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  • Ontario's middle and working class families are losing ground August 15, 2017
    Ontario is becoming more polarized as middle and working class families see their share of the income pie shrinking while upper middle and rich families take home even more. New research from CCPA-Ontario Senior Economist Sheila Block reveals a staggering divide between two labour markets in the province: the top half of families continue to pile […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Join us in October for the CCPA-BC fundraising gala, featuring Senator Murray Sinclair August 14, 2017
    We are incredibly honoured to announce that Senator Murray Sinclair will address our 2017 Annual Gala as keynote speaker, on Thursday, October 19 in Vancouver. Tickets are now on sale. Will you join us? Senator Sinclair has served as chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), was the first Indigenous judge appointed in Manitoba, […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • How to make NAFTA sustainable, equitable July 19, 2017
    Global Affairs Canada is consulting Canadians on their priorities for, and concerns about, the planned renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In CCPA’s submission to this process, Scott Sinclair, Stuart Trew and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood point out how NAFTA has failed to live up to its promise with respect to job and productivity […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • What’s next for BC? July 4, 2017
    Five weeks ago the CCPA-BC began a letter to our supporters with this statement: “What an interesting and exciting moment in BC politics! For a bunch of policy nerds like us at the CCPA, it doesn’t get much better than this.” At the time, we were writing about the just-announced agreement between the BC NDP […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Could skyrocketing private sector debt spell economic crisis? June 21, 2017
    Our latest report finds that Canada is racking up private sector debt faster than any other advanced economy in the world, putting the country at risk of serious economic consequences. The report, Addicted to Debt, reveals that Canada has added $1 trillion in private sector debt over the past five years, with the corporate sector […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

Stay the course

The Fall Economic Update was hosted this week by the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce. It seems Minister Flaherty wanted to be sure of friendly faces when he announced that the 2012-2013 budget deficit will likely be $5-$7 billion higher than forecast in March. The reason for the higher deficit is that nominal GDP will be lower than expected, which in turn means lower government revenues.  Given that Europe has returned to recession and the US faces an austerity bomb, there are continued global risks to the Canadian economy.

Minister Flaherty’s message was, essentially, “stay the course”.  There is an unspecified plan that can be executed should the outlook worsen (likely more public sector cuts, as David MacDonald outlines here).

Public spending and public service cuts are probably the most counter-productive response in the current economic climate.  The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that the cuts announced in March 2012 will take 1% out of real GDP from 2014 through 2016, and result in 125,000 fewer jobs for 2016.  This all means that government revenues will be even lower than expected, prompting further belt-tightening.

This at a time when Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio is the envy of other industrialized nations, and borrowing costs are at record lows.  If anyone can afford to borrow to invest in the future, it is Canada, right now.

What to invest in?  The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is calling on the government to invest in critical municipal infrastructure.  This is the kind of investment that puts people to work, makes life better, and improves labour productivity.  This is the kind of investment that businesses rely on governments to make.  A multi-year plan allows smarter and more productive investments.  Real Jobs and Growth kind of stuff.

 

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