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Archive for June, 2008

CUPE Economic Climate for Bargaining June 2008

CUPE has published the June 2008 issue of the Economic Climate for Bargaining publication that I put together on a quarterly basis.  Previous issues are also available through this link at our website.   In addition to regular items on national and provincial economic forecasts and analysis of recent employment, inflation and wage developments, this latest issue includes: […]

Dion’s Carbon Revenues

The Liberal Green Shift aims to bring federal taxes on all fossil fuels up to $40 per ton of carbon emissions, in line with the existing federal tax on gasoline. The Handbook provides a detailed costing of the $15.4 billion in accompanying tax cuts, tax credits and contingency funds, but no breakdown of the $15.3 billion […]

Modeling BC’s emissions reductions

Yesterday, the BC government released its updated Climate Action Plan. A glossy affair, it nonetheless puts text to all of the myriad actions the BC government is taking on climate. Looking at it all, it is hard to say they are just “greenwashing”, though personally I would like to see even more aggressive action now. […]

Tall tales about BC’s carbon tax

The front page banner headline from the Vancouver Sun: B.C. prefers NDP’s Carbon tax plan: Tax industrial polluters, not consumers, 82% tell pollster It is painful to keep reading because the poll in question is based on inaccurate information about how the carbon tax actually works. Industrial polluters are subject to the tax to the […]

Denying income inequality won’t make it go away

The Vancouver Sun ran an opinion piece by yours truly that revisits the recent Statistics Canada release of income and earnings numbers for 2006 … Denying income inequality won’t make it go away Iglika Ivanova, Special to the Sun Published: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 The May release of the 2006 Census data on earnings and incomes […]

Competition Law vs Neoliberal Competition Policy

I wrote a paper for a volume on the OECD and competition policy last year, but the editors ultimately wanted less policy analysis and more on the inner workings of the OECD, so it got dropped. But a lot of the content is relevant to today’s release of the Competition Policy Panel report, so I’ve […]

Routledge Book on Free Trade

Routledge has just published a book comparing Australian, Canadian, and Mexican experiences of free trade with the United States. There are three chapters on each country examining long-run socioeconomic development prior to free trade, the specific free trade deals, and future policy alternatives. I wrote the Canadian chapter on the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement and […]

Report of the Competition Policy Review Panel

The report has been released: http://www.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/cprp-gepmc.nsf/en/h_00040e.html This corporate dominated panel has put forward a set of highly pro business recommendations. Given the circumstances in which it was set up – major concerns over foreign takeovers of Canadian resource giants like Inco and Falconbridge – this is actually slightly surprising. The key recommendation is that only […]

The BC NDP’s Axe-The-Tax Campaign

The BC NDP’s environment critic, Shane Simpson, wrote me to tell me why he disagrees with the BC carbon tax. With his permission, I quote: The more I learn the more clear it becomes what a regressive and inept tax it is and why it needs to be opposed as vigorously as possible. It hurts […]

Early learning developments in BC

Having already eaten the NDP’s lunch on the climate change file, the BC Liberals (the second-term, more moderate Liberals) threaten to do the same on early learning and child care. In the 2008 Throne Speech, the government said that it would study expansion of full-day kindergarten to five-year-olds, then to four- and three-year olds. But […]

Global CO2 emissions and inequality

Further to today’s release on ecological footprint by income decile for Canada, Stephen Pacala of Princeton has done some calculations on who is most to blame internationally for CO2 emissions (conference speech and presentation available here). An excerpt: All 3 billion of the lowest emitting people emit a total, all together, of a half a […]

Canada’s ecological footprint by income decile

The CCPA released today a really important contribution to our understanding of climate change and inequality. The study focuses on Bill Rees’ concept of the ecological footprint, which is not exactly the same as greenhouse gas emissions, but highly correlated. Some key findings: The richest 10% of Canadian households create an ecological footprint of 12.4 […]

C-61 and Rockonomics

You wouldn’t know it from proponents of Canada’s proposed Bill C-61, but the music industry is thriving. The main reason is that musicians can control live performances, and make good money doing it. “Pirated” distribution can create an audience willing to play $40 (ranging up to $200) to see a live show. As Alan Kreuger […]

Parting Shots at Budget 2008

Transcripts are now available of my appearances before the House and Senate Finance Committees regarding Bill C-50 (Budget Implementation). I critiqued the Budget’s general direction and its particular changes to (Un)Employment Insurance. The following remarks to the House committee duplicate what I said to the Senate committee, although MPs asked different questions than Senators. Mr. […]

Neumann vs. McCain on NAFTA

John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, appeared in Ottawa on Friday to praise NAFTA. The Canadian media has almost uniformly assumed that Democratic proposals to renegotiate this deal threaten Canada. In yesterday’s Ottawa Citizen, Ken Neumann, Canadian Director of the United Steelworkers, points out that most Canadians are rightly open to changing NAFTA.   Let’s […]

USW@Work – Summer 2008

The United Steelworkers union has published a new edition of our Canadian membership magazine. It includes the following column by yours truly and reports on the SPP counter-summit in New Orleans, our alliance with Environmental Defence, the Dofasco organizing drive, BC’s forest industry, and much more. The High Cost of Low Corporate Taxes The 2008 […]

The OECD and the Tar Sands

The 2008 OECD Survey of Canada incorporates a long and surprisingly critical overview of developments in the energy sector, with a major focus on the tar sands. (Chapter 4). It is, in many respects, far closer to the views of the Pembina Institute and the Parkland Institute in Alberta than to those of the Alberta […]

Dion’s Green Plan or Mintz’s Tax Plan?

There is a lot of the colour green all over Dion’s Green Shift plan.  But after reading it, the greenery appears almost as superficial as the green shift caps that Liberal MPs wore awkwardly with their business suits at the launch yesterday. Dion’s plan is really a proposal for a tax shifting budget and doesn’t […]

Economics for Everyone

I’m surprised that Jim Stanford has not made a plug for his new book on this site. A modest one, our Jimbo. So let me say a few words about Economics for Everyone: A Short Guide to the Economics of Capitalism. Jim has outdone himself on this one. So many times I have had people […]

The OECD and Price Level Targetting

The Bank of Canada is currently considering, through research, a shift from inflation targeting to price level path targeting. For previous blog commentary and a good critique by Jim see http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2006/12/03/bank-of-canada-inflation-targeting/ The general idea is that if inflation exceeds the target of 2% in any given year, the future price level path should be kept […]

Buy in Canada Public Sector Procurement and Jobs

I went trawling through the detailed trade by commodity data on the Industry Canada (Strategis) web site the other day in search of examples of potential job creation from raising the Canadian content of public sector procurement (as called for, not just by the labour movement but also, recently, by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.) […]

Dion’s carbon tax plan

After weeks of speculation, Stephane Dion has tabled the Liberals’ carbon tax plan, dubbed The Green Shift. The plan seems heavily influenced by both BC’s carbon tax and the Mintz/Olewiler plan released in April. Tax revenues, which reach $15 billion by year four, are fully recycled into PIT and CIT cuts plus some low income […]

The flipside of the affordable housing crisis

… is people like me, who have made spectacular capital gains as home owners. Through the dumb luck of having bought real estate at the right time, before the current boom, my family has reaped a windfall profit that only an oil executive could sneer at. It is not particularly accessible. We need to live […]

The Carbon Tax We Pay To The Oil Companies

Marc Lee’s most excellent paper to the PEF session on carbon pricing at the CEA meetings in Vancouver got me thinking.  (That whole session was awesome, by the way — including Lars Osberg’s provocative analysis that the vast majority of Canadians, whose real consumption has not grown in recent years, have already met their personal […]

Canada’s Resource Pigeon-Hole is Killing our Productivity

How about those productivity numbers that StatsCan released last week?  Wow: another nail in the coffin of Jim Flaherty’s claim that Canada’s economic fundamentals are in “great shape.”  There’s not much more fundamental in economics than how efficiently people produce stuff (except, of course, for what we do with what we produce – that’s even […]

Blood in the aisles = black in the boardroom?

Was it just me or did others get a nagging feeling about the intent behind Air Canada’s surprise announcement of 2,000 layoffs yesterday? The media coverage played along the lines of their press release, with a strong focus on the rising cost of fuel.  This is certainly an issue, together with the impact of the […]

OECD Study Cites Progressive Economists

The 2008 OECD Economic Review of Canada http://www.oecd.org/document/3/0,3343,fr_2649_201185_40732867_1_1_1_1,00.html contains most of the standard neo liberal policy prescriptions we have come to expect – including a proposed shift to a consumption based tax system. However, they do have the good grace to devote two pages (84-85) to “equity considerations” and even concede that ” efficiency considerations […]

Canada’s trade deficit in cultural services

With the Conservatives’ “Born in the USA” Copyright Act now tabled, the fur is flying. A year after leaping to the defence of the oil and gas industry, Terrance Corcoran has got Big US Media’s back (does Terry ever stand up for anyone but the wealthy and powerful?). As always, Michael Giest, who knows way […]

The Canadian DMCA: Evidence that we are a colony

It is with considerable disgust that we watch the Conservatives introduce the US entertainment industry’s wet dream of legislation to amend copyright laws in its favour. Without any evidence that the super-profits being reaped by Big Media have been adversely affected by file sharing. Without any consultation with Canadians. Without any demonstrable benefit to Canadians […]

UK Commons Committee recommends personal carbon trading

There is a certain elegance and appeal of personal carbon quotas. Like democracy they are inherently equalizing. A challenge for carbon taxes is that they may allow the wealthy to buy their way our of change, when it is the most affluent who have the largest carbon footprints (a CCPA study is coming out next […]