Taking Over Nexen

The China National Offshore Oil Corporation’s (CNOOC) bid to acquire Nexen is a large and complex proposal. Canadians should call for a more thorough and transparent review than other foreign takeovers have received under the Investment Canada Act. A preliminary outline of possible costs and benefits follows. The Downside: Chinese Consumer Interests A company like Nexen aims to sell oil […]

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Mosaic Profit Argues for Higher Royalties

Today’s Mosaic quarterly report provides further evidence that the Government of Saskatchewan should improve its royalty and tax structure to collect a better return on the province’s non-renewable resources like potash. Quarterly Comparison Despite higher potash prices, Mosaic paid lower royalties and resource taxes to Saskatchewan last quarter than in the same quarter of last year. In the three months […]

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Canada: Land of Mines and Banks

Just in time for Canada Day, the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business issued its annual Top 1000 rankings of the thousand largest publicly traded companies (by assets) in Canada (ranked by profit).  I blogged about this last year as well.  It’s such an interesting snapshot of Canadian business it’s worth perusing. Once again, this listing reveals the extent to which […]

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GDP: Petro-Rebound Conceals Underlying Problems

The main story in today’s GDP numbers is that the oil, gas and mining industries rebounded sharply in April after being hobbled by temporary maintenance and production difficulties in February and March. While the upswing in fossil-fuel and mineral extraction was large enough to boost the overall economy, other key sectors showed signs of weakness. Manufacturing looked like a bright […]

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Agreeing with Hoback’s Headline

I have the following letter in today’s Prince Albert Daily Herald (page 4): Reinvest Resource Wealth in Saskatchewan To the editor: I strongly agree with the title of MP Randy Hoback’s letter: “Siphoning money out of the west is wrong” (June 9). My proposal is to keep more money in Saskatchewan by collecting more provincial royalty revenue from the extraction […]

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Dutch Disease on the Rideau

The following is another guest post by Robyn Allan: A report recently released by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute claims Canada does not suffer from the Dutch disease. Unfortunately, the studies the authors draw on for this conclusion are riddled by it. The Dutch disease is a situation where rapid export of a nation’s raw resources along with rising commodity prices inflates […]

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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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Debating Hoback on Resource Royalties

Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback began last week’s inquisition by objecting to my recent op-ed in The Saskatoon StarPheonix on the “Dutch disease” debate between Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair. He then interrupted to question my NDP affiliation. As indicated in today’s Prince Albert Daily Herald (page A4), I would be happy to debate Hoback […]

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Energy McCarthyism 2: Hoback Attack

Saskatchewan conservatives are getting cranky. At last night’s Finance Committee meeting on the omnibus bill, MP Randy Hoback exposed me as being a New Democrat who writes “garbage” (as this blog’s readers already know). Full video of the meeting is available here, with my presentation starting two hours in. UPDATE (June 1): Hoback’s attack has been covered by Macleans, CBC […]

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Debating Boyd on Resource Royalties

Saskatchewan’s Minister of Energy and Resources replied to my op-ed and letter on Dutch disease and resource royalties. On Friday, he was promoted to Minister of Everything. Columnist Murray Mandryk wrote, “Given the amount of power Bill Boyd now has in his super-economy portfolio, he may be one fluffy Persian cat and remote desert island shy of becoming the political […]

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Duel of the Saskatchewan Expatriates

Last week, I had the following letter in The Globe and Mail: Oil sands royalties The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers’ most recent Statistical Handbook indicates that, in 2010, this industry sold $101-billion of oil and gas but paid only $12-billion in resource royalties. Even Senator Pamela Wallin’s higher figure of $22-billion (Oil Sands’ Benefits – letter, May 12), which […]

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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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Postmedia’s Ham-Handed Assault on Mulcair

Postmedia has posted Michael Den Tandt’s latest column, which will presumably appear in print tomorrow. He presents recent comments about Dutch disease as a departure from Tom Mulcair’s previous position: . . . when Tom Mulcair was driving hard to become leader of the New Democrats, he took polite but pointed issue with his party’s historically reflexive opposition to resource […]

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Going to the Wall in Defence of Mulcair

I have the following op-ed in today’s Saskatoon StarPhoenix: Royalty hike cure for Dutch disease Premier Brad Wall calls federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair “very, very divisive” for expressing concern that Canada’s overvalued petro-dollar is eliminating manufacturing jobs. In reality, Wall is being divisive by exploiting this legitimate concern to fan the flames of western alienation. Saskatchewan and other provinces […]

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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 […]

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Canadian Mining and Manufacturing Stumble

Statistics Canada reported today that the economy shrank in February, driven by declines in resource extraction and manufacturing. Oil and gas extraction as well as hard-rock mining decreased due to temporary shutdowns. However, the most dramatic decline was in potash production, down 19% due to mine closures in Saskatchewan. The provincial government, which is budgeting a substantial increase in potash […]

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The Economics of Deception

The following is a guest post by Robyn Allan, the former president of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia who appeared with me on TVO’s panel about Dutch disease. It summarizes her recent paper: An Analysis of Canadian Oil Expansion Economics. There is a chorus singing the praises of the oil industry and its vast economic benefits — from the boardroom […]

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Ontario to Mine for More Revenue

Last week’s provincial budget promised a mining sector review “to ensure Ontario receives fair compensation for its non-renewable resources,” a proposal advanced by this blog and the United Steelworkers before appearing as a Drummond recommendation. The relevant budget section begins with the following observation: “Ontario has the highest value of mineral production of any province or territory in Canada.” Similarly, […]

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Enbridge Pipe Dreams and Nightmares

CCPA released today a report by yours truly on the economic costs and benefits of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. In particular, I take aim at the outrageous claims about jobs made by the feds and Enbridge as part of their sales pitch. The report takes a closer look at the input-output modelling of job impacts, and considers alternative investments of $5 billion […]

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Upstream Supply Chain as Sector Development Strategy

My column in Wednesday’s Globe and Mail suggested that Canada implement a “Buy Canadian” strategy associated with major natural resource developments, with the goal of enhancing Canadian content in the overall value chain.  Can we utilize our strong foothold in resource extraction, and try to leverage greater investment and value-added upstream in the value chain (for example, by stimulating more purchases […]

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The Curious Case of Guano as a Staple

Peru – the heart of the Inca Empire – and thereabouts is where the potato originated, to be spread around the world after Europeans ‘discovered’ it. Off Peru’s coast a “weird trick of climate and topogrophy” created “[s]warms of anchovies (which) fed the birds that produced the guano that fertilized the fields that yielded such excellent potatoes.” (Evan Fraser and […]

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What To Do About Dutch Disease?

In response to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s complaint about oil and the exchange rate, several (conservative) commentators argued that this “Dutch disease” is not what ails Ontario manufacturing. Andrew Coyne took a different tack yesterday, agreeing that petroleum development drives up the exchange rate to the detriment of manufacturing and hence Ontario’s economy, but concluding that nothing can or should […]

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Canada – The Petrotyranny

The revelations over how the federal Tories used a robo-calling firm (or firms) to contact voters in possibly 30 or more ridings during last year’s election – misleading them about where polling stations were located – is just another example of the Harper government’s undemocratic tactics. This is on top of their new on-line surveillance bill that would allow police […]

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Ontario’s Not Digging Deep Enough

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ biennial guide to Canadian mining taxation, Digging Deeper, features a comparative summary of royalties, mining taxes and corporate taxes for a hypothetical gold mine. This approach differs from the table I posted yesterday, which displayed royalty and mining tax revenue as a share of the minerals actually extracted from different provinces and territories in 2010. However, the conclusion is the same: […]

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Ontario’s Pitiful Mining Tax

This table displays the mining taxes and royalties paid for minerals – including coal, but excluding oil and gas – to Canada’s major mining jurisdictions in 2010. The ideal would be to compare these charges with economic rent, which varies by mine and is difficult to calculate. However, even a simple comparison to overall production values suggests that provincial governments are collecting […]

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Air travel and carbon footprint

A bi-annual vehicle emissions test got me thinking about my personal carbon footprint. A lot broad-brush numbers and calculators exist out there to calculate one’s footprint, but I’ve never found them to be very reliable because they have to generalize across a very heterogeneous population in terms of location, type of dwelling and size, family size, and fuel sources. For […]

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