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Montreal Simon: Con Millionaire: The Selling of Stephen Harper

As you may have heard, Stephen Harper is finally gainfully employed again, after getting paid to do nothing for so long.

And although he hasn’t yet asked Big Oil for a job, he’s clearly got plans to become a very rich man.

For not only does he have his own consulting business, he has joined Dentons the world’s largest law firm. 

Which as you can see has made him very, very, happy.
Read more » . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Con Millionaire: The Selling of Stephen Harper

The Progressive Economics Forum: Some missing elements from the Canadian TPP debate

With an agreement reached on the Trans Pacific Partnership, the 12-member trade and investment treaty, opinions began swirling about what the deal means for the future of Canada. Plenty of facts have been bandied about in an effort to clarify the TPP’s significance: 12 Pacific Rim countries, 800 million people, 36 percent of global GDP . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Some missing elements from the Canadian TPP debate

The Progressive Economics Forum: Canada After Harper

Here is the link to buy a new book, Canada After Harper, edited by Ed Finn and with an introduction by Ralph Nader, just published by Lorimer.

Most Canadians know that Stephen Harper has had a tremendous impact on the country since becoming prime minister in 2006. But few have the in-depth knowledge of how . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Canada After Harper

The Progressive Economics Forum: The CBC – the Corporate Broadcasting Corp.

A new scandal blew up at the CBC this week when the website Canadaland published an exposé charging that Amanda Lang, the broadcaster’s senior business reporter and host of The Exchange, tried to sabotage an investigative story the CBC produced about abuses committed by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) over the temporary foreign worker . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: The CBC – the Corporate Broadcasting Corp.

The Progressive Economics Forum: Andrea Horwath’s Debacle

I can’t remember the last time I laughed out loud when I saw election results. I almost spat a mouthful of my breakfast across the room.

Almost nobody expected Ontario’s Liberals to win a majority, least of all the NDP’s Andrea Horwath. Her decision to pull the plug on the Wynne government has to go . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Andrea Horwath’s Debacle

The Progressive Economics Forum: NDP Sectarianism Returns with a Vengeance

You have to wonder what Andrea Horwath was thinking. By bringing down the Ontario government a week ago and launching an election as a result, the NDP risks opening the door for the provincial Tories reclaiming power. Which would be a disaster for working people across the province, let alone the social fabric of our . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: NDP Sectarianism Returns with a Vengeance

The Progressive Economics Forum: Corporate Cash Stash Surpasses National Debt

Today’s National Balance Sheet Accounts indicate that the amount of cash held by private non-financial corporations in Canada soared from $591 billion in the third quarter of 2013 to $626 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013. Corporate Canada’s accumulated stock of cash now exceeds the federal government’s accumulated deficit, which was $612 billion at . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Corporate Cash Stash Surpasses National Debt

The Progressive Economics Forum: PotashCorp Projects Low Royalties

Today’s fourth-quarter report indicates that PotashCorp paid “provincial mining and other taxes” of $194 million on potash sales of $3 billion in 2013. In other words, Saskatchewan’s resource surcharge and potash production tax amounted to just 6.5% of the value of potash sold.

Adding the basic Crown royalty (which PotashCorp includes in “cost of goods . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: PotashCorp Projects Low Royalties

The Progressive Economics Forum: StatCan Debunks Small-Business Mythology

Canadian economic commentators often worship small business as the supposed source of economic dynamism and growth. This cult of small business has greatly influenced public policy, with federal and provincial governments giving huge tax preferences to small corporations.

But new Statistics Canada research finds: “The gap between the levels of labour productivity in Canada and . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: StatCan Debunks Small-Business Mythology

The Progressive Economics Forum: Weir vs. Wall on Potash Profits, Dividends and Royalties

Earlier this week, PotashCorp laid off 440 workers in Saskatchewan. Here are the closing paragraphs from today’s front-page story reporting a letter from Premier Brad Wall asking the company to consider reducing its dividend payments to shareholders in order to maintain jobs in Saskatchewan:

Regina economist and former NDP leadership candidate Erin Weir said if . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Weir vs. Wall on Potash Profits, Dividends and Royalties

The Progressive Economics Forum: PEF Session at the House of Commons Finance Committee

The Progressive Economics Forum (PEF) normally hosts sessions at the Canadian Economics Association’s annual conference. But the House of Commons finance committee threw most of the union economists testifying in its pre-budget hearings onto the same panel on November 21. I began my testimony as follows:

In addition to my work as an economist for . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: PEF Session at the House of Commons Finance Committee

The Progressive Economics Forum: A Nuclear Error: Uranium Royalty Cuts

On Thursday’s Lang & O’Leary Exchange (at 24:45 in this CBC video), I noted that while the Government of Canada just signed a deal with Kazakhstan allowing Cameco to invest more in that country’s uranium industry, the Government of Saskatchewan recently slashed its uranium royalties to encourage Cameco to invest in the province rather than . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: A Nuclear Error: Uranium Royalty Cuts

The Progressive Economics Forum: The NSA Scandal is all about Economics

Back in 1998, I wrote a lengthy investigative feature for The Financial Post about Canada’s signals intelligence agency, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), and its post-Cold War role. You can read it here:

http://circ.jmellon.com/docs/pdf/trolling_for_secrets_economic_espionage.pdf

The CSE and its sister signals intelligence agency in the US, the National Security Agency (NSA), engage in espionage using solely . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: The NSA Scandal is all about Economics

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Blackberry mess and what Canada needs

Another year, another dead Canadian tech giant. Blackberry was sold yesterday for scrap to the Toronto private equity firm Fairfax. The purchase price of $4.7 billion is essentially valued at its cash of $2.6 billion and the value of its patents. Blackberry’s active businesses are being valued at essentially nothing. If Fairfax can stop the . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: The Blackberry mess and what Canada needs

The Progressive Economics Forum: The rise and fall (and rise?) of Blackberry – the story that just won’t quit

This is an experiment. I’m writing an essay based on my latest Metro Morning column. Each of these columns take hours of prep, so I thought I’d convert it into prose to see if it’s worth it. Would love your feedback.

The rise and fall (and rise?) of Blackberry is a story that has . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: The rise and fall (and rise?) of Blackberry – the story that just won’t quit

The Progressive Economics Forum: How Offshore Tax Havens Destroy Governments

Last fall, Greek magazine editor Kostas Vaxevanis published in his magazine Hot Doc a list of 2,000 wealthy Greeks who were hiding taxable savings in the Geneva branch of HSBC. The list had been furnished years earlier by the then French finance Minister Christine Lagarde to the Greek government, who did nothing in regards to . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: How Offshore Tax Havens Destroy Governments

The Progressive Economics Forum: Statistics Canada Resuscitates Dead Money

Interestingly, the day after the new Bank of Canada Governor gave a speech distancing himself from his predecessor’s “dead money” comments, Statistics Canada released a significant downward revision to the usual measure of corporate cash accumulation.

The cash holdings of private non-financial corporations reached $594 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, so I was . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Statistics Canada Resuscitates Dead Money

The Progressive Economics Forum: Is new coal export infrastrucutre in the best interest of BC and Canada

Today’s CBC Edition Business Panel focused on the proposal by Fraser Surrey Docks to build a new coal terminal on the Fraser river to export US thermal coal (if you missed it, here’s the recording starting at 1:50). This may seem like a local issue for the West Coast, but the arguments stand for most . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Is new coal export infrastrucutre in the best interest of BC and Canada

The Progressive Economics Forum: GDP: Resource Exports Cover for Domestic Weakness

Statistics Canada reported today that GDP grew by 0.6% in the first quarter. The volume of energy and mining exports expanded by more than 5%, offsetting lower exports of many manufactured goods as well as a weak domestic economy.

Consumer spending growth slowed to 0.2% in the first quarter of 2013, its lowest rate of . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: GDP: Resource Exports Cover for Domestic Weakness

The Progressive Economics Forum: Ontario Budget: All Quiet on the Revenue Front

As others have noted, last week’s Ontario budget combined modest social investments in areas requested by the NDP with austerity for overall expenditures. Ontario program spending, already the lowest per capita of any province, will be subject to ongoing cuts relative to inflation.

This paradox on the expenditure side of the ledger reflects a vacuum . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Ontario Budget: All Quiet on the Revenue Front

The Progressive Economics Forum: More Dead Money

The sector and financial-flow accounts released with today’s GDP figures indicate an expansion of the pool of dead money flagged by this blog and by Mark Carney.

The National Balance Sheet Accounts have not yet been released for the second quarter, so we cannot update the accumulated total of $526 billion.

However, the updated Financial . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: More Dead Money

Montreal Simon: Jimbo Flaherty and the Con Country Snatchers

Oh goody. Another episode of The Invasion of the Con Country Snatchers. And tonight it's one of the scariest ones ever !!!!

For as Jim Flaherty prepares to meet with business leaders, we find out what kind of Canada they would like us to live in. Read more » . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Jimbo Flaherty and the Con Country Snatchers

The Progressive Economics Forum: Agrium Halves Potash Royalties

Agrium reports that it paid half as much to the people of Saskatchewan in the second quarter as it had in the same quarter of last year. The company’s quarterly “potash profit and capital tax” payment dropped to $8 million from $15 million a year ago.

Agrium’s only potash mine is in Saskatchewan. The value . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Agrium Halves Potash Royalties

DeSmogBlog: Exposed: Pennsylvania Act 13 Overturned by Supreme Court, Originally an ALEC Model Bill

alec-exposed-600×400.jpeg

On July 26, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled PA Act 13 unconstitutional. The bill would have stripped away local zoning laws, eliminated the legal concept of a Home Rule Charter, limited private property rights, and in the process, completely disempowered town, city, municipal and county governments, particularly when it comes to shale gas development.

. . . → Read More: DeSmogBlog: Exposed: Pennsylvania Act 13 Overturned by Supreme Court, Originally an ALEC Model Bill

The Progressive Economics Forum: Taking Over Nexen

The China National Offshore Oil Corporation’s (CNOOC) bid to acquire Nexen is a large and complex proposal. Canadians should call for a more thorough and transparent review than other foreign takeovers have received under the Investment Canada Act. A preliminary outline of possible costs and benefits follows.

The Downside: Chinese Consumer Interests

A company like . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Taking Over Nexen