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The following guest post was written by Chris Watson, legislative liaison for CUPE Ontario based in Toronto: In stark contrast to the austerity budget strategy of Don Drummond, Dalton McGuinty and Dwight Duncan, a plan premised on Drummond’s core belief that strong economic growth in Ontario is not possible and should not be the goal [...]
In the hyper-polarized context of Canadian energy policy debates, even suggesting that there might be a downside to the untrammeled energy boom centred in northern Alberta is enough to get you labelled a traitor or an economic illiterate — or both. Conservative political leaders in both Ottawa and Edmonton, backed by energy-friendly think-tanks and the [...]
The glaring contrast between employment numbers, and the unemployment rate, was highlighted by today’s labour force numbers from Statistics Canada (capably dissected elsewhere on this blog by Angella MacEwan). Paid employment (ie. employees) declined by 46,000. Total employment (including self-employment) fell by 22,000. Yet the unemployment rate fell to 7% — its lowest level since [...]
A special event was held at the Vancouver & District Labour Council last week to commemorate the history and contributions of the Trade Union Research Bureau.
The Ontario Nurses Association has been publishing some awesome economic analysis over the last couple of years, highlighting the talents of their new economist & PEF member Salimah Valiani. Apart from a strong analytical & quantitative approach, ONA’s recent research has been very refreshing in the emphasis it has placed on gender analysis and the [...]
I had a good old-fashioned knock-em-down drag-em-out debate with Ian Lee from Carleton University on CBC’s Power & Politics yesterday re C377. http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Politics/ID/2318279928/ There were a number of “zingers” from Prof. Lee that are worth considering: • He said “hundreds of thousands” of Ontarians have their salaries listed on the government’s sunshine list (reporting salaries [...]
The federal government’s announcement on Friday that it is approving two more big oilsands takeovers (by China’s CNOOC and Malaysia’s Petronas, both state-owned suitors) was political tap-dancing at its best. Prime Minister Harper’s speech listed several reasons why takeovers by foreign state-owned firms are a problem … but then proceeded to approve $21 billion worth [...]
Errol Black was a wonderful progressive economist and activist in Manitoba who contributed enormously over the years to our collective knowledge on labour economics, economic development, unions, and more, and was core in founding the Manitoba branch of the CCPA. He passed away on the weekend; here is a very fitting obituary written by his [...]
This week’s edition of Embassy newspaper contained a very interesting briefing insert on the Canada-EU CETA talks. Below is a commentary from me critiquing the ubiquitous but unbelievable claim that free-trade with Europe would boost Canada’s GDP by $12 billion, create 80,000 jobs, and life incomes by $1000 per family.
It’s been amusing today to listen to the pundits discuss the economic implications of Hurricane Sandy.
I am now finally emerging from the mental fog induced by the 24-7 triennial marathon otherwise known as “CAW major auto bargaining.” To close the circle, here are my thoughts in retrospect on the bargaining: how the union prepared for it, the issues at stake, the contents of the final deal, and the challenges that [...]
Last month’s over-the-top “celebrations”of the 25th anniversary of Brian Mulroney and Ronald Reagan’s signing of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement seemed strained, to my mind. The self-congratulation and back-patting struck me as rather overdone, contrived even. Remember, this wasn’t the 25th anniversary of the FTA’s implementation (that won’t occur until Jan. 1 2014). It was only the [...]
Posted below is my column from today’s Globe & Mail regarding this nefarious practice of providing “priority lanes” for higher-income customers — even (in the case of airport security screening) for a PUBLIC service that we all pay the same for! And if you wonder why you get so pissed off when the high-flyer jumps [...]
There’s a refreshingly pragmatic and detailed piece in today’s National Post by Peter Spiro questioning the assumed correlation between oil prices and the loonie. It builds nicely on previous discussion of the “oil price-loonie transmission mechanism” that has occurred here and here. Among other salient points, Mr. Spiro points out that: Canadian petroleum exports have [...]
Last week’s CAW convention in Toronto was one of the most exciting labour events I’ve ever been to.
For novelty value if nothing else, Mark Carney’s appearance at the CAW convention last week was bound to spark lots of attention. After all, we could find no other historical example of a Bank of Canada Governor ever speaking to a union convention. That says something in and of itself, of course. Central bankers speak [...]
With all the predictions of doom and gloom coming from the austerity camp, one would think that Canada was already about to hit the famed (but never seen) “debt wall.” Before we get too carried away, however, with the scary debt stuff, consider these two indicators of the fundamental fiscal fragility/stability of Canadian governments. The [...]
Further to my recent post on the Ontario PC party’s proposal for right-to-work laws in that province, here is a slightly longer version of my column in today’s Globe and Mail:
Just in time for Canada Day, the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business issued its annual Top 1000 rankings of the thousand largest publicly traded companies (by assets) in Canada (ranked by profit). I blogged about this last year as well. It’s such an interesting snapshot of Canadian business it’s worth perusing. Once again, this listing [...]
It’s clear we’re going to have to gear up our arguments on right-to-work laws, dues check-off, the Rand Formula, etc. In the last year three mainstream parties have introduced proposals for right-to-work style legal changes in Canada (Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party, the Wild Rose Alliance, and now yesterday Tim Hudak’s Ontario PCs). This used to [...]
The Harper government currently lists 18 different sets of free trade negotiations “in play.” (See my recent post on this.) Today the government announced (from the G-20 meetings in Mexico) the 19th: Canada has been invited to join the Trans Pacific Partnership talks. The TPP negotiations were initiated several years ago bya number of smaller [...]
I’ve worked closely with Erin for years, being struck by his combination of talent & passion right from the time he entered the PEF’s student essay contest (which he won for the first time exactly a decade ago, awarded at the CEA 2002 meetings in Calgary). Thirty-six other economists and I think he’d make a [...]
I always come back from the annual CEA/PEF meetings highly energized by the companionship of so many other fine committed PEF members, and our success in engaging with the broader profession. This past weekend’s meetings in Calgary were no exception. A highlight, of course, was the 3rd Biennial Galbraith Lecture delivered by Mike McCracken, CEO [...]
There’s a fascinating new report from the Centre for the Study of Living Standards that calculates Human Development Index (HDI) scores for all of Canada’s provinces and territories. Here’s the citation: The Human Development Index in Canada: Estimates for the Canadian Provinces and Territories, 2000-2011, by Elspeth Hazell, Kar-Fai Gee, and Andrew Sharpe (Ottawa: Centre [...]
StatsCan released the first-quarter GDP numbers this morning, and the deafening silence you hear is of champagne corks not popping. Quarterly growth was 0.5% (1.9% annualized): uninspiring but not disastrous. Erin Weir has aptly pointed out the leading role of government spending cuts in dragging down growth. Erin noted that government current consumption fell 0.4% [...]
DFAIT’s web site currently lists 18 different trade deals currently “in play” (and that doesn’t count the Trans-Pacific Partnership, where Ottawa is so far just flirting). But Harper’s push to sign as many FTAs as possible while he has a majority will not improve Canada’s actual trade, which is deteriorating (both quantitatively and qualitatively) the [...]
The high-and-mighty virtiol which greeted Tom Mulcair’s comments last week about the downside of oil-powered currency appreciation is lamentable (repeating the over-the-top reaction to Dalton McGuinty’s similar comments a few weeks ago). Mulcair made two modest and empirically substantiated statements: the loonie is sky-high as a result of the oil boom in Alberta’s bitumen sands [...]
Further to recent commentary regarding the Harper government’s dramatic expansion of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TWF) program, consider this shocking factoid: Even before the expansion of the program envisioned in the current omnibus “budget” bill, temporary foreign workers (who do not have the same rights as other Canadian workers, and whose presence here depends entirely [...]
Want to know why Canada’s currency is sky-high despite our sluggish recovery, our large and persistent current account deficit, and our lousy export performance? Check out this fascinating story in Friday’s National Post, by Yadullah Hussain, on why Canada’s oil reserves are such a uniquely hot commodity in the eyes of global oil corporations. The [...]
I had a great change of pace last week, when I stayed out at the CAW Family Education Centre at Port Elgin to teach a 5-day course on “Economics for Trade Unionists” through the CAW’s Paid Educational Leave program. While I have guest lectured many times at Port Elgin, I have never actually taught a [...]