The Progressive Economics Forum: Panel discussion at federal NDP policy convention

Yesterday I spoke on a panel discussion on economic inequality, along with Andrew Jackson and Armine Yalnizyan. We were guests at the federal NDP’s policy convention in Ottawa. The panel was moderated by Guy Caron. Topics covered included the minimum wage, basic income, affordable housing, the future of jobs, gender budgeting, poverty among seniors, Canadian ...

The Disaffected Lib: Neil Macdonald on Trudeau’s Betrayal of the Canadian People

Political cowardice is something we’re getting used to from our federal Liberal government.  Justin Trudeau may have a lovely smile but very, very weak knees. When it comes to taking bold steps demanded of true vision, he’s usually a no-show. Can you say “electoral reform”? I know Justin cannot. Then there’s the problem of Canada’s ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Extreme Wealth Inequality Persists

There was little or no media coverage of the release of data on the distribution of the wealth of Canadians in 2016 last week, perhaps because there has been little or no change since the last Survey of Financial Security in 2012. The top 20% of Canadians own 67.3% of all net worth (assets of ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Ten considerations for the next Alberta budget

On November 17, the working group of the Alberta Alternative Budget (AAB) sponsored a one-day workshop at the University of Alberta. The event’s main purpose was to discuss recent developments in Alberta public policy, as well as expectations for the upcoming Alberta budget. Twenty speakers presented in total. In light of what was discussed at ...

In-Sights: Civilized people pay for civilization

Maclean’s produced a ranking of the most dangerous places in Canada by examining communities with populations as small as 10,000. They explain the methodology: The report ranks communities according to the Crime Severity Index, which is a Statistics Canada measure of all police-reported crime collected through the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey that takes into consideration ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Private Corporation Tax Loophole and the Ultra Rich

The 2017 Economic and Fiscal Update provides some detailed data (see pp. 51-53) on who will be impacted by the government’s plan to limit how much passive investment income can be earned in a private corporation. Income from investments held in a private corporation is taxed at a lower rate than investments held by a ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Book review: Social policy in Canada (second edition)

Oxford University Press has recently released the second edition of Social Policy in Canada, co-authored by the father-daughter duo of Ernie Lightman and Naomi Lightman. I recommend this book as an excellent resource for students of social policy. It will be useful for classroom instruction, while also being a handy reference for researchers, persons who ...

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: 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: 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 ...

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: 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: Do Calgary and Edmonton need more power and resources?

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Do Calgary and Edmonton need more power and resources?” The blog post comes as the Government of Alberta considers the possibility of, well, giving more power and sources to both Calgary and Edmonton. Points raised in the blog post ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Ten things to know about the CPP debate

This fall, Canada’s Parliament will debate a proposal to expand the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).  And over at the Behind the Numbers web site, I’m co-author of a blog post titled “Ten things to know about the CPP debate.” The blog post’s other co-authors are Allan Moscovitch and Richard Lochead. Points raised in the blog ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: House price inflation and what to do about it

I have a new report out today on affordable housing in Metro Vancouver. While it’s mostly of regional interest, I think the analysis and framework for housing solutions could have a much wider audience. The report looks at what’s driving the spectacular rise in housing prices in Vancouver, summarizing what we know from a wide range ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Ten things to know about the 2016-17 Alberta budget

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I have a blog post titled: “Ten things to know about the 2016-17 Alberta budget.” The link to the post is here.

In-Sights: Essential service – ferries or moviemaking?

In 2012, Premier Christy Clark declared that coastal ferry subsidies would not grow under her government: “That is not a sustainable amount of money from taxpayers across the province. It’s just not. You can’t run a ferry system with that kind of level of subsidy forever.” Although inaccurate, her words were prophetic. When Premier Clark ...

In-Sights: Essential service – ferries or moviemaking?

In 2012, Premier Christy Clark declared that coastal ferry subsidies would not grow under her government: “That is not a sustainable amount of money from taxpayers across the province. It’s just not. You can’t run a ferry system with that kind of level of subsidy forever.” Although inaccurate, her words were prophetic. When Premier Clark ...

In-Sights: Essential service – ferries or moviemaking?

In 2012, Premier Christy Clark declared that coastal ferry subsidies would not grow under her government: “That is not a sustainable amount of money from taxpayers across the province. It’s just not. You can’t run a ferry system with that kind of level of subsidy forever.” Although inaccurate, her words were prophetic. When Premier Clark ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Comparing Fiscal Federalism in Canada and Australia

One interesting topic for a Canadian living in Australia is the manner in which fiscal and social responsibilities are divided between the levels of government.  Both countries are big, regionally diverse, and resource-rich (with all the pluses and minuses that entails).  As in Canada, Australian states are largely responsible for the big-ticket social programs: including ...