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Archive for 'fiscal federalism'

Alex Usher on Jason Kenney’s Enthusiasm for German Apprenticeships

Alex Usher, one of Canada’s most well-known post-secondary education pundits, has just written a blog post offering some sober second thought on Minister Kenney’s recent enthusiasm for Germany’s apprenticeship system. Mr. Usher’s blog post can be accessed here.

Flaherty’s Legacy: Ideological, reckless and just plain lucky

This piece was originally published at the Globe and Mail’s online Report on Business feature, EconomyLab.   There are two reasons why it is difficult to comment on the legacy of a finance minister. 1) It is a tremendously challenging job, anywhere, any time. Stewarding one of the largest economies in the world through a […]

Housing Policy Under Harper

Today I gave a presentation on Canadian housing policy at the annual conference of the European Network for Housing Research.  Points raised in the presentation include the following: -Fiscal context, more so than which party has been in government, appears to have shaped federal housing policy in Canada over the past two decades.  Program expenses […]

Provincial Corporate Taxes: A 12% Floor?

In his 2007 “Economic Statement,” Jim Flaherty threw down the gauntlet for provincial governments to cut their corporate income tax rates to 10%. Initially, it seemed like he might succeed in stampeding the provinces down to that level. Alberta and Quebec were already at 10% (although Quebec had announced an increase to 12% in exchange […]

Canada’s Self-Imposed Crisis in Post-Secondary Education

On June 7, I gave a keynote address to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Education Sector Conference.  My PowerPoint presentation (with full references) can be found at this link. Points I raised in the address include the following: -Canada’s economy has been growing quite steadily over the past three decades, even when one adjusts […]

Poverty in Yukon

Last week I was in Whitehorse where I released a peer-reviewed policy report on poverty in Yukon. The report was part of the much larger Social Economy Research Network of Northern Canada project. Report findings include the following: -Ignoring poverty can be quite costly, as has been clearly demonstrated by research on the ‘costs of […]

“Differentiation:” The à-la-carte Way to Hire More Course Instructors

I’ve written before about attempts in Canada to create more separation between university teaching, on the one hand, and university research, on the other. In 2009, I wrote this opinion piece about an attempt by five university presidents to each acquire a larger share of university research dollars. And last year, I blogged here about […]

Quebec Tuition: Between a Rock and Hard Place?

In the context of student protests over Quebec tuition fees, my friend Luan Ngo has just written a very informative blog post on Quebec’s fiscal situation. While I encourage readers to read his full post, I do want to use the present space to make mention of three important points he makes: -On a per […]

Quebec Students: “Faire Leur Juste Part”

Simon Tremblay-Pepin, an emerging social policy scholar, has recently blogged here (in French) about Quebec tuition fees. He points out that, when one adjusts for inflation, Quebec tuition fees are headed into uncharted territory. Indeed, contrary to some recent spin from the Charest government, Tremblay-Pepin makes two important observations: 1. When one takes an average […]

Discussing Quebec Student Protests on Talk Radio

Last Friday, I blogged here about the Quebec student protests.  Subsequently, I was invited to appear on 580 CFRA News Talk Radio, with hosts Rob Snow and Lowell Green. I should note that Mr. Green is the author of several books, including: -How the Granola Crunching, Tree Hugging Thug Huggers are Wrecking our Country; -Mayday […]

Rex Murphy’s Naive Take on the Quebec Student Protests

On CBC’s The National last night, Rex Murphy weighed in on Quebec’s student protests; the transcript can be found here,  and the three-minute video here.  He calls the protests “short sighted,” points out that Quebec already has the lowest tuition fees in Canada, and suggests the students’ actions are “crude attempts at precipitating a crisis.” He […]

The Affordability of Post-Secondary Education

Carleton University’s Ted Jackson teaches a graduate seminar course on post-secondary education in Carleton’s School of Public Policy and Administration. Earlier this month, I was invited to give a guest presentation to Professor Jackson’s class. I focused the presentation on affordability challenges faced by students wanting to pursue post-secondary education. My slide presentation can be […]

Stapleton on Harper’s Proposed OAS/GIS Changes

John Stapleton has an opinion piece out on Prime Minister Harper’s proposed changes to Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). I find the following quote from Stapleton to be particularly troubling: By providing OAS and GIS at age 65, Canada has greatly reduced the incidence of poverty among seniors. By moving the […]

Drummond: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Drummond Commission reported today. The Good While the McGuinty government prevented the Commission from considering tax rates, it proposes some sensible measures to raise revenue. Chapter 18, “Revenue Integrity,” recommends combating corporate tax avoidance and cracking down on the underground economy. Businesses sometimes hire workers as “contractors” to avoid paying Ontario’s Employer Health Tax. […]

Wall Strikes Out on Fiscal Federalism

Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall recently issued a statement exhorting his fellow Premiers to blaze largely unspecified new trails on healthcare, Employment Insurance and Equalization. Unfortunately, he misses the ball on all three issues. Greg Fingas and Verda Petry have already refuted Wall’s call for further healthcare privatization. On Employment Insurance, Wall implies that eastern Canadians are […]

Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy

December marked the three-year anniversary of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. While I believe there is much to celebrate, much remains to be done. The Strategy surprised a lot of observers, especially in light of the fact that it was announced in December 2008, just as Ontario was entering a recession.  Its focus was almost exclusively […]

Impact of Increased Health Privatization on PSE

An article in yesterday’s Village Voice looks at the rising costs of post-secondary education (PSE) in the United States. It points to research suggesting that the “biggest single factor” contributing to the rising cost of PSE for both private and public institutions is the cost of employee health benefits. I would infer from the above that, insofar […]

Is Money Enough? The Meaning of 6% and Flaherty’s Health “Plan”

As Christmas presents go, this one was a shocker:  Over lunch on Monday, cash-strapped Finance Minister Jim Flaherty promised provincial and territorial finance ministers he’d increase federal funding for health care by six per cent each year for the next five years.  No strings attached. No negotiations.  A done deal.  With a catch. The provinces […]

Modest Inflation Outstrips Wages and Canada Social Transfer

Statistics Canada reported today that the annual inflation rate remained 2.9% and the Bank of Canada’s core rate remained 2.1% in November. The monthly increase in consumer prices slowed to 0.1% in November from 0.3% in October. The monthly increase in core prices slowed to 0.1% in November from 0.2% in October. Inflation remains modest […]

Conservative Health Transfers

During the federal election, I noted in a Toronto Star op-ed that the federal Conservative platform entails significant fiscal costs for provincial governments. I accepted the Conservatives’ promise to continue the 6% escalator for the Canada Health Transfer, but worried that they might cut other transfers of similar value. Today, the Finance Minister unveiled plans […]

Housing in the Northwest Territories

Last week, I was in Yellowknife, where I released results of new research on affordable housing in the Northwest Territories (NWT). The research project was sponsored by the Social Economy Research Network of Northern Canada, and was a collaboration with the Centre for Northern Families. Research findings include the following: -Housing indicators suggest that the […]

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 […]

William Watson on PSE

On Wednesday, William Watson wrote a comment piece in the Financial Post in which he was critical of Armine Yalnizyan’s recent essay on inequality. In his piece, Mr. Watson alleges that Armine “is guilty of fantastical reminiscence,” particularly with respect to her take on post-secondary education (PSE). Among other things, Mr. Watson points to the […]

PSE in Newfoundland and Labrador

Last March, Keith Dunne and I wrote an opinion piece on Danny Williams’ post-secondary education (PSE) legacy in Newfoundland and Labrador. Among other things, we pointed out that average undergraduate tuition fees (for domestic students) in Newfoundland and Labrador are $2,624/yr., compared with $5,138 for Canada as a whole and $6,307 in Ontario. With a provincial election slated to take […]

Quebec Tuition Fees

In light of plans by the Charest government to increase tuition fees in Quebec by 75 percent over the next five years, Eric Martin and Simon Tremblay-Pepin have written a recent article on Quebec tuition fees. The article points out the following: -Though tuition fees in Quebec have been lower than in most other parts […]

Hurricane Trichet Hits Jackson Hole

After watching Jack Layton’s state funeral, I noticed that Jean-Claude Trichet’s speech from Jackson Hole is online. The European Central Bank president does not seem to get it. Far from acknowledging that last month’s interest-rate hike was premature, he touts “price stability.” His main theme is that the economic divergence between Eurozone countries is comparable […]

The Double Whammy of Defunding Universities

As I’ve blogged about here, federal funding for post-secondary education (PSE) in Canada is decreasing.  Between 1985-1986 and 2007-2008, annual federal cash transfers to Ontario for PSE (in constant 2007 dollars) decreased from roughly $1.4 billion to just under $1 billion. (Yet, during that same period, PSE enrolment in Ontario increased by more than 60 percent). And as I’ve written about […]

Public Sector Austerity: Why is Canada Leading the Way?

The major economic problem faced by Canadians is a very slow recovery and weak job market, not government deficits or rising debt. But public spending cuts at the federal and provincial level will make the real problem even worse. And, government spending cuts in Canada seem set to be even greater than in other advanced […]

How Rob Ford Can Fix Social Housing

I have an opinion piece in today’s Toronto Star regarding Toronto’s Mayor, Rob Ford, and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). Mr. Ford would like to see a considerable number of units from TCHC’s existing stock sold off.  For background on the issue, please my blog post of April 13, which can be found here. In today’s piece, I […]

Fix PSE System Before Building Addition!

According to an article in yesterday’s Toronto Star, the Ontario government will create room for 60,000 new students in its colleges and universities by 2015-2016, 10% of which will be for graduate students. (I assume this means that, by 2015-2016, there will be 60,000 more students enroled in Ontario’s post-secondary insitutions than is currently the case, and that […]