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  • Report looks at captured nature of BC’s Oil and Gas Commission August 6, 2019
    From an early stage, BC’s Oil and Gas Commission bore the hallmarks of a captured regulator. The very industry that the Commission was formed to regulate had a significant hand in its creation and, too often, the interests of the industry it regulates take precedence over the public interest. This report looks at the evolution […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Correcting the Record July 26, 2019
    Earlier this week Kris Sims and Franco Terrazzano of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation wrote an opinion piece that was published in the Calgary Sun, Edmonton Sun, Winnipeg Sun, Ottawa Sun and Toronto Sun. The opinion piece makes several false claims and connections regarding the Corporate Mapping Project (CMP), which we would like to correct. The […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Rental Wage in Canada July 18, 2019
    Our new report maps rental affordability in neighbourhoods across Canada by calculating the “rental wage,” which is the hourly wage needed to afford an average apartment without spending more than 30% of one’s earnings.  Across all of Canada, the average wage needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment is $22.40/h, or $20.20/h for an average one […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada July 9, 2019
    CCPA senior economist David Macdonald co-authored a new report, Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada­—released by Upstream Institute in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)—tracks child poverty rates using Census 2006, the 2011 National Household Survey and Census 2016. The report is available for […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Fossil-Power Top 50 launched July 3, 2019
    What do Suncor, Encana, the Royal Bank of Canada, the Fraser Institute and 46 other companies and organizations have in common? They are among the entities that make up the most influential fossil fuel industry players in Canada. Today, the Corporate Mapping Project (CMP) is drawing attention to these powerful corporations and organizations with the […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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From today’s release of the Fiscal Monitor, updating federal finances to August, or five months into the fiscal year:

There was a budgetary deficit of $1.7 billion in August 2008, compared to a deficit of $0.1 billion in August 2007. …For the first five months of the 2008–09 fiscal year, the budgetary surplus is estimated at $1.2 billion, down $5.5 billion from the $6.6-billion surplus reported in the same period of 2007–08.

You heard it here first, back in January, with Flaherty’s dismissive response. With seven months to go in the fiscal year, I’m betting that razor thin surplus will become a deficit, as predicted, at least under status quo conditions. The coming November Economic and Fiscal Update will be an important marker of how the government plans to handle fiscal policy as the economy heads south.

Update (Oct. 29): Buried in this Globe story is the line:

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says Ottawa is on track for a balanced budget this year, but isn’t ruling out future deficits.

No actual quote attributed to Flaherty, but if true, a major flip-flop for the good – a story in itself. This one about a coming First Ministers meeting on Nov 10, and pressure from the provinces for the feds not to cut their transfer payments.

Most of what the federal government does is transfer money around. If transfers to the provinces are not cut, and Flaherty needed to cut spending overall to balance the budget, it would have to look at payments to individuals – that is, seniors’ benefits, children’s benefits and unemployment insurance, and what minority government would want to dump on seniors, kids and the unemployed in the midst of a recession?

Updated update (Oct. 29): Another Globe update on Flaherty’s speech today:

Finance minister Jim Flaherty said today that it would be “misguided” to try to balance the books under any circumstances.

“We will do what we can, despite the challenging economic circumstances, to keep the budget balanced. What we will never do is to engineer a surplus at any price,” Mr. Flaherty said.

“Ottawa will tighten its belt, he added. “Departments will have what they need to finance essential programs but no more.”

Equalization programs with the provinces will have to grow more slowly, he said.

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