The Progressive Economics Forum: 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 ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: 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 ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: A tale book-ended by 2 Trudeaus: Canada’s foreign aid since 1970

Soon after the 2015 federal election, Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau affirmed that Canada was “back” as a “compassionate and constructive voice in the world” after a decade of Conservative governments. One of the most important means by which any industrialized country interacts with the developing world is via the amount, composition and effectiveness of its ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: 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 ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: The introduction and evolution of child benefits in Canada

Allan Moscovitch and I have co-authored a blog post that looks at the history of child benefits in Canada. Points made in the blog post include the following: -Child benefits can reduce both poverty and homelessness. -When child benefits began in Canada after World War II, one major motivating factor for the federal government was ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: 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 Progressive Economics Forum: Ten Things To Know About The 2017 Federal Budget

I’ve just written a blog post in which I review the recent federal budget. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -The federal government is projecting deficits in the $20B-$30B range for roughly the next five years. -This was likely the most important federal budget for housing since 1993. -The budget contains important ...

Michal Rozworski: Budgeting for the oil bust in Saskatchewan and Alberta

The resource price bust is already a few years old but it’s still hitting parts of Canada hard. Two guests talk about the impact of the downturn on fiscal policy in the Canadian prairies and what this augers for the bigger question of a transformation of the economy away from fossil fuels. First I speak with ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: 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 Progressive Economics Forum: 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 ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Alberta Alternative Budget 2017

Media Release Foundations for an Alberta Alternative Budget released today (March 14, 2017-Edmonton) Today, a coalition of researchers, economists, and members of civil society released a plan to boost Alberta’s economic growth while reducing income inequality. “For too long Alberta’s public services have been strained from decades of underfunding and reliance on volatile energy markets,” ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Public Policy and Homelessness: The Case of Calgary

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Public Policy and Homelessness:  The Case of Calgary.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Calgary experienced explosive growth in the size of its homeless population from the mid-1990s until 2008. -Though causation is hard to establish, ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Poverty Reduction in Alberta

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’m co-author of a blog post titled “Poverty Reduction in Alberta.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -The NDP government of Premier Rachel Notley has undertaken important poverty-reduction initiatives since forming a government in 2015. -Alberta (relative to other provinces) has a ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Lessons from the Reagan Era on Managing Twin Deficits

Below is a guest post from Norman Mogil and Arthur Donner. Lessons from the Reagan Era on Managing Twin Deficits Many in the U.S. are harking back to the Reagan era for guidance on how to implement the pro-growth policies advocated by President Donald Trump and the Republican Congress. When Ronald Reagan took over the leadership ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Federal Role in Poverty Reduction

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, 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 ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: How Housing Policy Benefits from a Socioeconomic Perspective

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “How Housing Policy Benefits from a Socioeconomic Perspective.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Leaders in Canada’s non-profit housing sector should think beyond just housing, and think hard about the importance of economic and social factors ...

Michal Rozworski: The road tolls for thee

Last week, Toronto mayor Join Tory announced a plan to toll two major Toronto highways, the Gardiner and the DVP. The city is starved for cash with huge shortfalls for both infrastructure (new housing, new transit lines) and even everyday operating expenses. Tolls are supposed to help close this gap. But despite the absolutely huge ...

Michal Rozworski: Trudeau’s economic model is clear and it is not good

Last week gave us a good idea of the economic model that Trudeau’s Liberals are gradually putting forward and it is business-friendly to the core. The infrastructure bank privatization scheme was the big news item in the fall fiscal upate (see my post from last week), but there are far more goodies to make business ...

Michal Rozworski: The great rentier give-away

With today’s fiscal update, the Trudeau government has really shown itself to be at the forefront of global left neoliberalism. Taking nearly all his cues from his business-dominated Advisory Council on Economic Growth, the Finance Minister announced a new Canada Infrastructure Bank as the centerpiece of the fiscal update and the Liberal’s economic strategy. Don’t believe the fanfare that ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: How do you solve a problem like precarious work?

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has taken quite a bit of heat for his tone deaf comments about the reality of precarious work, specifically saying that we should just “get used to job churn”. But his policy prescription, an improved social safety net, is a quite valid part of the solution. But must we accept that ‘the precarious will always ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Central Agencies in Canada

Do you ever sit in bed late at night 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 ...

Alberta Politics: Postmedia’s symbiotic relationship with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation fails to offer much illumination

PHOTOS: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s misleading “debt clock” trailer back when Alberta’s debt wasn’t $10 billion. Now it isn’t $17 billion. Below: CTF Alberta Director Paige MacPherson, telling Okotoks Online that 44,000 teachers should all be handed a big pay cut (Okotoks Online photo); Parkland Institute Research Manager Ian Hussey and tight-fisted Alberta NDP Finance ...

Michal Rozworski: Growing the middle class or adapting the elite consensus?

Today’s federal government budget is a litmus test for the new Liberal government. They campaigned on promises of “real change” from the last regime, including a willingness to increase social spending even if it meant running deficit budgets. And, in keeping with this pledge, spending is up, and the deficit is forecast at $29.4 billion. ...

Michal Rozworski: Fiscal policy for the left, or Corbyn vs Mulcair on deficits

The question of deficits dominated a lot of the economic debate in Canada during the 2015 federal election and even today. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party introduced a new fiscal policy last week that, on surface, appears to mirror the NDP’s anti-deficit stance from the 2015 campaign. Looking closer, however, Labour’s policy diverges quite substantially and ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: February Labour Force Woes

The unemployment rate is up again this month, to 7.3%, with 1.4 million workers looking for jobs in February. A loss of full-time work was partly replaced by part time positions. A disproportionate percentage of last year’s growth came from precarious self-employment. Remember those heady days when we could say that at least Canada’s unemployment rate ...