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 the Canadian Centre for Policy […]

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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 social housing units in the […]

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PEF Events in Montreal

As Erin alludes to in an earlier post, the PEF organized events at this year’s Annual Conference of the Canadian Economics Association (CEA) in Montreal (May 30 – June 2). All told, the PEF organized (or co-organized) eight panels/sessions, in addition to holding its annual general meeting, announcing the winners of our annual student essay contest (whose names and papers […]

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PEF Keynote: Neoliberalism in Quebec

The PEF marked our 15th anniversary at last weekend’s Canadian Economics Association conference in Montreal. Guillaume Hébert from the Institut de Recherche et d’Informations Socio-économiques (IRIS) delivered the following keynote address in French. Thanks very much to Mathieu Dufour for translating it into English. **** Thank you very much for inviting me to give this keynote address. I am honoured. […]

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Earnings Up, But Employment Down

Today’s payroll figures indicate that, while average weekly earnings rose, the number of employees on Canadian payrolls declined by 22,100 in March. This decline was concentrated in Quebec, where payroll employment fell by 20,900. Ontario also suffered a decline of 9,200, which was partly offset by gains of 3,300 in Manitoba and 1,900 in Nova Scotia as well as smaller […]

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PEF Events at Annual Conference of the CEA

For the 15th consecutive year, the Progressive Economics Forum (PEF) is sponsoring its own events at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Economics Association (CEA).  This year’s Annual Conference of the CEA is taking place at HEC Montréal. PEF events will take place in the May 31 – June 2 period.  All information pertaining to PEF events can be found […]

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Pushback on EI Changes

It has been a week and a half since changes to the definition of suitable employment and reasonable job search have come into effect.  Already, a single mom in Prince Edward Island, Marlene Giersdorf,  has become a symbol of the hardship these changes are likely to have on many Canadians in the coming months. When she refused to expand her job […]

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The PQ budget

On Tuesday, November 20th, the Parti Québécois released its first budget since taking office. This budget was widely anticipated in view of the many fiscal promises the PQ had made during the campaign, most of which where fairly progressive in nature. In the end, the exercise was (aptly) described by Marc Van Audenrode, who followed the proceedings and interviewed with […]

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Pour en finir avec la dette…

The previous post reflects a general mood about the Québec election and its perennial debates, constitutional and otherwise. Nonetheless, for all the talk about Québec’s specificity, many economic discussions bear striking resemblance to what is happening in the rest of North America. Worry about the public debt is one of them, one that has taken centre stage, amidst speculations of […]

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Elections and the yearning for change

Watching the election campaign unfold in a province where the [empty] slogan of change manages to obscure most of the spring street action, I was reminded of Tommy Douglas’ nice rendering of Mouseland. It seemed like an appropriate response to the sad series of three bilateral debates between the three main contenders. (Interestingly, Québec Solidaire is made to play a […]

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Poverty in Yukon

Last week I was in Whitehorse where I released a peer-reviewed policy report on poverty in Yukon. The report was part of the much larger Social Economy Research Network of Northern Canada project. Report findings include the following: -Ignoring poverty can be quite costly, as has been clearly demonstrated by research on the ‘costs of poverty’ done by economist Nathan […]

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Austerity can be fought !

Asked by an anglophone journalist what the Québec students struggle means for the ROC, this is what I had to say. http://cutvmontreal.ca/videos/1102 I’m was among a varied group of people who published a declaration tuesday, on May day, in support of the student movement. One of the main themes of our message was to link the conflict around tuition fees […]

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Quebec Students: “Faire Leur Juste Part”

Simon Tremblay-Pepin, an emerging social policy scholar, has recently blogged here (in French) about Quebec tuition fees. He points out that, when one adjusts for inflation, Quebec tuition fees are headed into uncharted territory. Indeed, contrary to some recent spin from the Charest government, Tremblay-Pepin makes two important observations: 1. When one takes an average of Quebec tuition fees over […]

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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 Mayday. Curb Immigration. Stop Multiculturalism […]

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Rex Murphy’s Naive Take on the Quebec Student Protests

On CBC’s The National last night, Rex Murphy weighed in on Quebec’s student protests; the transcript can be found here,  and the three-minute video here.  He calls the protests “short sighted,” points out that Quebec already has the lowest tuition fees in Canada, and suggests the students’ actions are “crude attempts at precipitating a crisis.” He says they are the “actions […]

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Lockouts Almost Derail GDP Growth

Statistics Canada reported today that economic growth dropped to a bare 0.1% in January. The New Year began with Rio Tinto locking out former Alcan employees at Alma, Quebec, and Caterpillar locking out former Electro Motive employees at London, Ontario. Closing these major facilities contributed to cutting growth in durable-goods manufacturing from 1.5% in December to 0.8% in January, its […]

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Inflation Central

Statistics Canada reported today that consumer prices edged up by 0.1% in February on a seasonally-adjusted basis, bringing the annual inflation rate to 2.6% and the core inflation rate to 2.3%. These rates are within the Bank of Canada’s target range and should allow it to keep interest rates low, which would be appropriate given Canada’s stalled labour market. The […]

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The Affordability of Post-Secondary Education

Carleton University’s Ted Jackson teaches a graduate seminar course on post-secondary education in Carleton’s School of Public Policy and Administration. Earlier this month, I was invited to give a guest presentation to Professor Jackson’s class. I focused the presentation on affordability challenges faced by students wanting to pursue post-secondary education. My slide presentation can be found here. Nick FalvoNick Falvo […]

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Concordia Decides That Less Is More

In August, I blogged about controversy surrounding Concordia University’s Board of Governors. A report co-authored by Bernard J. Shapiro (Canada’s first Ethics Commissioner) had concluded that an unofficial, inner circle of Board members had been micromanaging some of the university’s day-to-day operations, and undermining the President. This had apparently prompted the resignation of the previous two Presidents before the midway points of their respective terms in office. It […]

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Quebec Tuition Fees

In light of plans by the Charest government to increase tuition fees in Quebec by 75 percent over the next five years, Eric Martin and Simon Tremblay-Pepin have written a recent article on Quebec tuition fees. The article points out the following: -Though tuition fees in Quebec have been lower than in most other parts of Canada, this has come with […]

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Tuition Has Increased 41% Since 1998

A recent cbc.ca article reports on plans by Quebec student groups to protest  planned tuition hikes by the Charest government. Over a five-year period, Quebec’s Liberal government plans to increase tuition by roughly 75 percent. The article notes that tuition levels in Quebec are currently among the lowest in Canada. But as I’ve blogged about here, living conditions for many […]

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Concordia’s “Culture of Contempt”

In June of this year, a report was released on governance at Concordia University. Entitled Strengthening Governance at Concordia: A Collective Challenge, the report can be accessed here: www.concordia.ca/vpirsg/documents/EGRC-REPORT.pdf. The 39-page report was written by the External Governance Review Committee, a three-person committee chaired by none other than Bernard J. Shapiro (Canada’s first Ethics Commissioner). The report paints a picture of a […]

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Still Progressive and family friendly: evaluating Québec’s income tax policy

University of Sherbrooke economist and fiscal specialist Luc Godbout with Suzie St-Cerny and Michaël Robert-Angers has just published a timely research paper evaluating the net fiscal impact on households of Québec’s income tax system.Timely because, as discussed here be Armine Yalnizyan recent data from stats can shows that though globally income inequality has risen during the last recession, they have […]

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Scheer Success

Andrew Scheer has been elected House of Commons Speaker. I met him in 2004, when we were federal candidates in adjacent Regina ridings. I was the no-shot NDP candidate against then-Finance Minister Ralph Goodale and he was the long-shot Conservative candidate against veteran NDP MP Lorne Nystrom. At the end of that summer, we were both headed east. I drove […]

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A progressive paradox for Québec and Canada

The mood in the progressive milieu here in Québec seems rather grim this morning. In Québec history we call the twenty year period when anti-union, right wing populist Duplessis ruled, the “Era of the Great Darkness”, and many by email or on social media have spontaneously referred to the upcoming period in an analogous way. Many have adopted the “black […]

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BQ Demise- Not Good

We have a lost a lot with the demise of the Bloc Quebecois as a significant presence in Parliament. Social policy in Quebec has been more progressive than elsewhere in Canada for a long time. This is particularly important for policy related to women’s rights, including labour and social policy that allow women’s full participation in society. This strong progressive […]

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Blaming the Victims: Quebec Students

Last month, I blogged about a major new report on the living conditions of Quebec undergraduate students.  The report’s findings include the fact that 50% of full-time undergraduate students in Quebec report living on less $12,200 per year. On the heels of that report’s release comes the news that the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities (CREPUQ), which lobbies on behalf […]

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