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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 […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • A new Director for CCPA's BC Office: Message from Mary Childs, Board Chair October 24, 2018
    The CCPA-BC Board of Directors is delighted to share the news that Shannon Daub will be the next BC Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Last spring, Seth Klein announced that, after 22 years, he would be stepping down as founding Director of the CCPA-BC at the end of 2018. The CCPA-BC’s board […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Who Owns Canada’s Fossil-Fuel Sector? October 15, 2018
    The major investors in Canada’s fossil-fuel sector have high stakes in maintaining business as usual rather than addressing the industry’s serious climate issues, says a new Corporate Mapping Project study.  And as alarms ring over our continued dependence on natural gas, coal and oil, these investors have both an interest in the continued growth of […]
    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

Fossil-Fueled GDP Growth

Yesterday, Statistics Canada reported that the Canadian economy had a month of fossil-fueled growth in August.

Overall GDP was up by 0.3%, only half as much as in July but still a respectable monthly growth rate. By far the strongest growth of any industry was a 1.9% increase in “Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction” – its fastest growth since January.

This sector’s growth was driven by oil, gas and coal extraction, even as other types of mining and quarrying declined. Most other goods-producing sectors – manufacturing, utilities and construction – also declined.

US Steel recently announced its intention to permanently stop making steel at its Hamilton plant, but to continue using its coke oven to process coal for export. That news epitomized Canada’s ongoing shift away from value-added manufacturing toward fossil-fuel exports, as I note in today’s Claudia Cattaneo column in The National Post (page A1 or A9, depending on the edition) and Regina Leader-Post (page D1).

Statistics Canada also reported yesterday that average weekly earnings rose by 1.3% between August 2012 and August 2013. By comparison, inflation had been 1.1% during that year. In other words, Canadian workers have experienced almost no increase in purchasing power over the past year.

This lack of purchasing power is a drag on economic growth. Policymakers should be trying to boost wages and consumer spending. Instead, the federal government continues to attack workers’ rights, most recently by trying to deprive its own employees of collective bargaining.

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Comment from Purple Library Guy
Time: November 1, 2013, 5:07 pm

“Statistics Canada also reported yesterday that average weekly earnings rose by 1.3% between August 2012 and August 2013. By comparison, inflation had been 1.1% during that year.”
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I wonder how skewed that rise is by excessive increases going to the richest. How did the median do? I wouldn’t be surprised if most real people actually received a decrease in purchasing power over the past years.

Why do we even bother to talk about averages for this stuff any more? Any time things are broken down, we find that the top 10% have taken between 95% and more than 100% of income gains for recent periods. So isn’t it obvious that talking about an average is going to be seriously misleading and weaken the case for sane, non-austerity economics?

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