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  • Canada’s Fossil-Fuelled Pensions June 22, 2018
    The British Columbia Investment Management Corporation is the steward of BC’s public pensions, but bankrolls companies whose current business models exceed the climate change targets agreed to in the Paris Agreement to which Canada is a signatory. The pensions of over 500,000 British Columbians and assets worth $135 billion are managed by the Corporation—-one of Canada's largest […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Imagine a Winnipeg...2018 Alternative Municipal Budget June 18, 2018
    Climate change; stagnant global economic growth; political polarization; growing inequality.  Our city finds itself dealing with all these issues, and more at once. The 2018 Alternative Municipal Budget (AMB) is a community response that shows how the city can deal with all these issues and balance the budget.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Why would a boom town need charity? Inequities in Saskatchewan’s oil boom and bust May 23, 2018
    When we think of a “boomtown,” we often imagine a formerly sleepy rural town suddenly awash in wealth and economic expansion. It might surprise some to learn that for many municipalities in oil-producing regions in Saskatchewan, the costs of servicing the oil boom can outweigh the benefits. A Prairie Patchwork: Reliance on Oil Industry Philanthropy […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • What are Canada’s energy options in a carbon-constrained world? May 1, 2018
    Canada faces some very difficult choices in maintaining energy security while meeting emissions reduction targets.  A new study by veteran earth scientist David Hughes—published through the Corporate Mapping Project, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Parkland Institute—is a comprehensive assessment of Canada’s energy systems in light of the need to maintain energy security and […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • The 2018 Living Wage for Metro Vancouver April 25, 2018
    The cost of raising a family in British Columbia increased slightly from 2017 to 2018. A $20.91 hourly wage is needed to cover the costs of raising a family in Metro Vancouver, up from $20.61 per hour in 2017 due to soaring housing costs. This is the hourly wage that two working parents with two young children […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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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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