Green Strategy and the SPP

At the conference a couple of weeks ago where Elizabeth May mused about income trusts, she also committed to make opposition to the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) the centrepiece of the Green Party’s forthcoming election platform. The SPP is an arrangement between Canada, the US, and Mexico that seeks to accelerate tar-sands development, among other objectives. It is very […]

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Strategic Oil Reserve

Thomas Palley credibly suggests that the Bush White House has been driving up oil prices by expanding this reserve, but then lowering them during American elections by depleting the reserve. I have also heard suggestions that the Clinton White House depleted the reserve at election time, but am not sure whether it expanded the reserve outside of elections. Manipulating the Reserve by Thomas […]

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Trade Balances and Jobs: Canada, the US and China

The following note, including tables, is available on the Canadian Labour Congress website: Free trade was promoted to Canadians on the famous promise of “jobs, jobs, and more jobs” and is widely defended on the basis that Canada’s large trade surplus with the US contributes to Canadian employment. Meanwhile, American commentators are concerned that the US trade deficit displaces American […]

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Harper Meets Labour Leaders

Ken Georgetti and leaders of major manufacturing unions just finished meeting with the Prime Minister about Canada’s ongoing manufacturing crisis. The Canadian Labour Congress briefing note quoted by The Globe and Mail online follows: The Manufacturing Crisis Overview Canada’s manufacturing sector is in crisis. High energy prices, a high dollar, and worsening trade deficits with Asia have caused many Canadian […]

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Jack Mintz on Budget 2007

In yesterday’s Financial Post, Jack Mintz repeated the notions that the Budget featured “no broad tax relief” and big spending. He wrote, “Certainly, the idea of making the tax structure more efficient, fair and simple takes a back seat to the rash of special politically driven measures.” However, the tax measures that Mintz specifically endorses – the Child Tax Credit, […]

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Wages and Inflation by Province

Despite Alberta’s booming economy, Albertans are making about the same amount per hour as they were a year ago. Specifically, the resource boom has increased prices as much as wages. Statistics Canada released January’s inflation numbers today. It is interesting to compare them with January’s wage numbers. Nationwide, average hourly wages increased by 2.2% and consumer prices rose by 1.2% […]

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Economic Ironies and The Crisis of the Forest Industry

The Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) organized a lively and informative forum on the forest industry crisis today on Parliament Hill, bringing together leading union,  community, industry and environmental spokespersons.  Some 20,000 jobs have been lost over the past three years due to literally scores of  mill closures in both the pulp and paper and lumber sectors, devastating rural […]

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Taxing the Oil Sands

Last week, John Baird publicly questioned federal tax loopholes for the oil and gas industry. Although his comments were more about partisanship than policy, they still sound like a step in the right direction. There seem to be some grounds for cautious optimism on this issue. At the beginning of the decade, there were only a few lonely voices talking […]

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More on the Conference Board and TILMA

Ellen Gould has noted that the Conference Board’s report projects gains for industries that are explicitly exempted from TILMA: utilities, energy, mining, forestry, and fishing. The Conference Board’s analysis was based on a “draft negotiators’ text” (see page 39). However, the actual agreement wholly or partly exempts the industries listed above (see pages 19-20 and 22). These exempt industries could conceivably still benefit from lower […]

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Hewers of Wood, Pumpers of Oil and Gas

The Dominion Institute has recruited twenty great Canadian thinkers to write about what the country might look like in 2020. The fourteen essays currently posted include Don Drummond’s neo-classical analysis of manufacturing and productivity and Jim Stanford’s excellent analysis of Canada’s reliance on natural resources. Jim’s main argument, that Canada’s unmanaged resource boom is damaging other industries and our natural environment, […]

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Manufacturing Shipments Fall

An article in Statistics Canada’s Daily notes that the value of Canadian factory shipments hit a two-year low in October. Because manufacturing includes petroleum products, this development largely resulted from the recent oil-price drop. The inclusion of resource-processing industries means that the value of “manufacturing” shipments partly reflects commodity prices. In my view, the more interesting statistic is that the […]

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Subsidies in the oil patch

Eric Reguly on the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance and Big Oil, from today’s Globe: Oil sands may be federal Tories’ Achilles heel … For the opposition parties, the beauty of the oil sands is that you can point to them. The visuals are appropriately disturbing. You can see the gaping holes in the earth, you can measure the water flows, […]

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Peak oil meets climate change

This article in the Vancouver Sun features a new report saying that we are not near “peak oil”: In sharp contrast to popular doomsday scenarios in which an oil supply crash triggers a global economic crisis, a U.S. energy think tank says the world has almost four times the oil supply envisioned by the pessimists. Cambridge Energy Research Associates … […]

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The Softwood Lumber Deal

This is a column by Kim Pollock of the Steelworkers (ex IWA) in BC re the recent US Trade Court Ruling. I was out of the country at the time, but it strikes me that the basic issue (an un-necesary softwood lumber deal) has been incredibly ignored by the mainstream national media. Our lumber industry is about to be hammered […]

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Softwood capitulation: Epilogue

Ben Parfitt, the CCPA’s BC Resource Policy Analysis reflects on the capitulation we know as the new Softwood Lumber Agreement and what is means for BC, the most affected province. Softwood deal will spur more raw log exports By Ben Parfitt The recent vote in the House of Commons ratifying the softwood lumber agreement with the United States may bring […]

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Fiscal update and “fiscal imbalance”

Yesterday’s release of the Fiscal Reference Tables also provides data at the provincial level. I reckon that the latest federal surplus of $13.2 billion might start some new cries of “fiscal imbalance” among the provinces in the lead-up to some federal-provincial negotiations this Fall (apart from a wide-ranging discussion paper released at budget time, we still have no real idea […]

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It’s the crude, dude

Sorry Linda McQuaig, but that was the worst title ever for a book. Still, I could not resist using it, so what does that tell you? Last week, Statistics Canada released a short report, Boom Times: Canada’s crude petroleum industry (summary in the Daily here and full report here). Here is an interesting tidbit from the summary: In total, Canada […]

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Fear of Sharing

All of this equalization talk has Preston Manning worried. While Alberta Premier Ralph Klein would have just told the rest of us to keep our grubby hands off Alberta’s wealth, Manning and his co-author Fred Kerr take 1200 words to explain to us that Alberta is already sharing as much as it can. Let’s take a walk though their oped […]

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Alberta’s resource royalties

Just on the heels of posting a $9 billion surplus for the last fiscal year, largely on the strength of resource royalties, comes this fascinating article in The Globe, which echoes comments about low royalty rates that the Edmonton-based Parkland Institute has been making for years: Alberta eyes greater share of oil wealth Considers changes to royalty system Alberta is […]

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Alberta’s Oil and Quebec Seperation

Rafe Mair looks back at history, then contemplates high oil prices and resulting tensions in Confederation, in his Tyee column: First some history. With the arrival of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1965, the oil price fix has been in and we all know about the crisis in 1974 that brought about huge lineups at the […]

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Alberta, Equalization and a Little Irony

http://thetyee.ca/Views/2006/06/07/AlbertaEffect/ Over the years, Alberta Premier Ralph Klein has rarely missed an opportunity to poke a finger at the equalization program and to re-assert that Canada better keep its hands off Alberta's resource wealth. For King Ralph, it makes for great theatre and even better politics. Klein recently threatened to pull out of the equalization program if necessary in order […]

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