The Great Wall Ties Chairman Calvertâ€™s Five-Year Plan
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has released my policy brief (PDF) on Saskatchewan employment growth. It generated front-page coverage in todayâ€™s Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Regina Leader-Post business sections as well as this snazzy online infographic. The press release follows:
Premier Wallâ€™s Employment Record Lags Calvert and Blakeney
Regina â€“ A new policy brief from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternativesâ€™ Saskatchewan Office, The Great Wall Ties Chairman Calvertâ€™s Five-Year Plan: Employment Growth in the New Saskatchewan, challenges the provincial governmentâ€™s spin regarding job creation.
â€œMany of the Saskatchewan Party governmentâ€™s much-vaunted employment records reflect seasonal fluctuations,â€ notes author Erin Weir, an economist with the United Steelworkers union. â€œThe underlying rate of workforce growth has been almost identical during the premierships of Brad Wall and Lorne Calvert.â€
The policy brief compares the years before and since Wall became Premier using both raw and seasonally adjusted figures from Statistics Canadaâ€™s Labour Force Survey and Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours. It also examines Allan Blakeneyâ€™s premiership, the only comparable period of high commodity prices.
â€œEmployment growth under Wall has been slightly slower than under Calvert and much slower than under Blakeney,â€ observes Weir. â€œEmployment grew faster than the provinceâ€™s working-age population under NDP governments but has barely kept pace under the Saskatchewan Party.â€
The Calvert and Wall governments both cut resource royalties as resource prices rose. By contrast, Blakeney collected more of the windfall from high commodity prices through royalties and reinvested the proceeds in more labour-intensive provincial infrastructure and services.
â€œGiving away provincial resources through royalty concessions is probably not the most effective way to create jobs,â€ concludes Weir. â€œThe Blakeney record suggests that collecting a greater royalty return to fund public investment could do more to bolster the job market and provide other social benefits.â€