Political Eh-conomy: Another (budget) day, another dollar (cut): Canada’s slow-motion austerity

Yesterday’s federal budget was a non-event. Indeed, the no-surprises budget was itself no surprise: the Conservatives have long done their fiscal policy dirty work in omnibus bills and other dark corners scattered throughout the legislature, Crown corporations and federal agencies. This leaves the media circus of budget day a very stereotypically Canadian mix of polite ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Young Workers Needed So Much More from Budget 2014

Recessions are always harder on young workers, but we are nearly five years out from the end of the last recession and there is still no recovery in sight for young workers. Between October 2008 and January 2014, there was an increase of 100,000 unemployed young workers (15-29), so that there are now 540,000 unemployed ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: 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 ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Economists Against Austerity

Statement by 70 Canadian Economists Against Austerity We, the undersigned, strongly urge the federal government to stop implementing fiscal austerity measures just to achieve its political goal of budgetary balance by 2015. Since the mid-1990s, we have witnessed an era during which, under the influence of the same economists who had also advised the deregulation ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: The IMF and Canadian Fiscal Policy

This is quite interesting. If you read the short section from the recent IMF Staff Report on Canada under point 16, it is quite clear that the IMF Staff think that, with growth significantly under potential, the federal Budget should be brought back to balance more slowly than is now the plan. It strikes me ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Flaherty’s Funny Math with the EI Surplus

The Parliamentary Budget Office has come out with a report, suggesting that the Conservatives will likely balance the budget ahead of schedule. But, and it’s a big but, if there were no EI surplus, there would be no balanced budget in 2016. And the annual surplus in the EI Operating Account is no small potatoes ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: How Harper can avoid turning a Budget Implementation Bill into a Duffy budget bill

On November 25th, I made the following submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance regarding Bill C-4, Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2, on behalf of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.    1.     Introduction and Context Thank you for the invitation to appear before the Committee, as Members of Parliament ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Canada’s (not so incredible) shrinking federal government

Buried in the federal government’s recent Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections are figures showing the Harper government is set to squeeze federal government’s role to the smallest it has been in seventy years.   (Bill Curry at the Globe also just wrote about this, but without figures further back than 1958). Total federal government spending as a share ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: EI Premium Freeze Leaves Unemployed Canadians in the Cold

Today, finance minister Jim Flaherty announced a three-year freeze on Employment Insurance (EI) premiums, ostensibly because a stronger job market has alleviated the need for additional premium revenue. Under the current policy, employee premiums were rising each year by 5 cents per $100 earned. Flaherty had announced this policy on September 30, 2010, when 1.5 ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: P3 or No Federal Funding: A Third Option for Regina Wastewater?

The Queen City’s water debate has boiled over since I last blogged about it. City Council decided to build a new wastewater-treatment facility as a public-private partnership (P3), but a group of concerned citizens gathered 24,000 signatures to force a referendum on whether to “publicly finance, operate and maintain the new wastewater treatment plant for ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: What’s a Point of Corporate Tax Worth?

Tom Mulcair’s recently reiterated unwillingness to raise personal tax rates puts the spotlight on corporate taxes. But how much revenue is at stake? Three and a half years ago, I posted a fiscal breakdown of Harper’s corporate tax cuts and how much revenue could be retained by stopping or reversing them. These figures, based on ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Regina Hosed by P3 Waste Water

Regina City Council has voted to proceed with a 30-year public-private partnership (P3) in which a private company would design, build, finance, operate and maintain the city’s new waste water treatment facility. The municipal administration’s rationale has been that, although a P3 will be more expensive than traditional public financing, it is required to access ...

The Canadian Progressive: Federal Court dismisses former PBO Kevin Page’s application

By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive:  The Federal Court of Canada has dismissed a request by former Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page, to clarify the office’s mandate. In his application, Page had also sought ”judgment affirming he has the jurisdiction to seek the information” relating to the $5.2 billion in fiscal savings outlined in […] The post Federal Court ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Austerity through infrastructure Cuts: Budget 2013

One the most amazing things about this budget is that one of its three focuses will actually be the opposite of what it’s touting.  You’ll likely hear that $14 billion will be spent on infrastructure over the next 10 years (actually you may hear much bigger numbers but they just re-announce existing programs like the ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Budget 2013: Time for a real action plan, not another ad campaign

It’s hard to get excited about Thursday’s federal budget. All signs point to an “austerity” budget, even though that approach has failed so spectacularly wherever it has been tried. Austerity is one of those zombie ideas that cannot be killed, roaming rampantly across the pages and screens of the mainstream media. The 2012 federal budget ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Alternative Federal Budget 2013 – Doing Better, Together

These are the remarks by David MacDonald and I prepared for the press conference marking the release of the AFB 2013 in Ottawa, March 12, 2013. Time flies and our Alternative Federal Budget is now in its 19th year.  Year after year it has shown that we can have a Canada where we all do better together. ...

The Canadian Progressive: Aagh, Harper Conservatives Nuked Democratic NDP Motion On Role Of PBO

By Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive, Feb. 14, 2013: Showing their burgeoning disdain for accountability, transparency, financial oversight and the independence of federal watchdogs, the Harper Conservatives earlier this week nuked a progressive NDP motion on the role of the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO).  The motion, tabled by the Official Opposition’s Finance critic, Peggy Nash, sought to extend the mandate ...

Canadian ProgressiveCanadian Progressive: First Nation: Bill C-45 allows tar sands industry to destroy vital waterways and treaty rights

by Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Today the conservative government tabled a new version of Bill C-45, a 443-page bill, to implement its federal budget.  The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) was taken aback by the proposed amendments stating they are indicative of the further erosion of Treaty rights in Canada.  ACFN leadership is particularly worried about ...

Canadian Progressive: Radicals for our coast: New Democrat MPs and community reps (VIDEO)

A must-watch video on the ongoing fight against Enbridge’s cursed pipeline. The following New Democrat MPs visit Terrace, Kitimat and Kitamaat, British Columbia, and discuss the energy giant’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline: Deputy Leader and Environment critic, Megan Leslie (Halifax); House Leader, Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley); Public Safety & LGBTT critic, Randall Garrison (Esquimalt–Juan de ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: GDP: Austerity Bites

Canada’s economy grew by half a percent in the first quarter of 2012, staying on pace for unimpressive annual growth of two percent. The good news is that business investment was strong, at least on a seasonally-adjusted basis. (As usually happens in the first quarter, the actual dollar value of business investment actually decreased.) Unfortunately, ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: 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.

The Progressive Economics Forum: Tightening the Screws on the Unemployed

The significant changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program which are to be quickly implemented through Budget 2012 with very little consultation have not received enough critical attention. First, a word on what is not in the Budget. It is disappointing, to say the least, that the government is failing to respond to the fact ...

Art Threat: One Month Later – How the 2012 Federal Budget Impacts the Arts

With the release of the 2012 federal budget one month behind us you’ve likely captured the gist of the budget – cuts to the CBC and none to the Canada Council for the Arts. Here’s a full breakdown of how the cuts (and non cuts) affect arts and culture in Canada over the next three ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Federal Budget and Women

(The following is from my colleague Angella McEwen.) The only mention of either men or women in the 400-odd page 2012 Budget Implementation Bill is with regards to the appropriate use of donated sperm and ova. In analysis and discussions of the proposed omnibus bill, differential impacts for women, Aboriginals, racialized persons, newcomers, and *the ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: PBO Strikes Again

I wanted to tip my hat to the hard working folks at the PBO for a particularly revealing Economic and Fiscal Outlook that was published today.  While the PBO has more than once eaten my lunch on various issue they’ve done a superb job of looking at Canada’s economic and fiscal position. I’d point readers ...