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Archive for 'election 2011'

Andrea Horwath’s Debacle

I can’t remember the last time I laughed out loud when I saw election results. I almost spat a mouthful of my breakfast across the room. Almost nobody expected Ontario’s Liberals to win a majority, least of all the NDP’s Andrea Horwath. Her decision to pull the plug on the Wynne government has to go […]

Majority Conservative Government Ushers in New Era of Economic Stability

“The choice for Canadians is crystal clear,” said Harper. “Continuing our low-tax plan to complete the recovery and create jobs, financial security, stability and certainty for Canadian families and businesses. Or the high-tax, reckless-spending Ignatieff-NDP-Bloc Québécois agenda that will stall our recovery, kill jobs and produce political instability and economic uncertainty by re-opening constitutional debates. […]

Reflection on the Election

Poring over the entrails leads me to a couple of observations. First, as is usually the case, the change in the distribution of seats which commands headlines is an imperfect reflection of the change in the distribution of votes. The NDP breakthrough in Quebec was remarkable and historically important and unprecedented, but so was the […]

The Perils of “Strategic” Voting

Several Toronto Star and Globe and Mail columnists have suggested that the Conservative majority resulted from too little strategic voting for the Liberals. In every federal election that I can remember, the Liberals have appealed for progressive votes to stop the Conservatives (or their Reform-Alliance predecessors). A major flaw in this logic is that relatively […]

Historic NDP Breakthrough is Good

My fellow bloggers are being too negative about yesterday’s election results. A Harper majority is very bad. However, I have trouble imagining it cutting public programs more than Chretien’s majority did. The Conservatives and Liberals have long been rather similar on economic issues. The NDP replacing the Liberals as one of the two predominant parties […]

A progressive paradox for Québec and Canada

The mood in the progressive milieu here in Québec seems rather grim this morning. In Québec history we call the twenty year period when anti-union, right wing populist Duplessis ruled, the “Era of the Great Darkness”, and many by email or on social media have spontaneously referred to the upcoming period in an analogous way. […]

BQ Demise- Not Good

We have a lost a lot with the demise of the Bloc Quebecois as a significant presence in Parliament. Social policy in Quebec has been more progressive than elsewhere in Canada for a long time. This is particularly important for policy related to women’s rights, including labour and social policy that allow women’s full participation […]

Harper’s Reckless Economics

Throughout the election campaign Stephen Harper claimed the political high ground on the management of the economy. The surprise is that the opposition has pretty much let him get away with this. During the English Language debate the first question focused on $6 billion tax cuts to corporations. Harper said there were no tax cuts […]

The Conference Board on Weak Business Investment

I do not know if the Conference Board intended its latest release on sluggish investment in machinery and equipment to be taken up during the election campaign. However, as Canadian Press reports: The Conference Board report comes at a time when the issue of corporate taxes is a key demarcation point among the parties in […]

Fiscal Record of Canadian Political Parties

With all the recent news stories — as well as alarm raised by other leaders — about the fiscal and economic impact and record of NDP governments, I decided to take a look at and review the fiscal record of all federal and provincial governments in Canada for the past three decades. These results may […]

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, […]

Fiscal Federalism on the Campaign Trail

As I noted in my post about income splitting and in commenting on Armine’s post about Tax-Free Savings Accounts, federal Conservative tax promises entail significant fiscal costs for provincial governments. I expanded that thought into the following op-ed, which appears in today’s Toronto Star. In the same vein, the federal Conservative policy of increased incarceration […]

Simpson Walks the Party Line on Corporate Taxes

Yesterday’s Jeffrey Simpson column was entitled, “Walking the Line on Corporate Tax Cuts.” Incredibly, he walks the narrow 1.5% line between the Liberal and NDP proposals. To his credit, Simpson takes an open-minded look at the evidence, which indicates “no discernible links” from corporate taxes to employment or investment. On this basis, he accepts the […]

Comparing the Platforms: A Better Way to A Balanced Budget.

A quick and easy way to get a very bad bad headache is to attempt to compare and contrast the fiscal plans attached to the major party platforms. But they throw some light on the real priorities of the parties, and the real choices in play in the election. One thing the Conservatives, Liberals and […]

NDP’s “Balanced Budget” Platform

Jack Layton unveiled the NDP’s policy platform today.  Among other things, it promises to eliminate the deficit (i.e. balance the federal budget) within four years.  I’m not sure it should. Several years back, I had the opportunity to take a directed reading course from John Smithin.  In addition to being a long-time member of the […]

The Great Corporate Cash Stash

In response to some recent PEF commentary (now in the mainstream media thanks to today’s Globe article) on corporations in Canada hoarding cash (after-tax profits greater than new investment), PEF member Eric Pineault weighs in with some more detailed analysis: The great corporate cash stash Eric Pineault As we debate the merits and uses of […]

Untying the Gordonian knot

First of all, today’s top Globe story on corporate income tax cuts not leading to increased investment is a nice example of “you heard it here first”, so a big pat on the back to Relentlessly Progressive Economics. As we like to say: tomorrow’s conventional wisdom, today. I want to take issue with Stephen Gordon’s […]

Value Added? The Dubious Impact of Corporate Tax Cuts

Corporate tax cuts have become a defining feature of the election campaign thus far. The Globe and Mail covered the topic today with an article entitled “Corporate tax cuts don’t spur growth“. Stephen Gordon fired off a critique of the piece in his latest blog at the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab, to which I […]

Corporate Tax Cuts: Big Costs but no Extra Jobs

Today the CCPA released a study that I authored which examines and debunks one of the biggest contentions of this campaign, that corporate tax cuts create jobs. The payoff of corporate tax cuts has come under increasing scrutiny from various angles, although I focus specifically on job creation. To examine this contention, I took Canada’s […]

Robin Hood Economics

Canada’s economic context at the time of Election 2011 is one of “precarious recovery”, and overall demand conditions are weakened by a few major factors. Unemployment is still just under 8%, which is good compared to the double-digit unemployment of the early 1990s, but not great compared to the expansions of the late 1990s and […]

Distributional impact of Tory Income Splitting

I recently posted on the CCPA’s “Making it Count” blog covering election 2011 issues. In that post, I calculated the distributional impacts of the “Family Tax Cut” proposed by the Conservatives that would allow couples with children under 18yrs old to split up to $50,000 of their income. The “Making it Count” post is meant […]

The NDP on Business Taxes and Jobs

The media coverage of  Layton’s announcement yesterday was disappointingly thin, and the details (including on the NDP web site) are pretty hard to find. The NDP would go one better than the Liberals in raising the Corporate Income Tax rate from 16.5% today (and 15% next year) to the 2008 rate of 19.5%. The Liberals […]

Full List of 60 Countries That Did Better than Canada

The Conservatives are stressing their supposed credentials as “economic managers” in their strategy to win a majority — combined with fear-mongering about a future coalition (although that latter part of the strategy may be backfiring on them). I’ve argued before that claims about Canada’s superior performance are not factually correct, especially when we correct for […]

The Small Change EI Premium Rebate

Prime Minister Harper today re-announced the 2011 Budget proposal to introduce a one year program to reduce EI employer premiums by up to $1,000 for small businesses which expand employment in 2011 compared to 2010. I would characterise this as more of a token gift to the Canadian Federation of  Independent Business than a serious […]

Income Splitting: A Bad Idea Returns

Since the Conservatives are promising income splitting, it may be worth revisiting some classic Relentlessly Progressive Economics posts on the subject. Some of the links we posted four years ago no longer work, so my Ottawa Citizen op-ed is reproduced below. While the population totals and tax thresholds have changed slightly, the analysis stands. The […]

Low Taxes for Whom? Flaherty’s Rhetorical Retreat

I missed last week’s federal budget, but was pleased to see the quantity and quality of same-day analysis posted on this blog. Jim wrote an excellent piece, “Corporate Taxation and Investment in the 2011 Federal Budget,” about the corporate tax debate in post-budget media panels. But what struck me was David’s point about how the […]