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On November 25th, I made the following submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance regarding Bill C-4, Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2, on behalf of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. 1. Introduction and Context Thank you for the invitation to appear before the Committee, as Members of Parliament [...]
Buried in the federal government’s recent Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections are figures showing the Harper government is set to squeeze federal government’s role to the smallest it has been in seventy years. (Bill Curry at the Globe also just wrote about this, but without figures further back than 1958). Total federal government spending as a share [...]
This afternoon, I gave a presentation on public policy responding to homelessness in Canada, with a focus on the past decade. I gave the presentation at this year’s annual conference of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association. Points I made in the presentation include the following: -Once inflation is accounted for, the current annual value of [...]
This piece was first published in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab. Five years after a global economic crisis unleashed chaos on markets everywhere, income inequality has become an inescapable political and economic issue, in Canada as elsewhere. That’s because of mounting evidence that the increasingly skewed distribution of gains from economic growth slows future growth potential, [...]
This piece was published today in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab. Two findings stand out in the National Household Survey (NHS) data released Wednesday, both critical in this post-recession era of uncertainty: 1) A quarter of Canadian households spent 30 per cent or more of their pre-tax income on shelter, the official measure of housing affordability. [...]
Monte Solberg, the former Conservative cabinet minister responsible for Employment Insurance, proposed to eliminate the program in a recent Sun Media column: An alternative would be to self-insure. Employee and employer premiums would accumulate in an account in each worker’s name. Including interest, anyone who managed to stay employed through their lifetime earning even a [...]
A recent online article suggests that Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is opposed to increasing federal tax rates. I find this quite surprising. According to the August 8 article: Mulcair seemed surprised when he was asked if taxes would go up under an NDP government. “You’re the first person who’s ever asked me that,” he [...]
Posted by Nick Falvo under Conservative government, corporate income tax, economic literacy, fiscal policy, income tax, NDP, party politics, progressive economic strategies, social democracy, taxation.
August 9th, 2013
Today I gave a presentation on Canadian housing policy at the annual conference of the European Network for Housing Research. Points raised in the presentation include the following: -Fiscal context, more so than which party has been in government, appears to have shaped federal housing policy in Canada over the past two decades. Program expenses [...]
1. He’s Number Two: Stephen Poloz was widely acknowledged in economic and political circles as the second-best choice for the top job at the Bank of Canada. So the surprise was not that he was chosen. The surprise was, Why Not Tiff Macklem? Will someone please find out and tell the rest of us? 2. [...]
Posted by Armine Yalnizyan under Bank of Canada, Conservative government, economic growth, free markets, free trade, G-20, inflation, interest rates, international trade, macroeconomics, monetary policy, Role of government, stimulus, unemployment.
May 3rd, 2013
Regulations guiding the new Social Security Tribunal came into force April 1st, 2013, and are available online at the Canada Gazette. The SST combines the first and second level of client appeals for CPP, OAS, and EI into one tribunal. HRSDC expects that the changes will result in $25 million in annual savings, due to [...]
A letter appears in today’s Globe and Mail in response to recent direction given by Minister Flaherty to private mortgage lenders over mortgage rates. The letter was written by Steve Pomeroy, one of Canada’s leading housing policy experts. Here is the full text of the letter: – Glass-house mortgages Twice in recent weeks, the Minister [...]
Last May federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said there was no such thing as a bad job. The Law Commission of Ontario may disagree. This week it put out a report about the rise in vulnerable workers and precarious jobs. Now that he’s heard from executives who think Canadians are paid too much, Mr. Flaherty [...]
Posted by Armine Yalnizyan under Conservative government, employment, employment standards, human rights, immigration, income, labour market, migrant workers, minimum wage, Ontario, poverty, Role of government, women.
August 17th, 2012
Bill Curry reports in today’s Globe that, at last year’s economic policy retreat, business leaders urged Finance Minister Flaherty to reduce the pay of “overpriced” Canadian workers, including through anti union right to work legislation. Coincidentally, or not, the subsequent 2012 federal Budget introduced new rules which will require most EI claimants to accept jobs [...]
Last week, Conservative MP Randy Hoback had another letter in The Prince Albert Daily Herald blaming the NDP for the pulp-mill closure in 2006. He still has not addressed my main point about resource royalties. I have the following response on page 4 of today’s Herald: Pulp mill saga proves Mulcair’s point Notwithstanding MP Randy [...]
Last week, Conrad Black launched a $1.25-million libel lawsuit against me, Random House of Canada and its editors over four sentences in my book “Thieves of Bay Street” that discuss his case. You can see the National Post article here about the suit: http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/06/22/conrad-black-suing-publisher-for-1-25m/ While I won’t argue the merits of the suit on this [...]
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 [...]
Posted by Nick Falvo under BC, competition, Conservative government, corporate income tax, debt, demographics, education, fiscal federalism, fiscal policy, household debt, income distribution, income tax, inequality, macroeconomics, Newfoundland and Labrador, P3s, part time work, post-secondary education, privatization, productivity, public infrastructure, Quebec, rankings, regulation, Role of government, social policy, student debt, student movement, taxation, user fees, working time, young workers.
June 7th, 2012
Saskatchewan conservatives are getting cranky. At last night’s Finance Committee meeting on the omnibus bill, MP Randy Hoback exposed me as being a New Democrat who writes “garbage” (as this blog’s readers already know). Full video of the meeting is available here, with my presentation starting two hours in. UPDATE (June 1): Hoback’s attack has [...]
Last week I was in Whitehorse where I released a peer-reviewed policy report on poverty in Yukon. The report was part of the much larger Social Economy Research Network of Northern Canada project. Report findings include the following: -Ignoring poverty can be quite costly, as has been clearly demonstrated by research on the ‘costs of [...]
Posted by Nick Falvo under Canada's North, child benefits, Conservative government, fiscal federalism, health care, housing, income support, Indigenous people, inequality, minimum wage, poverty, Quebec, social policy, wealth, women, Yukon.
May 27th, 2012
I’ve commented on federal job cuts many times before (here, here, here & here) and in the interests of beating this particular horse good and dead (no animals were harmed in the writing of these reports), the CCPA today is releasing my latest update on the matter: Clearing away the fog: Government Estimates of job [...]
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 [...]
In the context of student protests over Quebec tuition fees, my friend Luan Ngo has just written a very informative blog post on Quebec’s fiscal situation. While I encourage readers to read his full post, I do want to use the present space to make mention of three important points he makes: -On a per [...]
Posted by Nick Falvo under Bank of Canada, budgets, Conservative government, corporate income tax, debt, deficits, economic crisis, economic growth, economic literacy, economic models, economic thought, education, equalization, financial crisis, fiscal federalism, fiscal policy, heterodox economics, inflation, interest rates, macroeconomics, monetary policy, post-secondary education, progressive economic strategies, Quebec, social policy, student movement, user fees.
April 28th, 2012
The following is a guest post by Robyn Allan, the former president of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia who appeared with me on TVO’s panel about Dutch disease. It summarizes her recent paper: An Analysis of Canadian Oil Expansion Economics. There is a chorus singing the praises of the oil industry and its vast economic [...]
This past weekend (March 31st), Sino-Forest Corp. announced it was filing for bankruptcy protection. The Chinese-Canadian company, once the largest publicly-traded forestry firm on the TSX, collapsed under allegations it was nothing more than a sophisticated fraud and Ponzi scheme. Sino-Forest’s demise wiped out about $6-billion in shareholders’ value, making it a catastrophe on par [...]
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 [...]
John Stapleton has an opinion piece out on Prime Minister Harper’s proposed changes to Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). I find the following quote from Stapleton to be particularly troubling: By providing OAS and GIS at age 65, Canada has greatly reduced the incidence of poverty among seniors. By moving the [...]
Posted by Nick Falvo under Conservative government, CPP, demographics, fiscal federalism, income support, Old Age Security, older workers, pensions, population aging, poverty, retirement, seniors, social policy.
February 19th, 2012
On CTV yesterday, human resources minister Diane Finley said (45 seconds into this interview): “As we go forward, we’re going to have three times the expense in Old Age Security as we do now, but we’re only going to have half the population to pay for it.” That sounds pretty scary. If the total cost [...]
The Harper government announced today that federal “regulators will be required to remove at least one regulation each time they introduce a new one that imposes administrative burden on business.” At the risk of imposing a proofreading burden on communications staff, that sentence is missing the word “an.” I first heard this idea at a [...]
December marked the three-year anniversary of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. While I believe there is much to celebrate, much remains to be done. The Strategy surprised a lot of observers, especially in light of the fact that it was announced in December 2008, just as Ontario was entering a recession. Its focus was almost exclusively [...]
Posted by Nick Falvo under child benefits, Conservative government, corporate income tax, early learning, economic crisis, education, fiscal federalism, fiscal policy, housing, income support, income tax, Indigenous people, inequality, minimum wage, Ontario, poverty, progressive economic strategies, recession, social indicators, social policy, taxation, unemployment.
January 8th, 2012
As Christmas presents go, this one was a shocker: Over lunch on Monday, cash-strapped Finance Minister Jim Flaherty promised provincial and territorial finance ministers he’d increase federal funding for health care by six per cent each year for the next five years. No strings attached. No negotiations. A done deal. With a catch. The provinces [...]
During the federal election, I noted in a Toronto Star op-ed that the federal Conservative platform entails significant fiscal costs for provincial governments. I accepted the Conservatives’ promise to continue the 6% escalator for the Canada Health Transfer, but worried that they might cut other transfers of similar value. Today, the Finance Minister unveiled plans [...]