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Archive for 'public infrastructure'

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 […]

Foundations for an Alberta Alternative Budget

An Alberta-based volunteer working group, of which I’m a part, recently released a document titled Foundations for an Alberta Alternative Budget (for media coverage, see this Metro article).  Working group members include staff from Alberta’s non-profit sector, labour movement and advocacy sector. While our long-term goal is to emulate the great work of the Alternative […]

Five emerging trends in affordable housing and homelessness

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Five emerging trends in affordable housing and homelessness.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -The Trudeau government has spent impressive amounts of money on affordable housing and homelessness.  This is time-limited money though. -There is currently […]

Public Policy and Homelessness: The Case of Calgary

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Public Policy and Homelessness:  The Case of Calgary.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Calgary experienced explosive growth in the size of its homeless population from the mid-1990s until 2008. -Though causation is hard to establish, […]

The Federal Role in Poverty Reduction

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’m co-author of a blog post titled “The Federal Role in Poverty Reduction.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development has been tasked to lead the development of a Canada Poverty Reduction Strategy. -Total public […]

Social Housing in BC, AB and QC (1975-2015)

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation is a transcript of a recent discussion I had with Dr. Maroine Bendaoud. His recently-defended PhD thesis looks at social housing in BC, Alberta and Quebec from 1975 until 2015. Points raised in his thesis include he following: -After Canada’s federal government stopped funding new […]

Do Calgary and Edmonton need more power and resources?

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Do Calgary and Edmonton need more power and resources?” The blog post comes as the Government of Alberta considers the possibility of, well, giving more power and sources to both Calgary and Edmonton. Points raised in the blog post […]

How not to fund infrastructure

Recycling is supposed to be a good thing, so when the federal Liberals quietly announced that “asset recycling” would be part of their strategy for meeting their much-ballyhooed infrastructure promises, not many eyebrows were raised. They should have been. Asset recycling is an obscure code word for selling our public goods for private profit. It’s […]

Ten Things to Know About the Challenges of Ending Homelessness in Canada

On November 18, I gave a presentation on “ending homelessness” at the 7 Cities Leadership Summit in Edmonton. My PowerPoint slides can be downloaded here. Here are ten things to know about “ending homelessness” in Canada: 1. In 2008, Calgary became the first Canadian municipality to publicly commit to “ending homelessness.” More than a dozen […]

New Study on Positive Economic Impacts of Public Infrastructure Investment in Canada

A five-year $50-billion public infrastructure spending initiative would generate a return on investment to Canadians over the long term as high as $3.83 per dollar spent, trigger significant private sector investment and stimulate wage increases, according to a new study by an independent economic modelling firm. The Economic Benefits of Public Infrastructure Spending in Canada, […]

January Job Gain Part-time, Self-employment

As usual, the monthly Labour Force Survey numbers headline seems to tell a different story than the underlying numbers. According to the LFS, Canada added 35,000 jobs in January. A statistically significant number of jobs, hurray! But wait. Those were all part time jobs. We lost 10,000 full time jobs, and added 47,000 part-time jobs. […]

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 […]

Bank of Canada, Exports, and LMI

Much has been made about Stephen Poloz’s decision to abandon ‘forward guidance’ in Bank of Canada rate setting announcements for the time being. Critics bemoan the loss of direction from the Bank. But Poloz’s comments yesterday were chock full of guidance on how the Bank sees Canada’s economic situation. Having been disappointed by the failure […]

More on Secular Stagnation

Here is the link to a piece I wrote for the Globe on line this week re an interesting new eBook on secular stagnation.  I am struck by the fact that several eminently mainstream economists, mainly in the US but also Blanchard at the IMF,  see a need for public investment to drive growth, given […]

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 […]

Affordable Housing and Homelesness

This morning I gave a presentation to a church group in Ottawa on affordable housing and homelessness.  My slides can be downloaded here. Points I raised in the presentation include the following: -Though government provides subsidies to some low-income households for housing, it is important to be mindful of the considerable funding available for Canadian […]

Canada Post’s vow to ‘protect taxpayers’ needs a reality check

This piece was first published in the Globe & Mail. In a move that caught everyone off-guard, Canada Post announced a five point “action plan” last week that included phasing-out home delivery of the mail over the next five years, making Canada the only G7 nation to do so. Why? To “protect taxpayers.” Of all the reasons that merit […]

What’s the real risk and cost for Regina’s wastewater P3?

The City of Regina is engaged in a controversial debate about a proposed public private partnership (P3) for the city’s wastewater plant. Residents formed a Regina Water Watch group to keep the facility public.  They collected enough names to take the issue to a municipal referendum on September 25th, despite attempts by the city to […]

A Weak Week for Canada’s Economy

On Tuesday, Statistics Canada reported that job vacancies have fallen to the lowest level recorded since it began collecting these figures two years ago. On Wednesday, the Bank of Canada projected growth of just 1.5% for this year. On Thursday, Statistics Canada reported that the number of Canadians receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits edged down in […]

Gender Wage Gap hurts Economic Growth

BREAKING NEWS: Women are paid less than men across OECD (read: rich) countries. OK, it’s not breaking news.  Not even close.  In Canada the ‘Female to Male earnings ratio’ has hovered around the 70% mark for the past 20 years.  And for women with university degrees, the ratio peaked in the early 1990’s, and has […]

Marc’s Letter from 2040

The following comes from a short talk on a vision for a zero-carbon BC that I gave at a couple events this Fall. Many have asked for the text so I’ve posted it here, and we may try and turn it into a video. That said, I have been reluctant to do so up to […]

Fewer Unemployed Eligible for Benefits

The annual Employment Insurance Coverage Survey is out, here.  The rate of eligibility for regular benefits from Employment Insurance is the lowest since 2003, the earliest year that there is comparable data. To qualify, a person must have worked in the past 12 months and contributed to Employment Insurance, they must have left their job for a […]

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 […]

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 […]

Investing in the Green & White – Why Not in Green Power?

At yesterday’s Saskatchewan Roughrider game, Premier Wall announced provincial funding for a new stadium: an $80-million grant and a $100-million loan to be repaid over time through a surcharge on tickets. While it’s unclear why a stadium should be anywhere near the top of the priority list, a readiness to invest in public infrastructure is […]

Clean electricity, conservation and a zero-carbon future

Today we released a new Climate Justice Project report, Clean Electricity, Conservation and Climate Justice in BC: Meeting our energy needs in a zero-carbon future, co-authored by John Calvert and myself. The report is central to the vision we have been developing of a zero-carbon BC, with a focus on the need to transition off […]

A Green Industrial Revolution

Today the CCPA released a new big picture report by myself and student researcher Amanda Card calling for a Green Industrial Revolution. The report builds on work done for the BC-focused Climate Justice Project, bringing to bear a national analysis of green and not-so-green jobs. We take a close look at GHG emissions and employment […]

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 […]

Record Low Interest Rates Mean Governments Can Save By Borrowing More

Today’s record low interest rates on long term Canadian government bonds present a fantastic opportunity to save money by borrowing more. Back last December I wrote a post pointing out that the federal government could and should be much more aggressive in locking in low interest rates by shifting new borrowing to long term bonds […]

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 […]