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  • 2019 Federal Budget Analysis February 27, 2019
    Watch this space for response and analysis of the federal budget from CCPA staff and our Alternative Federal Budget partners. More information will be added as it is available. Commentary and Analysis  Aim high, spend low: Federal budget 2019 by David MacDonald (CCPA) Organizational Responses Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Canadian Union of Public Employees Public Service Alliance […]
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  • CCPA-BC welcomes Emira Mears as new Associate Director February 11, 2019
    This week the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – BC Office is pleased to welcome Emira Mears to our staff team as our newly appointed Associate Director. Emira is an accomplished communications professional, digital strategist and entrepreneur. Through her former company Raised Eyebrow, she has had the opportunity to work with many organizations in the […]
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  • Study explores media coverage of pipeline controversies December 14, 2018
    Supporters of fossil fuel infrastructure projects position themselves as friends of working people, framing climate action as antithetical to the more immediately pressing need to protect oil and gas workers’ livelihoods. And as the latest report from the CCPA-BC and Corporate Mapping Project confirms, this framing has become dominant across the media landscape. Focusing on pipeline […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Study highlights ‘uncomfortable truth’ about racism in the job market December 12, 2018
    "Racialized workers in Ontario are significantly more likely to be concentrated in low-wage jobs and face persistent unemployment and earnings gaps compared to white employees — pointing to the “uncomfortable truth” about racism in the job market, according to a new study." Read the Toronto Star's coverage of our updated colour-coded labour market report, released […]
    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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