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Archive for May, 2011

GDP Report: Awfully Weak Tea Leaves

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was unusually blunt on CTV’s Question Period yesterday, saying he was worried about the possibility of another recession.  (Finance Ministers are usually very cautious about using the “r”-word, for fear that might worry consumers an dbring about a self-fulfilling prophecy.)  Maybe he had already seen today’s quarterly GDP numbers from Statistics […]

CEOs and “Creating Value”

Today’s Globe and Mail carried a story on the front of the business section about Jason Underwood, CEO of Whiterock REIT (a real-estate development income trust).  He earned $4.8 million compensation last year (an increase of 475% from the previous year), which is especially surprising since the entire fund has a market value of just […]

BC to Raise Corporate Taxes

Amazingly, BC’s government has joined its official opposition in proposing to restore the provincial corporate income tax rate from 10% to 12%. The same government that cut from 12% to 10% would now reverse itself as part of a last-ditch effort to save the HST. Revenue from a higher corporate tax rate would help finance […]

Homelessness in Yellowknife

I’m in Yellowknife all week attending events relating to the launch of a policy report on homelessness.  The report is one of several articles coming out of a multi-year research project looking at affordable housing and homelessness in the Northwest Territories.  The project is being supervised by Dr. Frances Abele (Carleton University) and our community partner […]

Canada Doesn’t Deserve the Silver

It has been widely reported in the Globe and elsewhere that Canada ranks #2 in the just-released OECD Better Life Index, outstripped only by Australia. I am all for measures of objective and subjective social well-being that go beyond GDP as a measure of progress, and this OECD report offers up some useful information. But […]

Exiting from the Crisis

“Exiting from the Crisis: Towards a Model of More Equitable and Sustainable Growth” is a new book (over 270 pages) now available on line. This volume of essays from global trade union leaders and economists is the product of the Global Unions Taskforce on a New Growth Model, a joint project of the Trade Union […]

Is Canada’s Economy Wage-Led?

The parenthetical reference to Canada in my last post prompted several good comments. This post attempts to summarize and address them. Dr. Stockhammer has co-authored a paper with estimates for Canada, but he would be the first to note that they are mechanical and not necessarily relevant to policy. He finds that Canada’s domestic economy […]

What Newfoundland & Labrador Can Teach the Rest of Canada About 21st Century Globalization

A shorter version of this analysis appears at the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab. See article and comments here. Last fall Premier Danny Williams wondered what could drive anyone to let hundreds of millions of dollars slip through their fingers. Last week he got his answer. The Roil report on the 18-month strike at Voisey’s […]

Do Wages or Profits Lead Growth?

Earlier this month, I served as the discussant for a presentation by Engelbert Stockhammer, an economics professor from Kingston University in London. He was speaking at a conference organized by the workers’ representation to the International Labour Organization (ACTRAV). Stockhammer reviewed two antithetical strategies for economic growth. The pro-labour strategy aims to increase wages by […]

World Economics Association Formed

Today marks the launch of a new global organization committed to plurality and ethics in the economics profession, the World Economics Association.

The Lang-O’Stanford Exchange

I was invited last week to serve as the substitute host for the indomitable Kevin O’Leary on CBC News channel’s “Lang-O’Leary Exchange.” Amanda Lang introduced the show by saying, “Hello, I’m Amanda Lang.” Then I said, “And I am definitely NOT Kevin O’Leary.” And the rest was history! Here’s the link to the full show […]

Salimah Valiani on “Valuing the Invaluable”: Care Work in Canada

PEF member Salimah Valiani is now the research economist at the Ontario Nurses Association.  Just in time for Mothers’ Day ONA released a most excellent paper by Salimah, titled: Valuing the Invaluable: Rethinking and respecting caring work in Canada   Here is the abstract: Using concepts of feminist economics, this paper demonstrates the range of […]

Five Economic Tests for Harper’s Majority Government

This article was first published at the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab. As Parliament resumes after Canada’s historic 41st election, all eyes are on Prime Minister Stephen Harper and how he delivers on his campaign promises of growth and stability. With no encumbrances to its decision-making powers, the Harper majority government will be responsible — […]

Majority Conservative Government Ushers in New Era of Economic Stability

“The choice for Canadians is crystal clear,” said Harper. “Continuing our low-tax plan to complete the recovery and create jobs, financial security, stability and certainty for Canadian families and businesses. Or the high-tax, reckless-spending Ignatieff-NDP-Bloc Québécois agenda that will stall our recovery, kill jobs and produce political instability and economic uncertainty by re-opening constitutional debates. […]

How Much Will Harper Cut?

Some progressives worry that the new Conservative majority will dismantle the Canadian state. Hard-nosed economic conservatives like Andrew Coyne and Terry Corcoran worry that the Conservatives will not actually cut government spending. I have suggested that the Harper Conservatives will cut, but not as much as the Chretien Liberals. This debate would benefit from some […]

Did NDP Sectarianism Screw Canada? Part 2

On Saturday, May 7, The Toronto Star, published a front-page “Exclusive” article entitled “What Really Sunk Ignatieff and the Liberals”, written by veteran reporter Linda Diebel. You can read it here: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/987422–exclusive-what-really-sunk-michael-ignatieff-and-the-liberals?bn=1 Among the reasons it cites for the Liberal’s demise was the fact that during the April 12th leaders’ debate, NDP leader Jack Layton […]

Reflection on the Election

Poring over the entrails leads me to a couple of observations. First, as is usually the case, the change in the distribution of seats which commands headlines is an imperfect reflection of the change in the distribution of votes. The NDP breakthrough in Quebec was remarkable and historically important and unprecedented, but so was the […]

The Perils of “Strategic” Voting

Several Toronto Star and Globe and Mail columnists have suggested that the Conservative majority resulted from too little strategic voting for the Liberals. In every federal election that I can remember, the Liberals have appealed for progressive votes to stop the Conservatives (or their Reform-Alliance predecessors). A major flaw in this logic is that relatively […]

Historic NDP Breakthrough is Good

My fellow bloggers are being too negative about yesterday’s election results. A Harper majority is very bad. However, I have trouble imagining it cutting public programs more than Chretien’s majority did. The Conservatives and Liberals have long been rather similar on economic issues. The NDP replacing the Liberals as one of the two predominant parties […]

A progressive paradox for Québec and Canada

The mood in the progressive milieu here in Québec seems rather grim this morning. In Québec history we call the twenty year period when anti-union, right wing populist Duplessis ruled, the “Era of the Great Darkness”, and many by email or on social media have spontaneously referred to the upcoming period in an analogous way. […]

BQ Demise- Not Good

We have a lost a lot with the demise of the Bloc Quebecois as a significant presence in Parliament. Social policy in Quebec has been more progressive than elsewhere in Canada for a long time. This is particularly important for policy related to women’s rights, including labour and social policy that allow women’s full participation […]

Economic Impact of Harper Majority

This 6 minute debate between Michael Hlinka, CBC business correspondent, and myself examines the economic impact of a Harper majority.  It took place early today on Metro Morning, the local morning CBC program in Toronto. It touches on the nature of growth, the distribution of the benefits of growth, the erosion of the foundation of […]

Did NDP Sectarianism Screw Canada?

While NDP supporters might be celebrating last night’s election results, the reality is that it was an umitigated disaster for Canada. The Tory majority will mean more tax breaks for corporations, the gutting of social services and cultural institutions, the widening of the already cavernous income gap, the public defunding of political parties, and the […]

Public Policy Forum Testimonial Dinner

The Public Policy Forum is a centrist NGO based in Ottawa whose mandate is to promote dialogue and engagement among the major policy stakeholders in Canada. Its current President is David Mitchell, former leader of the B.C. Liberals, who is a very decent, sincere, bridge-building person. Every year the PPF hosts a big dinner in […]

Harper’s Reckless Economics

Throughout the election campaign Stephen Harper claimed the political high ground on the management of the economy. The surprise is that the opposition has pretty much let him get away with this. During the English Language debate the first question focused on $6 billion tax cuts to corporations. Harper said there were no tax cuts […]