Alberta Politics: Despite Opposition demands, Alberta NDP says no to risky conservative ideological experiments in its 2017 budget

PHOTOS: Finance Minister Joe Ceci. Below: Interim Progressive Conservative Ric McIver showing off his Three Stooges tie, the sale of which puts the gross in Gross National Product; Opposition Leader Brian Jean; and Alberta Liberal interim Leader David Swann. “Admit it, Alberta, after yesterday afternoon’s Budget Speech was read by Finance Minister Joe Ceci, you ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Prov gov finances headed south #nlpoli

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is offering its bonds on the American market, according to Bloomberg News.  VOCM reported it locally on Wednesday. The provincial government hopes that its high interest rates will attract investors.  “We are providing some of the highest yields in the country among provincial borrowers,”  deputy finance minister Donna Brewer ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Fan Klub, Churchill, and taxes – update

As the provincial Conservatives and New Democrats filibuster the levy bill in the House of Assembly that Winston Churchill quote about taxes popped up again. The ones pushing the quote hard on Twitter seem to be mostly charter members of the Danny Williams Fan Klub. That’s not surprising given that responsibility for the financial mess, ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Incrementalists #nlpoli

Today is budget day. There’s been lots of speculation flying around, most of it a confirmation that people have little real information about anything. If you have been paying attention, though, you can probably make a fairly good guess at what Thursday’s budget will look like. What follows is based entirely on what Dwight Ball ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Sir Robert Bond Papers 2016-03-18 04:30:00

The deficit for 2015 will be a record. We know that because of comments at the House of Assembly by Premier Dwight Ball and finance minister Cathy Bennett. News media are reporting that as “raising the province’s borrowing capacity” but that’s not quite what is going on.  The markets will determine the province’s borrowing capacity. ...

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 Sir Robert Bond Papers: Things are THAT bad #nlpoli

David Thompson is an independent economist in the same way that Jerry Earle and Wayne Lucas are independent human resource consultants. But the problem isn’t that CBC couldn’t make a factual statement in the first three words of a news story. Nor is it a problem that Thompson recently visited the province at the expense ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: If we dither, we die. #nlpoli

by Chuck Furey________________ “Indecision becomes decision with time” someone once said. The current fiscal nightmare in Newfoundland and Labrador is real. One only need compare the amount of borrowing in 1933 (34%} to the borrowing today (30%) as a share of spending. The similarity is stark and raw and scary. Sadness and desperation come to ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Politicians and Public Debt #nlpoli

Remember the debt clock? Finance minister Tom Marshall went around the province during that year’s budget consultation – now “rebranded” as “engagement” – with this big electric counter that purported to show how much interest on taxpayers were racking up on the public debt. $1,400 a minute back then. “That clock is ticking away showing ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Newfoundland government finance, 1832 to 1949 #nlpoli

Before Newfoundlanders stopped governing themselves in the early winter of 1934, they’d run a sometimes arduous course. Newfoundland gained a limited form of self-government in 1832 and in 1855 gained Responsible Government.  That gave control of  virtually everything except defence and foreign policy to a cabinet made up of members of the elected assembly and ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Will DBRS re-do its rating for Newfoundland and Labrador? #nlpoli

Premier Paul Davis was proud of the fact that a bond rating agency had confirmed the province’s credit rating. Curiously, he never told anyone which rating agency it was and, as it seems,  very few if any news outlets reported on the release issued on November 19 by Dominion Bond Rating Service. DBRS confirmed the ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Let’s hear it for the Fraser Institute geniuses #nlpoli

A year after Kathy Dunderdale left office, the Fraser Institute said she was one of the best fiscal managers of all the Premiers in Canada. Provincial Conservatives repeated the story anywhere and everywhere they could, just as they had done the other time the Fraser Institute said Kathy was a financial genius. Sound fiscal management ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Metrics #nlpoli

Telegram editor Russell Wangersky tried on Monday to put the government’s financial mess into some shape that people could understand. The simple fact, to put a shortfall of $2 billion into perspective, is that if the provincial government wanted to cover those costs outside of oil revenues, it would have to not only double the ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Bridge to Ottawa #nlpoli

Premier Dwight Ball said everything is on the table to deal with the massive financial problem facing his administration. And then, in a string of year-end interviews,  Ball immediately took everything off the table. No cuts to spending as that would slow the economy.  Ditto for tax increases.  Even “efficiency” went out as Ball told ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Essence #nlpoli

The Telegram has been running a series this week on the number of communities in the province where people can’t drink the water supplied by their local municipality. Regular readers will know the issue as it first came up here in 2009, in 2011, and in 2013.  A couple of years ago, CBC was highlighting ...

Michal Rozworski » Political Eh-conomy: Where is Canada’s mild Keynesian alternative?

You know something is up when the social democrats are trailing the centrist pundits on the economy. The space for a just a mild Keynesian alternative in Canada is wide open. Such an alternative, however, needs a political rather than merely a technocratic push. Here is a fragment of a piece that just appeared in Canadian ...

Political Eh-conomy: Where is Canada’s mild Keynesian alternative?

You know something is up when the social democrats are trailing the centrist pundits on the economy. The space for a just a mild Keynesian alternative in Canada is wide open. Such an alternative, however, needs a political rather than merely a technocratic push. Here is a fragment of a piece that just appeared in Canadian ...

Political Eh-conomy: Repeat after me: Alberta isn’t Greece

Last week it was Andrew Coyne; this week it’s Jack Mintz. Seems all the National Post’s favourite conservative commentators have suddenly decided to offer their Very Serious Advice™ to Alberta’s new government. While Coyne made a spurious comparison between raising the minimum wage and instituting a minimum income, Mintz outdoes him with an even more ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Double-down Locke #nlpoli

“I didn’t see this coming,”  Memorial University economist Wade Locke told the Telegram’s James McLeod the other day. Locke was talking about the dramatic drop in oil prices over the past week and a half. The day before, Locke was on VOCM’s morning talk show dismissing this low oil price stuff as just a passing ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Vision Thing #nlpoli

The St. John’s Board of Trade is about the only business advocacy group in the world that doesn’t actually believe in free enterprise. The Board doesn’t believe that government should control public debt.  They claim they are worried about it, but in practice the Board will shout with joy the more the government spends. That ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Conservative Misinformation and the Public Sector Debt Problem #nlpoli

There is no limit to how selectively provincial Conservatives will read a document in order to find some microscopic filament that might possibly confirm that they have really been running the most magnificent administration in the history of the galaxy. They still insist, for example,  that they are the tops in leadership and accountability even ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Whizzo Quality Assortment #nlpoli

On the outside, the spring budget for 2014 looks like a delicious assortment of goodies for everyone.  You can tell it is delectable because everyone is shouting for joy and drooling over their good fortune. There is not a single group who have had their hands out for government money that did not get something. ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Vibrant Unsustainable Super Energy Debt Warehouse #nlpoli

The Conservatives used to say that Newfoundland and Labrador was eastern North America’s energy warehouse.  Once Danny Williams ran for the hills and left Kathy Dunderdale in charge, she kicked everything up a notch. Energy warehouse was too plain for Kathy, whose party ran on the slogan “New Energy” in the 2011 general election. With ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Political Mummers’ Parade on Monday #nlpoli

Finance minister Tom Marshall will present his mid-year financial update on Monday.  It is supposed to be a way of bringing everyone up to date on how the annual budget is going. It’s an accountability thing. Since the government’s fiscal year starts in April, the middle of the year was September.  So December is well ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Debt, Demand, and Delusions #nlpoli

The Conservatives running the province got together with their staff and key supporters this weekend to reaffirm their conviction that they alone ought to be running the province. Some people seem to think it’s remarkable that they stand together behind Kathy Dunderdale and her supposed wonderful charm, despite what the polls says. There’s nothing remarkable ...