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  • Boom, Bust and Consolidation November 9, 2018
    The five largest bitumen-extractive corporations in Canada control 79.3 per cent of Canada’s productive capacity of bitumen. The Big Five—Suncor Energy, Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL), Cenovus Energy, Imperial Oil and Husky Energy—collectively control 90 per cent of existing bitumen upgrading capacity and are positioned to dominate Canada’s future oil sands development. In a sense they […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • A new Director for CCPA's BC Office: Message from Mary Childs, Board Chair October 24, 2018
    The CCPA-BC Board of Directors is delighted to share the news that Shannon Daub will be the next BC Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Last spring, Seth Klein announced that, after 22 years, he would be stepping down as founding Director of the CCPA-BC at the end of 2018. The CCPA-BC’s board […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Who Owns Canada’s Fossil-Fuel Sector? October 15, 2018
    The major investors in Canada’s fossil-fuel sector have high stakes in maintaining business as usual rather than addressing the industry’s serious climate issues, says a new Corporate Mapping Project study.  And as alarms ring over our continued dependence on natural gas, coal and oil, these investors have both an interest in the continued growth of […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Pharmacare consensus principles released today September 24, 2018
    A diverse coalition representing health care providers, non-profit organizations, workers, seniors, patients and academics has come together to issue a statement of consensus principles for the establishment of National Pharmacare in Canada. Our coalition believes that National Pharmacare should be a seamless extension of the existing universal health care system in Canada, which covers medically […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Kate McInturff Fellowship in Gender Justice September 19, 2018
    The CCPA is pleased to announce the creation of the Kate McInturff Fellowship in Gender Justice.This Fellowship is created to honour the legacy of senior researcher Kate McInturff who passed away in July 2018. Kate was a feminist trailblazer in public policy and gender-based research and achieved national acclaim for researching, writing, and producing CCPA’s […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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Sask Party Employment Math: From the Great Wall to the Berlin Wall

Last week, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released my policy brief on Saskatchewan job-creation. Using Statistics Canada figures, it demonstrated that “workforce growth has been almost identical during the premierships of Brad Wall and Lorne Calvert.” Unsurprisingly, the main explanatory variable for Saskatchewan employment appears to be commodity prices rather than the party in […]

Rebutting Raganomics

Today, I had the following commentary posted on The Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab: The loonie is overvalued and the Bank of Canada has room to act On Tuesday, Christopher Ragan characterized the notion of an overvalued Canadian dollar as a “seductive myth” that the Bank of Canada should not act to address. I have […]

The Great Wall Ties Chairman Calvert’s Five-Year Plan

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has released my policy brief (PDF) on Saskatchewan employment growth. It generated front-page coverage in today’s Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Regina Leader-Post business sections as well as this snazzy online infographic. The press release follows: Premier Wall’s Employment Record Lags Calvert and Blakeney Regina – A new policy brief from […]

Manufacturing Slump Threatens Q2 Growth

Statistics Canada reported today, “Manufacturing sales fell 2.4% in April to $48.2 billion — the fourth decline in five months and the largest monthly percentage drop since August 2009.” That gets the second quarter off to a bad start. Strong economic growth in the first quarter of this year (January, February, March) was underpinned by […]

The Senate and Bank Mergers

L. Ian MacDonald wrote a defence of the Senate in today’s Montreal Gazette. He makes the familiar argument that it provides useful study of policy issues. However, his first example is the 2002 Senate report supporting bank mergers. In the wake of the global financial crisis, we should be glad that opposition MPs like Lorne Nystrom […]

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 […]

Don’t Privatize ISC

My op-ed in today’s Saskatoon StarPhoenix (page A11): Privatizing ISC is a poor deal for Saskatchewan The provincial government estimates that selling 60 per cent of the Information Services Corporation will raise up to $120 million for infrastructure investment. Is that a good deal for the people of Saskatchewan? Last year, ISC generated $20 million […]

Temporary Foreign Workers

Armine and I have some comments in today’s Toronto Star article on Temporary Foreign Workers (page B1). Armine has been commenting extensively on this issue and my head talked for a few seconds on last night’s The National. Here is my online Globe and Mail op-ed: Reining In The Temporary Foreign Worker Program Reports of RBC […]

Fraser Institute Sunshine List

On Monday, Andrew wrote that we need a Bay Street sunshine list. Today, we got something almost as good: a Fraser Institute sunshine list, courtesy of US tax filings and The Ottawa Citizen’s Glen McGregor. This piece is a great counterpoint to the Fraser Institute’s recent attack on public-sector salaries. I hope it is printed […]

Globe and Mail on higher education in Canada

The Globe and Mail has just launched an in-depth feature on higher education in Canada, an installment of their Our Time to Lead series. For a couple of weeks, you can expect to see increased coverage of the issues facing our post-secondary education system in print but especially online. The editors deserve credit for seeking […]

Raising Saskatchewan’s Minimum Wage

Saskatchewan Federation of Labour president Larry Hubich and I have the following joint op-ed in today’s Regina Leader-Post (page A10). It’s been fourteen years since I first wrote into The Leader-Post advocating a minimum-wage increase. UPDATE (August 31): The op-ed also appeared in today’s Saskatoon StarPhoenix (page A11), Wednesday’s Estevan Mercury (page A7) and Swift Current’s […]

No Vale on the Plains?

I had the following comments in yesterday’s front-page story on Vale’s decision to postpone its proposed $3-billion potash mine at Kronau, Saskatchewan: Regina economist Erin Weir, who is widely expected to run for the leadership of the provincial NDP, said in a statement Friday that the Vale announcement “represents a failure of the Saskatchewan government’s […]

Prices Decline Yet Again

Statistics Canada reported today that, for a third consecutive month, consumer prices declined and the inflation rate fell below 2%. In July, the inflation rate was 1.3% and the Bank of Canada’s core rate was 1.7%. Gasoline and natural gas prices, which have been lower this summer than last, dragged down the overall Consumer Price […]

1% Potash Royalties: Typo or Foreshadowing?

Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Energy and Resources has released its 2011-12 Annual Report. The potash table (page 36) incredibly shows “Royalty/Tax” revenue of only $62.5 million in 2010-11 and $38.4 million in 2011-12. These figures amount to just 1.2% and 0.6% respectively of the value of potash sales. I have long argued that Saskatchewan’s potash royalties […]

Labour Minister Wrong on Manufacturing Jobs

Saskatchewan newspapers report: “Certainly in professional, scientific and technical areas and in the mining and the manufacturing sector (the job numbers) are very strong,” Don Morgan, minister of advanced education and labour relations, told reporters at news conference Friday. On Friday, Statistics Canada reported that Saskatchewan manufacturing employment dropped by 900 last month and declined […]

A Breakdown of the Job Losses

Further to Angella’s post, after two months of treading water, Canada lost 30,000 jobs in July. The increase in unemployment was limited to 22,000 only because 8,000 people abandoned the labour force and are no longer counted as unemployed. Regional Breakdown Most of the job losses were in Quebec and BC, which could weaken those […]

Taking Over Nexen

The China National Offshore Oil Corporation’s (CNOOC) bid to acquire Nexen is a large and complex proposal. Canadians should call for a more thorough and transparent review than other foreign takeovers have received under the Investment Canada Act. A preliminary outline of possible costs and benefits follows. The Downside: Chinese Consumer Interests A company like […]

Randy Hoback’s Pulp Fiction

Last week, Conservative MP Randy Hoback had another letter in The Prince Albert Daily Herald blaming the NDP for the pulp-mill closure in 2006. He still has not addressed my main point about resource royalties. I have the following response on page 4 of today’s Herald: Pulp mill saga proves Mulcair’s point Notwithstanding MP Randy […]

More Canadians Give Up Looking for Work

Canada’s labour market stagnated again in June. Employment edged up by only 7,000 as the working-age population grew by 30,000. In response to this job shortage, 17,000 Canadians dropped out of the labour force. Canada’s economy is not generating nearly enough jobs to keep pace with the number of available workers. The good news is […]

GDP: Petro-Rebound Conceals Underlying Problems

The main story in today’s GDP numbers is that the oil, gas and mining industries rebounded sharply in April after being hobbled by temporary maintenance and production difficulties in February and March. While the upswing in fossil-fuel and mineral extraction was large enough to boost the overall economy, other key sectors showed signs of weakness. […]

Agreeing with Hoback’s Headline

I have the following letter in today’s Prince Albert Daily Herald (page 4): Reinvest Resource Wealth in Saskatchewan To the editor: I strongly agree with the title of MP Randy Hoback’s letter: “Siphoning money out of the west is wrong” (June 9). My proposal is to keep more money in Saskatchewan by collecting more provincial […]

EI: More Workers Fall Through the Cracks

Statistics Canada reported today that the number of Canadians receiving Employment Insurance (EI) dropped by 29,000 in April. Meanwhile, the Labour Force Survey indicates that unemployment rose by 14,000 in April (and by a further 8,000 in May). The combination of falling EI coverage and rising unemployment means that tens of thousands more jobless workers are […]

Debating Hoback on Resource Royalties

Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback began last week’s inquisition by objecting to my recent op-ed in The Saskatoon StarPheonix on the “Dutch disease” debate between Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair. He then interrupted to question my NDP affiliation. As indicated in today’s Prince Albert Daily Herald (page A4), I would […]

Labour Market Stalls

Canada’s job market stalled in May. Employment edged up by 7,700, almost all of it part-time. In fact, the number of employees paid by Canadian employers fell by 15,600. Total “employment” rose only because 23,300 more Canadians reported themselves as self-employed. Over the past year, employment has grown slightly less than the labour force, leaving […]

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 […]

Debating Boyd on Resource Royalties

Saskatchewan’s Minister of Energy and Resources replied to my op-ed and letter on Dutch disease and resource royalties. On Friday, he was promoted to Minister of Everything. Columnist Murray Mandryk wrote, “Given the amount of power Bill Boyd now has in his super-economy portfolio, he may be one fluffy Persian cat and remote desert island […]

Shrinking EI

Statistics Canada reported today that 2,500 fewer Canadians received Employment Insurance (EI) benefits in March. In total, only 549,400 out of 1,356,200 officially unemployed workers got benefits. The context for proposals to clamp down on EI is that only 40% of unemployed Canadians currently receive benefits. The Harper government wants to exclude even more jobless workers […]

Duel of the Saskatchewan Expatriates

Last week, I had the following letter in The Globe and Mail: Oil sands royalties The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers’ most recent Statistical Handbook indicates that, in 2010, this industry sold $101-billion of oil and gas but paid only $12-billion in resource royalties. Even Senator Pamela Wallin’s higher figure of $22-billion (Oil Sands’ Benefits […]

Inflation On Target; Exchange Rate Off Target

Today, Statistics Canada reported an annual inflation rate of 2%, precisely in line with the Bank of Canada’s target. With inflation under control and renewed risks to the global economy, there is little rationale for the central bank to raise interest rates anytime soon. In fact, the Bank of Canada should now be more concerned […]

IRPP: No Denial of Dutch Disease

Canadian Press writes, “Mr. Mulcair’s analysis of what ails Canada’s economy is contradicted by a new independent study produced by the Institute for Research on Public Policy.” Really? What does the study conclude? As quoted by Canadian Press, “On balance, the evidence indicates that Canada suffers from a mild case of the Dutch disease, which […]