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 of Canada’s export sector to […]

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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 the fact that loose monetary […]

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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 homeowners as well (including for […]

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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 discussion as to whether letter […]

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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 disallow signatures on spurious grounds.   […]

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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 February. Meanwhile, the Labour Force […]

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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 been below 70% for 13 […]

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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 now because it was intended […]

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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 valid reason (layoff is valid, […]

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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 names of local philanthropists. But […]

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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 Index. However, there is little […]

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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 positive. The province could generate […]

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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 by industry category, and show […]

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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 warrants a commensurate policy response.” […]

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Federal Job Cuts…the Real Numbers

Andrew Jackson has started off this discussion with his post today looking at the job impacts of federal cuts.  I wanted to add my own two sense and some calculations that I’ve whipped up. Thankfully the federal budget has started to fill in some of the details of its latest round of cuts.  In particular, it now estimates 19,200 positions lost […]

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The Universal Student Transit Pass

I have an opinion piece out on the City of Ottawa’s universal, student transit pass–also known as “the U-Pass.” Points raised in the op-ed include the following: -U-Pass programs exist for roughly 30 universities and colleges across Canada. -For a U-Pass program to be introduced, students typically must vote in favour of the program in student referenda. -When there is a […]

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Federal Post-Secondary Education Act

Last month, the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) released a document entitled Public Education for the Public Good:  A National Vision for Canada’s Post-Secondary Education System. I found the document to be quite informative, filled with a lot of useful statistics.  For example: -Enrolment is rising in colleges and universities across Canada. Since the late 1990s, full-time enrolment has increased by 25%. Enrolment in […]

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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 […]

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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 to private sector actors being […]

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The Political Economy of Birding

My recent post on public sector pay elicited a lot of comments, including a fair few based on the right-wing premise that the public sector is an unproductive burden on the private sector. I have always found this ascription of productivity to the public and private sectors to be deeply misleading in that it conceals the profound interdependence and interpenetration […]

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Laying pipe in Canada

It has been fascinating to watch the growing public reaction to the full-court press from Canada’s Big Pipe companies (aka, the telcos and cablecos) for usage-based billing (internet metering). The CRTC has played a corporatist role that has largely been compliant with the demands of industry. Even in the midst of the turning political tide, the CRTC seems more interested […]

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“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 money.” According to the article, […]

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Are Canadians Paying Too Much in Taxes?

It’s tax season and people are looking more closely at their incomes and the amount of taxes they pay. The Fraser Institute released their annual Consumer Tax Index report yesterday, claiming that the total tax bill of the average Canadian family now takes up 41.7% of their income. This seems like a big number, which they use to suggest that […]

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Canada’s Dirty Old Deal

Last week the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) published an update for the G20 Summit on its call from earlier this year for a Global Green New Deal.  This update showed that Canada is close to the bottom in the stimulus funds it is committing to green economic areas. According to the UNEP, only 8% of Canada’s stimulus spending is […]

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Is the stimulus killing the P3 model?

While BC has not formally abandoned the P3 model, there is a notable absence of new P3 announcements at a time when billions of dollars are being channeled to infrastructure spending. If P3s really provided value for money and brought the benefits of private sector efficiency and innovation to the delivery of public-sector infrastructure, then why aren’t we seeing more […]

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