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Archive for June, 2012

Unions and Democracy

Further to Jim’s post on the recent ratcheting up of the war on unions, I note that Hudak’s lead argument is that voluntary union membership is needed to “make unions more responsive to unionized employees.” (p6) “Labour laws” it is alleged “have given union leaders substantial power  with little or no accountability.” (p9) The basic […]

GDP: Petro-Rebound Conceals Underlying Problems

The main story in today’s GDP numbers is that the oil, gas and mining industries rebounded sharply in April after being hobbled by temporary maintenance and production difficulties in February and March. While the upswing in fossil-fuel and mineral extraction was large enough to boost the overall economy, other key sectors showed signs of weakness. […]

U.S. Right-to-Work Thinking Now Infecting Canada

It’s clear we’re going to have to gear up our arguments on right-to-work laws, dues check-off, the Rand Formula, etc. In the last year three mainstream parties have introduced proposals for right-to-work style legal changes in Canada (Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party, the Wild Rose Alliance, and now yesterday Tim Hudak’s Ontario PCs).  This used to […]

More on the OECD and Dutch Disease

Further to my earlier post on the OECD and “Dutch Disease”, I have received a heavily redacted response to an access to information request (A-2012-00073/CN.)  submitted to the Department of Finance, seeking any comments on the draft assessment and recommendations of the OECD delegation to Canada in 2012. This arrives just as Conservative ads attack […]

Small Businesses NOT Big Net Job Creators

Small business – or at least the CFIB – consistently claim to be the big job creators in the economy. This has never been borne out by the available data on net job growth by firm size. And Statscan has now added to our knowledge by releasing a new paper and new CANSIM data today. […]

Freedom from government services day

Well well, another misinformed tax freedom day has come and gone on June 12th.  To mark the occasion this year I wanted to skip over the very serious methodological flaws that others have pointed out, and take a look at several other items that Canadians are “free of” at various points.  By gaining “freedom” from the taxes […]

On Being Sued by Conrad Black

Last week, Conrad Black launched a $1.25-million libel lawsuit against me, Random House of Canada and its editors over four sentences in my book “Thieves of Bay Street” that discuss his case. You can see the National Post article here about the suit: http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/06/22/conrad-black-suing-publisher-for-1-25m/ While I won’t argue the merits of the suit on this […]

CPI Deflates Case for Rate Hike

Today’s report that the national inflation rate fell to 1.2% in May deflates calls for higher interest rates to reduce inflation. The central bank’s core rate was 1.8%, also below the 2% target. The other argument for an interest-rate hike was to moderate mortgage lending and the housing market. However, the federal government’s move to […]

Deflating Housing Bubble Risks Recession

Seen in isolation,  Finance Minister Flaherty probably did the right thing yesterday in seeking to safely deflate the housing bubble and lower the dangerous growth of household credit to a record level as a share of household income. But he did it very late in the game, and risks tipping an already very fragile economy […]

Agreeing with Hoback’s Headline

I have the following letter in today’s Prince Albert Daily Herald (page 4): Reinvest Resource Wealth in Saskatchewan To the editor: I strongly agree with the title of MP Randy Hoback’s letter: “Siphoning money out of the west is wrong” (June 9). My proposal is to keep more money in Saskatchewan by collecting more provincial […]

Dutch disease actually Canadian disease

Resources(\”staples\”) trap is Canadian Disease

EI: More Workers Fall Through the Cracks

Statistics Canada reported today that the number of Canadians receiving Employment Insurance (EI) dropped by 29,000 in April. Meanwhile, the Labour Force Survey indicates that unemployment rose by 14,000 in April (and by a further 8,000 in May). The combination of falling EI coverage and rising unemployment means that tens of thousands more jobless workers are […]

Clean electricity, conservation and a zero-carbon future

Today we released a new Climate Justice Project report, Clean Electricity, Conservation and Climate Justice in BC: Meeting our energy needs in a zero-carbon future, co-authored by John Calvert and myself. The report is central to the vision we have been developing of a zero-carbon BC, with a focus on the need to transition off […]

Strong public support for financial transaction taxes

An international poll commissioned by the International Trade Union Confederation found very strong support in many countries, including Canada, for the introduction of Financial Transactions Taxes (FTTs), such as the Robin Hood Tax.   Trade unions provided results of this poll in their meetings with world leaders at the G20 meetings in Los Cabos, Mexico. Despite initially […]

Job seeker to Job vacancy ratio remains high

Statistics Canada has released their latest data on job vacancies today, in the Daily. In March 2012 there were 5.8 job seekers for every job vacancy in Canada, down from 6.5 in March 2011. This is mostly because there were about 57 000 fewer unemployed in March 2012 than there were in March 2011, but […]

Marc Lavoie and Monetary Economics

There is a very interesting interview with PEF’s own Marc Lavoie here on the Naked Capitalism site on his new book. Monetary Economics was co-authored by Marc with the late Wynne Godley. (Make sure to start by linking back to Part 1.)

Growth After Financial Capitalism

A thoughtful short essay by Wolfgang Streeck, concluding with a reflection on how extreme inequality gets in the way of a needed de-emphasis on crude economic growth.

Trans Pacific Partnership: A Few Questions

The Harper government currently lists 18 different sets of free trade negotiations “in play.”  (See my recent post on this.)  Today the government announced (from the G-20 meetings in Mexico) the 19th: Canada has been invited to join the Trans Pacific Partnership talks.  The TPP negotiations were initiated several years ago bya number of smaller […]

In Memoriam: Perspectives on Labour and Income

Another sad tombstone to the shrinkage of information for informed social and economic policy – Statscan has decided to discontinue “Perspectives on Labour and Income” in both print and online format. For as long as I can remember, Perspectives reliably provided a firm empirical base for policy debate on key labour market and income issues […]

Our Own Erin Weir Would Make a Great Sask NDP Leader!

I’ve worked closely with Erin for years, being struck by his combination of talent & passion right from the time he entered the PEF’s student essay contest (which he won for the first time exactly a decade ago, awarded at the CEA 2002 meetings in Calgary). Thirty-six other economists and I think he’d make a […]

Incomes Flat in “Recovery Year” of 2010

Today’s Statscan release of income data for 2010 allow for a backward glance at the state of the recovery. What is most striking is that – following two years of flat income growth in 2008 and 2009 – there was no meaningful economic recovery for most Canadians in 2010. Median earnings (half earned more, half […]

Canada, the IMF and the G20

The Harper government decided to attack Thomas Mulcair on the issue of Canadian support for additional IMF resources to deal with the euro area crisis, implying that Canadian taxpayers should not be asked to “bail out” a rich area of the world. As recounted in Macleans here, on June 8, “Before QP yesterday, the Conservatives […]

OECD Agrees We Suffer From Dutch Disease

OECD economist Peter Jarrett – lead on the just released Economic Survey of Canada – agrees with the Mulcair diagnosis.

Dutch Disease on the Rideau

The following is another guest post by Robyn Allan: A report recently released by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute claims Canada does not suffer from the Dutch disease. Unfortunately, the studies the authors draw on for this conclusion are riddled by it. The Dutch disease is a situation where rapid export of a nation’s raw resources along […]

Galbraith Lecture by Mike McCracken

I always come back from the annual CEA/PEF meetings highly energized by the companionship of so many other fine committed PEF members, and our success in engaging with the broader profession.  This past weekend’s meetings in Calgary were no exception.  A highlight, of course, was the 3rd Biennial Galbraith Lecture delivered by Mike McCracken, CEO […]

A Green Industrial Revolution

Today the CCPA released a new big picture report by myself and student researcher Amanda Card calling for a Green Industrial Revolution. The report builds on work done for the BC-focused Climate Justice Project, bringing to bear a national analysis of green and not-so-green jobs. We take a close look at GHG emissions and employment […]

US family net worth crushed by financial crisis

The US Federal Reserve today released its triennial examination of incomes and net worth of American households in the Survey of Consumer Finances.  It shows the crushing effects on net worth of a housing and financial bust unparalleled since the great depression. The shocking results of this study overviewed in the New York Times are […]

Debating Hoback on Resource Royalties

Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback began last week’s inquisition by objecting to my recent op-ed in The Saskatoon StarPheonix on the “Dutch disease” debate between Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair. He then interrupted to question my NDP affiliation. As indicated in today’s Prince Albert Daily Herald (page A4), I would […]

Complete details of 2008-09 Bank Support

Readers of this blog will have hopefully read my report “The big banks big secret” which examines the $114 billion that Canada’s banks received during the 2008-09 financial crisis.  Its major finding was that at some point three of Canada’s five big banks had received support worth more than their market capitalization, or the value of all […]

Labour Market Stalls

Canada’s job market stalled in May. Employment edged up by 7,700, almost all of it part-time. In fact, the number of employees paid by Canadian employers fell by 15,600. Total “employment” rose only because 23,300 more Canadians reported themselves as self-employed. Over the past year, employment has grown slightly less than the labour force, leaving […]