]

Saskatchewan Cities Oppose TILMA

The Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association has rejected TILMA. P. S. – The paper that Marc and I wrote on TILMA is now available in French.

Harper Meets Labour Leaders

Ken Georgetti and leaders of major manufacturing unions just finished meeting with the Prime Minister about Canada’s ongoing manufacturing crisis. The Canadian Labour Congress briefing note quoted by The Globe and Mail online follows: The Manufacturing Crisis Overview Canada’s manufacturing sector is in crisis. High energy prices, a high dollar, and worsening trade deficits with […]

Some Thoughts on Adjustment for Older Workers

The expert panel on older workers appointed by the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development has released a short discussion paper. http://www.ow-ta-sec.org/en/consultation/discussion_paper.shtml The background to this panel (promised in the 2006 Budget) was a political push in 2005 for an income support program for displaced older workers – a particularly hot topic in Quebec […]

George Monbiot on Bio Fuels

Of more than passing interest given Harper’s ramped up subsidies to ethanol – more of a farm support program than a genuine climate change solution it would seem (though perhaps we should be more supportive of the newer biotechnologies which can convert wood and agricultural wastes to ethanol.) http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2043724,00.html If we want to save the […]

Working Income Tax Benefit

  From the Toronto Star March 23, 2007, p. A21. Working poor get little relief from Flaherty Upon closer inspection, the Conservative finance minister’s Working Income Tax Benefit falls way short of the original proposal first floated by his Liberal predecessor Ralph Goodale, notes John Stapleton   March 23, 2007 There was much anticipation that […]

Big Business Endorses Big Spending!

Riddle: When is a Liberal budget, not really a Liberal budget? Answer: When big business loves it! There’s a fascinating sidebar to Jim Flaherty’s big-spending vote-buying budget last week, in the strongly favourable reaction which it received from the business community.  All the pundits’ complaints about the budget being “more Liberal than the Liberals” are […]

Expenditure Management: Conservative Style

Budget 2007 promised a new Expenditure Management System and provides a glimpse of what the Conservatives might have in mind. The Budget Plan boldly “proposes to provide a 25-per-cent investment tax credit to businesses that create new child care spaces” (p. 124). However, it allocates no money for this “Investment Tax Credit for Child Care […]

Twenty Pieces of Silver for Boudria

As advertised on page B7 of today’s Globe and Mail, Hill & Knowlton has promoted Don Boudria from “part-time” Senior Associate to “full-time” Senior Counsellor. Boudria, the former Liberal Whip and House Leader, chaired Dion’s leadership campaign. He attended all of the parliamentary-committee hearings on C-257 to oppose the Bill. In recent days, he visited […]

Ontario Introduces a $10 Minimum Wage

Ontario’s 2007 Budget just came out and it includes a minimum wage increase to $10.25 per hour in 2010.

Jack Mintz on Budget 2007

In yesterday’s Financial Post, Jack Mintz repeated the notions that the Budget featured “no broad tax relief” and big spending. He wrote, “Certainly, the idea of making the tax structure more efficient, fair and simple takes a back seat to the rash of special politically driven measures.” However, the tax measures that Mintz specifically endorses […]

A Defeat that Smells of Victory

Last night, the House of Commons defeated Bill C-257, “An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (replacement workers),” by a vote of 177 to 122. All NDP and Bloc MPs, about forty Liberals, and one brave Conservative voted in favour. Although the Bill did not pass, the labour movement’s efforts on this issue have […]

That Inflation Scare

Financial markets seem to be betting on an interest rate increase in the wake of news that the CPI year over year inflation rate jumped to (the horror, the horror!) 2.0% in February.  A look at the numbers shows that any inflation problem beyond  temporary gas price issues is pretty well confined to Alberta. Here, […]

The Budget and Labour Market Training

The Budget (see pp. 214-215) promises $500 million per year for a new Labour Market Training Transfer to the provinces, starting next year (2008-09) and lasting for at least six years.  The money will be divided between the provinces on an equal per person basis, and transferred under the terms of bilateral framework agreements which […]

Caledon Institute Budget Commentary

http://www.caledoninst.org/Publications/PDF/622ENG.pdf “There are several positive measures, most notably the Working Income Tax Benefit, the Registered Disability Savings Plan and the proposed changes to the Equalization program.  Other provisions, like the child tax credit, are a large cup of wasteful spending.  The funds could have been far better spent on an increased Canada Child Tax Benefit, […]

The Vehicle Efficiency Incentive

I’ve posted below an interesting commentary from Dennis DesRosier in favour of gas tax increases as an alternative to the proposed incentive increases. His chart shows a near perfect correlation between monthly gas prices and % monthly auto sales going to entry level ( fuel efficient) vehicles. It strikes me that – to reduce the […]

The Political Right on Budget 2007

In contrast to my last post, much of the business press and many conservative commentators have characterized Budget 2007 as “big spending” with “no broad-based tax cuts.” These claims reflect two (usually unstated) contentions: that spending should be measured in absolute terms rather than in relation to the economy and that tax credits are not tax cuts. […]

Budget 2007

Overview Budget 2007 erodes the federal government’s capacity to improve the lives of working people. Tax cuts will benefit profitable corporations without increasing investment in the Canadian economy. The federal government will continue subsidizing oil-sands extraction for nearly a decade. Increased transfers to provincial governments may serve important public purposes, but the Budget’s general thrust […]

Robin Boadway on Internal Trade

“Balkanization of our national economic space . . . thicket of provincial barriers.” – Conference Board of Canada, Mission Possible, 2007 “Our federation has been a ‘mini global economy’ for decades. There are virtually no internal barriers to labour and capital mobility, and no tariff-like distortions on interprovincial trade.” – Robin Boadway, “National Tax Policy […]

Child-Care Flip: A Flop in the Right Direction?

One problem with the new Conservative child-care transfer appears to be that it would provide less money to provincial governments than the NDP-Liberal plan would have. Another problem is that it may entail even fewer guidelines about how the money is used. Nevertheless, this new approach seems much better than the Conservatives’ previous policy of […]

Alternative Federal Budget

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released its alternative budget today.

The High Cost of Low Corporate Taxes

Monday’s federal budget will certainly reaffirm the corporate-tax reductions already scheduled through 2011 and may announce further reductions. Between 2001 and 2004, the federal government reduced its corporate-income-tax rate from 28% to 21% and began phasing out its corporate-capital tax.  It has committed to eliminate the corporate surtax and reduce the corporate-income-tax rate to 18.5% between 2008 […]

Income splitting redux

With a surplus that has swelled in recent months to around $13 billion, the Conservatives may be once again contemplating income splitting for next week’s federal budget. The annual cost is high at $5 billion, but this is a perfect wedge issue for Canada’s New Harperment, reducing the size of government while giving most of […]

The Human Costs of Financial Deregulation – US Sub Prime Housing Lending

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_12/b4026050.htm A rather moving story from Business Week about the real victims of the crisis of the US subprime mortage market – the borrowers. The late stages of the US housing bubble were sustained by a flood of new buyers – lower income households tempted to get into the housing market by superficially low interest […]

BC’s Unusual Expansion

Some notes by yours truly on the BC economy, based on a presentation I gave this past weekend: As a provincial economy, BC is relatively small and resource-dependent. Over past decades, there has been a growing divide between the “two economies” of Greater Vancouver (plus the provincial capitol in Victoria), with a more diversified and […]

How much do we care about our distant descendants?

Mathematically, we are all related through our common ancestors. This is because of the power of 2 – that we each have two parents, four grandparents, and so forth back as far as you can go. Assuming no in-breeding, and an average of 20 years per generation, this works out like this: by 20 generations […]

NDP Pre Budget Letter

http://www.ndp.ca/xfer/pdf/2007-03-09-flahertyprebudget_e.pdf A good letter outlining what the federal NDP would like to see in the upcoming federal Budget.

Can traffic congestion be cured?

I went to a lecture last night be Anthony Downs of the Brookings Institution. His main insight that I am still dwelling on is that traffic congestion is an inevitable outcome of the way we have organized our urban societies. And as long as we have successful and vibrant cities, there will always be congestion […]

Georgetti Responds to Coon Come on Anti-Scab Legislation

Opponents of Bill C-257 need to identify a purpose served by replacement workers other than strengthening the bargaining position of employers in relation to their employees. Hence the misleading claim that replacement workers are needed to provide essential services during labour disputes. Matthew Coon Come, a former aboriginal political leader who became a corporate CEO, […]