Deregulation under the Conservatives

The recent outbreak of listeria cast a glaring pre-election light on food safety, and made public the Conservative government’s plans to deregulate food inspection. Because regulation is what happens after legislation is passed, it is generally outside the purview of Parliament, and thus a minority government can engage in acts of deregulation rather quietly. For a blueprint of deregulation, Canadians […]

Read more

Transportation and climate change

One of the big challenges in reducing greenhouse gas emissions comes from transportation. Here in BC, for example, transportation accounts for 40% of our annual emissions. Of that more than a third (14% of the total) is from personal transportation. So any serious emissions reduction plan has to eventually come to grips with cars. To date, the low-hanging fruit has […]

Read more

Social Murder and Conservative Economics

A salvo from University of Manitoba economists, and PEF members, Ian Hudson and Robert Chernomas, based on their new book, Social Murder and Other Shortcomings of Conservative Economics: The Myth of Conservative Economics January 2008 “The government can’t pick winners, but losers pick government.”  Former Canadian Deputy Industry Minister V. Peter Harder cited in The New York Times, August 28, […]

Read more

Carbon tax and driving

Dave Sawyer, one of the authors of the National Round Table on Environment and Economy report, and blogger at EnviroEconomics.ca, makes some pertinent insider comments on the efficacy of a carbon tax in reducing emissions from personal transportation, a major source of emissions: While the carbon tax will “drive” some reductions in vehicle kilometers traveled, we can’t expect much from […]

Read more

The NRTEE and carbon pricing

The National Round Table on Environment and Economy made the news this week with its report to the federal government on how the feds’ own climate change targets could be achieved, and with minimal impact on the economy. The NRTEE was established way back when by Brian Mulroney, who a couple years ago was dubbed “Canada’s Greenest Prime Minister” (little […]

Read more

Economists call for BC carbon tax

A group of BC-based academic economists have joined together to call for a carbon tax in a letter to BC Finance Minister Carole Taylor. BC is taking suggestions towards a climate change action budget this February. I’m not holding my breath that a carbon tax is likely; from what I’m hearing out of Victoria this stage of the game is […]

Read more

TILMA and the Ontario Election

During the provincial campaign, Dalton McGuinty seems to have changed his tune on TILMA. This change is somewhat reminiscent of the Saskatchewan Party’s “road to Damascus” conversion on the issue. Six months ago, McGuinty praised TILMA and mused about joining it. A couple of weeks ago, he wrote the following in response to a questionnaire from the Ontario Public Service […]

Read more

Chinese toys redux

I overheard on the radio that Mattel has made an apology to the Chinese government for its recall of numerous products – a huge symbol of just how mighty China is. At the time of recall mania there was a lot of China-bashing for its lax regulatory oversight (not so much what it meant for Chinese workers but for the […]

Read more

The secrecy of the SPP

Linda McQuaig takes on the Security and Prosperity Partnership: Since the SPP initiative was officially launched in March 2005, the public has been effectively shut out of the process. There’s been little awareness, let alone public debate, about what’s going on. The key advisory body in the SPP is an all business group called the North American Competitiveness Council, made […]

Read more

Just how safe is our food?

Asks the Vancouver Sun with its banner headline today. There is a general expectation among the public that someone is looking out for their interests. Concerns generally only arise when there is an e-coli or SARS-like outbreak. Not overtly mentioned in the article below (though it promises to be part one of a series) is the link between the concerns […]

Read more

Caveat emptor: natural gas deregulation

Around lunchtime I got a knock on the door, and a good-looking young woman was there to make a sales call for Univeral Gas. She was seeking to convert my natural gas supply under a newly deregulated market. I asked her if she would leave behind materials so that I could think about it. No dice. She wanted me to […]

Read more

TILMA: A Report from the Front Line

On Tuesday, I testified before the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on the Economy, which is holding public hearings on joining TILMA. The Legislative Assembly is broadcasting the hearings and promptly posting the recordings. To see my presentation, click “Video 1” for June 5 and use the bar immediately below the screen to advance the time to 48.5 minutes. A […]

Read more

Krugman: Fear of Eating

Paul Krugman takes on deregulation in the US, sounding a lot like a CCPA research associate. In a research paper released last year, Bruce Campbell and I contemplated deregulation in the Great White North (dubbed “smart regulation” by the previous Liberal government) and a current obsession of our policy elites, regulatory harmonization (dubbed “cooperation”). We made the case that harmonizing […]

Read more

What Inter-provincial Barriers?

Like so many commentators on this topic, Andrew Coyne attacks the inefficiency and absurdity of alleged “internal trade barriers” without actually naming any. He could presumably trot out the two or three usual suspects, but does he believe that Canada’s “economic union” depends upon the colour of margarine in Quebec? Coyne writes that, “Viewed strictly as a legal matter, the […]

Read more

Regulatory “cooperation” in action

In our paper, Putting Canadians at Risk, Bruce Campbell and I feared that lowering our regulatory standards would inevitably happen under the banner of “regulatory cooperation” with the US, something senior government officials think is just great. While this might look like typical Harper policy, it is really just a continuation of an initiative that gained steam under the Martin […]

Read more

Robin Boadway on Internal Trade

“Balkanization of our national economic space . . . thicket of provincial barriers.” – Conference Board of Canada, Mission Possible, 2007 “Our federation has been a ‘mini global economy’ for decades. There are virtually no internal barriers to labour and capital mobility, and no tariff-like distortions on interprovincial trade.” – Robin Boadway, “National Tax Policy for an International Economy: Comments,” […]

Read more

Georgetti Responds to Coon Come on Anti-Scab Legislation

Opponents of Bill C-257 need to identify a purpose served by replacement workers other than strengthening the bargaining position of employers in relation to their employees. Hence the misleading claim that replacement workers are needed to provide essential services during labour disputes. Matthew Coon Come, a former aboriginal political leader who became a corporate CEO, has lent his support to […]

Read more

Anti-Scab Legislation

I hope that enough Liberals and Conservatives will vote for Bill C-257 to pass it on March 21. However, Stephan Dion and his labour critic have announced that they will not support it because the Speaker ruled their essential-service amendments inadmissable. The Canada Labour Code already protects essential services during labour disputes. Workers in federally regulated industries are permitted to […]

Read more

TILMA in the News

Yesterday and the day before, several newspapers posted the following story about TILMA. Although it is disappointing to read uncritical reporting of the Conference Board’s $4.8-billion figure, it is good to see the Canadian Press report that “The NDP governments in Saskatchewan and Manitoba have said they’re not interested in signing on.” While opponents of TILMA should remain vigilant in Saskatchewan […]

Read more

Scientists call for action on toxic chemicals

A letter to the Prime Minister from Scientists For A Healthy Environment, which doubles as an effective critique of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act: Dear Prime Minister, We are writing to encourage your Government to make significant improvements to Canada ‘s overarching pollution law, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). Canada has a growing pollution problem that is a threat […]

Read more

Back-of-Envelope Math on TILMA

It seems to me that, compared to an international free-trade agreement, TILMA provides none of the potential benefits (i.e. tariff reductions) and all of the costs (i.e. regulations harmonized to the lowest common denominator and businesses suing governments). As Marc noted below, the Government of BC claims that TILMA could add $4.8 billion to provincial GDP.  A Government of Quebec […]

Read more

TILMA’s fuzzy math

BC and Alberta signed a new agreement earlier this year to reduce interprovincial barriers to trade. The Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) is due to go into effect in April 2007. Apparently Saskatchewan and Ontario are now considering signing on as well. While it is widely believed in business circles that there exist large barriers to trade within […]

Read more

Regulating toxic chemicals

“Canada’s New Government improves protection against hazardous chemicals” says the press release. This item fits in the “ounce of prevention” file, but is also another one for the “opportunistic Harper government” file.On prevention, Canada has been slowly getting its act together with regard to the growing evidence that thousands of untested and unregulated chemicals in the environment are connected with […]

Read more

Regulation, anyone?

This is not good. But doing something about it (i.e. internalizing the externality) is too offensive to corporate Canada – and apparently from the article, corporate everywhere. Call it “smart regulation” or “risk management”, the way our regulatory system is set up means that the bodies have to pile up for the sake of sufficient scientific evidence before we regulate […]

Read more

TILMA: A solution in search of a problem

Bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations often go hand in hand, with bilaterals able to achieve results that are more liberalizing than could be achieved on a multilateral basis. If the bilateral agreement is among two major players, however, it can be used to pressure others into signing on. The US is using this as its strategy for global trade talks, […]

Read more
1 2 3