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Archive for 'BC'

BC’s Carbon Emissions on the Rise

It was a good story while it lasted. Over the past few years, the BC government and many in the policy community have spun a tale about the remarkable success of BC’s climate action policies, with a big spotlight on the carbon tax as a driver of lower emissions while BC’s economy outperformed the rest […]

Low-carbon urban infrastructure: a view from Vancouver

I have a new case study (full pdf; summary article from the publishers) out as part of the Economists for Equity and Environment‘s Future Economy Initiative. I look at the City of Vancouver’s Neighbourhood Energy Utility (NEU), a low-carbon district energy system that hits a sweet spot of clean energy, local control, and stable prices at competitive rates. […]

3 worrisome facts about BC’s job market on the eve of Budget 2015

2015 marks the sixth year of BC’s recovery from the recession. But it’s been a slow and largely jobless recovery in BC. 1. BC needs 93,000 more jobs to return to our pre-recession employment rate (the proportion of working age British Columbians who have jobs). Only 71.2% of working age British Columbians have jobs today. This […]

Confusing “Deficit Elimination” with “Prosperity”

The banner headline across the top of the front page of the national Globe and Mail edition caught my eye Saturday morning: “How B.C. became a ‘have’ province.”  Wow, I thought to myself, that is quite something (and without a single LNG plant yet visible on the horizon!).  So I prepared to sit down with […]

‘Tis the Season to Rethink Our Charitable Giving

This op-ed by yours truly was published in The Province. The examples are BC-specific, but the message is much broader: donating to charity is not enough, we also have to change the status quo that forces so many people to turn to charity in a rich country like Canada. — It’s December, the season for […]

CGE models and carbon tax incidence

A colleague of mine pointed out a relatively new paper about the distributional impacts of BC’s carbon tax. In my work, we look at actual energy expenditures by different household groups, and because lower income groups spend a greater share of their income on (carbon-intensive) energy, any carbon tax is regressive. But that regressivity ultimately […]

Should Welfare Recipients Try Harder to Find Work?

This morning the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation released a new report about “motivational interviewing” for welfare recipients.  The link to the full report is here, and the link to the executive summary is here. Authored by Reuben Ford, Jenn Dixon, Shek-wai Hui, Isaac Kwakye and Danielle Patry, the study reports on a recent randomized […]

Will Enbridge’s pipeline ever get built?

You have to wonder why the Harper government bothered with process at all. It’s like there was never any doubt that Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline would get approved. But historians may look back on this moment as the beginning of the end of pipeline politics. Opposition to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline is BC’s largest social […]

Don’t believe the (LNG) hype

Today we released a new report, Path to Prosperity? A Closer Look at British Columbia’s Natural Gas Royalties and Proposed LNG Income Tax, about liquefied natural gas (LNG ) development in BC, and the public revenues that might be expected. So far, LNG has lacked a real public debate. On one side, we have the drumbeat […]

BC proposes LNG tax

I posted this on CCPA’s BC Policy Note blog but others across Canada should pay attention to BC’s quest for LNG gold. I’d also recommend this comparison of the Quebec and BC budgets by Michal Rozworski, which highlights the stubborn emphasis on natural resource development in both budgets. It’s like the tax cut culture has […]

BC’s Big Favour? LNG Exports and GHG Emissions

The hype on LNG has grown to staggering proportions. I have not had much time to debunk all of the government’s grotesque exaggerations and outright falsehoods. But Christy Clark’s claim that BC is “doing the world a favour” by exporting LNG to Asia made me write this oped, which got picked up in today’s Vancouver Sun: Is […]

The Staple Theory @ 50: Marc Lee

As part of our continuing series of commentaries celebrating the 50th anniversary of Mel Watkins’ classic article, “A Staple Theory of Economic Growth,” we present the following commentary by Marc Lee, economist with the B.C. office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.  Marc considers the implications — both economic and environmental — of the current […]

Metro Vancouver needs to walk its “zero waste” talk

An oped published in the Vancouver Sun: When delegates attend Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste conference on Wednesday, they will hear from innovators and big thinkers about how to radically redesign waste out of our economy. Ideas will be presented to aggressively reuse, repair and maintain what we consume, and for composting and recycling to keep all materials […]

Why the City of Vancouver should divest from fossil fuels

This is the text of remarks I made today to Vancouver city council on divestment. Earlier this year, Council requested that staff report back on how the city’s financial investments align with the city’s mission and values, and various ethical programs like the city’s purchasing policy and the greenest city initiative. So the meeting was […]

What UBC and SMU’s rape chant scandals say about women in the Canadian economy

The news of UBC Sauder Business School students chanting about rape of underage girls during a FROSH week event has generated much outrage. As it should. While the chant might seem like an isolated incident, it is not. The recent rape chant scandals in UBC and in St Mary’s University in Halifax are evidence of […]

Linda McQuaig for Toronto Centre

For the “You Read It Here First” file, I wrote on Friday: Toronto Centre needs a candidate with a track record of advancing more substantive and more progressive positions on economic issues. Specifically, the NDP should nominate someone who can take on Freeland regarding inequality and what to do about it. Today, Linda McQuaig announced […]

Why does BC have the highest poverty rate in Canada?

Statistics Canada recently released new data on the incomes of Canadians and it shows two worrisome trends continuing through the economic recovery: BC has the highest poverty rate in Canada and the highest child poverty rate (tied with Manitoba); and Ordinary families haven’t had a raise since 2008 – family incomes in the middle continue […]

Climate justice and the political moment in BC

The following is based on a talk at the Bring Your Boomers election forum on April 3 at the Rio Theatre in Vancouver, the fourth in a series of intergenerational dialogues from Gen Why Media, and was co-sponsored by the CCPA, Get Your Vote On, LeadNow and Vancity credit union. I was asked to set the stage for a conversation on climate justice between […]

Absolving our Carbon Sins: the Case of the Pacific Carbon Trust

Last week’s report from BC’s Auditor General dealt a huge blow to the credibility of carbon offsets and claims that BC had achieved a state of “carbon neutral government.” Coverage of the AG’s report was coloured by accusations from the Pacific Carbon Trust, the Crown corporation created to buy and sell BC offsets, and “experts” from the offset […]

The dubious case for casinos

I got way off my usual research agenda this morning for a business panel on CBC radio. The topic was the economics of casinos, the result of the City of Surrey voting down a new casino proposal. I have often disparagingly compared stock markets to casinos, but in fact I knew relatively little about the […]

Marc’s Letter from 2040

The following comes from a short talk on a vision for a zero-carbon BC that I gave at a couple events this Fall. Many have asked for the text so I’ve posted it here, and we may try and turn it into a video. That said, I have been reluctant to do so up to […]

State of the BC Economy

As we close out 2012, BC finds itself in some precarious economic waters. To recap, a massive housing bubble that built up through the naughties (2000s) finally burst in 2008, feeding a financial crisis, as extremely loose (some would say fraudulent) lending practices pushed housing prices up to spectacular, never-seen-before levels, and created a plague […]

Is BC breaking its GHG law by pursuing natural gas development?

Today CCPA’s Climate Justice Project released a new report by yours truly, BC’s Legislated Greenhouse Gas Targets vs Natural Gas Development: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. It was just five years ago that BC brought in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act, a signal that BC was serious about climate action. The Act calls for a 33% […]

What’s Next for BC’s Carbon Tax?

The Minister leading up BC’s Carbon Tax Review, Kevin Falcon, may be gone – his departure came just as the deadline for submissions was closing – but the carbon tax lives on. For now. Back in 2008 when the carbon tax was announced, it was scheduled to rise from an initial level of $10 per […]

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 […]

Clean electricity, conservation and a zero-carbon future

Today we released a new Climate Justice Project report, Clean Electricity, Conservation and Climate Justice in BC: Meeting our energy needs in a zero-carbon future, co-authored by John Calvert and myself. The report is central to the vision we have been developing of a zero-carbon BC, with a focus on the need to transition off […]

Labour Market Stalls

Canada’s job market stalled in May. Employment edged up by 7,700, almost all of it part-time. In fact, the number of employees paid by Canadian employers fell by 15,600. Total “employment” rose only because 23,300 more Canadians reported themselves as self-employed. Over the past year, employment has grown slightly less than the labour force, leaving […]

Canada’s Self-Imposed Crisis in Post-Secondary Education

On June 7, I gave a keynote address to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Education Sector Conference.  My PowerPoint presentation (with full references) can be found at this link. Points I raised in the address include the following: -Canada’s economy has been growing quite steadily over the past three decades, even when one adjusts […]

Climate change will shape BC in 2035, one way or another

I have an oped in today’s Vancouver Sun as part of its BC in 2035 series. Climate change will shape BC in 2035, one way or another We live on a different planet from the one our parents grew up on, says environmentalist Bill McKibben. Climate change from our rampant combustion of fossil fuels has […]

Enbridge Pipe Dreams and Nightmares

CCPA released today a report by yours truly on the economic costs and benefits of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. In particular, I take aim at the outrageous claims about jobs made by the feds and Enbridge as part of their sales pitch. The report takes a closer look at the input-output modelling of job impacts, and considers […]