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The Progressive Economics Forum: Who’s Afraid of Deficits?

We all knew that Budget 2015 was optimistic about medium term growth and rebounding oil prices, but the good people at the PBO have given us an indication of just how far off those projection were. They estimate that nominal GDP will be about $20B lower through 2020 ($30B lower in 2016), which also means bigger government deficits through 2020.

While pundits had been OK with small, temporary deficits, at this news some headlines shouted that the Liberal’s plan to balance the budget was in jeopardy, and others contemplated the possibility that the new government would be less bold in the face of (Read more…)

Alberta Politics: Guest Post by Mimi Williams: When the NDP abandoned its socialist principles, it abandoned its chance of winning

PHOTOS: Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair – whatever was he thinking? Below: Guest Post author Mimi Williams; Jeremy Corbyn, new leader of Britain’s Labour Party. Many New Democrats were shocked and dismayed at the outcome of Monday’s federal election, despite their relief that Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party government were gone at last. Long-time […]

The post Guest Post by Mimi Williams: When the NDP abandoned its socialist principles, it abandoned its chance of winning appeared first on Alberta Politics.

The Progressive Economics Forum: Election 2015: Trudeau’s Court of Economic Advisors

“I don’t read newspapers, I don’t watch the news. I figure, if something important happens, someone will tell me.”

Justin Trudeau’s surprising confession in a 2001 Globe and Mail essay (“Something I’m Passionate About”, Feb.3) raises three questions: 1) does he read newspapers and watch the news now?; 2) if yes, does he read the Report on Business, Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times or watch BNN, CNBC, or at least CBC’s Bottom Line? ; 3) if no to question 2, who tells him when something important is happening in the Canadian economy?

This last question (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Election 2015: An Escape Hatch for the NDP?

In an earlier post, I sought to explain (not necessarily defend) the Mulcair team’s decision to run balanced budgets as an election campaign tactic to counter being branded by the Conservatives (and potentially the Liberals)as a profligate manager of the public purse. Whether or not this tactic is successful will ultimately reflect in the October 19th electoral results.

Since this announcement in late August, polls have suggested the tactic may not have worked, with the NDP having being overtaken by the Conservatives and Liberals in terms of share of the popular vote. It does not strictly follow (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Missing in (debate) action: macroeconomic lessons from the Great Depression

This is a guest blog post from Mario Seccareccia, Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa.


Since the October 2008 federal election, Canadian politicians have been struggling to come to terms with what to all accounts has turned out to be a “lite” version of the 1930s, whose major difference is that today we have a much larger government sector that is now about 1/4 rather than 1/10 of gross domestic product, thereby offering somewhat of a makeweight (despite the adoption of fiscal austerity over the last five years). Also, we have today an indomitable Canadian consumer who continues to (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Election 2015: The Political Economy of Balanced Budgets

First, disclosure. I wear several hats. In addition to being a progressive economist, I am a member of the NDP. I have been since 1988. I will be voting for the NDP candidate in my riding and I just donated $100 to the party,with more to follow.

The recent promise of four years of balanced budgets by the Mulcair-led NDP has irked several progressive economists (see Marc Lavoie and Louis-Philippe Rochon), who are puzzled over why Canada’s social democratic party would eschew running deficits during a period of cyclical slow-down and probable stagnation. The quick answer is that (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Austerity Trap

Louis-Philippe Rochon is associate professor of economics at Laurentian University and co-editor of the Review of Keynesian Economics.

Originally published by CBC. See here.

In its April budget, the federal government announced it had succeeded in balancing the budget. Such an achievement, however, will prove to be at best a Pyrrhic victory. History shows austerity and balanced budgets never work and only doom our economies to more misery.

The Austerians, as American economist Rob Parenteau calls them, are clearly winning the policy war.

In Canada, as in many other places around the world, governments are turning once again to (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: My “Top Five” Most Outrageous Things About This Budget

With a document whose very timing, let alone content, was so transparently politicized and manipulative, it’s hard to even know where to start. Among the many galling, short-sighted, and ultimately destructive components of this federal budget, here are 5 that stand out in my view:

1. Timing. At a time of great economic uncertainty in Canada (arising from the sharp decrease in oil prices and growing evidence of serious economic trouble), the government chose to heighten the uncertainty by delaying its budget for several weeks. Turns out this was not because of uncertainty about oil prices. The delay was (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON on 2015 budget: Conservatives making a mockery of working Canadians


Louis-Philippe Rochon

Associate Professor of Economics, Laurentian University

Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics


Today, with great fanfare, Minister of Finance, Joe Oliver, tabled his much-delayed budget in the House of Commons. Despite the government’s best effort to confuse Canadians with tales of terrorism, the economy and job creation remains by far the single most important issue facing hard-working Canadians. Unfortunately, this budget, full of accounting tricks, will do very little to revive Canada’s moribund economy, and it contains far less in terms of good news for working Canadians.

In fact, Mr. Oliver, (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON on balanced budgets

Balanced budget legislation will be disastrous for Canada

Louis-Philippe Rochon

Associate Professor of Economics, Laurentian University

Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics



Finance Minister Joe Oliver’s latest muses about introducing balanced budget legislation is the worst policy for Canada, and will doom us to European-style crises and rob future generations of prosperity.

While the details of the specific plan are not yet available, the very idea of forcing governments in good or bad times to have a balanced budget is one of the worst economic ideas this government has had in its 9 years in office. To wit, (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: A Tale of Two Provinces: B.C. NDP and Wild Rosehip Tea Party show why opposition matters

Razzle-dazzle, sis-boom-bah, balanced budgets, rah-rah-rah! Danielle Smith and the Wild Rosehip Tea Party yell squad cheers for Alison Redford’s Tory team’s worst plays on the field. The actual Alberta opposition may not be quite as illustrated. Below: Ms. Redford and B.C. Premier Christie Clark. Why are these two premiers smiling?

British Columbia and Alberta, Canada’s two westernmost provinces, have lots in common.

Both have economies that rely heavily on volatile natural resources, well-educated, diverse and generally socially progressive populations, and Westminster-style parliamentary legislatures in beautiful old buildings.

Both are also governed by irresponsible neoconservative coalitions with misleading names that

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