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  • Report looks at captured nature of BC’s Oil and Gas Commission August 6, 2019
    From an early stage, BC’s Oil and Gas Commission bore the hallmarks of a captured regulator. The very industry that the Commission was formed to regulate had a significant hand in its creation and, too often, the interests of the industry it regulates take precedence over the public interest. This report looks at the evolution […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Correcting the Record July 26, 2019
    Earlier this week Kris Sims and Franco Terrazzano of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation wrote an opinion piece that was published in the Calgary Sun, Edmonton Sun, Winnipeg Sun, Ottawa Sun and Toronto Sun. The opinion piece makes several false claims and connections regarding the Corporate Mapping Project (CMP), which we would like to correct. The […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Rental Wage in Canada July 18, 2019
    Our new report maps rental affordability in neighbourhoods across Canada by calculating the “rental wage,” which is the hourly wage needed to afford an average apartment without spending more than 30% of one’s earnings.  Across all of Canada, the average wage needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment is $22.40/h, or $20.20/h for an average one […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada July 9, 2019
    CCPA senior economist David Macdonald co-authored a new report, Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada­—released by Upstream Institute in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)—tracks child poverty rates using Census 2006, the 2011 National Household Survey and Census 2016. The report is available for […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Fossil-Power Top 50 launched July 3, 2019
    What do Suncor, Encana, the Royal Bank of Canada, the Fraser Institute and 46 other companies and organizations have in common? They are among the entities that make up the most influential fossil fuel industry players in Canada. Today, the Corporate Mapping Project (CMP) is drawing attention to these powerful corporations and organizations with the […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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Archive for 'privatization'

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 […]

How Large is the Public Sector?

Murray Dobbin recently reminded me of and forwarded a very old article by David Robertson from the 1980s, published in the CUPE journal the Facts, which laid out some numbers on the scale and importance of the public sector vis a vis the whole economy. In search of comparable information, I explored StatsCan’s input- output […]

Milton and the Meltdown in Iceland

I was intrigued by what is happening in Iceland, so the following is a piece I’ve written on it.  It has some introductory macro-economics in it, which I think it is good to keep in perspective as we consider the frantic attempts being made to prevent an economic depression. The economic and financial collapse of 2008 […]

Labour’s Agenda I commend to your attention the policy papers which will be presented for discussion and debate at the CLC Convention, which convenes the week after next in Toronto.  Progressive economists  Mike McCracken and Armine Yalnizyan will help kick-off discussion on the Good Jobs and Growing Gap papers respectively. Though neither they nor the progressive […]

Municipal police as a locus for PPP’s?

While reading a recent issue of l’Aut’ Journal, I came accross a story claiming that the Montréal municipal police offers privately some of its services (e.g. bodyguards). Well, a rapid visit on the website of the municipal police verified that claim. In fact, there is a whole brochure on the site which details all the […]

Michael Moore, the CMA and directions for Canadian health care

I just watched Sicko for the second time last night. The catastrophe that is US health care is a clear demonstration that universal, public health insurance works a whole lot better that a system based on for-profit private insurance companies. So, I was thinking about the Canadian system in comparison with Europe, and wondering why […]

Why is Harper privatizing federal office towers?

Public Service Alliance of Canada President John Gordon wonders what the feds are up to by selling buildings they own so that they can become tenants. This policy sounds a lot like P3s, where new infrastructure is built, owned and run by the private sector, who act as a landlord to the government using the […]

Liberal Tory Same Old Story

Former Conservative Garth Turner’s decision to join the Liberal caucus is one of several recent news items that highlight the extensive similarity between these two parties on economic policy. 1.) In response to the Conservative proposal to require that all interest savings from debt repayment be devoted to tax cuts, the former Liberal Finance Minister […]

Happy 60th birthday, CMHC! You’re fired.

Today’s Globe has a story that the feds are contemplating the privatization of CMHC. Let me get this straight. With the run-up in real estate prices, housing affordability is perhaps as bad as it has ever been. In recent years, CMHC has pulled away from supporting the creation of new affordable housing (although it does […]

ILO Study on Impacts of Liberalization of Public Services

Winners or Losers? Liberalizing Public Services Edited by Ellen Rosskam International Labour Office, Geneva 2006 New state of the art review, available upon request by emailing your name/address to: Approx. 400 pages. Free of Charge. Available from ILO Geneva Public services are being liberalized world wide, opened to foreign service providers, often turned into […]

Walkom puts Brian Day under the knife

Thomas Walkom peers more closely at the dubious arguments of Dr. Brian Day, the private health care guru on the verge of heading the Canadian Medical Association.   I went off to hear Brian Day again this week. … As always, Day was roguishly charming. A veteran of Vancouver’s scrappy media culture, he rarely bothers […]