The Public Sector Recession

Most regular folks and media pundits seem to assume that the public sector is recession-proof – hence all those nasty calls for wage freezes, cuts and pension rollbacks on the part of supposedly cosseted government workers from the CFIB and other right-wingers. In point of fact, it’s a myth. Since October, 2008 – when employment began to fall – through […]

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Blogging the West

No, the West is not Alberta as everyone in Ontario seems to think (I’m from Toronto so I can say that). I mean BC, where an election is on in two months. You would not really know it walking around Vancouver, probably because the writ has not yet dropped, so we are in the calm before the storm. I’ve been […]

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Public Investment to the Rescue

The main message in Statistics Canada’s release of 2009 investment intentions is that modestly higher public investment will partly offset sharply lower private investment. The glass-half-full perspective is that things would look far worse without the increase in public investment. The glass-half-empty perspective is that this increase will not be nearly enough to fully offset the loss of private investment. […]

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CanWest takes on P3s

The existing pot of infrastructure money offered up by the feds in last year’s federal budget has been criticized for being contingent on a P3 model, aka public private partnership, where design, build and subsequent operation of infrastructure was undertaken by the private sector, and leased back to the public sector over the lifetime of the asset. P3s have been […]

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Public-Private Partnerships and the Budget

It’s noteworthy that the week before a budget that will supposedly accelerate infrastructure spending, the Finance Minister is announcing new management for PPP Canada. Budget 2007 dictated that provinces and municipalities seeking federal infrastructure funding “be required to demonstrate that the option of undertaking the project as a public-private partnership has been fully considered.” As I have pointed out, given the […]

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Public Infrastructure and Productivity

A well-timed release from StatsCan today that speaks for itself in terms of relevance to the current Budget debate: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/090114/dq090114a-eng.htm “Between 1962 and 2006, roughly one-half of the total growth in multifactor productivity in the private sector was the result of growth in public infrastructure. Public capital (the nation’s roads, bridges, sewer systems and water treatment systems) constitutes a vital input for […]

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