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Bill Longstaff: Vote CBC

The CBC, our national broadcaster, is usually justified on the basis of two fundamentally important services it provides: it serves as stage for Canadian culture and it unites a broad, diverse country. I suggest it serves us in yet another way that is equally important: it is the only national mass medium that is not owned by and accountable to the corporate sector, i.e. the only truly

A Different Point of View....: National voter support campaign could mean the end for Harper

The primary objective of Stephen Harper’s new absurdly-named Fair Elections Act  is to prevent hundreds-of-thousands of Canadians from voting for the NDP, Liberals, Greens, etc.

The Conservatives are, in effect, “cheating” the electoral process again, just as blatantly as in the past. They know that a large number of people – students, marginalized people and First Nations – will have a hard time voting because of the changes. It’s also likely they would not vote Conservative.

If this latest unprincipled scheme works, it could be a major factor in allowing the Conservatives to sneak in the back door with a minority victory. It’s possible that, come election day, the opinion polls could show both the NDP and Liberals ahead of Harper but Harper winning the election.

Volunteer for – one of dozens of NGOs working to defeat the Conservatives. 

The Council of Canadians contends that some 770,000 people may . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: National voter support campaign could mean the end for Harper

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 far his transformation has gone — what has already been done, and what the consequences will be in the future.

This book brings together Canadian experts in a wide variety of areas. They document key changes put in place by the Harper government. There (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Harper has the worst economic record in history

Louis-Philippe Rochon Associate Professor, Laurentian University Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon


Mr. Harper and the Conservatives never miss an opportunity of reminding Canadians that we should vote for them in October in order to ensure economic prosperity in the future. At the heart of this argument is the belief that they are the best equipped political party to manage the Canadian economy. Yet a new study arrives at the very opposite conclusion: Mr. Harper’s government has the worst economic record of all federal governments in Canada since 1946 (Oops I said history before, mea (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Health Canada—another Conservative mouthpiece?

The Conservatives have started early on their advertising campaign for the upcoming election. We are, for example, being told ad nauseam that Justin Trudeau isn’t ready. With their large war chest, the Conservatives can afford to lay it on thick. But they’re not only relying on their own funds, they are also relying on ours. Health Minister Rona Ambrose has announced a rerun of the anti-marijuana

The Progressive Economics Forum: Canada: World’s Next Superpower? Only If We Stop Relying On Temporary Foreign Workers

It’s only been a couple of weeks since Disney, that most iconic of American companies, moved to displace all its home grown techies with low-cost foreign temporary workers, But the company had to beat a hasty retreat in the face of an outpouring of criticism.

Amid the deluge of commentary this story triggered about where America is headed, blogger and finance professor Noah Smith turned his eyes north and gave Canada a mighty shout-out in a column for Bloomberg, Canada: Tomorrow’s Superpower.

Professor Smith rightly pointed out that, among the attributes that will make any nation great in future, immigration (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Should we be taxing the rich 1% more?

Louis-Philippe Rochon

Associate Professor, Laurentian Economics

Founding Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon


Originally published by CBC. Find commentary here.


The federal Liberal Party’s recent election promise to create a new tax bracket for rich Canadians has been quickly decried by – well, rich Canadians. But is it an appropriate and sensible approach to fiscal policy? The answer is unequivocal: yes.

Understandably, Conservatives have been equally quick to denounce the proposal, calling it ‘Trudeau’s tax.’

Mr. Trudeau should not shy away from this epithet, but rather wear it proudly.

Yet Mr. Trudean’s idea (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Conservatives, sound finance and the facts of recent history

Louis-Philippe Rochon

Associate Professor, Laurentian University

Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics


With the tabling of a new federal budget on April 21, the Conservatives are trying to reinvent themselves as good economic managers, stalwart of sound finance. But after almost nine years in office, the data simply does not confirm this story. Mr. Harper’s more recent optimistic façade is a smokescreen that hides a dismal record on the economy.

Despite this fact, Conservatives have nevertheless traditionally portrayed themselves as fiscally-responsible tax cutters, job creators, and engineers of economic growth. At the same time, they have painted Liberals and New (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON on the upcoming federal budget (April 2015)


See Original post here for the CBC.

Canada’s Finance Minister Joe Oliver announced a new – and long overdue – federal budget for April 21. With the Canadian economy doing so badly, this budget will be crucial.

Will the minister do the right thing and give Canadians a budget that will stimulate the economy? Or will he continue with the government’s obsession of balancing the budget and further doom the Canadian economy to a recession?

The facts about the Canadian economy are not encouraging: increasing unemployment (a real unemployment rate of nine per (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Homelessness in Canada’s North

Over at the blog of Northern Public Affairs, I’ve written a post titled “Ten Things to Know About Homelessness in Canada’s North.”

Topics covered in the post include the high cost of construction in many parts of the North, the relatively high costs of operating housing in the North, and declining federal funding for social housing in the North.

The full post can be found here.

The Progressive Economics Forum: Doubling Contributions To The Tax Free Savings Account: Even Nastier Than Income Splitting

The Harper government gives five reasons why Canadians ought to be happy with its proposal to double the maximum contribution to the Tax-Free Savings Account. Examine each of its points more closely, however, and it’s clear that the TFSA carries far higher risks than rewards — for individual Canadians as well as for the economy as a whole.

Let’s unpack the government’s arguments one by one:

1. The TFSA helps people save

The evidence certainly doesn’t support this statement. TFSAs first saw the light of day in January 2009 at a time when the savings rate had already been climbing (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: G20 meeting of world finance ministers too little too late

Posted earlier as an opinion piece for CBC. See original post here (this post slightly modified from original)

By Louis-Philippe Rochon

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon


Much was at stake earlier this week when finance ministers from G20 countries met in Istanbul to discuss Greece and the state of the world economy in light of recent downgrades in world growth expectations. But did they agree to too little, too late?

There is now no doubt that the world economy, not just Canada’s, has slow downed considerably and will slow down even more unless appropriate policies are adopted soon. To date, (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON: Harper in closet over the economy as Canada heads toward another recession

This guest blog post has been written by Louis-Philippe Rochon.

You can follow him on Twitter @Lprochon

Harper’s recent incarnation as an anti-terrorist crusader has caught many Canadians by surprise. Harper is spending considerable political energy beating the drums of war against terrorists, and introducing a far-reaching, and much condemned, bill aimed at restricting free speech, and increasing police powers. But could this move hide a more cynical purpose? Can there be an ulterior motive?

I think there is, and the reason is quite simple. It’s the economy. Seven years after the beginning of the crisis, and 4 years (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Rochon Asks: “Is the Canadian economy unraveling?”

In a recent CBC blog post, Louis-Philippe Rochon assesses the current state of the Canadian economy.

The link to the blog post is here.

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon.

The Ranting Canadian: Canadian and American right-wing politicians going on about…

Canadian and American right-wing politicians going on about Islamic terrorism has a sickening stench of hypocrisy, considering the fact that the American government and other Western governments helped fund, arm and train Muslim extremists during the Cold War, which has contributed to many of the problems in the Middle East (and beyond) today. It looks like the American military-industrial-spy complex backed the wrong “enemy of my enemy is my friend” in that one. They made their bed, and now they are lying to us.

One of the main reasons there isn’t a strong secular, democratic alternative in most Middle Eastern (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Rochon on the Bank of Canada’s Decision to Lower the Rate of Interest

Louis-Philippe Rochon—who now blogs for CBC—argues that almost nobody had been expecting the Bank of Canada’s recent decision to lower the rate of interest.

His post can be found here.

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon.

The Progressive Economics Forum: Banks and Balanced Budgets

The Bank of Canada surprised most analysts this week when it decided to cut rates by 25 basis points. The move comes after the price of oil has tumbled below $50 / barrel, oil producers announced huge cuts to business investment for 2015, Target announced a mass layoff of 17,600 workers in Canada, and the International Monetary Fund warned of a global economic slowdown.

The key message of the January Monetary Policy is that the Canadian economy needs stimulus. The Bank’s view of the Canadian economy stands in sharp contrast to that of the federal government, which is intent on (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Louis-Philippe Rochon’s Top 10 Economic Predictions for 2015

Louis-Philippe Rochon has written a provocative blog post for the CBC titled “Top 10 Economic Predictions for 2015.”

The post is available here.

Scott's DiaTribes: Internal CPC polling on Veterans Affairs issues must be terrible.

If the Conservative government – led by Harper in Question Period no less – has now decided they’re going to try to blame the Liberals for the current mess in Veteran Affairs (led by their mess of a minister Fantino), polling and reaction to their current shabby treatment of Veterans must be pretty bad.

Their argument gets a tad undercut however when they’ve had 10 years to fix any shortcomings (which Harper and party supported in 2005 and enthusiastically implemented in 2006), and are now in court trying to defend it against angry Veterans (and trying to use the argument (Read more…)

Scott's DiaTribes: Quick question/poll

Is Julian Fantino (Minister of Veteran Affairs) the worst Cabinet Minister in the Harper Conservative government right now? That’s saying something in this government, but some folks are now openly asking if he should be replaced. His department faced a withering Auditor-General report on the inefficiencies of the Department is getting aid and help to Veterans, but he was conveniently out of the country so he didn’t have to face the music.

The answer is yes, though I’m not exactly sure anyone who would replace Fantino would do much better. As always with the Harper government, unless public opinion polls (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Why the economy sucks (in one chart)

(The following is something I’ve prepared for the next issue of CUPE’s Economy at Work, a popular economics quarterly publication I produce.)

In his annual Economic and Fiscal Update (EFU), finance minister Joe Oliver told Canadians that while the federal government will finally record a surplus next year after seven years of deficits, we can’t expect the economy to grow much faster than the slow growth we’ve experienced since the financial crisis, with economic growth expected to average just 2.4% over the next four years.

Economic growth in this recovery is a third slower than in the (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Is Harper right? Did corporate tax cuts really pay for themselves?

In a little noticed comment, Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently was reported to say:

“Dropping our tax rate has not caused the government’s corporate income tax revenues to fall, which indicates that it does in fact attract business.”

No one seems to have questioned his statement, even though it was made on the same day Canada dropped to 15th place on the World Economic Forum’s index of global competitiveness from 9th in 2009. These rankings show corporate tax rates bearing little relationship to measures of global competitiveness.

Harper’s statement puts him squarely in the company of (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Is Harper right? Did corporate tax cuts really pay for themselves?

The Progressive Economics Forum: A Petition of Academics Against the CCPA Audit

A guest blog post from Mario Seccareccia and Louis-Philippe Rochon.

After learning that the Canada Revenue Agency is auditing the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives on the grounds that it allegedly engages in politically partisan, biased and one-sided research activity, a number of university professors have drawn up an open letter asking the Minister of National Revenue place a moratorium on its audits of all the various think-tanks that claim charitable status, until such time when truly neutral criteria can be implemented in the selection and conduct of fair, transparent and even-handed periodic audits. Audits should be focused on the financial management and (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Should Welfare Recipients Try Harder to Find Work?

This morning the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation released a new report about “motivational interviewing” for welfare recipients. The link to the full report is here, and the link to the executive summary is here.

Authored by Reuben Ford, Jenn Dixon, Shek-wai Hui, Isaac Kwakye and Danielle Patry, the study reports on a recent randomized controlled trial done on long-term recipients of social assistance in British Columbia. The research took place between September 2012 and March 2013. There were a total of 154 research participants; 76 of the individuals were in the “treatment group,” while 78 were in (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: EI Falls as Unemployment Rises

Statistics Canada reported today that the number of people receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits fell by 12,070 in May – the largest drop in nearly two years. (The last time Statistics Canada records indicate a larger decrease was 12,670 in July 2012.)

This substantial decline in EI benefits comes as unemployment is rising. The Labour Force Survey indicates that unemployment increased by 15,200 in May and by a further 25,700 in June.

Overall, only 37.5% of unemployed Canadians received EI benefits in May (i.e. 504,080 out of 1,343,800).

The fact that fewer Canadians can access benefits even (Read more…)