Fiscal situation of Canada’s ‘oil rich’ provinces

I’ve just written a blog post about the fiscal situation of Canada’s ‘oil rich’ provinces (i.e., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador). It consists of a summary of key points raised at a PEF-sponsored panel at this year’s Annual Conference of the Canadian Economics Association. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -The price of oil is impossible […]

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Ten things to know about social assistance in Canada

I’ve just written a blog post about social assistance in Canada. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Social assistance has two contradictory objectives: 1) to give people enough money to live on; and 2) to not give people enough money to live on. -Very few immigrants receive social assistance (relative to the general population). -Several Canadian provinces […]

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Program Evaluation

I’ve just blogged about program evaluation and the way it’s used where I work—namely, at the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF). The blog post serves as a primer on program evaluation. It also discusses how CHF measures performance by programs that it funds (CHF disburses $42 million annually to programs in Calgary’s homeless-serving sector). The blog post can be found at […]

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A Response to the 2017 Saskatchewan Budget

I have an opinion piece on Saskatchewan’s recent budget in the Regina Leader-Post. Points raised in the opinion piece include the following: -Reductions in personal and corporate income taxes help the rich more than the poor (and this budget cut both personal and corporate income taxes). -Increases in sales tax hurt the poor more than the rich (and this budget […]

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New book on the history of Canadian social housing policy

One of Canada’s foremost authorities on Canadian social housing, Dr. Greg Suttor, has just authored a book on the history of Canadian social housing policy. Titled Still renovating: A history of Canadian social housing policy, it’s published by McGill-Queen’s University Press and covers the period from the end of World War II to 2013. I’ve recently reviewed the book. Points […]

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The Calgary Homeless Foundation’s System Planning Frameworks

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF), I’m co-author of a blog post about CHF’s new System Planning Frameworks.  These frameworks discuss the different programs funded by CHF. Points made in the blog post include the following: -CHF disburses approximately $42 million a year to programs for persons experiencing homelessness in Calgary. -Approximately $37 million of […]

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The Alternative Federal Budget 2017

This year’s Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) was released on March 9. I was proud to be the primary author of its housing chapter (that chapter is available in English here and in French here). The first AFB exercise began in 1994, with the first AFB being published in 1995. That involved a joint effort between the Canadian Centre for Policy […]

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Foundations for an Alberta Alternative Budget

An Alberta-based volunteer working group, of which I’m a part, recently released a document titled Foundations for an Alberta Alternative Budget (for media coverage, see this Metro article).  Working group members include staff from Alberta’s non-profit sector, labour movement and advocacy sector. While our long-term goal is to emulate the great work of the Alternative Federal Budget, this year’s effort […]

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Five emerging trends in affordable housing and homelessness

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Five emerging trends in affordable housing and homelessness.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -The Trudeau government has spent impressive amounts of money on affordable housing and homelessness.  This is time-limited money though. -There is currently no federal plan in place […]

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The Federal Role in Poverty Reduction

I’m co-author of a blog post titled “The Federal Role in Poverty Reduction.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development has been tasked to lead the development of a Canada Poverty Reduction Strategy. -Total public social spending in Canada (as a % of GDP) is well below the OECD average. […]

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Central Agencies in Canada

Do you ever lie awake wondering what it is that Finance Canada, the Privy Council Office and Treasury Board Secretariat actually do?  Well, wonder no more my friends!  Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Ten things to know about central agencies in Canada.” Here’s the link to the post.   […]

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Why the economy sucks (in one chart)

(The following is something I’ve prepared for the next issue of CUPE’s Economy at Work, a popular economics quarterly publication I produce.) In his annual Economic and Fiscal Update (EFU), finance minister Joe Oliver told Canadians that while the federal government will finally record a surplus next year after seven years of deficits, we can’t expect the economy to grow […]

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Who’s afraid of free trade with Europe?

The prospect of freer trade with European nations is generally popular among Canadians. And why shouldn’t it be? Doesn’t the Canadian left repeatedly point to the advantages of many European social and economic institutions? Who could argue with lower prices for European cheese, wine, or chocolate? After all, we’ve been waiting for years for the Canadian economy to pivot to […]

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Hudak job cuts impact on communities

Today the Ontario Federation of Labour and CUPE Ontario published calculations I prepared of how Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak’s promise to eliminate 100,000 public sector jobs will be felt at the local level, on cities and communities across the province. The original OFL release provides info on the magnitude of these impacts for the 15 largest census metropolitan areas across Ontario, for which […]

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Tim Hudak, job-killer

It’s a bit of a headscratcher. First, Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak builds his whole campaign around a promise to create one million new jobs in Ontario over eight years, then one of his first campaign commitments threats  is to reduce the number of Ontario government employees by 100,000, together with a wage freeze for every government workers and lower spending […]

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Missing In Action: Federal Budget 2014

Here’s the first section of the budget summary and analysis I’ve prepared for CUPE. The full version is on-line on CUPE’s website at http://cupe.ca/economics/missing-action-federal-budget-2014 together with CUPE’s press release at: http://cupe.ca/economics/federal-budget-2014-help-hurt-canadian Missing In Action: Federal Budget 2014  CUPE Federal Budget 2014 Summary and Response   Conservatives ignore pressing economic needs with a Do-little budget Using more of their doublespeak, the Harper […]

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Canada Post’s vow to ‘protect taxpayers’ needs a reality check

This piece was first published in the Globe & Mail. In a move that caught everyone off-guard, Canada Post announced a five point “action plan” last week that included phasing-out home delivery of the mail over the next five years, making Canada the only G7 nation to do so. Why? To “protect taxpayers.” Of all the reasons that merit discussion as to whether letter […]

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Canada Post: A Billion-Dollar Boondoggle?

One of the most frequently repeated claims in coverage of yesterday’s Canada Post announcement is that the Crown corporation is on track to lose a billion dollars annually by the decade’s end. This apprehended threat to taxpayers supposedly justifies the complete elimination of door-to-door mail delivery. The Conference Board made this billion-dollar projection earlier this year in a report commissioned […]

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Austerity Bites? Public-Sector Implosion Hits Canada’s Job Market

Statistics Canada reported a loss of 39,000 jobs in July, even as Canada’s working-age population grew by 39,000. As a result, unemployment rose and many Canadians withdrew from the labour market altogether. The decline reflected a loss of 74,000 public-sector jobs, which was only partly offset by modest growth in private-sector employment and self-employment. There have been some doubts about […]

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The CFIB’s Municipal Manipulations

After analyzing “research reports” issued by the Fraser Institute or the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), I usually end up shaking my head in disbelief. Do they really need to so grossly distort and manipulate the statistics to make their arguments? The answer is invariably “yes”.  That’s because the underlying facts are often so at odds with their claims, […]

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Absolving our Carbon Sins: the Case of the Pacific Carbon Trust

Last week’s report from BC’s Auditor General dealt a huge blow to the credibility of carbon offsets and claims that BC had achieved a state of “carbon neutral government.” Coverage of the AG’s report was coloured by accusations from the Pacific Carbon Trust, the Crown corporation created to buy and sell BC offsets, and “experts” from the offset industry that the AG did […]

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Who Is Earning Too Much?

  Last week’s publication of the so-called “sunshine” list of 88,412 Ontario public sector workers earning more than $100,000 per year elicited lots of howls of outrage in terms of on line commentary. It should not be forgotten that the whole point of the annual list – which dates back to the Harris days – is to yank on the […]

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Time to Rethink The Way We Fund Higher Education

This September, like every year, a new group of high school graduates headed to college or university to pursue higher education. But today’s generation of students is in for a very different experience from the ones their parents had. On campuses across the country shiny new buildings are popping up, bearing corporate logos or the names of local philanthropists. But […]

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Back of the Line Buddy

Posted below is my column from today’s Globe & Mail regarding this nefarious practice of providing “priority lanes” for higher-income customers — even (in the case of airport security screening) for a PUBLIC service that we all pay the same for!  And if you wonder why you get so pissed off when the high-flyer jumps the queue, watch this hilarious […]

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Freedom from government services day

Well well, another misinformed tax freedom day has come and gone on June 12th.  To mark the occasion this year I wanted to skip over the very serious methodological flaws that others have pointed out, and take a look at several other items that Canadians are “free of” at various points.  By gaining “freedom” from the taxes that Canadians pay we also […]

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Federal Job Cuts…the Real Numbers

Andrew Jackson has started off this discussion with his post today looking at the job impacts of federal cuts.  I wanted to add my own two sense and some calculations that I’ve whipped up. Thankfully the federal budget has started to fill in some of the details of its latest round of cuts.  In particular, it now estimates 19,200 positions lost […]

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