Ten things to know about this year’s Alberta Alternative Budget

The Alberta Alternative Budget (AAB) is an annual exercise whose working group consists of researchers, economists, and members of civil society (full disclosure: I’m the Editor). Our general mandate is to create a progressive vision for Alberta to boost economic growth and reduce income inequality. This year’s document was released today, and here are 10 things to know: The NDP […]

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MEDIA RELEASE: Alberta should increase social spending; cuts are not the way to go

(June 24, 2019-Calgary) With Alberta’s economy still facing challenges and vulnerabilities, the Alberta government should not be doling out tax cuts or cutting social spending, according to the Alberta Alternative Budget (AAB) released today. “Alberta still has, by far, the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio of any province,” says Nick Falvo, editor of the report. “We are in a good position to […]

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Fiscal situation of Canada’s ‘oil rich’ provinces

I’ve just written a blog post about the fiscal situation of Canada’s ‘oil rich’ provinces (i.e., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador). It consists of a summary of key points raised at a PEF-sponsored panel at this year’s Annual Conference of the Canadian Economics Association. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -The price of oil is impossible […]

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A Response to the 2017 Saskatchewan Budget

I have an opinion piece on Saskatchewan’s recent budget in the Regina Leader-Post. Points raised in the opinion piece include the following: -Reductions in personal and corporate income taxes help the rich more than the poor (and this budget cut both personal and corporate income taxes). -Increases in sales tax hurt the poor more than the rich (and this budget […]

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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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Is Slow “Growth” Inevitable?

Most of the world economy (including Canada’s) has performed sluggishly since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09.  And many economic and fiscal projections now accept this pattern of slow growth as more-or-less inevitable, as a “new normal.” This argument is typically invoked to justify a ratcheting down of expectations regarding job prospects, incomes, and public services. In my view it’s […]

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How to Solve a Problem like Internal Trade Barriers?

In 1995, Canadian First Ministers signed an Agreement on Internal Trade. From the website, “Its purpose is to reduce and eliminate, to the extent possible, barriers to the free movement of persons, goods, services, and investment within Canada and to establish an open, efficient, and stable domestic market.” Well, it turns out that agreement, although regularly updated and renegotiated, is […]

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Minimum wages as economic stimulus?

Update: The Alberta government has announced their timeline for getting to $15 / hour, which includes eliminating the lower minimum wage for liquor servers. The Alberta Federation of Labour has an excellent minimum wage campaign, called “15 is fair”. I provided some research support for a paper they produced on the positive economic impact of increasing minimum wages, which you can […]

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Making Real Change Happen

Today’s throne speech was notable for its brevity, but there were certainly a lot of priorities packed into those 1600 words. A small selection: “The Government will, as an immediate priority, deliver a tax cut for the middle class.” This is quite easily my least favourite action promised by the new Liberal government. The plan increases the marginal tax rate on […]

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#HarperEconomy: From Worst to … Worster?

As this marathon election campaign enters its final days, it is interesting to look back on the evolution of the economic debate during the past 11 weeks on the hustings.  The Harper Conservatives once again tried to play the “economic card,” claiming their policies are essential to Canada’s future growth and prosperity.  But this time, that argument did not resonate […]

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Balanced Budget Myopia Breaks Both Ways

Opinions on deficit budgeting have become a short-hand litmus test in Canadian politics. Deficits are left-wing and balanced budgets are right-wing austerity.  Economists know that there is virtually no difference between a small surplus and a small deficit, but politicians and voters are a different story. I have spent the past three and half years railing against premature Conservative budgetary tightening, […]

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Canada After Harper

Here is the link to buy a new book, Canada After Harper,  edited by Ed Finn and with an introduction by Ralph Nader, just published by Lorimer. Most Canadians know that Stephen Harper has had a tremendous impact on the country since becoming prime minister in 2006. But few have the in-depth knowledge of how far his transformation has gone […]

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Canada: World’s Next Superpower? Only If We Stop Relying On Temporary Foreign Workers

It’s only been a couple of weeks since Disney, that most iconic of American companies, moved to displace all its home grown techies with low-cost foreign temporary workers. But the company had to beat a hasty retreat in the face of an outpouring of criticism. Amid the deluge of commentary this story triggered about where America is headed, blogger and […]

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Judging the Odds for an “Election Recession”

Canada’s first-quarter GDP report was not just “atrocious,” as predicted by Stephen Poloz.  It was downright negative: total real GDP shrank at an annualized rate of 0.6% (fastest pace of decline since the 2008-09 recession).  Nominal GDP fell faster (annualized rate of 3%), as deflation took hold across the broader production economy (led, of course, by energy prices). This sets […]

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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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Guest Blog from Kim Pollock: Stagnation Without End

We are pleased to present this guest commentary from Kim Pollock, a former union researcher based in B.C. and Saskatchewan. Now retired, Kim is investigating various aspects of Canada’s economic performance.  A longer version of this paper will be presented by him at the upcoming Society for Socialist Studies meetings in Ottawa, and can be obtained by e-mailing him at kbpollock54@gmail.com. […]

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Should we be taxing the rich 1% more?

Louis-Philippe Rochon Associate Professor, Laurentian Economics Founding Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon   Originally published by CBC. Find commentary here.   The federal Liberal Party’s recent election promise to create a new tax bracket for rich Canadians has been quickly decried by – well, rich Canadians. But is it an appropriate and sensible approach to […]

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ROCHON on: A tale of two economies? Making sense of recent US and Canadian labour market data

Louis-Philippe ROCHON Associate Professor, Laurentian University Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon   With data on the performance of Canada’s labour market released today, many economists and pundits on both sides of the 49th parallel are arguing that what seems to be emerging is two very clear and different paths for the US and Canadian economies. […]

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Thinking Through the Fall-Out of Lower Oil Prices

Canada’s economic and fiscal debates in recent months have been dominated by the possible impacts of the sudden fall in oil prices since last autumn on growth, employment, and fiscal balances.  Finance Minister Joe Oliver delayed the budget, the Bank of Canada shocked markets with a rate cut, and Alberta Premier Jim Prentice is now promising a shock-and-awe austerity budget […]

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G20 meeting of world finance ministers too little too late

Posted earlier as an opinion piece for CBC.  See original post here (this post slightly modified from original) By Louis-Philippe Rochon Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon   Much was at stake earlier this week when finance ministers from G20 countries met in Istanbul to discuss Greece and the state of the world economy in light of recent downgrades in world growth expectations. […]

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ROCHON: Greece, Syriza and the Euro

This is a guest blog post from Louis-Philippe Rochon. Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon. — What a tumultuous few weeks we witnessed in Greece. Though the victory of Syriza was ill-received in particular in Germany and the European Central Bank, it was nonetheless a resounding victory for democracy. This victory may now spill into other countries and give much credence […]

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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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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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Louis-Philippe Rochon’s Top 10 Economic Predictions for 2015

Louis-Philippe Rochon has written a provocative blog post for the CBC titled “Top 10 Economic Predictions for 2015.” The post is available here. Nick FalvoNick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant with a PhD in Public Policy. He has academic affiliation at both Carleton University and Case Western Reserve University, and is Section Editor of the Canadian Review of Social […]

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Five Good Economic Developments in 2014

Every year has its ups and downs, of course. But there’s something about New Year’s that makes one naturally want to emphasize the positive.  So here is my personal list of 5 positive economic developments from the year past — both globally and right here at home – that warmed this particular economist’s left-wing heart in 2014:

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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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