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Archive for 'privatization'

The Ontario Auditor’s damning report on P3s

The Ontario Auditor General’s 2014 Report includes a chapter on Infrastructure Ontario’s P3 program that is particularly damning–and corresponds with many of the criticisms made on this blog and elsewhere by myself and others. While the headlines were that P3 projects cost the province an additional $8 billion than if they were procured traditionally, the […]

Rental Housing in Yellowknife

Yesterday I blogged about rental housing in Yellowknife, over at the Northern Public Affairs web site.  Specifically, I blogged about a recent announcement by the city’s largest for-profit landlord that it plans to “tighten” its policies vis-a-vis renting to recipients of “income assistance” (which, in most parts of Canada, is known generically as social assistance).  […]

More on the At Home/Chez Soi Study

Earlier this month, I blogged about the At Home/Chez Soi homelessness study prior to the release of its final report. Today I’ve blogged again, this time about the contents of the final report itself.  This second blog post, being rather long and nuanced, was written for the Homeless Hub.  It can be accessed at this […]

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 […]

Time to Rethink The Way We Fund Higher Education

This September, like every year, a new group of high school graduates headed to college or university to pursue higher education. But today’s generation of students is in for a very different experience from the ones their parents had. On campuses across the country shiny new buildings are popping up, bearing corporate logos or the […]

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 […]

“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 […]

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 […]

When a University Recruits Abroad, Who’s in Charge?

A few years ago, I wrote an opinion piece on “pathway colleges”—i.e. private companies that recruit students from other countries and then ‘bridge’ them into Canadian universities by providing pre-university courses, including English as a Second Language. A recent CBC News article  underlines how perilous such recruitment of post-secondary students from abroad can be, and why it is important […]

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 […]

The Privatization of Social Housing

Last weekend, I spoke on a panel at the Annual Conference of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association.  The panel was inspired in large part by the recent debate in Toronto over Mayor Rob Ford’s attempt to sell social housing units to private buyers.  The panel, entitled “To Privatize or Not to Privatize? That is the question,” included myself, Vince Brescia (President and CEO […]

Tuition Increases by Stealth

On Tuesday night, Peterborough City Council approved a plan for a for-profit corporation to own and operate a new student residence at Trent University.  I’m concerned that this may signal a new trend at Canadian universities; about a year ago, I blogged about a similar plan at the University of Toronto. I am not opposed […]

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 […]

Toronto Community Housing Corporation

I have an opinion piece in today’s Toronto Star regarding the recent controversy surrounding the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC).  In the way of background: -TCHC is Canada’s largest provider of social housing, and Toronto’s largest landlord. -There have been two recent reports by the City of Toronto’s auditor–one looks at staff expenses at TCHC, […]

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Toronto’s new mayor Rob Ford and his brother/advisor Doug just announced they are planning to contract-out garbage collection for half of the City of Toronto as soon as possible as the first step to outsourcing everything we can by next year. According to Doug Ford, this will save the city millions and millions of dollars […]

When CEOs Run Universities

Yesterday’s Globe and Mail features an article on the resignation of Paul Bates as Dean of McMaster’s business school.  I believe the article is instructive in terms of understanding what can happen when private-sector actors are put in senior administrative roles at Canadian univerities According to the article, McMaster hired Mr. Bates in 2004.  Mr. Bates […]

Mandryk on Potash: A Union Hack Responds

Murray Mandryk, CanWest’s seasoned Saskatchewan political columnist, has been writing some pretty sharp columns on potash. In particular, he questions excessively low resource royalties: . . . the messaging from Energy Minister Bill Boyd that his government wouldn’t touch oil royalty rates (even when it was selling at $150 a barrel), and the potash companies […]

The Globe’s Report on Private Schools

If there was truth in news reporting, the Globe’s “report” on private schools (Sept. 14) would be labeled a “special advertising supplement”. It is essentially a cheerleading exercise for private schools, funded by advertising from private schools, so you’ll find no news in this report. Which is too bad because the topic of private schools […]

Potash: The Folly of Privatization

I have the following op-ed in today’s Regina Leader-Post. Below it is a table supporting my statement that “the mines that PCS owned in 1989 still account for 80 per cent of its potash production and capacity.” Privatizing Potash was a Costly Mistake The greatest tragedy in BHP Billiton’s $38.6-billion (U.S.) bid for the Potash […]

The Privacy Issue that Harper Should Focus on – Credit Info

Since Stephen Harper and David Cameron seem to be on the same wavelength, and the UK thinks it can trash census and turn to isources like credit records for its information needs, the story below on privacy, from Alberta, may be of possible interest. Report of an Investigation into the Security, Collection and Retention of […]

“Teaming Up” with the Private Sector

Today’s Globe and Mail features an article about the University of Toronto’s plan to turn “to the private sector to solve their campus housing problems” for students.  In particular, the article refers to a plan whereby the U of T would become “the first university in Canada to erect a large tower offsite with private […]

Supercorp Flop – You Read It Here First

The front page of today’s Globe and Mail (Ontario Edition) proclaims, “Supercorp is dead.” The story goes on to note, “many government insiders have suggested that opponents of a potential deal got too much of a head start on framing the issue.” Indeed, this blog got a head start framing the issue back in December, […]

Running up a Profit, Running down a City

The title for this post borrows from an article by Robert Rowthorn (my old Cambridge professor) and Terry Ward in the 1979 Cambridge Journal of Economics, titled “How to run a company and run down an economy.”  It’s still a classic on the difference between private cost-benefit accounting and social cost-benefit accounting (showing how the […]

Transatlantic Echo Chamber

The big news for Canadians from the OECD’s Going for Growth 2010 report was that we should privatize Canada Post. An article in the current issue of Maclean’s (pages 26 and 27), which does not (yet) seem to be available online, sheds some interesting light on that recommendation: [Yvan Guillemette was] working for the C. D. […]

A Reverse Mortgage on Ontario’s Crown Jewels

I have the following op-ed on page A19 of today’s Toronto Star. It reiterates points made before on this blog. The only substantive difference is that I had previously low-balled the annual profits of Ontario’s Crown corporations at $4 billion. Today’s op-ed assumes $4.3 billion, the amount anticipated for the current fiscal year. That assumption […]

McGuinty’s Super Privatization

The front page of today’s Toronto Star reports, “The Ontario government is looking at creating a publicly held $60 billion ‘super corporation’ of assets such as the Liquor Control Board of Ontario and Hydro One and then selling a minority share to private investors.” It would also include the province’s other major Crown corporations: Ontario […]

Ontario Budget Advice

Last Monday, I testified twice to the Ontario legislature’s finance committee: as an “expert witness” and then on behalf of the United Steelworkers. I emphasized the provincial deficit’s manageability, the folly of trying to reduce it through cutbacks or privatization, the importance of maintaining tax rates to bolster future revenues, and the advantage of targeted […]

Great Minds Drink Alike

Nine days ago, I posted some back-of-envelope math on the proposal to privatize the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). Specifically, I noted that keeping its annual profit of $1.4 billion would be worth more than the estimated sale price of $10 billion, which would reduce provincial debt charges by no more than $0.5 billion […]

National Post Blasts Privatization

While The National Post typically supports privatization, today’s lead editorial correctly characterizes Premier McGuinty’s recent musings as “a desperate government trying to unload assets during a down market.” The following paragraphs note the extreme difficulty in getting anything approaching fair value for the sale of huge, complex assets like electric power systems and the folly […]

Selling the Family Silver

As reported on the front page of yesterday’s Globe and Mail, the McGuinty government’s “deficit reduction” strategy involves not only cutting taxes, but also divesting revenue-generating assets. Today’s Globe comment page features three sassy letters on the contemplated privatization. But the editorial strikes a seemingly pragmatic tone, arguing that the Ontario government should sell “if […]