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Archive for 'democracy'

Harper’s Justice Agenda: Theory vs. the Evidence

What follows is a guest post by Craig Jones, former Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Canada. Champions of harsher justice measures in the Harper government would have us believe that longer sentences are a win-win-win: for victims, for safe streets and for future victims. To that end, the government enacted a number […]

University Governance

This afternoon I spoke on a panel on university governance at a conference titled Future U:  Creating the Universities We Want, organized by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations.  Also presenting on the panel were Professor Glen Jones and Professor Claire Polster. Future U: Creating the Universities We want Future U: Creating the Universities […]

The Ford Nation, Perils of Populism and Public Choice

Watching Rob Ford in the recent weeks reminds me of what John Ralston Saul once wrote of Benito Mussolini and his contemporary reincarnation in Silvio Berlusconi: “He was the nascent modern Heroic leader. Mussolini combined the interests of corporatism with public relations and sport, while replacing public debate and citizen participation with false populism and […]

How Harper can avoid turning a Budget Implementation Bill into a Duffy budget bill

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 […]

The Perils of Passivity

Almost a year ago, Paul Krugman wrote a blog post entitled “Inaction is the Greatest Risk.” He was addressing American monetary policy, but the same theme applies to Saskatchewan politics. Much as Krugman warned readers upfront that his post was “wonkish,” I’ll admit that the following is “hackish.” For several months, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall […]

When Good Data Goes Bad: The NHS2011

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. […]

Economists for Linda McQuaig

Forty economists, including many Progressive Economics Forum members, have signed the following statement (PDF version): We write to endorse Linda McQuaig’s candidacy for the upcoming federal by-election in Toronto Centre. Linda has deep roots in Toronto Centre, having been born in the riding and lived in it for many years. She is also well-known across […]

Chrystia Freeland’s Liberal Use of Economic Platitudes

Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein has interviewed the presumptive Liberal candidate in Toronto Centre, Chrystia Freeland, who declares, “I’m a capitalist red in tooth and claw.” To his credit, Klein asks her a couple of times for policy specifics. She concludes the interview by saying: My job right now is to win the right to […]

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 […]

Is Chrystia Freeland Progressive?

Chrystia Freeland, The Globe and Mail’s candidate in Toronto Centre, recently wrote a book about inequality (which I have not yet read) and is supposed to “bring fresh thinking to the Liberal Party’s economic team.” She has already attracted a few jabs from right-wingers Terence Corcoran and William Watson. But is she progressive? The Globe […]

Is new coal export infrastrucutre in the best interest of BC and Canada

Today’s CBC Edition Business Panel focused on the proposal by Fraser Surrey Docks to build a new coal terminal on the Fraser river to export US thermal coal (if you missed it, here’s the recording starting at 1:50). This may seem like a local issue for the West Coast, but the arguments stand for most […]

The Senate and Bank Mergers

L. Ian MacDonald wrote a defence of the Senate in today’s Montreal Gazette. He makes the familiar argument that it provides useful study of policy issues. However, his first example is the 2002 Senate report supporting bank mergers. In the wake of the global financial crisis, we should be glad that opposition MPs like Lorne Nystrom […]

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 […]

Federal jobs cuts: Clarity is always one year away

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 […]

While You Were Sleeping: Fed Policies Make It Easier to Hire a Cheaper You

A shorter version of this article appeared today in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab Have you noticed how common it has become to talk about replacing workers with even cheaper workers? If you’re looking over your shoulder, you’re not paranoid; you’re paying attention. There’s probably a cheaper you out there.  And in Canada, the […]

The Political Roots of Inequality

 Last Thursday I was at an event on the issue of rising income inequality, sponsored by Canada 2020. It featured one of the authors of the recent OECD report on inequality, who highlighted the “skills biased technological change or SBT ” hypothesis so favoured by mainstream economists who desperately avoid discussion of inequality as a […]

Don’t let dubious political tactics turn us off politics

Here’s a guest post from Ben Gillies, a political economy grad from the University of Manitoba. Canadians Must Not Let Dubious Political Tactics Turn Us Off Politics Altogether By Benjamin Gillies Last week, the Conservatives admitted their party was behind a rash of phone calls to Liberal Irwin Cotler’s federal riding in Montreal, in which […]

The New Politics Initiative: Ten Years After

Rabble.ca is running a series of reflections on the tenth anniversary of the New Politics Initiative, which sought to create a more democratic politics in Canada ideally as part of a revitalized NDP. The vision statement is here; my piece follows, and there are also contributions from Judy Rebick and Jim Stanford. Altogether these make for a […]

Federal Post-Secondary Education Act

Last month, the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) released a document entitled Public Education for the Public Good:  A National Vision for Canada’s Post-Secondary Education System. I found the document to be quite informative, filled with a lot of useful statistics.  For example: -Enrolment is rising in colleges and universities across Canada. Since the late 1990s, full-time enrolment has […]

First We Take Manhattan….. What Occupy Wall Street Could Mean

This is not the stuff of usual protests. Over the past month, a little idea from a Vancouver outfit has mushroomed into a cross-continent movement. Occupy Wall Street, kicked off by Adbusters in July and coming to Toronto this weekend, has already spread to 70 American cities and is going global as protestors challenge society […]

Concordia Decides That Less Is More

In August, I blogged about controversy surrounding Concordia University’s Board of Governors. A report co-authored by Bernard J. Shapiro (Canada’s first Ethics Commissioner) had concluded that an unofficial, inner circle of Board members had been micromanaging some of the university’s day-to-day operations, and undermining the President. This had apparently prompted the resignation of the previous two Presidents before the midway points of […]

Why even conservatives are worried about rising inequality

This essay was commissioned by the National Post.  It was published in today’s edition under the headline “A Problem for Everyone“.  In the print edition, the overline -  a large font summary of what you are about to read  written by the editors –  reads:  “Income inequality isn’t just unfair — it threatens the whole […]

TILMA by Stealth in Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan Party had repeatedly promised not to sign TILMA, but signed the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA) last year. At the time, many commentators (including yours truly) noted that the NWPTA was little more than a renaming of TILMA. I see that the official TILMA website is now automatically redirecting to the NWPTA […]

Is Capitalism Terminally Ill?

Today (June 15th) the Toronto Star broke news that the NDP was planning to drop the term “socialism” from its party’s platform. This was a mere formality of what had been in existence for decades: the party hasn’t been “socialist” in any shape or form for a very long time. On the very same day, […]

Scheer Success

Andrew Scheer has been elected House of Commons Speaker. I met him in 2004, when we were federal candidates in adjacent Regina ridings. I was the no-shot NDP candidate against then-Finance Minister Ralph Goodale and he was the long-shot Conservative candidate against veteran NDP MP Lorne Nystrom. At the end of that summer, we were […]

Did NDP Sectarianism Screw Canada?

While NDP supporters might be celebrating last night’s election results, the reality is that it was an umitigated disaster for Canada. The Tory majority will mean more tax breaks for corporations, the gutting of social services and cultural institutions, the widening of the already cavernous income gap, the public defunding of political parties, and the […]

Stephen Harper’s Economic Record: Best in show?

According to the polls, Stephen Harper gets the highest score on handling the economy, though he only gets the nod from 38 per cent of Canadians. As the incumbent, he’s got the advantage on all other candidates.  What the others have done and might do is a topic for another blogpost. This short summary of […]

Electile Dysfunction

Evidence suggests that we all like it long. Mayors of Canada like it long. It helps them prioritize the next transit or water main development. Police like it long. It helps them decide how to recruit, to reflect the changing communities they serve. Medical researchers like it long. It helps them see patterns of disease, […]

The Polls and the Proles

The polls are suggesting a Harper majority may be in the cards, but they may be counting out the wild card in this deck: young people. How do polls work? Pollsters call people. On land lines. Who answers land lines? Not many young people anymore. They’re constantly connected through their cells, mostly through texts. But […]

Of the 1%, For the 1%, By the 1%

The first leg of the federal election campaign has featured much debate over who benefits from different proposals. At least indirectly, it has been a conversation about income inequality. What have they been saying? The Harper Conservatives have introduced a number of high-cost measures all of which are based on tax cuts, all of which […]