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Archive for November, 2011

Canada’s Petro-Recovery

Statsitics Canada released the third quarter GDP numbers today, and on the surface they seem pretty upbeat, considering all the doom and gloom lately.  Headline real GDP grew at an annualized 3.5% rate.  I predicted a few weeks back that there was no chance that the 3Q number would be negative (thus sparing us a […]

The New Politics Initiative: Ten Years After

Rabble.ca is running a series of reflections on the tenth anniversary of the New Politics Initiative, which sought to create a more democratic politics in Canada ideally as part of a revitalized NDP. The vision statement is here; my piece follows, and there are also contributions from Judy Rebick and Jim Stanford. Altogether these make for a […]

On climate, Canada is a rogue state

On Sunday, CTV leaked Canada’s intentions to pull out of the Kyoto treaty process on climate change. What is significant about Kyoto is that it is a legally binding international treaty, and one that puts the onus of emission reductions on the countries that have done the most to cause the problem (and who have most […]

Apocalypse Soon?

The OECD’s new assessment of the macro-economic situation makes for pretty grim reading. And their forecast of very sluggish global growth (just 1.6% for the OECD area in 2012) is based on an increasingly incredible view that the Eurozone will “muddle through”and experience only a mild recession. They do not seem to have convinced even […]

Corporate Tax Evasion on a Global Scale

This new study from Education International looks interesting. “This EI study follows on from a previous study published in March 2010 by Global Financial Integrity, a research and advocacy organisation promoting transparency in the international financial system, estimating that current total deposits just by non-residents in offshore and secrecy jurisdictions were close to US$10 trillion. […]

Towards a Wage-Led Recovery

A new issue of the International Journal of Labour Research has been published “While a lot of attention has been deservedly given to the financial roots of the current economic crisis, the role of wages as a cause to the crisis as well as a solution to the current economic predicament have yet to be […]

Housing in the Northwest Territories

Last week, I was in Yellowknife, where I released results of new research on affordable housing in the Northwest Territories (NWT). The research project was sponsored by the Social Economy Research Network of Northern Canada, and was a collaboration with the Centre for Northern Families. Research findings include the following: -Housing indicators suggest that the […]

On Good Authority

I was quoted in the House of Commons question period yesterday by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. “Hon. Jim Flaherty (Minister of Finance, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I know the NDP bandies about numbers with respect to jobs, so I thought I would seek some authority about their numbers. I went to one of the large unions […]

Danger: Wage Deflation Ahead

The labour market is in much worse shape than the official 7.3% unemployment rate implies.  The latest evidence for this proposition is today’s miserable report on employment and earnings from Statistics Canada. Further to Andrew Jackson’s post on today’s release, most media coverage of this report focuses on year-over-year measures of growth in hourly wages […]

Update on Falling Real Wages

I’ve blogged on this before, and continue to be surprised by the lack of attention paid to the significant ongoing decline of real wages. Falling wages are a key indicator of a very soft job market, and have the potential to undermine still quite strong household spending. Today’s Statscan release of the payroll data show […]

Unequal = Indebted

The IMF find that rising inequality is a key driving force behind balance of payments problems and domestic instability in developed countries. “what unites the experiences of the main deficit countries is a steep increase in income inequality over recent decades, as measured by the share of income going to the richest 5 percent of […]

Invisible Hand Has Failed Canadian Innovation

The Globe and Mail is running an interesting series this week on Canada’s miserable performance in business innovation and productivity.  Here is the main page.

The Myth of Financial Literacy

Barrie McKenna has a very good column in today’s Report on Business about Bay Street simultaneously promoting “financial literacy,” more personal borrowing, and high-fee financial products. He makes some of the same points as contributors to this blog did when the Harper government’s Task Force on Financial Literacy began consulting, accepted submissions and reported.

We Are The Many

By now, you’ve probably heard about the artist Makana, who played We Are The Many to a room full of the handmaidens of the 1% (politicians), most of whom did not notice. It is a lovely song, and not to hard to play. Here are the lyrics and my version of the chords (based on this […]

Inflation Targeting and the Crisis

Many long-held tenets of neoclassical orthodoxy have fallen by the wayside in the past 3 years, but perhaps one of the biggest dominos that is at least teetering precariously (if not fully tipped over) is the consensus that inflation targeting should be the exclusive focus of monetary policy.

How the NDP Can Win

With the NDP leadership debates soon to get underway, I thought I would post some thoughts on what themes and issues the party should be emphasizing To form a majority federal government, the NDP will have to make another big leap, from 30% to about 40% of the popular vote, with much of that increase […]

Challenging capitalism: a 12-step program

Over a year ago, I posted “What are the Game Changers?“, an attempt at sparking some strategic thinking for the broader left. Now that we’ve had a month of Occupation, building on the original Occupy Wall Street action, I’ve been wanting to put these ideas back on the table, so below I recycle much of […]

More on Mowat and Winners and Losers from EI

Further to my post yesterday on the Mowat report on EI, I looked up the most recent rates of unemployment for the 58 EI regions. In the current regionally differentiated system, which Mowat wants to replace with a single national system, these unemployment rates are those which determine the level of hours needed to qualify […]

The Mowat Centre and Employment Insurance

The Mowat Centre final report on Employment Insurance (EI) released today has won a fair bit of media attention, and will serve to deepen the national debate over Canada’s most important income security program for working age adults and families. The Task Force has commissioned and published a number of important research studies which improve […]

Who Occupies the Sky?

CCPA released a new report today by myself and Amanda Card that makes the links between inequality and carbon footprints. We look at the distribution of greenhouse gas emissions for Canada, building on an analysis of BC emissions. While it was not planned this way, the analysis is timely given the Occupy movement’s focus on […]

The Politics of Potash

Advocates of low potash royalties are claiming that New Democrats fared poorly in Saskatchewan’s recent election because they proposed higher potash royalties. Of course, potash companies and their boosters would like the NDP to give up this cause. Doing so would be a political mistake for the party and a disservice to the people of Saskatchewan. Most […]

Brad Wall Light?

I got to know and like Dave McGrane in the Saskatchewan Young New Democrats, but the following assessment misses the mark: McGrane, an assistant professor at St. Thomas More College, said the NDP’s defeat was a product of failing to connect with rural Saskatchewan, poor political marketing and outdated policies. “People had no idea what […]

2013: The Sask NDP’s Lucky Number?

To state the obvious, Saskatchewan’s provincial election result was not good for progressives. I was especially surprised by the NDP’s loss of constituencies like Regina Douglas Park (where I grew up), Moose Jaw Wakamow and Prince Albert Northcote. It could have been worse. Political commentators were musing about the NDP falling below 30% of the […]

The Inflation-Control Target

So, the 2% inflation target has been renewed as it now stands. (Take that, House of Commons Finance Committee, which is holding hearings on the issue next week.) The background report from the Bank of Canada is pretty  self-congratulatory, though it does somewhat revise the current regime to underline the point that monetary policy also […]

Souvenirs de Cannes

I was in Cannes last week with CLC President Ken Georgetti for the G20 Labour Summit.  (I know, tough job.) This event was arranged by the International Trade Union Confederation with the support of the French Presidency of the G20. Our group as a whole, consisting of labour leaders from the G20 countries and leaders […]

A Long Way from Plan B

The best one can say about today’s Economic and Fiscal Update is that it signals some very slight flexibility amid changing circumstances. The Minister said “We will not be bound by ideology when it comes to making decisions to keep our economy strong and protect Canadians, their financial security and their jobs. We have responded […]

What Do Banks Actually DO? Teach-In With Occupy Toronto

What do banks actually DO?  Create credit out of thin air. Were Canadian banks bailed-out?  Absolutely, to the tune of $200 billion.  And they are still protected and subsidized more than any other sector of the economy. What must be done with these banks?  Tax them, control them, and ultimately take them back. Those are […]

Federal Post-Secondary Education Act

Last month, the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) released a document entitled Public Education for the Public Good:  A National Vision for Canada’s Post-Secondary Education System. I found the document to be quite informative, filled with a lot of useful statistics.  For example: -Enrolment is rising in colleges and universities across Canada. Since the late 1990s, full-time enrolment has […]

The Privatization of Social Housing

Last weekend, I spoke on a panel at the Annual Conference of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association.  The panel was inspired in large part by the recent debate in Toronto over Mayor Rob Ford’s attempt to sell social housing units to private buyers.  The panel, entitled “To Privatize or Not to Privatize? That is the question,” included myself, Vince Brescia (President and CEO […]

Occupying the Lange and O’Leary Exchange

Starting today I will be on a regular weekly biz panel for the Lang and O’Leary show, every Thursday night. The panel will take on two six minute segments to discuss the big economic stories of the day. Today’s proposed topics – the Eurozone mess, whither Canada’s GDP, is Occupy a media invention/will it hold […]