Linda McQuaig for Toronto Centre

For the “You Read It Here First” file, I wrote on Friday: Toronto Centre needs a candidate with a track record of advancing more substantive and more progressive positions on economic issues. Specifically, the NDP should nominate someone who can take on Freeland regarding inequality and what to do about it. Today, Linda McQuaig announced her candidacy for the NDP […]

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Is Chrystia Freeland Progressive?

Chrystia Freeland, The Globe and Mail’s candidate in Toronto Centre, recently wrote a book about inequality (which I have not yet read) and is supposed to “bring fresh thinking to the Liberal Party’s economic team.” She has already attracted a few jabs from right-wingers Terence Corcoran and William Watson. But is she progressive? The Globe gave Freeland more than 900 […]

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Mulcair on the Economy

Leader of the Opposition Tom Mulcair gave a fine speech on the Budget Bill on October 24 which can be found in its entirety in Hansard. I have posted some extracts of interest to progressive economists below. They echo many of the arguments made on this blog “What is more, the Conservatives are creating an economy where salaries will be […]

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Randy Hoback’s Pulp Fiction

Last week, Conservative MP Randy Hoback had another letter in The Prince Albert Daily Herald blaming the NDP for the pulp-mill closure in 2006. He still has not addressed my main point about resource royalties. I have the following response on page 4 of today’s Herald: Pulp mill saga proves Mulcair’s point Notwithstanding MP Randy Hoback’s repeated use of the […]

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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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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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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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Neil Reynolds’ Fuzzy Tax Math

If you need help with your tax return, don’t ask Neil Reynolds. His latest attack on the New Democrat proposal to collect modestly more tax from Ontario’s super-rich stated that “the province’s highest marginal rate on personal income would rise, federal and provincial rates combined, from 46.4 per cent to 49.4 per cent – meaning that this rate would theoretically net […]

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Bear Safety Tips for Bob Rae

Liberal leader Bob Rae seems intent on provoking a Grizzly attack. I have slightly adapted some internet advice for him: – Play dead! (The latest polling results should make that relatively easy.) – Lie face down on the ground with your hands around the back of your neck. – Stay silent and try not to move. – Keep your legs spread apart and […]

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Taxing Ontario’s Richest

Ontario’s NDP was out today with a Robin Hood proposal to collect more provincial tax from personal incomes in excess of half a million dollars. The approximately $570 million of additional revenue would increase the Ontario Disability Support Plan, protect childcare spaces and remove provincial HST from home heating. UBC economist Kevin Milligan has been tweeting his estimate that the […]

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The New Politics Initiative: Ten Years After

Rabble.ca is running a series of reflections on the tenth anniversary of the New Politics Initiative, which sought to create a more democratic politics in Canada ideally as part of a revitalized NDP. The vision statement is here; my piece follows, and there are also contributions from Judy Rebick and Jim Stanford. Altogether these make for a timely reflection on directions for […]

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How the NDP Can Win

With the NDP leadership debates soon to get underway, I thought I would post some thoughts on what themes and issues the party should be emphasizing To form a majority federal government, the NDP will have to make another big leap, from 30% to about 40% of the popular vote, with much of that increase concentrated in growing suburban areas […]

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The Politics of Potash

Advocates of low potash royalties are claiming that New Democrats fared poorly in Saskatchewan’s recent election because they proposed higher potash royalties. Of course, potash companies and their boosters would like the NDP to give up this cause. Doing so would be a political mistake for the party and a disservice to the people of Saskatchewan. Most polling indicates that most Saskatchewan […]

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Brad Wall Light?

I got to know and like Dave McGrane in the Saskatchewan Young New Democrats, but the following assessment misses the mark: McGrane, an assistant professor at St. Thomas More College, said the NDP’s defeat was a product of failing to connect with rural Saskatchewan, poor political marketing and outdated policies. “People had no idea what the NDP were going for,” […]

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2013: The Sask NDP’s Lucky Number?

To state the obvious, Saskatchewan’s provincial election result was not good for progressives. I was especially surprised by the NDP’s loss of constituencies like Regina Douglas Park (where I grew up), Moose Jaw Wakamow and Prince Albert Northcote. It could have been worse. Political commentators were musing about the NDP falling below 30% of the popular vote and to fewer […]

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Sask Party Shills for PotashCorp

Yesterday’s strong earnings report from the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan confirms what this blog and the NDP have been contending: even modestly increasing Saskatchewan’s extremely low royalties on hugely profitable potash mines could fund substantially better provincial public services. The Saskatchewan Party still refuses to review potash royalties. In a well-timed column, Greg Fingas developed the theme that this gift […]

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Saskatchewan Platform Comparison

Saskatchewan’s two major parties have unveiled their election platforms. The NDP’s fiscal plan is to collect higher potash royalties and reinvest the proceeds in public priorities like healthcare, education and housing. Columnist Murray Mandryk notes the spectre of Erin Weir. The NDP has expressed a willingness to discuss sharing resource revenues with First Nations. The Sask Party criticizes the NDP […]

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Sask Party Deficit Math

The Saskatchewan NDP is proposing to collect higher potash royalties and save a portion of the proceeds in a new Bright Futures Fund. The NDP has also expressed its willingness to negotiate with First Nations about the possibility of resource revenue sharing. The right-wing Saskatchewan Party strangely claims that the NDP’s plan “would plunge the province back into 1980s-style budget deficits.” […]

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Sask Party Healthcare Math

Yesterday, the Saskatchewan Party claimed that the provincial NDP’s plan for 30 additional primary healthcare clinics would cost $840 million. It has since removed this goofy press release from its website, but here’s a screenshot. The Sask Party multiplied the Saskatoon Community Clinic’s $7-million annual provincial cost by 30, and then multiplied that total by four years ($7 million*30*4= $840 […]

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Ontario’s Stimulating Election Platforms

A common refrain among political pundits has been that all of Ontario’s election platforms are unrealistic given a deteriorating economic outlook. Rather than bemoaning this alleged lack of realism, we should evaluate how each party’s platform would fare in a downturn. The NDP platform is built on the fiscal framework set out in the 2011 provincial budget. The Liberal and […]

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Time to Nationalize The Globe and Mail?

In response to a pretty moderate Ontario NDP platform, today’s lead Globe and Mail editorial goes off the rails on a crazy train: “disastrous,” “protectionism run amok,” “a fantasy,” “a radical platform that would move Ontario toward a command economy” and “dangerous provincialism.” It breathlessly reports that “Ms. Horwath did not rule out nationalization of the auto insurance industry” and […]

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Ontario NDP Platform: The Full Monty

Today, the Ontario NDP presented its comprehensive platform costing, including all policies announced during the election campaign. A popular theme among commentators has been that platform costings are unrealistic given the deteriorating economic outlook. As Andrea Horwath noted, her platform includes significant contingency funds. It is also cautiously built on the fiscal framework set out in the 2011 provincial budget. […]

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The Ontario NDP Platform

Pollsters tell us that Ontario’s New Democrats may double their seat total in next month’s provincial election. It’s also entirely conceivable that they could be part of a coalition government at Queen’s Park. But what’s actually in the party’s election platform? One central feature of the NDP’s proposals is to implement a tax credit for companies that hire new workers. The tax credits would be valued at […]

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Liberal Math

This Ontario NDP fact check should warm the hearts of economists, accountants and math teachers everywhere: Are Liberals Smarter Than a 5th Grader? The Ontario Liberals put out a release with this erroneous secondary headline: “NDP K-12 plan amounts to just 0.0009% of total education budget.” To calculate this figure, they divided $20 million by the province’s 2011-12 education budget […]

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