Core Inflation

In setting monetary policy, the Bank of Canada emphasizes “Core CPI,” which excludes the most volatile components of the Consumer Price Index to provide a clearer measure of underlying trends. My last post noted that average Canadian wage increases exceeded inflation by only 1% during the past year. However, inflation was held down by a dip in energy prices. Therefore, […]

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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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The TILMA papers

The CCPA released two papers today on the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement, one by Ellen Gould that looks at the potential risks posed by the deal’s sweeping language, and a second by myself and Erin Weir, on the contrived economic case made for TILMA. Both papers can be downloaded here. Below is the press release, which provides a […]

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BC’s new global warming plan?

This story below was the front page banner headline on Saturday’s Vancouver Sun. It is a pretty exciting thought that BC might seek to emulate California with aggressive emissions targets. And between the lines, there appears to be some backtracking with regard to the approval of two new coal-fired power plants (which would be the first in BC, and are […]

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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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TILMA’s Bogus Logic

The Conference Board estimates that TILMA will add $4.8 billion to British Columbia’s economy. Even if one accepts the Conference Board’s assumptions, this figure should be $2.4 billion (as explained below). However, some of these assumptions are highly questionable. The Conference Board argues, “The commercial services and wholesale and retail trade industries will benefit from [TILMA]. Increased trade liberalization will […]

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TILMA’s Bogus Math

The Government of British Columbia has finally released the Conference Board study projecting that TILMA will add $4.8 billion to the provincial economy. Seeing the study’s methodology (or lack thereof) makes this projection seem even sillier than Marc and I had suggested. The Conference Board “scored” eleven industries in seven regions on the following arbitrary scale of TILMA’s speculated impact […]

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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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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 […]

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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 […]

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Confused in Alberta

From the Edmonton Sun: Tory leadership contender Ted Morton says Alberta should cut the amount it contributes to federal transfer payments so it can build more roads and sewers for an influx of workers. Speaking on an Alberta radio talk show (Rutherford-CHQR-CHED), Morton says it makes no sense for Ottawa to pay out employment insurance to keep workers in Atlantic […]

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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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Is there a “Fiscal Imbalance”?

 One of the main arguments that there is a fiscal imbalance between the federal government and provincial governments (a vertical fiscal imbalance) is ongoing federal surpluses in the face of more constrained provincial finances. The latest Financial Management System data from Statistics Canada would seem to reinforce that view:  In 2005/2006, the consolidated surplus for all Canadian governments, including the […]

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Equalization – A Family History

Dalhousie's Lars Osberg reflects on his family in relation to the equalization program. This piece was published in the Halifax Mail-Star and Chronicle Herald Op-Ed, April 6, 2005 and merits a reprint here in the context of much bickering among the premiers: When my parents were growing up in Alberta in the 1930s, it was a poor province – their […]

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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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