The Alternative Federal Budget 2017

This year’s Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) was released on March 9. I was proud to be the primary author of its housing chapter (that chapter is available in English here and in French here). The first AFB exercise began in 1994, with the first AFB being published in 1995. That involved a joint effort between the Canadian Centre for Policy […]

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Affordable Housing in the Yukon

Earlier today, over at the Northern Public Affairs web site, I blogged about a recent (and controversial) decision made by the Yukon government about affordable housing in the Yukon.  Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Very little affordable housing gets built in Canada without federal assistance. -Without financial assistance from senior levels of government, for-profit developers in […]

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Why Is Tom Mulcair Opposed to Tax Increases?

A recent online article suggests that Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is opposed to increasing federal tax rates. I find this quite surprising. According to the August 8 article: Mulcair seemed surprised when he was asked if taxes would go up under an NDP government. “You’re the first person who’s ever asked me that,” he said, adding quickly that they […]

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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 by the federal government (as […]

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The Political Roots of Inequality

 Last Thursday I was at an event on the issue of rising income inequality, sponsored by Canada 2020. It featured one of the authors of the recent OECD report on inequality, who highlighted the “skills biased technological change or SBT ” hypothesis so favoured by mainstream economists who desperately avoid discussion of inequality as a political as well as economic […]

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Don’t let dubious political tactics turn us off politics

Here’s a guest post from Ben Gillies, a political economy grad from the University of Manitoba. Canadians Must Not Let Dubious Political Tactics Turn Us Off Politics Altogether By Benjamin Gillies Last week, the Conservatives admitted their party was behind a rash of phone calls to Liberal Irwin Cotler’s federal riding in Montreal, in which constituents were apparently informed of […]

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The Ontario NDP Platform

Pollsters tell us that Ontario’s New Democrats may double their seat total in next month’s provincial election. It’s also entirely conceivable that they could be part of a coalition government at Queen’s Park. But what’s actually in the party’s election platform? One central feature of the NDP’s proposals is to implement a tax credit for companies that hire new workers. The tax credits would be valued at […]

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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 place in Newfoundland and Labrador on […]

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Jack Layton and the Politics of Anger

My wife and I (and our dog Charlie) attended Jack Layton’s memorial service in downtown Toronto yesterday along with thousands of other mourners. It was a moving, emotional, soulful and remarkable ceremony, a testament to a fabulous human being’s honourable political legacy and his fundamental decency as a person. It’s tragic that just when Jack was in a position to […]

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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 Liberal proposal to raise revenue […]

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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 Progressive Economics Forum, John is […]

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Coalitions and the Economy

(I have also posted this to the new CCPA election blog which plans to run fairly short non technical pieces over the next month.)   Harper’s key framing argument is that a stable majority is needed to maintain an economic recovery which would be derailed by a coalition. I find this more than a little ironic. Canada has indeed had […]

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Is Social Democracy Dying? – Part 1

Rob Ford, a belligerent right-wing serial liar with a proclivity for infantile temper tantrums and drunkenness, was elected mayor of Toronto this past week. Handily. This was after seven years of competent and scandal-free leadership by an NDP mayor, David Miller. The man Miller endorsed to replace him was a long-time NDP councilor renowned for his decency and sterling public […]

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There is more to good economic policy than protecting the interests of employers

But you wouldn’t know it if you listened to the message that the BC Liberals have been sending in this provincial election campaign. Instead of discussing the merits of his party’s proposed economic recovery policy, the incumbent Premier prefers to tell British Columbians that responsible economic stewardship involves keeping the business sector happy and anything that goes against the interests […]

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The Ascent of Reform-man

Andrew Coyne blogs a summary of how the Conservatives have abandoned their principles to get and stay in power. Of course, Coyne views this sell-out with derision; I see it with a smile and great thanks, but with concern that they will rediscover those lost “principles” should a majority somehow be achieved. Despite the perspective it reads as a nice […]

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Economic Crisis and Coalition

Canadian Labour Congress Statement Why We Need a Coalition Government to Deal with the Economic Crisis. The Economic and Fiscal Update released by Finance Minister Flaherty on November 27, 2008 demonstrates that the Conservative government has no intention of seriously dealing with the global economic crisis and the prospect of fast rising unemployment. The recent G-20 Summit meeting called on […]

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Uniting the Left

There’s a lot of talk on the net and in the media right about how to “unite the left” post election, with Murray Dobbin, many folks at rabble.ca and a few others talking about the need for an immediate coalition of the opposition parties to defeat the Conservatives. The project of some immediate union of the supposed left of centre […]

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