The Progressive Economics Forum: Ontario’s Electricity Sector IV: Pre-Election Update

My first, second and third posts on the Ontario electricity sector described how policy and administrative decisions by different Liberal Governments gave rise to excess electricity generation with an inflated cost structure, leading to higher electricity prices. In anticipation of June 2018 elections, the Liberal Government recently implemented a costly and first-in-Canada financial scheme to ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Watt’s ugly leopard doesn’t wash.

We might be mangling some metaphors here but Jaime Watt can never wash the spots off that ugly leopard. The head of Navigator Ltd., Mr. Watt has spent many years advising Conservatives in the fine art of winning votes. He might be taking on too much of a challenge to try to sell us on ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Why Toronto needs a national housing strategy

Dr. Colin Phillips is an up-and-coming scholar in Canada’s homelessness sector. He has an opinion piece in today’s Toronto Star titled “Why Toronto needs a national housing strategy.” Points made in the opinion piece include the following: -The City of Toronto has worked hard to develop good practices on the ground to address homelessness. -But, ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The withering world of Premier Wynne.

Most successful politicians feed on their egos. It is what carries them through the tough times, the questionable times and eases their doubts and concerns. It also blinds then to the disasters of their own creation. For Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, it is her ego that prevents her from realizing that she is head of ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The anti-women legacy of Patrick Brown.

Patrick Brown was first elected to the ultra-Conservative Barrie, Ontario city council at age 22. As a Barrie councillor, he fit right in. It took him another four years to win election in the local federal electoral district and be part of the back-bench yes-men for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. It was in Ottawa, that ...

Michal Rozworski: Minimum wage whack-a-mole

Minimum-wage whack-a-mole is the best way to describe what I’ve been up to the past couple months. It seems like every week or so in August and September, the business lobby in Ontario was serving up a plate of inaccurate yet headline-grabbing predictions for consumption in the public debate. Going against the grain of the ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Excessives beat Progressives in Alberta.

Friends in Alberta have been asking why this commentary had nothing to say about the race to run that province’s United Conservative Party? It was not because we did not have an opinion. It was sleazy, it was corrupt, it was predictable and we wanted no part of it. I never thought in this lifetime ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Bad bodings for Brown.

A large piece of the Ontario provincial Conservative’s election campaign went bye-bye the other day. Brown and his buddies must have been sitting around the party headquarters war room contemplating what might have been. The directed verdict of a Sudbury, Ontario judge cut the campaign off at the knees. The campaign using Donald Trump’s “Corrupt ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: It’s like a long race on turf.

The next Ontario general election is scheduled to be held June 7, 2018. This race will be like a mile and a half on the turf track and requires horses with great endurance and energy. That makes it the time for the old and tired to retire. And that is what is happening with all ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The myopic Mr. Brown.

It reminds us that even a stopped clock can be right twice a day. Ontario Conservative Leader Patrick Brown has no policies but we know what he is against. He tells us that he will cancel the Liberal Cap and Trade environmental protection plan. He has no idea what he might replace it with but ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Money has its privileges.

They named the provincial Conservative candidate for York-Simcoe the other day. There will be no sweaty contested nomination meeting for former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s kid. Caroline Mulroney got a free pass. And just to drive the point home, at the announcement, she harangued the provincial Liberals for wanting to raise the minimum wage in ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Conservative knives are out for Brown.

Have you figured out why Ontario Premier Wynne is looking so smug lately? It has finally occurred to her that she not only has a chance to hold on to power in next year’s election but she is even getting help from Conservatives. Rather than support some of the extreme right-wing splinter parties that are ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Fear of Ford.

Is he, or isn’t he? Is Doug Ford running for the mayoralty in Toronto next year or for the Progressive Conservatives in the provincial election? And who cares anyway? Oddly enough that is a matter that is mainly of concern to provincial politicians. Incumbent Mayor John Tory, who wants another term, could care less. The ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Housing Affordability and Inequality: Low-Income Renters in Ontario

In this first of a series of housing-related posts I analyze rental housing expenditures for low-income households in Ontario. Rent is the single largest expenditure element for renters in the first and second household income quintiles and is therefore an important indicator of housing affordability and expenditure inequality. This is a relatively under-studied component of ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Chamber’s economic impact analysis of Bill 148 still doesn’t make sense

On Monday, the Keep Ontario Working coalition spearheaded by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released an analysis of the impacts of Bill 148 in Ontario, which will introduce a $15 minimum wage by 2019 and a host of other employment standards improvements. The analysis raised many red flags: it focused only on costs, predicting very large ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The trial of Kathleen Wynne.

The trial is set to begin in Sudbury, Ontario on September 7. We would ignore the trial and its political implications if it did not involve the present Premier of Ontario. Mind you Kathleen Wynne will spend most of the trial on the sidelines. She is not charged with a crime. She has lackeys for ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Barrie’s Bad Boy Brown.

There is no reason to worry. The next provincial election is not scheduled until June 7 next year. By then, we should expect that far more Ontario voters are going to realize what a screw-up Brown would be as premier. It is not that he is dishonest, devious and dumb, we have had all those ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: She could use her married name.

The question was: What would help Brian Mulroney’s daughter win a seat in the Legislature in the next Ontario provincial election? The obvious answer is to use a different name. It might be a quarter century since Canadian voters turfed Brian Mulroney’s Conservatives (then led by Kim Campbell) and left the party with just two ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Murray dumps Wynne.

“Don’t let the door handle hit you in the ass on the way out, Glen!” The good news is that Ontario Environment Minister Glen Murray is leaving the Wynne cabinet in Ontario. The bad news is that his new job is as executive director of Alberta’s namby-pamby Pembina Institute. It should suit him. It was ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Brown’s battling beginnings.

It is getting so bad that even PostMedia writers are wondering when Ontario Conservative Leader Patrick Brown is going to show some maturity. They are starting to question Brown’s ability to run a political party. He is certainly not getting the nomination process right. Many want to write it off to the vulnerability of the ...

Michal Rozworski: What do we do when we Fight for $15

On this episode, three guests provide some perspective on the politics and the economics of the Fight for $15. First, I speak with Jonathan Rosenblum, campaign director at the first Fight for $15 at SeaTac Airport, just outside Seattle, Washington. Workers there won an immediate raise to $15 via a municipal ordinance in 2015. Jon is also an ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Is there any hope for Horwath?

Every once in a while, we are reminded that there are three parties at play for the right to hold the lease on the Pink Palace looking down University Avenue from Queen’s Park. We know lots about the Liberals that currently hold the lease. We know more than we want to know about the Conservatives ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: On being nice to Premier Wynne.

It could be hard to get used to doing this. The problem basically is that as a liberal all my life, it is very difficult to accept Kathleen Wynne as a liberal. She is not a liberal and I do not like the way she has been running Ontario. But…(life is full of ‘Buts’ isn’t ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Economists support $15 minimum wage in Ontario

We, the undersigned economists, support the decision to increase the minimum wage in Ontario to $15 an hour. Raising the wage floor makes good economic sense. Today, Ontario’s minimum wage is $11.40 per hour. Adjusted for inflation, this is barely one dollar higher than its value in 1977. Yet over the same four decades, the ...

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading. – Greg Leiseron discusses why the abject failure of Kansas’ anti-social experiment with trickle-down economics shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anybody: Claims of supply-side growth from labor income tax cuts rely on the idea that people will be more willing to work when their after-tax wages are ...