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Archive for June, 2007

Bruce Johnstone on TILMA

In today’s Leader-Post, Bruce Johnstone makes the same point as I did about the Saskatchewan Party’s reversal on TILMA: that it is intended to minimize the agreement as a potential election issue. He also makes the oft-heard argument that, since a couple of other “free trade” agreements allegedly worked-out fairly well, TILMA must also be pretty […]

Stopping TILMA at the Fourth Meridian

Count me among those pleasantly surprised by the right-wing Saskatchewan Party’s rejection of TILMA, a complete reversal of its previous position. I think that labour’s extensive participation in the legislative-committee hearings helped to convince the Saskatchewan Party that (1.) there is significant opposition to signing TILMA and (2.) there are genuine problems with the agreement. During […]

KPMG on Corporate Taxes

On Wednesday, The Globe and Mail ran the headline, “Taxes Are Falling, But Not Here: Global Business Tax Rates Are Dropping, But Canada’s Remain High, KPMG Report Finds,” immediately above a table showing Canadian corporate taxes to be within the lower half of G8 countries. Today, The Globe printed the letter from yours truly that […]

More simulations on carbon tax, GHGs and economic impacts

In my post yesterday, I lamented the fact that the Jaccard modeling of carbon tax impacts for the federal government assumed uniform carbon tax rates applied immediately and held constant over time. But in the real world, some phase in period is going to be necessary. Enter the Interim Report of the National Round Table […]

The economics of temporary foreign workers

A dispatch from UBC labour economist, David Green: Wages, Markets and Temporary Workers David A. Green Last November, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced a scheme to speed up the processing of temporary workers for Alberta and British Columbia. The Minister appears to have been concerned with ongoing reports of large numbers […]

Wage and profit shares

The CCPA released a study today by PEF steering committee members Ellen Russell and Mathieu Dufour. Rising Profit Shares, Falling Wage Shares is the published version of research they presented during the PEF session on ineuquality, at the CEA conference. The full study is available here and the press release says: Canada’s economy grew steadily […]

The Taxpayers Federation Releases the Reins of Power?

Further to my previous post, today’s Ottawa Citizen reports that Walter Robinson is stepping down as Larry O’Brien’s chief of staff.

Cameron: Why the WTO talks have collapsed (again)

The WTO talks have collapsed. Wait, did I not report that last year? Alas, talks are never really over, the Doha Round never really “dead” as reported in the papers. Just stalled. But as Cameron points out in his rabble.ca column (thanks to Duncan and rabble for sharing columns with RPE), this recent impasse has […]

Mel Watkins on Foreign Take-overs

http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/opinion/story.html?id=6c433a24-f12a-4584-9706-9f123ded8234 A good piece from today’s Ottawa Citizen. I’ve been similarly struck by the concern re foreign state involvement  in our resource sector, combined with evident lack of concern  about loss of domestic control of resource  development. Whether we would get that from  greater Canadian capitalist ownership of resource companies  as opposed to  more public […]

Deconstructing Jaccard and the Green Party

Last week, the Green Party issued a press release claiming that a “secret government study backs $50 carbon tax”, which is convenient since the Green Party recently endorsed a $50 carbon tax. My initial response to the Green’s carbon tax was one of skepticism, mostly in regards to the likely non-impact on driving, and the […]

The hidden costs of homelessness

are high, according to a new report, summarized by Gordon Laird in the Toronto Star: According to a new report from the Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership, Shelter: Homelessness in a Growth Economy, homelessness is costing Canadian taxpayers $4.5 billion to $6 billion a year. Canada in 2007 collectively spends more managing homelessness […]

Manufacturing and Construction

Recent commentaries from CIBC and Export Development Canada argue that the manufacturing crisis is not eroding job quality. Both note that a surge in construction employment, added to the relatively few new jobs in non-renewable resource extraction, nearly equals the number of manufacturing jobs lost in recent years. As emphasized on the front page of […]

PEF session on taxation and social democracy

Stephen Gordon’s presentation from our PEF “taxation and social democracy” session at the CEA meetings is now online at his blog, here. The other presenters on the panel were Andrew Jackson, Erin Weir and Marion Steele. I was the discussant for the session, so I will take Stephen’s cue and jot down some of the […]

100,000 Anonymous Readers Can’t Be Wrong

Traffic on our old blog has slowed since we stopped posting there. Nevertheless, that website passed an important milestone in the past couple of hours: someone viewed it for the 100,000th time. Since WordPress excludes views by those of us who post, this statistic is significant. I have no idea how many hits most blogs […]

Private Equity and Casino Capitalism

http://www.ituc-csi.org/spip.php?article1231  Brussels, 21 June 2007: Launching a new report “Where the house always wins, Private Equity, Hedge Funds and the new Casino Capitalism” the world’s peak trade union body, the 168 million-member International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), today issued a global warning to pension funds over investment in private equity and hedge funds. At its […]

Monbiot’s case for global democracy

Below is an edited text of Monbiot’s lecture to the Royal Society of Arts: By George Monbiot, June 2004 Without global democracy, national democracy is impossible. If you don’t believe me, take a look at what has happened to Luiz Inacio da Silva. Before he became president of Brazil, Lula promised to transform the way […]

Lawsuits Galore

While the Saskatchewan government’s decision to take the federal government to court over Equalization has captured more headlines, the Saskatchewan government is also helping to finance legal action against the federal government’s handling of the Canadian Wheat Board: Sask. backs CWB lawsuit The Leader-Post (Regina) Thursday, June 14, 2007 Page: D1 / FRONT Section: Business & Agriculture […]

What Did the IMF Say?

Under the headline “IMF Admonishes Canada,” the Financial Post reported on Wednesday: The IMF added its voice yesterday to the growing chorus of observers urging Canada to undertake a 21st-century overhaul of its financial system, saying it should create a single securities regulator, open its banking system to foreign competition and mergers and tear down interprovincial […]

Carbon taxes, trading and auctions

This oped by Daniel Sperling in the LA Times appears to bridge, via California, my and Andrew’s positions on the impact of the Green’s proposed carbon tax: The one sector where carbon taxes will work well is electricity generation, which accounts for 20% of California emissions (and 40% of U.S. emissions). The carbon tax works […]

Alberta Opposes Rate Hike

Relatively high inflation in Alberta seems to be the only justification for raising Canadian interest rates. In this context, it is tremendously significant that the Government of Alberta itself opposes increasing rates. Of course, higher interest rates imply a higher Canadian dollar. Alberta sells oil and gas, the prices of which are denominated in US […]

CIBC and Oil Royalties

More fascinating stuff from that CIBC report follows: While many of the big names in the mining and metal processing industry have been spoken for, there are even larger capital inflows potentially still ahead in the energy sector. Thanks to the oil sands, and a still laissez-faire attitude towards ownership of those resources, Canada represents […]

Marxists at CIBC?

The following excerpt is from the much-reported study released by CIBC last week: The Bank of Canada, eying an economy operating above its non-inflationary speed limit, will welcome the dampening influence of an even stronger currency on both economic growth and inflation. A couple hundred thousand additional factory job losses, while far from derailing domestic […]

Notes on a potential Telus-BCE merger

The big news story (Globe article here and political analysis here) of the day is the proposed merger between Telus and BCE (aka Bell), and what the government should do about it. Below are a few notes to add some context, and an alternative, to merger mania. First, was it not just a year ago […]

The Green Party Climate Plan

Elizabeth May and the Green Party can take credit for putting forward a serious climate change plan, based on a $50 per tonne carbon tax, with some revenues from this directed to a reduction of other taxes. http://www.greenparty.ca/en/releases/06.06.2007?origin=redirect Today, they placed in the public realm a study by Marc Jaccard suggesting minimal economic disruption from […]

Core Inflation: A Closer Look and a Tentative Forecast

The “core inflation” rate’s jump to 2.5% for April 2007 (released in May 2007) was great cause for concern among many economic pundits and seemed to prompt the Bank of Canada’s announcement that it intends to raise interest rates. Of course, 2.5% must be regarded as quite moderate inflation and falls well within the Bank’s […]

Minimum Wages Raise Productivity

The 2007 OECD Employment Outlook incorporates a study (Chapter 3) finding that higher minimum wages raise productivity. In fact, a sophisticated quantitiative study finds that an increase of 10 percentage points in the ratio of the minimum wage to the median hourly wage raises the level of labour productivity in the long-run by between 1.7 and 2.0 percentage […]

Generous Unemployment Insurance Systems Raise Productivity

The annual OECD Employment Outlook – the product of the Directorate for Employment. Labour and Social Affairs (DELSA) can usually be relied upon to provide a well-reasoned counter point to the extreme neo liberalism of the Economics Directorate (ECO) — and the 2007 issue is no exception.) For a summary and details on how to […]

He’s the Maaaap!

Avi Lewis, son of Stephen, hubby of Naomi, has a new show on CBC Newsworld. It is now halfway through a four-week run, with 22 minutes of content Monday to Thursdays (at 7:30 ET and 11:30 PT, to be precise). It is called On the Map, which is a great title except for the fact […]

OECD praises “flexicurity”

Just in from Paris, some fascinating quotables from the OECD: Governments must do more to help workers adapt to new global economy, says OECD Rather than seeing globalisation as a threat, OECD governments should focus on improving labour regulations and social protection systems to help people adapt to changing job markets. That is the message […]

Surpluses. Then what?

  The Globe and Mail ran an editorial last Friday (now subscriber only content)  Their summary reads:  “We have grown used to the notion that our governments can run up budget surpluses. If only they could show some vision for putting the money to work.Statistics Canada reported yesterday that all levels of Canadian government posted […]