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Archive for April, 2007

More free trade: Australia & China

Well, I finally got my name into the Australian papers.  So I guess I can come back to Canada now.  (We’re flying home, sigh, in another few weeks.) I worked with the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (sister union, sectorally and politically, to the CAW) to produce a critique of the proposed Australia-China free trade agreement.  […]

Cleaning up cruise ships

The Harper government enacts yet another policy from the CCPA. Ross Klein, social work professor turned cruise industry watcher at Memorial University deserves a big round of applause for his efforts to shine a light on this problem. A cynic might comment that this is just an easy reform that beefs up Harper’s green credentials […]

Consumer Tax Index

Crawl Across the Ocean, which has infrequent but excellent posts, features an amusing and accurate critique of the Fraser Institute’s “Consumer Tax Index.”   MORE (April 29): In particular, this critique points out that the political right defines “essential” very narrowly when measuring poverty or railing about taxes, but very broadly when limiting the right to strike.

TILMA Versus Canadian Football

The Canadian Football League’s season does not begin until June, but debate is already underway about TILMA’s potential effect on its franchises, most of which are for-profit businesses that receive government subsidies. The last federal budget proposed a new Canadian Heritage Sport Fund to promote three-down football, but also proposed to expand TILMA to more […]

Simpson on Climate Change

Jeffrey Simpson has a good column in today’s Globe on the new Conservative climate-change plan. He makes the same point that I did about the impossibility of meeting Kyoto’s first-round targets and the importance taking our second-round targets seriously. He also points out how thin all of these climate-change “plans” have been. To me, a […]

Misleading headline on the Harper climate change plan

Is this mischief on the part of the Globe’s editors or a simple mistake? The way I read the headline below is literally: that Harper’s newest climate change plan would “cut emissions 18 per cent by 2010″. Sounds good, right? The Tories must have seen the light and, while they would still miss the Kyoto […]

Farewell David Dodge

I’ll be sorry to see Governor David Dodge leave the Bank of Canada. To be sure, I’ll take a good deal of critical distance from his and the Bank’s view that we are operating “above capacity” when real wages for at least the bottom half of the work force are flat, and I think monetary […]

Trade Union Statement to the G-8 Summit

One of the more arcane rituals of global economic governance is the annual meeting between G-8 labour leaders and the host of the annual G-8 summit (only Dubya refused to conform to the convention.) The statement to be presented to German Chancellor Merkel in a couple of weeks by CLC President Ken Georgetti and colleagues […]

Saskatchewan and TILMA

Today, the Government of Saskatchewan initiated a process of legislative consultations on TILMA and released the Conference Board’s assessment of this agreement’s potential impact on Saskatchewan. This document is the sequel to the Conference Board’s BC assessment, which Marc and I critiqued on this blog and in our paper. I have not yet read through […]

Carbon trading on the west coast

This is a fascinating story arising out of BC’s newfound religion on climate change. It seems to me that the devil is in the details when it comes to carbon trading. A hard cap must be set and must be enforced with strong penalties. Allocating emission rights based on past performance is problematic, as it […]

Four strong winds

The first cut at 2006 GDP data for the provinces is out today from Statscan. What blew me away was Alberta, with real GDP growth of 6.8%. That is not a typo, so let me repeat, 6.8%, as in, Chinese style growth, and more than double the national average of 2.7%. And I thought the […]

Review of studies comparing Canadian and US health outcomes

This was referred to by Ezra Klein at the very bottom of the last post, and it deserves its own. Abstract and the concluding “discussion” section are pasted below: A systematic review of studies comparing health outcomes in Canada and the United States   Gordon H. Guyatt, P.J. Devereaux, Joel Lexchin, Samuel B. Stone, Armine […]

Ezra Klein on the health of nations

In the American Prospect, Ezra Klein compares five countries’ health care systems (hat tip to Mark Thoma). in spite of his general defence of Canada, there are a few areas where I think he gets it wrong and I have added in some comments in those places. The Health of Nations Here’s how Canada, France, […]

The Economic Costs of Kyoto: Straw Men and One-Sided Assumptions

A number of key critical points on the federal government’s “analysis” of the economic impacts of Kyoto – http://www.ec.gc.ca/doc/media/m_123/toc_eng.html – have already been made, including by Erin. http://progecon.wordpress.com/2007/04/20/inconvenient-truth/ A lot hinges on whether continued adherence to the protocol means that very large cuts have to be made to domestic emissions in a very short period […]

TILMA Meeting in Regina

A Saskatchewan Federation of Labour Vice-President has reported back from a meeting on TILMA organized by the C. D. Howe Institute.

Income Trusts and Economic Nationalism

Andrew Coyne makes several good points in today’s column on the economic-nationalist case for income trusts. He is skeptical, but for different reasons than the other Andrew and I. Like most of Coyne’s economic commentary, this column displays what I would characterize as excessive faith in the efficiency of free markets. Interestingly, he does not […]

A world parliament?

George Monbiot summarizes the case for a world parliament, drawing on a new campaign being launched this week. I’ve always thought this to be a far-sighted and much-needed, if politically impossible, idea. Dare to dream, I suppose. Perhaps by the time I die the world will have something like a truly global parliament. (And if […]

New report links economic success, investment in training

http://www.ccl-cca.ca/NR/rdonlyres/F6226BEA-0502-4A2D-A2E0-6A7C450C5212/0/connecting_dots_EN.pdf Based on the Executive Summary, this report seems worth a read. It seems to go beyond the common rhetoric on the need for more ‘human capital development in a knowledge-based economy’ to take a serious look at economic returns to firms from training – though the scale of the suggested benefits seems rather high. […]

Wheat Board Plebiscite Results

Yesterday’s Tyee article by Horner and Orchard provides a good historical overview of the Wheat Board, but does not mention the recent plebiscite based on which the Conservatives propose to remove the Board’s barley monopoly. It is worth explaining why this flawed plebiscite does not give the Conservatives much of a democratic mandate, rather than ignoring the plebiscite […]

Sachs: G8 reneging on Millennium Development Goals

The annual G8 meetings often result in a group hug (aka the “summit declaration). Much of the time, when the goals are laudable, they fail to achieve the desired result, as Sachs comments below on the MDGs, or they misrepresent what they are doing in the first place (remember the 2000 release that “ended” third […]

Attacking the Canadian Wheat Board

This article from The Tyee reviews the history of the CWB and recent attacks by the Harper government: Harper’s Hit on Grain Farmers: Tories will aid US firms by gutting Canadian Wheat Board By Albert Horner and David Orchard TheTyee.ca For a year the Harper government has been threatening to destroy the power of the […]

Saskatchewan Federation of Labour on TILMA

Larry Hubich has sent an open letter to the Premier of Saskatchewan on TILMA. The letter cites much of the Lee, Weir, Grady, and Shrybman material discussed on this blog.

The Nordics are embarassing us again

A lovely counterpoint to last week in Canadian politics on greenhouse gas emission reductions, Kyoto and Minister Baird: Norway Plans to Go ‘Carbon Neutral’ April 20, 2007 — Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday proposed to make Norway the first “carbon neutral” state by 2050 and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 30 percent […]

The opposite of entrepreneur

Like many people, I admire the entrepreneur. Risk-taking, hard-working, value-adding, employment-creating – such are the virtues of entrepreneurs. I wish our schools taught people more about how to be entrepreneurial, as opposed to “business” degrees that teach people to be middle-managers in big corporations. We too often are lectured about the need to impose supply-side […]

Palley Targets Inflation Targeting

Other than the occasional call for Canada to adopt the US dollar, discussion of Canadian monetary policy mainly consists of the C. D. Howe Institute and the Bank of Canada praising inflation targeting. As Thomas Palley reminds us, another perspective exists: The Case Against Inflation Targeting A few months ago the Federal Reserve seemed to […]

Another Inconvenient Truth

Al Gore has famously and correctly characterized the scientific consensus about global warming as “An Inconvenient Truth”. In today’s Financial Post, Buzz Hargrove identifies another “inconvenient truth” for Canadian progressives: “it is impossible to achieve Kyoto targets in the time frames spelled out in Kyoto.” Canada’s Kyoto commitment was relatively modest and achievable. However, after […]

Buzz on Kyoto

From today’s FP – I’ve dropped the misleading headline – this is a much more reasoned piece than some recently and widely circulated short quotes from Buzz on the implications of Kyoto for workers. Friday, April 20, 2007   As the president of the Canadian Auto Workers Union, I often find myself taking controversial positions, […]

The Great Kyoto Job Scare

  Some good points in this piece. I just love Baird’s argument that “275,000 Canadians would lose their jobs, gasoline prices would jump 60 per cent and natural gas prices would double.” Sounds like just what has happened over the past couple of years as the result of the oil boom. Did 250,000 manufacturing workers […]

From socialist conspiracy to economic apocalypse

The framing of the Kyoto Accord by the Harper government, that is. I suppose this is progress for Harper, who had essentially dismissed climate change a year ago, but as the polls moved he has had to follow. I’m not as pessimistic about the economic fall-out if we are creative in developing just transition strategies […]

Government Plans on Kyoto – Response from Climate Action Network

    OTTAWA — Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution will continue rising for several more years and remain well above Kyoto targets beyond 2020 if government plans leaked to Canadian Press and reviewed by the Climate Action Network Canada/Réseau action climat Canada (CAN-RAC) are implemented. The organization expects the federal government’s proposal for a new […]