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 http://cupe.ca/economics/missing-action-federal-budget-2014 together with CUPE’s press release at: http://cupe.ca/economics/federal-budget-2014-help-hurt-canadian 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 of their doublespeak, the Harper […]

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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 mseccare@uottawa.ca Statement by 70 Canadian Economists Against Austerity We, the undersigned, strongly urge the federal government to stop implementing fiscal austerity measures just to achieve its political goal […]

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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 review the second budget implementation […]

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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 of the economy is projected […]

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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 million Canadians were officially unemployed. […]

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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 Regina.” There has been much […]

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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 Budget 2009 projections, suggested that […]

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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 federal money from the P3 […]

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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 other major components of GDP […]

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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 been covered by Macleans, CBC […]

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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 that less than 40% of […]

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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 poor* are frequently left out. […]

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PBO Strikes Again

I wanted to tip my hat to the hard working folks at the PBO for a particularly revealing Economic and Fiscal Outlook that was published today.  While the PBO has more than once eaten my lunch on various issue they’ve done a superb job of looking at Canada’s economic and fiscal position. David MacdonaldEconomist with the Canadian Centre for Policy […]

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Katimavik

I am sure readers of this blog are not unsympathetic to the case for a government supported program which, at a time of very high youth unemployment, annually enables some 1500 young people to volunteer to work in not for profit sponsored community development projects across the country. Participants- aged 17 to 21 – are usually engaged in two projects […]

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Federal Job Cuts…the Real Numbers

Andrew Jackson has started off this discussion with his post today looking at the job impacts of federal cuts.  I wanted to add my own two sense and some calculations that I’ve whipped up. Thankfully the federal budget has started to fill in some of the details of its latest round of cuts.  In particular, it now estimates 19,200 positions lost […]

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The Federal Budget Impact on Jobs

The Budget estimate that a new round of cuts will eliminate up to 19,200 jobs  has been widely cited as fact, but it cannot be taken at face value as argued in an analysis released by the Public Service Alliance of Canada. An extract follows: The government claims the $5.2 billion in spending cuts will mean the loss of 19,200 […]

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OAS, the Budget and the Baby Boomers

The Budget justifies raising the age of eligibility for OAS and GIS on the grounds that  the long-term fiscal sustainability of the program is being undermined by rising life expectancy. No estimates of savings are provided. They will be very modest. Given that average life expectancy at age 65 is 20 years, raising the eligibility age by two years could […]

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Budget 2012: Pennywise But Pound Foolish

Marc, Andrew and Toby have posted substantial analyses of yesterday’s federal budget and I have some comments in today’s Hamilton Spectator. My two cents about the budget’s economic forecasts follow. Table 2.1 envisions a 7.5% unemployment rate this year, slightly above last year’s rate of 7.4%. That seems like an admission of failure from a budget ostensibly about job creation. […]

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Conservatives’ small-minded budget kills jobs and fails Canadians

Here’s the budget analysis I prepared for CUPE’s website. Despite its size and the hundreds of measures it details, Harper’s 2012 budget demonstrates just how small-minded their vision is.  Canada faces major challenges, with 1.4 million unemployed, stagnant productivity growth, a crisis in retirement security and growing inequality.  Instead of addressing these challenges, what this budget provides is more of […]

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CLC Analysis of the 2012 Budget

Introduction Budgets are all about choices. With unemployment and underemployment still at very high levels and a shrinking middle-class, the federal government could and should have laid the basis for a sustained and broadly shared economic recovery. The federal government should be taking a larger and stronger role in making the economy work for average Canadians, and developing policies that […]

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Alternative Federal Budget 2012

The following is a ten-point summary of the CCPA Alternative Federal Budget released today: The federal government is planning an unprecedented fiscal austerity budget, claiming that massive cuts to public sector jobs, services, and social programs are necessary to pave the way for jobs and growth. But in fact the opposite is true. Austerity programs weaken the economy, and their […]

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Severance Pay and Public Servants

I am an economist, not a lawyer or expert on the collective agreements in the federal public service, but I can still detect a hatchet job. The CBC have given a lot of play to a Greg Weston story that allegedly generous severance payments to public servants amounting to as much as $2 Billion will be triggered by job cuts […]

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