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Archive for 'Alberta'

Of Rising Tides and Sinking Boats

Recently, Minister Kenney took to twitter to defend his decision to limit the number of precarious workers entering Alberta through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Again, the minister is to be applauded for his grasp of the situation. His changes do little to fix the actual problem though. The evidence that he cited was the […]

Financial Risk and Alberta’s Tar Sands

When it comes to global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change notes that what matters is the total volume of greenhouse gas emissions going forward. This amounts to about 30 years of emissions at current levels – a global carbon budget that would provide the world a 66% chance of staying below 2°C. There is some debate […]

Memo to Obama: Canada’s carbon problem IS the tar sands

Canada’s Harper-ment is getting increasingly desperate. The quest to double production out of the Alberta tar sands needs new pipelines (or rail). In recent months, we have seen new proposals for pipelines to the west and to the east, amid further delays of the KeystoneXL pipeline to the south. The success of US activists (environmentalists, […]

Funding Cuts to Alberta’s PSE Sector: There Are Alternatives

It has recently been reported that the University of Alberta wants to “reopen two-year collective agreements” with faculty and staff “to help the university balance its budget…” This appears to be in direct response to Alberta’s provincial government announcing in its March budget that there would be a “7% cut to operating grants to universities, […]

Canada’s Emissions Deception

The federal government released an updated Canada’s Emission Trends 2012 report today. In a remarkable shift in federal rhetoric just this past week, the Harperites now appear to be more sensitive to concerns about the Enbridge pipeline and climate change more generally. But appearances can be deceiving and there is good reason to believe the current […]

Alberta’s Bogus Labour Shortage

The following is a guest post by the Alberta Federation of Labour’s Tony Clark: A labour shortage occurs when the demand for labour exceeds the supply of labour, right? Well, apparently not in Alberta. The Alberta Federation of Labour took a long hard look at the Government of Alberta’s projections showing an astronomical labour shortage of […]

Taking Over Nexen

The China National Offshore Oil Corporation’s (CNOOC) bid to acquire Nexen is a large and complex proposal. Canadians should call for a more thorough and transparent review than other foreign takeovers have received under the Investment Canada Act. A preliminary outline of possible costs and benefits follows. The Downside: Chinese Consumer Interests A company like […]

Mining in the NWT: Who Gets What?

In a recent blog post at Northern Public Affairs, Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox looks at the issue of ‘who gets what?’ when a mine is developed in the Northwest Territories (NWT). Here is an excerpt from the post: – The resource extractor: they pay royalties (the NWT has the lowest royalties in the world), and costs of […]

Travels in Harperland

On my recent book tour to promote “Thieves of Bay Street” I have journeyed to Alberta, Montreal and Ottawa. In so doing, I have gotten a taste of the Canada which Stephen Harper and his merry band of Tories are trying to forge. In Calgary, I arrived in time for the final weekend of the Alberta […]

PEF Conference, June 8-9

The Progressive Economics Forum will be occupying the Calgary School (also Jim’s and my alma mater) on June 8 and 9 at the annual Canadian Economics Association conference. Our schedule of sessions is now available.

Labour Force Exodus

Statistics Canada reported this morning that 38,000 people gave up looking for work in February. The official unemployment rate fell because these Canadians were no longer counted as being unemployed. However, this huge withdrawal from the labour force is a sign of weakness in the job market. Nationally, 25,000 of the 38,000 who dropped out […]

Canada – The Petrotyranny

The revelations over how the federal Tories used a robo-calling firm (or firms) to contact voters in possibly 30 or more ridings during last year’s election – misleading them about where polling stations were located – is just another example of the Harper government’s undemocratic tactics. This is on top of their new on-line surveillance […]

Odious profits and the Enbridge pipeline

Two obvious but generally unstated details about the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline are climate change and that oil and gas companies stand to make mega-profits. An honest appraisal of the project would be something like, “yes, putting in the pipeline will facilitate even more greenhouse gas emissions from the Alberta oil sands, but our buddies […]

Job Vacancies vs. Unemployment

Progressive economists have advocated expansionary fiscal and monetary policies to boost demand and create jobs, given the high rate of unemployment. By contrast, employers and conservative commentators complain of unfilled vacancies and labour shortages, emphasizing policies to increase labour supply and labour mobility. Today’s new Statistics Canada survey of job vacancies sheds fresh light on […]

Are Enbridge’s job numbers credible?

Putting aside the impact of the proposed Enbridge pipeline on GHG emissions or spills on land and at sea, the case in favour of the pipeline rests on creating jobs. Personally, I think industry and government use “jobs” as a euphemism for “profits” as that is where the lion’s share of revenues go. But for […]

On climate, Canada is a rogue state

On Sunday, CTV leaked Canada’s intentions to pull out of the Kyoto treaty process on climate change. What is significant about Kyoto is that it is a legally binding international treaty, and one that puts the onus of emission reductions on the countries that have done the most to cause the problem (and who have most […]

C. D. Howe Shills for Oil Companies

The C. D. Howe Institute is out this morning with a press release entitled, “Raising Oil and Gas Royalties Does Not Benefit Provincial Coffers.” A complete analysis of the accompanying 30-page paper – featuring many graphs, tables and regressions – will take time. But here is my initial take. Background The Institute correctly notes that […]

Access to Post-Secondary Education

I recently had the chance to read a 2008 book entitled Who Goes?  Who Stays?  What Matters?  Accessing and Persisting in Post-Secondary Education in Canada.  Edited by Ross Finnie, Richard Mueller, Arthur Sweetman and Alex Usher, the anthology features 14 chapters written by a total of 21 authors.     I found Chapter 4 (co-authored by […]

Canada’s Immigration Policy: Who’s on the guest list?

This article first appeared in the Globe and Mail’s online feature Economy Lab on Friday. My thanks to all the commentators on this page for the great discussion of the topic. This week, the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship rightly noted that immigrants are Canada’s ticket to economic growth in the coming years. The untold […]

Memo to the new Environment Minister

With a government as centrally controlled as our federal government, one has to wonder why the media make such a fuss covering cabinet shuffles. Peter Kent may be the new Environment Minister, but the message box is still from the Prime Minister’s Office. So it was not much surprise to  see our new Environment Minister […]

Memo to Energy Minister

Memo to Alberta Energy Minister Ron Liepert: Royalties are not taxes Already “under attack for allegedly being rude and dismissive when he was health minister,”[1] current Energy Minister Ron Liepert conceded he hadn’t read the Parkland Institute’s new report on vast oilpatch profits but that didn’t stop him from dismissing it: “This is a not […]

New report, old excuses

The Parkland Institute released its latest report yesterday morning, detailing the huge scale of oilpatch profits – Misplaced Generosity: Extraordinary profits in Alberta’s oil and gas industry. Many of the responses from government and industry were predictable – that’s why they were addressed in the report. Let’s run through the standard excuses offered for the […]

Stockwell’s Deficit “Solution”: Tax Cuts

This morning, the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education hosted a Bay Street breakfast meeting with Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board of Canada. Jim serves on the Foundation’s Board of Directors, but could not make today’s session. So, Armine and I ended up having breakfast with Tories at Torys. (Some other participants may not […]

Barrie McKenna’s Three Strikes on Internal Trade

I appreciate a compelling headline, but “The Walls that Divide Us” in today’s Globe and Mail is way over the top. For building the myth of “internal trade barriers,” Barrie McKenna’s column should have been entitled, “Another Brick in the Wall.” Three claims are especially questionable. First, “A recent back-of-the-envelope calculation by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute puts […]

Alberta’s Revenue Problem

I recently had the pleasure of making a couple of presentations on public finances in Alberta. In February, I spoke at the “Remaking Alberta” conference in Edmonton. This past week, I served on an Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) panel in Calgary with Todd Hirsch from ATB Financial and Roger Gibbins from the Canada West […]

New West Partnership

On Friday evening, I was in Kingston listening to a speech by western Canada’s best Premier. The following morning, I awoke to discover a far less coherent op-ed by the other three western Premiers on The Globe and Mail’s website. They were trumpeting Friday’s unveiling of the New West Partnership. As the Saskatchewan Federation of […]

Uneven Job Numbers

This morning, Statistics Canada provided another piece of evidence that the job market is not recovering nearly as rapidly as Gross Domestic Product. In March, total employment rose by 17,900, but full-time employment was actually down by 14,200. This divergence reflected 32,200 more part-time positions. The modest increase in total employment kept pace with Canada’s […]

Western Canada’s Royalty Giveaway

Growing up in Saskatchewan, the oil and gas industry’s line was always that we had to charge lower royalties to compete with Alberta for investment. The provincial NDP government bought into that mantra and repeatedly slashed royalty rates, even as commodity prices took off during the past decade. When Alberta’s Conservative government announced in late […]

Goofy Oil-Industry Advocacy

The Alberta government is reversing its modest increase in conventional oil and gas royalties. Albertans will now receive an even smaller fraction of the value of their resources. The saving grace is that the provincial government did not cut royalties on the oil sands, which are projected to provide more revenue than conventional reserves going […]

Employment Picture Improves

Today’s Labour Force Survey paints an appreciably improved picture of Canada’s job market. In February, full-time employment rose by 60,000 and part-time employment fell by 39,000. Employers are not only hiring more workers, but also upgrading part-time positions to full-time positions. Almost all of the part-time jobs created in January became full-time jobs in February. […]