Harper’s EI Appeals Process Not Working

This weekend, Quebec unions and activists issued a joint statement on the appeals process in Employment Insurance, calling on Trudeau to review the appeals process. The 2012 budget removed part-time panels of three community representatives – one labour, one business, and one government, and replaced them with full-time adjudicators working on their own. The joint statement contains some very good […]

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Enumerating Homeless Persons

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Ten things to know about Canadian attempts to count homeless persons through Point-in-Time Counts.” Points I raise in the post include the following: -Efforts to enumerate homeless persons in Canada often have mixed objectives.  In part, an attempt is made to capture an accurate […]

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Canada after Trump: Harold Innis and What to Do When Empires Go Crazy

The Americans shocked the rest of the world by electing Donald Trump last Tuesday. Pierre Trudeau suggested that Canada’s proximity to the US was like “sleeping with an elephant”, and thus Canadians are particularly concerned about what this means. Canada’s most preeminent political economist, Harold Innis, can offer some lessons. Innis is known for the “staples” approach, which examined the […]

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Stop Trump copy-cats: Listen to workers

I presented at the Standing Committee on International Trade’s incredibly brief review of the implementing legislation for CETA. With me were representatives from the Business Council of Canada, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Canadian Cattleman’s Association. There are only two more meetings scheduled, and there are no IP experts, no pharmaceutical experts, no representatives from either our shipping industry […]

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Calgary Homeless Foundation’s Research Agenda

The Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) has just released its updated Research Agenda (which I co-authored).  CHF is a non-governmental organization that disburses funding to non-profit organizations in Calgary to help persons experiencing homelessness.  Our Research Agenda is a bit like an annual report on our research (except it typically comes out once every two years). The following points are worth […]

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Parental and Caregiving Leaves

The very narrow and brief on-line consultations around parental and caregiving leaves finishes today. As we’ve done in the past, a coalition of community and labour organizations worked together to develop a common list of policy asks. Even though the official consultation is finished, we encourage concerned individuals and groups to submit their own recommendations to ESDC and Minister Duclos. […]

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Banking on Privatization?

Finance Minister Bill Morneau tables his Fall Economic Statement on 1 November.  We’ll likely find out then whether he has some has real treats, or if they’re planning more privatization tricks for provincial and municipal governments, as his business-dominated Advisory Council on Economic Growth proposed in the form of a public-private infrastructure bank (and through their new term for privatization, creating a […]

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Ten things to know about the CPP debate

This fall, Canada’s Parliament will debate a proposal to expand the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).  And over at the Behind the Numbers web site, I’m co-author of a blog post titled “Ten things to know about the CPP debate.” The blog post’s other co-authors are Allan Moscovitch and Richard Lochead. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -CPP […]

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Post Capitalism

Here is a link to my review of an extremely interesting new book by Guardian economics and political columnist Paul Mason. “Paul Mason is a leading British economic journalist, currently a columnist for The Guardian. He is also a long time left political activist. His new book, Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. New York. 2015) […]

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Denying Globalization’s Downside Won’t Stop Right-Wing Populism

I was somewhat surprised to see Stephen Poloz recently urging economists to do more work identifying and disseminating research on the supposed benefits of free trade.  That’s slightly beyond his job description (perhaps more fitting with his last position as head of Export Development Canada).  But like economic leaders elsewhere in the world, Mr. Poloz is obviously concerned with the […]

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Guaranteed Annual Income

I’ve written a blog post titled “Ten things to know about Canada’s guaranteed annual income debate.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -There are people and groups on both the left and right of the political spectrum who favour a Guaranteed Annual Income (also known as a “basic income”). -One reason for support on both the left […]

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The Stylized Facts of Canada-China Trade

Prime Minister Trudeau leads a big entourage to China this week, in hopes of expanding Canada’s foothold in that huge economy.  A couple of interesting media stories today set the stage for the visit: an overview of China’s evolving diplomatic and economic strategies by Andy Blatchford of Canadian Press, and a review of China’s growing emphasis on migrant labour provisions […]

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Challenging Inflation Targeting

Every 5 years the federal Finance Minister updates the “marching orders” that guide the Bank of Canada and its conduct of monetary policy.  This process is the one opportunity for democratic oversight of the Bank, which otherwise is deemed to be operating “independently” of government — all the better to ensure that it has the authority to take away the […]

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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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Another review of Economics for Everyone, 2nd ed.

Here’s another review of Jim Stanford’s Economics for Everyone, 2nd edition, this one by guest contributor and MMT aficionado Larry Kazdan. Review of Jim Stanford’s /Economics for Everyone by Larry Kazdan Jim Stanford has written a superb book which deserves pages of admiration and praise – a truly impressive body of work that introduces to the public an alternative vision of progressive […]

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Is Slow “Growth” Inevitable?

Most of the world economy (including Canada’s) has performed sluggishly since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09.  And many economic and fiscal projections now accept this pattern of slow growth as more-or-less inevitable, as a “new normal.” This argument is typically invoked to justify a ratcheting down of expectations regarding job prospects, incomes, and public services. In my view it’s […]

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How not to fund infrastructure

Recycling is supposed to be a good thing, so when the federal Liberals quietly announced that “asset recycling” would be part of their strategy for meeting their much-ballyhooed infrastructure promises, not many eyebrows were raised. They should have been. Asset recycling is an obscure code word for selling our public goods for private profit. It’s privatization by another name. Don’t […]

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How to Solve a Problem like Internal Trade Barriers?

In 1995, Canadian First Ministers signed an Agreement on Internal Trade. From the website, “Its purpose is to reduce and eliminate, to the extent possible, barriers to the free movement of persons, goods, services, and investment within Canada and to establish an open, efficient, and stable domestic market.” Well, it turns out that agreement, although regularly updated and renegotiated, is […]

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Minimum wages as economic stimulus?

Update: The Alberta government has announced their timeline for getting to $15 / hour, which includes eliminating the lower minimum wage for liquor servers. The Alberta Federation of Labour has an excellent minimum wage campaign, called “15 is fair”. I provided some research support for a paper they produced on the positive economic impact of increasing minimum wages, which you can […]

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Brexit and Neoliberalism

In the end, what was meant to be a referendum about the economic benefits of remaining in the European Union, was about everything but. There will be countless analyses of the results and of the reasons that motivated the British people to vote to leave the European Union. But in the end, I fear that very few of these analyses […]

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Summer reading! Review of Stanford’s second edition of Economics for Everyone

Looking for something to take with you to the cottage, the beach or the cafe?  Check out  Jim Stanford’s 2nd edition of Economics for Everyone.  Here’s a review by Peter G. Prontzos first published in the Vancouver Sun. Book review: A fresh look at the dismal science of economics Economics for Everyone:A Short Guide to the Economics of Capitalism (2nd Ed.) By Jim […]

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The TPP is a Bad Idea, part 27

On June 16th the House Committee on International Trade held its 27th meeting about the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, Scott Sinclair, and Gus Van Harten were all in Ottawa to tell parliamentarians just how bad the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be for Canada. We outlined the limitations on governments right to regulate in […]

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Who earns minimum wage?

UPDATE: All numbers exclude self-employed workers. The Labour Force Survey doesn’t provide wage data for self-employed workers, and self-employed workers aren’t subject to minimum wage laws. “Proportion of workers” is more accurately “Proportion of employees”. The number of employees per province can be found in CANSIM Table 282-0012. Minimum wages have been getting a lot of attention lately. And for […]

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