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  • Boom, Bust and Consolidation November 9, 2018
    The five largest bitumen-extractive corporations in Canada control 79.3 per cent of Canada’s productive capacity of bitumen. The Big Five—Suncor Energy, Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL), Cenovus Energy, Imperial Oil and Husky Energy—collectively control 90 per cent of existing bitumen upgrading capacity and are positioned to dominate Canada’s future oil sands development. In a sense they […]
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    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Pharmacare consensus principles released today September 24, 2018
    A diverse coalition representing health care providers, non-profit organizations, workers, seniors, patients and academics has come together to issue a statement of consensus principles for the establishment of National Pharmacare in Canada. Our coalition believes that National Pharmacare should be a seamless extension of the existing universal health care system in Canada, which covers medically […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Kate McInturff Fellowship in Gender Justice September 19, 2018
    The CCPA is pleased to announce the creation of the Kate McInturff Fellowship in Gender Justice.This Fellowship is created to honour the legacy of senior researcher Kate McInturff who passed away in July 2018. Kate was a feminist trailblazer in public policy and gender-based research and achieved national acclaim for researching, writing, and producing CCPA’s […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

Wordsmithing 80,000 Jobs

Last week’s federal throne speech stated, “The Government will soon complete negotiations on a comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the European Union [CETA]. This agreement has the potential to create 80,000 new Canadian jobs.”

There has since been a subtle but important shift in the government’s wording around that figure, as I point out in the following letter on page A10 of today’s Ottawa Citizen and on The Montreal Gazette website:

L. Ian MacDonald writes, “A study indicates CETA will add $12 billion and 80,000 jobs to the Canadian economy.” In fact, the study in question assumed full employment to estimate $12 billion of additional output and therefore did not project any additional jobs.

Government officials then translated $12 billion into employment for communications purposes. Conservative wordsmiths already appear to be backing away from this indefensible claim.

The media backgrounder accompanying last week’s announcement of the Canada-EU deal stated, “An agreement could boost Canada’s income by $12 billion annually and bilateral trade by 20 per cent. That’s equivalent to creating almost 80,000 new jobs.” Subsequent federal documents on CETA have used similar wordings.

The government is not claiming that CETA will actually create jobs. It is claiming that CETA will boost output by a dollar value deemed “equivalent” to 80,000 jobs. Unfortunately, many journalists and columnists have missed this distinction.

So far in 2013, Canada has imported $36 billion from Europe but exported only $22 billion to Europe. If CETA increased both amounts by 20 per cent, $7 billion of additional imports would displace more Canadian production and jobs than $4 billion of additional exports could add.

CETA threatens to deepen Canada’s bilateral trade deficit with Europe. Unless we simply assume full employment, a larger trade deficit would detract from Canadian output and employment.

UPDATE (October 26): An abridged version of my letter is on page B6 of today’s Montreal Gazette.

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