The Alternative Federal Budget 2017

This year’s Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) was released on March 9. I was proud to be the primary author of its housing chapter (that chapter is available in English here and in French here). The first AFB exercise began in 1994, with the first AFB being published in 1995. That involved a joint effort between the Canadian Centre for Policy […]

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Challenging Inflation Targeting

Every 5 years the federal Finance Minister updates the “marching orders” that guide the Bank of Canada and its conduct of monetary policy.  This process is the one opportunity for democratic oversight of the Bank, which otherwise is deemed to be operating “independently” of government — all the better to ensure that it has the authority to take away the […]

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Is another recession on its way?

Is another recession on its way? Louis-Philippe Rochon Associate Professor, Laurentian University Co-editor, Review of Keynesian Economics   Canada’s economy shrank in the first quarter by a whopping 0.6%. Is this the beginning of a new recession? Recessions of course are defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Now we learn today that Canada’s economy shrank between January and […]

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The central banker who talked too much

The central banker who talked too much Louis-Philippe Rochon Associate Professor of economics, Laurentian University Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics   On Tuesday, Governor of the Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz testified in Ottawa in front of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. He had a lot to say about the state of the Canadian economy. But sometimes […]

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Bank of Canada Holds Rate Steady

The Bank of Canada released it’s quarterly Monetary Report today, and held rates firm at 3/4 per cent. The Bank cut growth expectations for 2015, but expects Canada’s GDP to rebound in 2016. Much of this rebound will depend on a growing U.S. and global economy, and on the ability of Canadian exporters to capture a bigger share because of our lower dollar. […]

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ROCHON: Harper in closet over the economy as Canada heads toward another recession

This guest blog post has been written by Louis-Philippe Rochon. You can follow him on Twitter @Lprochon – Harper’s recent incarnation as an anti-terrorist crusader has caught many Canadians by surprise. Harper is spending considerable political energy beating the drums of war against terrorists, and introducing a far-reaching, and much condemned, bill aimed at restricting free speech, and increasing police […]

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Banks and Balanced Budgets

The Bank of Canada surprised most analysts this week when it decided to cut rates by 25 basis points. The move comes after the price of oil has tumbled below $50 / barrel, oil producers announced huge cuts to business investment for 2015, Target announced a mass layoff of 17,600 workers in Canada, and the International Monetary Fund warned of […]

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Low Oil Prices, Good or Bad for Canada?

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere, you’re probably well aware that the price of oil has fallen dramatically, to less than $50 / barrel. What this means for Canada’s economic output & labour markets is not yet clear. But Stephen Poloz at the Bank of Canada has said that he expects the effect to be “not trivial”, and suggested […]

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Bank of Canada, Exports, and LMI

Much has been made about Stephen Poloz’s decision to abandon ‘forward guidance’ in Bank of Canada rate setting announcements for the time being. Critics bemoan the loss of direction from the Bank. But Poloz’s comments yesterday were chock full of guidance on how the Bank sees Canada’s economic situation. Having been disappointed by the failure of Canada’s export sector to […]

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The Odd Conversion of Mainstream Economists to the Virtues of Depreciation

The long-overdue depreciation of Canada’s currency is gathering steam. The dollar lost 8 cents against its U.S. counterpart, in fits and starts, over 2013. It’s lost another 2 cents since the start of 2014, and negative sentiment about the currency is accumulating among financial analysts and traders. Indeed, once the expectation that the loonie will fall becomes entrenched among enough […]

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A Trillion Dollar Coin for Canada?

Arun here…breaking radio silence to share with you a thought-provoking piece by Larry Kazdan, a graduate of York University in sociology and history, and currently a Council Member with the World Federalist Movement-Canada, an organization that monitors developments at the United Nations and advocates for more effective global governance. Our friend and fellow blogger Keith Newman recently wrote some words […]

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Rebutting Raganomics

Today, I had the following commentary posted on The Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab: The loonie is overvalued and the Bank of Canada has room to act On Tuesday, Christopher Ragan characterized the notion of an overvalued Canadian dollar as a “seductive myth” that the Bank of Canada should not act to address. I have made the case that we should […]

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Statistics Canada Resuscitates Dead Money

Interestingly, the day after the new Bank of Canada Governor gave a speech distancing himself from his predecessor’s “dead money” comments, Statistics Canada released a significant downward revision to the usual measure of corporate cash accumulation. The cash holdings of private non-financial corporations reached $594 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, so I was curious to see if they […]

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A Weak Week for Canada’s Economy

On Tuesday, Statistics Canada reported that job vacancies have fallen to the lowest level recorded since it began collecting these figures two years ago. On Wednesday, the Bank of Canada projected growth of just 1.5% for this year. On Thursday, Statistics Canada reported that the number of Canadians receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits edged down in February. Meanwhile, the Labour Force […]

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Labour Market still weak: Bank of Canada

The Bank of Canada released their January 2013 Monetary Policy Report.  Of note, the Bank downgraded its growth expectation for 2013 to 2.0% from 2.3%, and expects the Canadian economy will not reach full potential until late 2014. Several key points in the January MPR reinforce what progressive economists have been saying about the Canadian labour market. Since 2010, more […]

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What Does the Bank of Canada Do?

The Board of Directors of the Bank of Canada have retained Odgers Berndtson to seek a new Governor, and have placed an ad in the Globe and Mail, the Economist and La Presse. The wording of the advertisement is questionable. First, it states that “the Bank of Canada is the pre-eminent macro-economic institution in Canada.” Really? The Bank of Canada […]

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Selective Amnesia at the Bank of Canada

A guest blog from Marc Lavoie and Mario Seccareccia, Department of Economics, University of Ottawa  In a speech delivered on October 4th to the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce (see: http://www.bankofcanada.ca/2012/10/speeches/a-measure-of-work/), the senior deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, Tiff Macklen, has offered some self-congratulatory remarks, by arguing that the near-zero inflation policy pursued by the Bank under the leadership […]

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More Dead Money

The sector and financial-flow accounts released with today’s GDP figures indicate an expansion of the pool of dead money flagged by this blog and by Mark Carney. The National Balance Sheet Accounts have not yet been released for the second quarter, so we cannot update the accumulated total of $526 billion. However, the updated Financial Flow Accounts report that private […]

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Spinning Mr. Carney

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 to audiences of financial leaders […]

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Dead Money

Kudos to Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney for raising the profile of the over $500 billion Canadian corporations are holding in excess cash surpluses and not investing in the economy, which garnered front page coverage (and kudos to the CAW for inviting him to speak.) It’s not the first time he’s raised this  concern.  Last year at the Empire […]

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Canada, the IMF and the G20

The Harper government decided to attack Thomas Mulcair on the issue of Canadian support for additional IMF resources to deal with the euro area crisis, implying that Canadian taxpayers should not be asked to “bail out” a rich area of the world. As recounted in Macleans here, on June 8, “Before QP yesterday, the Conservatives used four members’ statements—from Shelly […]

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Complete details of 2008-09 Bank Support

Readers of this blog will have hopefully read my report “The big banks big secret” which examines the $114 billion that Canada’s banks received during the 2008-09 financial crisis.  Its major finding was that at some point three of Canada’s five big banks had received support worth more than their market capitalization, or the value of all the stock, at around $20-25 […]

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