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  • Canada’s Fossil-Fuelled Pensions June 22, 2018
    The British Columbia Investment Management Corporation is?the steward of BC’s public pensions, but bankrolls companies?whose current business models exceed the climate change targets agreed to in the Paris Agreement to which Canada is a signatory. The pensions of over 500,000 British Columbians and assets worth $135 billion are managed by the Corporation—-one of Canada's largest […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Imagine a Winnipeg...2018 Alternative Municipal Budget June 18, 2018
    Climate change; stagnant global economic growth; political polarization; growing inequality.? Our city finds itself dealing with all these issues, and more at once. The 2018 Alternative Municipal Budget (AMB) is a community response that shows how the city can deal with all these issues and balance the budget.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Why would a boom town need charity? Inequities in Saskatchewan’s oil boom and bust May 23, 2018
    When we think of a “boomtown,” we often imagine a formerly sleepy rural town suddenly awash in wealth and economic expansion. It might surprise some to learn that for many municipalities in oil-producing regions in Saskatchewan, the costs of servicing the oil boom can outweigh the benefits. A Prairie Patchwork: Reliance on Oil Industry Philanthropy […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • What are Canada’s energy options in a carbon-constrained world? May 1, 2018
    Canada faces some very difficult choices in maintaining energy security while meeting emissions reduction targets.? A new?study by veteran earth scientist David Hughes—published through the Corporate Mapping Project, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Parkland Institute—is a comprehensive assessment of Canada’s energy systems in light of the need to maintain energy security and […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • The 2018 Living Wage for Metro Vancouver April 25, 2018
    The cost of raising a family in British Columbia increased slightly from 2017 to 2018. A $20.91 hourly wage is needed to cover the costs of raising a family in Metro Vancouver, up from $20.61 per hour in 2017?due to soaring housing costs.?This is the hourly wage that two working parents with two young children […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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Chrystia Freelanda€?s Liberal Use of Economic Platitudes

Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein has interviewed the presumptive Liberal candidate in Toronto Centre, Chrystia Freeland, who declares, a€?Ia€?m a capitalist red in tooth and claw.a€? To his credit, Klein asks her a couple of times for policy specifics. She concludes the interview by saying: My job right now is to win the right to […]

Broadening the Bank of Canadaa€?s Mandate

Yesterday, Mike Moffatt took to The Globe and Maila€?s a€?Economy Laba€? in response to my suggestion that the Bank of Canada should moderate the exchange rate. (Perhaps his motive for encouraging me to seek the Saskatchewan NDP leadership was to get me as far as possible from the levers of monetary policy.) ?? My rebuttal […]

The Economics of Deception

The following is a guest post by Robyn Allan, the former president of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia who appeared with me on TVOa€?s??panel about Dutch disease. It summarizes her recent paper: An Analysis of Canadian Oil Expansion Economics. There is a chorus singing the praises of the oil industry and its vast economic […]

The Looniea€?s Stagnant Purchasing Power

The following note also appears on Business Insider. I owe Paul Tulloch a hat tip for reminding me of these issues in a good comment on my last post. When Ontarioa€?s Premier recently complained that Canadaa€?s petro-dollar undermines manufacturing exports, many economists tripped over each other to counter that a strong loonie benefits all Canadians […]

RIP Joe Kuchta

I join other progressive bloggers in mourning the loss of Joe Kuchta. As CBC reported, his investigative approach to Saskatchewan and Saskatoon politics was widely respected. I drew upon his insights several times in debating the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement. Enjoy and share:

Canadaa€?s Breadbasket and the Food Casino

Therea€?s been no shortage of new content on our blog this week. But I write to highlight a couple of interesting reads from other blogs. On The Globe and Mail blog, Andrew Hepburn (formerly of Sprott Asset Management) has a very good op-ed about financial speculation in food commodities. On the CCPAa€?s Behind the Numbers […]

Tea Party North

Last week, Travis noted Terry Corcorana€?s strained argument that over-regulation of banks is what ails the global economy. Terrya€?s next column went even further off the deep end, endorsing the hard-money libertarianism of gold bugs like Eric Sprott. Todaya€?s column is a full-blown defence of the US Tea Party. I have the following response to […]

S&P Pantsed by US Treasury

I have been reluctant to condemn the credit-rating agencies for sovereign downgrades because it seemed like shooting the messenger. As the bond markets have noticed, a few European countries have serious fiscal problems. Blaming the raters for also noticing did not seem like an effective response. However, I think that Standard and Poora€?s decision a€“ […]

Economic Models and Tax Policy

Over at Worthwhile Canadian Initiative (WCI), Stephen Gordon reasonably argues that economic models can be useful for policy analysis even if they lack the predictive power needed for forecasting. He writes: A well-designed model will be able to reproduce the main features of interest of the real world. More importantly, it will also be able […]

The Perils of Mathematization

Worthwhile Canadian Initiative has presented a list of its most viewed posts from 2010. The top post is so worthwhile that it warrants further promotion. The President of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve had warned that unduly low interest rates would cause deflation. Of course, anyone with a handle on basic macroeconomics knows that the risk […]

Poor Capitalists?

Over at Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, Stephen Gordon argues that capitalists are not rich. Of course, wealth is more or less synonymous with owning things that can be broadly defined as capital. Stephena€?s argument is focused on income: a€?If capital income is concentrated among high earners, then it could still be argued that increasing laboura€?s share […]

Worthwhile Canadian Inspiration?

An Irish economist working for the European Trade Union Institute (in the same building as me) recently drew my attention to the following team blog, which appears to have started in February 2009: Enjoy and share:

3D Policy

There is a new economics blog in town.?? It is put together by former Finance Deputy Minister Scott Clark and former Director of Fiscal Policy, Peter Devries.?? I disagree with their fiscally very cautious line, but this is highly informed commentary on the numbers – with a major piece on the recent Economic and […]

Stephen Gordon on Manufacturing

Over at Economy Lab, Stephen Gordon writes: The fundamental problem facing manufacturing firms is that the [industrial] prices have been growing more slowly than consumer prices. CPI inflation has averaged 1.85 per cent a year since 2002, but the Industrial Price Index for all manufactures has only increased at a rate of 1 per cent. […]

Beer With Weir

Now that I am working for the International Trade Union Confederation in Brussels, I have some observations about life here. Rather than pollute Relentlessly Progressive Economics with a bunch of goofy anecdotes, I have started a new blog: Beer with Weir. Check it out! Enjoy and share:

Barrie McKennaa€?s Three Strikes on Internal Trade

I appreciate a compelling headline, but a€?The Walls that Divide Usa€? in todaya€?s Globe and Mail is way over the top.??For building the myth of a€?internal trade barriers,a€? Barrie McKennaa€?s column should have been entitled, a€?Another Brick in the Wall.a€? Three claims are especially questionable. First, a€?A recent back-of-the-envelope calculation by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute puts […]

Conference Board to Review Potash

Today, the Government of Saskatchewan announced that it is engaging the Conference Board of Canada to analyze the proposed Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan takeover. My first thought is to hope that the Conference Board does a better job on potash than it did on TILMA. My second thought is, a€?Doesna€?t Saskatchewan have a civil service?a€? […]

Krugman on Rowe

I got this wrong first time round. Krugman commends Nick Rowe over at Worthwhile Canadian Initiative for his spirited views and writing on monetary policy. Enjoy and share:

One Million Served

One million. No, ita€?s not the number of posts that Armine has written about the census. (I count only 32.) A million is the number of times this blog has been viewed since Marc started it back in the summer of 2006. It has been an eventful few years in Canadian economics: the commodity a€?super […]

Tempests in a Libertarian Teapot

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute, which has been leading the charge against mostly unidentified a€?inter-provincial trade barriers,a€? is now posting complaints about the a€?intrusivea€? census long form. Are different-sized cream containers in various provinces and having to spend 20 minutes filling out a form once every couple of decades really the worst problems facing libertarians in Canada? […]

Debating Interprovincial Trade

Over at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Robert Knox has tried to rebut my rebuttal of his C. D. Howe Institute paper. (I am still waiting for a rebuttal of my rebuttal of his more recent Macdonald-Laurier Institute paper.) Knoxa€?s post sheds light on how his side of the debate sees the issue. But I begin with […]

Corporate Canadaa€?s Recovery: More Cash, Less Investment

There has been a persistent drumbeat in the American business press about corporations accumulating cash. The argument is that, while corporations are making solid profits now, they are not investing in the US for fear of anti-business policies in the future. Obama has allegedly spooked corporate America into hoarding cash rather than investing. To test […]

Supercorp Flop – You Read It Here First

The front page of todaya€?s Globe and Mail (Ontario Edition) proclaims, a€?Supercorp is dead.a€? The story goes on to note, a€?many government insiders have suggested that opponents of a potential deal got too much of a head start on framing the issue.a€? Indeed, this blog got a head start framing the issue back in December, […]

Depressing Protectionism?

The notion that tariffs caused the Great Depression has been repeatedly invoked in opposition to allegedly protectionist policies and to press ahead with deregulatory a€?free tradea€? deals. Also, the current collapse of international trade is sometimes cited to suggest a rising tide of protectionism today. Yesterday, Paul Krugman had an excellent post debunking the underlying […]

Maxime Bernier Jumps the Shark

Through a series of speeches and Financial Post op-eds, former cabinet minister Maxime Bernier has been setting out an uncompromising right-wing agenda. He had Andrew Coyne applauding his proposal to freeze??public spending. He had Stephen Gordon tweeting in support of his proposal to eliminate corporate taxes. But his latest proposal has already been rebuked by […]

Altuchera€?s Home Economics

Among TV financial pundits, I enjoy watching James Altucher. I have particularly appreciated his advocacy of no-nonsense quantitative easing by the European Central Bank, as opposed to the half measures unveiled so far. (My viewership has not been systematic enough to form an opinion of his stock tips.) I was recently pleased to discover that […]

Corporate Tax Incidence and Social Democracy

Over at Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, Stephen Gordon critiques the last federal NDP platforma€?s reference to a€?Canadaa€?s wealthiest corporationsa€? on the grounds that people, not corporations, own things. But as Declan points out in several pithy comments on Stephena€?s post, corporations clearly can and do own things. The corporations that own the most valuable things in […]

Open Ontario: Kinsella vs. Hudak

Yesterday afternoon, I caught the subway down to Queena€?s Park to find out whether the throne speech would shed any light on the provincial governmenta€?s privatization plans. As it turned out, the speech included only a couple of lines on Crown corporations. But I ran into blogger extraordinaire Warren Kinsella at the legislature and note […]

Carbon Caps and Capital – You Read It Here First

A TD-Pembina-Suzuki study released seven weeks ago projected that cutting Canadaa€?s carbon emissions by 20% below 2006 levels, or even 25% below 1990 levels, would only modestly reduce overall Canadian GDP. Last week, Jack Mintz critiqued this study for positing a fixed amount of capital investment in Canada. Under this highly dubious assumption, climate policy […]

Employment Data: Working on a Mystery

This blog flagged, and Worthwhile Canadian Initiative pursued, a striking discrepancy in Julya€?s employment data. The Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) indicated that employers paid 74,000 more employees. Conversely, the Labour Force Survey (LFS) had indicated that employers paid 79,000 fewer employees in July. This difference of 153,000 exceeds 1% of Canadaa€?s workforce. […]