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Archive for July, 2013

How Offshore Tax Havens Destroy Governments

Last fall, Greek magazine editor Kostas Vaxevanis published in his magazine Hot Doc a list of 2,000 wealthy Greeks who were hiding taxable savings in the Geneva branch of HSBC. The list had been furnished years earlier by the then French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde to the Greek government, who did nothing in regards to chasing after […]

The absurdity and injustice of now

I’m back from a short sabbatical, grateful for some time outside of my daily work and home life, feeling all big picture. But as I settle back into work, I feel like I’m seated in a Theatre of the Absurd play. My news feeds are pulling up astonishing things. Exhibit one: the North Pole at the […]

PotashCorp Reports Inadequate Royalties

PotashCorp reported today that it paid $81 million of “provincial mining and other taxes” on $975 million of potash sales in the second quarter of 2013. In other words, Saskatchewan’s potash production tax and resource surcharge amounted to 8% of potash sales. Adding the basic Crown royalty of just over 2% (which PotashCorp includes in […]

Average Weekly Earnings: Wages vs. Hours & Salaries

Today, Statistics Canada reported a seemingly impressive monthly rise of 0.9% in average weekly earnings, from $906.24 in April to $914.68 in May. Digging a bit deeper reveals that average weekly earnings for workers paid by the hour – the majority of Canadian employees – edged up by only 0.2%, from $695.21 in April to […]

A Ralph of Many Trades and a Master of At Least One

Federal political candidates register their occupations with Elections Canada. I was recently looking through some election results and noticed that my old friend, Ralph Goodale, has had quite a varied career during his time as an MP. In every federal election he contested prior to 1993, Ralph identified himself as a lawyer. That changed to […]

OECD Findings on Employment Protection and Jobs Performance

Further to my earlier post on the OECD’s new data on employment performance across its 34 member countries (and Canada’s relatively poor ranking in that regard), another part of the OECD Employment Outlook 2013 that is also worth reading in detail is Chapter 2. 

Inflation Eats Up More Than Half of Wage Gains

Today, Statistics Canada reported an inflation rate of 1.2% for June, validating the Bank of Canada’s recent decision to keep interest rates low for the foreseeable future. The rationale to raise interest rates would be to curb inflation, which is already under control and well below the central bank’s 2% target. But even at 1.2%, […]

EI Benefits Falling Faster Than Unemployment

Statistics Canada reported today that 12,290 fewer Canadians received Employment Insurance (EI) benefits in May compared to April. EI benefits are shrinking far faster than unemployment. In percentage terms, the number of EI recipients declined as much in just the last month as unemployment declined over the past year. Between April and May, the number […]

Canada Sinking Fast on Global List of Job Creators

The federal government never tires of boasting that Canada’s labour market has performed better than most other countries through the financial crisis and subsequent recession, and that the number of Canadians working today is greater than it was before the recession hit.  That means we have fully recovered from the downturn, and the Tories are […]

About those jobs without people, Minister Kenney

Upon being appointed Minister of the newly renamed “Employment and Social Development” (formerly HRSDC), Mr. Kenney tweeted his view on the Canadian labour market: “I will work hard to end the paradox of too many people without jobs in an economy that has too many jobs without people. #shuffle13“ Coincidentally, perhaps, the most recent Statistics […]

Why does BC have the highest poverty rate in Canada?

Statistics Canada recently released new data on the incomes of Canadians and it shows two worrisome trends continuing through the economic recovery: BC has the highest poverty rate in Canada and the highest child poverty rate (tied with Manitoba); and Ordinary families haven’t had a raise since 2008 – family incomes in the middle continue […]

No News is Bad News for Canada’s Job Market

Today’s job numbers are remarkably similar to last month’s figures. Total employment as well as employment in most sectors and industries was virtually unchanged. Stagnation is bad news given our growing population and that 1.4 million Canadians remain unemployed. There were also some notable shifts beneath the headline numbers. Total employment stayed the same because […]

Sask Party Employment Math: From the Great Wall to the Berlin Wall

Last week, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released my policy brief on Saskatchewan job-creation. Using Statistics Canada figures, it demonstrated that “workforce growth has been almost identical during the premierships of Brad Wall and Lorne Calvert.” Unsurprisingly, the main explanatory variable for Saskatchewan employment appears to be commodity prices rather than the party in […]