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Archive for 'federal budget'

Federal Surplus: Digging Deeper

This week Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are trumpeting the announcement of a small surplus ($1.9 billion) for fiscal 2014-15.  The political symbolism of this “good news” is a welcome change for them from a string of negative economic reports (most importantly, news that Canada slipped into recession in the first half of 2015) that has damaged […]

Budget 2015: Robin Hood in Reverse

Here’s a link to the longer analysis I prepared of the federal budget, now on-line at CUPE’s website, to accompany the press release and notes we put out immediately following the budget. The entire document may be too long to post here, so here’s the 1st two paragraphs. The Big Picture: more tax cuts for the […]

My “Top Five” Most Outrageous Things About This Budget

With a document whose very timing, let alone content, was so transparently politicized and manipulative, it’s hard to even know where to start.  Among the many galling, short-sighted, and ultimately destructive components of this federal budget, here are 5 that stand out in my view:

ROCHON on the upcoming federal budget (April 2015)

THE FEDERAL BUDGET AND CANADA’S ANNUS HORRIBILIS See Original post here for the CBC. Canada’s Finance Minister Joe Oliver announced a new – and long overdue – federal budget for April 21. With the Canadian economy doing so badly, this budget will be crucial. Will the minister do the right thing and give Canadians a […]

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 […]

Rochon Asks: “Is the Canadian economy unraveling?”

In a recent CBC blog post, Louis-Philippe Rochon assesses the current state of the Canadian economy. The link to the blog post is here. Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon.

Don’t Play Tories’ Game on “Risk” of Deficit

Acres of newsprint have been devoted in recent weeks to the possibility that lower oil prices might push the federal budget back into a deficit position.  As I argue in my column in today’s Globe and Mail, this drama is mostly political theatre — and progressives should be cautious about accidentally accepting the Conservative frame […]

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.

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 […]

Corporate Cash Stash Surpasses National Debt

Today’s National Balance Sheet Accounts indicate that the amount of cash held by private non-financial corporations in Canada soared from $591 billion in the third quarter of 2013 to $626 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013. Corporate Canada’s accumulated stock of cash now exceeds the federal government’s accumulated deficit, which was $612 billion at […]

Income Splitting Déjà Vu

This blog’s unofficial slogan has been “Tomorrow’s conventional wisdom, today.” After this week’s Conservative backpedaling on income splitting, we may need to change it to “Today’s conventional wisdom, seven years ago.” Or we could just stick with “You read it here first.” My first-ever blog post, Income Splitting Redux, argued that this tax policy “would benefit […]

Young Workers Needed So Much More from Budget 2014

Recessions are always harder on young workers, but we are nearly five years out from the end of the last recession and there is still no recovery in sight for young workers. The paid internships announced in this budget (some of which is previously announced spending) will only reach a maximum of 2,500 individuals per […]

Missing In Action: Federal Budget 2014

Here’s the first section of the budget summary and analysis I’ve prepared for CUPE. The full version is on-line on CUPE’s website at together with CUPE’s press release at: Missing In Action: Federal Budget 2014  CUPE Federal Budget 2014 Summary and Response   Conservatives ignore pressing economic needs with a Do-little budget Using more […]

Economists Against Austerity

UPDATE (Feb. 12): Carol Goar reports this statement on page A17 of today’s Toronto Star. To add your signature to it, please e-mail your name, title and institution to Mario Seccareccia at Statement by 70 Canadian Economists Against Austerity We, the undersigned, strongly urge the federal government to stop implementing fiscal austerity measures just to […]

The IMF and Canadian Fiscal Policy

This is quite interesting. If you read the short section from the recent IMF Staff Report on Canada under point 16, it is quite clear that the IMF Staff think that, with growth significantly under potential, the federal Budget should be brought back to balance more slowly than is now the plan. It strikes me […]

Flaherty’s Funny Math with the EI Surplus

The Parliamentary Budget Office has come out with a report, suggesting that the Conservatives will likely balance the budget ahead of schedule. But, and it’s a big but, if there were no EI surplus, there would be no balanced budget in 2016. And the annual surplus in the EI Operating Account is no small potatoes […]

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 […]

Canada’s (not so incredible) shrinking federal government

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 […]

EI Premium Freeze Leaves Unemployed Canadians in the Cold

Today, finance minister Jim Flaherty announced a three-year freeze on Employment Insurance (EI) premiums, ostensibly because a stronger job market has alleviated the need for additional premium revenue. Under the current policy, employee premiums were rising each year by 5 cents per $100 earned. Flaherty had announced this policy on September 30, 2010, when 1.5 […]

P3 or No Federal Funding: A Third Option for Regina Wastewater?

The Queen City’s water debate has boiled over since I last blogged about it. City Council decided to build a new wastewater-treatment facility as a public-private partnership (P3), but a group of concerned citizens gathered 24,000 signatures to force a referendum on whether to “publicly finance, operate and maintain the new wastewater treatment plant for […]

What’s a Point of Corporate Tax Worth?

Tom Mulcair’s recently reiterated unwillingness to raise personal tax rates puts the spotlight on corporate taxes. But how much revenue is at stake? Three and a half years ago, I posted a fiscal breakdown of Harper’s corporate tax cuts and how much revenue could be retained by stopping or reversing them. These figures, based on […]

Regina Hosed by P3 Waste Water

Regina City Council has voted to proceed with a 30-year public-private partnership (P3) in which a private company would design, build, finance, operate and maintain the city’s new waste water treatment facility. The municipal administration’s rationale has been that, although a P3 will be more expensive than traditional public financing, it is required to access […]

Austerity through infrastructure Cuts: Budget 2013

One the most amazing things about this budget is that one of its three focuses will actually be the opposite of what it’s touting.  You’ll likely hear that $14 billion will be spent on infrastructure over the next 10 years (actually you may hear much bigger numbers but they just re-announce existing programs like the […]

Budget 2013: Time for a real action plan, not another ad campaign

It’s hard to get excited about Thursday’s federal budget. All signs point to an “austerity” budget, even though that approach has failed so spectacularly wherever it has been tried. Austerity is one of those zombie ideas that cannot be killed, roaming rampantly across the pages and screens of the mainstream media. The 2012 federal budget […]

The Alternative Federal Budget 2013 – Doing Better, Together

These are the remarks by David MacDonald and I prepared for the press conference marking the release of the AFB 2013 in Ottawa, March 12, 2013. Time flies and our Alternative Federal Budget is now in its 19th year.  Year after year it has shown that we can have a Canada where we all do better together. […]

GDP: Austerity Bites

Canada’s economy grew by half a percent in the first quarter of 2012, staying on pace for unimpressive annual growth of two percent. The good news is that business investment was strong, at least on a seasonally-adjusted basis. (As usually happens in the first quarter, the actual dollar value of business investment decreased.) Unfortunately, the […]

Energy McCarthyism 2: Hoback Attack

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 […]

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 […]

Tightening the Screws on the Unemployed

The significant changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program which are to be quickly implemented through Budget 2012 with very little consultation have not received enough critical attention. First, a word on what is not in the Budget. It is disappointing, to say the least, that the government is failing to respond to the fact […]

The Federal Budget and Women

(The following is from my colleague Angella MacEwen.) The only mention of either men or women in the 400-odd page 2012 Budget Implementation Bill is with regards to the appropriate use of donated sperm and ova. In analysis and discussions of the proposed omnibus bill, differential impacts for women, Aboriginals, racialized persons, newcomers, and *the […]