MEDIA RELEASE: Alberta should increase social spending; cuts are not the way to go

(June 24, 2019-Calgary) With Alberta’s economy still facing challenges and vulnerabilities, the Alberta government should not be doling out tax cuts or cutting social spending, according to the Alberta Alternative Budget (AAB) released today. “Alberta still has, by far, the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio of any province,” says Nick Falvo, editor of the report. “We are in a good position to […]

Read more

What Impact will the 2019 Federal Budget have on Canada’s Housing Market?

I’ve written a blog post about what the recent federal budget means for Canada’s housing market. Points I make in the blog post include the following: -The budget contains several initiatives designed to make it easier for households of modest means to become homeowners. -Such initiatives are often framed as being win-win propositions, while their unintended consequences are rarely discussed. […]

Read more

Ontario Electricity VII – Committee Testimony

The PC Government in Ontario has introduced Bill 87 which would eliminate the rate-based borrowing to subsidize electricity prices and replace it with Government borrowing. Last week’s Provincial Budget estimates that the required borrowing to subsidize electricity prices for 2018/19 was $2.8 billion. It is likely to exceed $3 billion in 2019/20. Ontario is the only jurisdiction in North America […]

Read more

Ontario Electricity Sector V – What they knew, and when they knew it…

Last month I published a full-length article in the “The Monitor” magazine providing a “how we got here” analysis of the Ontario electricity sector and some options for the next Government.  Since then, two things have changed: first on May 31 two investigative journalists, Carolyn Jarvis and Brian Hill, wrote an excellent story for Global News about how successive Liberal […]

Read more

Ontario’s Electricity Sector IV: Pre-Election Update

My first, second and third posts on the Ontario electricity sector described how policy and administrative decisions by different Liberal Governments gave rise to excess electricity generation with an inflated cost structure, leading to higher electricity prices. In anticipation of June 2018 elections, the Liberal Government recently implemented a costly and first-in-Canada financial scheme to fund its “Fair Hydro Plan” […]

Read more

Ontario’s Electricity Sector III: Legislative & Finance Update

My January and April posts on the Ontario electricity sector described how decisions by different Ontario governments gave rise to excess electricity generation with an inflated cost structure, leading to higher electricity prices. Here I discuss the latest development, the Liberal Government of Ontario’s proposed financial framework for its “Fair Hydro Plan” (FHP). In election mode, the Government tabled Bill […]

Read more

Program Evaluation

I’ve just blogged about program evaluation and the way it’s used where I work—namely, at the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF). The blog post serves as a primer on program evaluation. It also discusses how CHF measures performance by programs that it funds (CHF disburses $42 million annually to programs in Calgary’s homeless-serving sector). The blog post can be found at […]

Read more

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 Federal Budget, this year’s effort […]

Read more

Central Agencies in Canada

Do you ever lie awake wondering what it is that Finance Canada, the Privy Council Office and Treasury Board Secretariat actually do?  Well, wonder no more my friends!  Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Ten things to know about central agencies in Canada.” Here’s the link to the post.   […]

Read more

The Novel Observations of Jean Tirole?

French economist Jean Tirole has won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on industrial organization and regulation, in particular his insights into oligopolies.  “Who is Jean Tirole?,  many non-economists and some economists are asking today.  The MIT-educated, Toulouse-based professor is a key figure in the New Industrial Organization (IO) movement.  The movement, with its roots in the […]

Read more

Rental Housing in Yellowknife

Yesterday I blogged about rental housing in Yellowknife, over at the Northern Public Affairs web site.  Specifically, I blogged about a recent announcement by the city’s largest for-profit landlord that it plans to “tighten” its policies vis-a-vis renting to recipients of “income assistance” (which, in most parts of Canada, is known generically as social assistance).  Among other things, I suggest […]

Read more

Glass-House Mortgages

A letter appears in today’s Globe and Mail in response to recent direction given by Minister Flaherty to private mortgage lenders over mortgage rates.  The letter was written by Steve Pomeroy, one of Canada’s leading housing policy experts. Here is the full text of the letter: – Glass-house mortgages Twice in recent weeks, the Minister of Finance has chastised Canada’s […]

Read more

Canada’s Emissions Deception

The federal government released an updated Canada’s Emission Trends 2012 report today. In a remarkable shift in federal rhetoric just this past week, the Harperites now appear to be more sensitive to concerns about the Enbridge pipeline and climate change more generally. But appearances can be deceiving and there is good reason to believe the current charm offensive is just a […]

Read more

Mining in the NWT: Who Gets What?

In a recent blog post at Northern Public Affairs, Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox looks at the issue of ‘who gets what?’ when a mine is developed in the Northwest Territories (NWT). Here is an excerpt from the post: – The resource extractor: they pay royalties (the NWT has the lowest royalties in the world), and costs of production, then sell the resource […]

Read more

Deregulation: A Bad Idea Crosses the Atlantic

The Harper government announced today that federal “regulators will be required to remove at least one regulation each time they introduce a new one that imposes administrative burden on business.” At the risk of imposing a proofreading burden on communications staff, that sentence is missing the word “an.” I first heard this idea at a meeting of the OECD’s Regulatory […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

Might the proposed new federal securities regulator weaken regulatory oversight?

The front page of today’s Globe and Mail reports the latest chapter in the federal attempt to create a national securities regulator. (Premiers push back against national securities regulator plan).   Part of the Harper government’s response to the financial crisis was to promise to remedy the patchwork of provincial securities regulators.  If securities regulators are going to avert future […]

Read more

Bank Economist Proposes Higher Tuition Fees

A globeandmail.com article posted last night discusses a recent report on post-secondary education in Nova Scotia.  The report itself, released yesterday, was written by BMO’s former Chief Economist, Tim O’Neill.  According to the article, O’Neill’s report calls for “complete deregulation of tuition fees” in Nova Scotia.  Moreover: He believes that higher tuitions are more equitable because they force students, who are disproportionately […]

Read more

Debating Interprovincial Trade

Over at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Robert Knox has tried to rebut my rebuttal of his C. D. Howe Institute paper. (I am still waiting for a rebuttal of my rebuttal of his more recent Macdonald-Laurier Institute paper.) Knox’s post sheds light on how his side of the debate sees the issue. But I begin with the least illuminating lines: Mr. […]

Read more

The Business Case for Tough Regulation

This toughly argued lead article in Bloomberg Business Week on the BP oil leak disaster is a keeper – it sets out a very strong endorsement of the key regulatory role of government in curbing the dangerous excesses of capitalism. “This is a moment to think big and creatively. As distant as risky drilling rigs off Louisiana may seem from […]

Read more

Canada’s Regulatory Obstacle Course

The CCPA released a report of mine, critiquing federal regulatory policy. Called Canada’s Regulatory Obstacle Course, the brief looks at the latest development in federal deregulation, the Cabinet Directive on Streamlining Regulation (CDSR, announced in the 2007 budget), but situates it in the context of ongoing deregulation that has been underway since the 1980s. The CDSR is pernicious because it […]

Read more

The Case Against Ticketmaster

Anti-trust lawyer David Balto, with the Center for American Progress, recently made the case against Ticketmaster’s proposed merger with LiveNation in testimony to the US Congress. The testimony also provides an excellent summary of Ticketmaster’s existing monopoly, some of which I excerpt below: Let’s be straightforward about one transparent fact: Ticketmaster is a monopolist and exercises that power to exploit […]

Read more

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 is shaping up to be […]

Read more
1 2 3