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The Ranting Canadian: "I can’t even get my friends to like me." Mark this date:…

“I can’t even get my friends to like me.”

Mark this date: April 16, 2014. Disgraced Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper tells the truth for the first time in his political career, as he campaigns at the state funeral of former finance minister Jim Flaherty. The rest of Harper’s speech was full of lies and propaganda, as usual.

Harper should be more like Flaherty (in his current state).

The Ranting Canadian: Canadians will forever be indebted because of Jim…

Canadians will forever be indebted because of Jim Flaherty.

Regardless of what one thinks of the recently deceased man on a personal level, if one uses objective, non-emotional criteria, it is clear that he was probably the worst finance minister in Canadian history. Unfortunately for us, his replacement, Joe Oliver, will likely be much worse.

Almost immediately after Flaherty’s death became public, the fawning political praise and sickening historical revisionism flooded in like oil from an Enbridge pipeline spill. Over-the-top accolades for the small callous man have been stomach-churning, and is an insult to his many victims. It is (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: 10 Things to Know About the At Home/Chez Soi Study

On Tuesday, April 8, results of the Mental Health Commission of Canada‘s At Home/Chez Soi homelessness study will be released at an Ottawa press conference. The study followed more than 2,000 participants in five Canadian cities. All were homeless when the study began. Half of them received the Housing First intervention, and half of them did not. Data was collected from 2009 until 2013.

Here are 10 things you should know about this study.

1. It is one of the most ambitious randomized controlled trials in Canadian history.

2. Its $110 million budget was funded entirely by (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Alex Usher on Jason Kenney’s Enthusiasm for German Apprenticeships

Alex Usher, one of Canada’s most well-known post-secondary education pundits, has just written a blog post offering some sober second thought on Minister Kenney’s recent enthusiasm for Germany’s apprenticeship system.

Mr. Usher’s blog post can be accessed here.

The Progressive Economics Forum: Flaherty’s Legacy: Ideological, reckless and just plain lucky

This piece was originally published at the Globe and Mail’s online Report on Business feature, EconomyLab.

There are two reasons why it is difficult to comment on the legacy of a finance minister.

1) It is a tremendously challenging job, anywhere, any time. Stewarding one of the largest economies in the world through a global economic crisis is no cakewalk, and it has clearly taken a toll on Jim Flaherty. (Canada has fallen from 8th to 11th largest economy since 2006.) Critiquing this performance, when so many factors are beyond an individual’s control, and so much soul-searching takes (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Harper’s Justice Agenda: Theory vs. the Evidence

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Harper’s Justice Agenda: Theory vs. the Evidence

The Ranting Canadian: There has been a lot of talk in the Canadian mainstream media…

There has been a lot of talk in the Canadian mainstream media and from the mainstream Canadian political parties about the middle class, but almost no discussion of the working class. Even the (slightly) left-of-centre New Democratic Party (NDP) keeps using the buzzwords “middle-class families” instead of “workers” or “working-class people”.

I understand they do it because the PR consultants told them it would help them attract potential swing voters, who are irrationally scared off by honourable but misunderstood terms like “socialism”, “labour movement” and “leftist”, but it’s still disappointing. It drives me nuts when Conservatives and Liberals spread the (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Income Splitting Déjà Vu

This blog’s unofficial slogan has been “Tomorrow’s conventional wisdom, today.” After this week’s Conservative backpedaling on income splitting, we may need to change it to “Today’s conventional wisdom, seven years ago.” Or we could just stick with “You read it here first.”

My first-ever blog post, Income Splitting Redux, argued that this tax policy “would benefit an affluent minority at the expense of important public programs and create a disincentive for women to engage in paid employment.” I made the same case in an opinion editorial published in The Ottawa Citizen seven years ago this month (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Missing In Action: Federal Budget 2014

Here’s the first section of the budget summary and analysis I’ve prepared for CUPE.

The full version is on-line on CUPE’s website at together with CUPE’s press release at:

Missing In Action: Federal Budget 2014 CUPE Federal Budget 2014 Summary and Response

Conservatives ignore pressing economic needs with a Do-little budget

Using more of their doublespeak, the Harper government calls the 2014 federal budget “The Road to Balance: Creating Jobs and Opportunities.” Little could be further from the truth. Instead it’s a budget that glosses over the problems facing Canadian workers and continues to (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: Harper-&-Rogues Gallery – Part 3 Recent news that the…

Stephen Harper and Brian Mulroney, Canada’s second-worst prime minister (Harper is the worst).

Stephen Harper and Silvio Berlusconi, disgraced former prime minister of Italy.

Vic Toews and Stephen Harper. Toews is a disgraced former Conservative MP with fascist tendencies and a sleazy personal life.

Pamela Wallin and Stephen Harper. Wallin is a disgraced Conservative senator who fraudulently misused senate expense money for personal and partisan purposes.

Bev Oda and Stephen Harper. Oda is a a disgraced former Conservative MP who misused tax money for personal benefit. She also fraudulently altered a government document.

Rob Anders and Stephen Harper. Anders is (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: Harper-&-Rogues Gallery – Part 2 Recent news that the…

Stephen Harper and Pierre Poilivere, the minister in charge of dismantling democracy in Canada.

Stockwell Day, Chuck Strahl and Stephen Harper. Day and Strahl are disgraced former Conservative MPs who now work as sleazy lobbyists.

Tom Flanagan and Stephen Harper. Flanagan, who is Harper’s political mentor and former colleague, is a creep who has said many creepy things.

Stephen Harper and Hamid Karzai, the corrupt president of Afghanistan.

Stephen Harper and Andrew Prescott, the alleged “Pierre Poutine” in the Conservative election fraud phone scandal.

Michael Sona and Stephen Harper. Sona is one of the alleged footsoldiers in the Conservative election (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: Harper-&-Rogues Gallery – Part 1 Recent news that the…

Harper-&-Rogues Gallery – Part 1

Recent news that the drummer in Stephen Harper’s terrible cover band was charged with sex crimes re-emphasizes the fact that Harper loves to surround himself with sleazebags, crooks and various ne’er-do-wells. That’s because he is one of them. Here is part one of a gallery of photos of Harper with undesirables. From top to bottom, Harper is with:

1. Phillip Nolan (on the far right), charged with sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation over alleged incidents while he was a school teacher.

2. Vladimir Putin, Russia’s quasi-fascist, corrupt, bigoted president.

3. Justin Bieber (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: Crappy New Year 2014: Canada’s economy in the shitter Yes,…

Crappy New Year 2014: Canada’s economy in the shitter

Yes, it’s the economy, stupid! As of January 2014, the Canadian economy continues to be shite, swirling down the toilet. The Harper Conservatives are flushing our country down the drain.

When I say “the economy”, I mean the real, boots-on-the-street, money-in-your-pocket economy, job market and standard of living, not the abstract, pie-in-the-sky “economy” that’s measured in charts and graphs that reduce the concept of economic health to little more than GDP and corporate profits.

It’s infuriating that so many in the media – even those who are usually critical of the (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Canada Post’s vow to ‘protect taxpayers’ needs a reality check

This piece was first published in the Globe & Mail.

In a move that caught everyone off-guard, Canada Post announced a five point “action plan” last week that included phasing-out home delivery of the mail over the next five years, making Canada the only G7 nation to do so. Why? To “protect taxpayers.”

Of all the reasons that merit discussion as to whether letter carriers belong to a redundant class of workers, like the milkman or iceman, taxpayer protection isn’t one. This Crown corporation is more likely to make money than lose it.

Canada Post and (Read more…)

Scott's DiaTribes: ‘It is enough for a man to understand his own business; mine occupies me constantly’

Federal Industry Minister James Moore on the federal government’s role (or lack thereof) in reducing child poverty in Canada is basically: let others worry about it:

“Federal minister says child poverty not Ottawa’s problem:

“Is it my job to feed my neighbour’s child? I don’t think so.” That from Federal Minister of Industry James Moore… He says it’s the responsibility of the provinces to deal with child poverty, and Ottawa has no plans to step in.

In honour of James Moore attitude (and apparently the Conservative Government’s), I present you with this equivalent attitude:

Federal Industry Minister? An appropriate (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: How Harper can avoid turning a Budget Implementation Bill into a Duffy budget bill

On November 25th, I made the following submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance regarding Bill C-4, Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2, on behalf of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

1. Introduction and Context

Thank you for the invitation to appear before the Committee, as Members of Parliament review the second budget implementation bill for the budget of 2013.

It is a particular honour to appear as a witness, since this committee will only hear eight hours of testimony from witnesses — including one hour from the Finance Minister — over (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Canada’s (not so incredible) shrinking federal government

Buried in the federal government’s recent Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections are figures showing the Harper government is set to squeeze federal government’s role to the smallest it has been in seventy years. (Bill Curry at the Globe also just wrote about this, but without figures further back than 1958).

Total federal government spending as a share of the economy is projected to drop to a 14% share of the economy by 2018/19. This would be the lowest since at least 1948. Because the government has tied the federal public service up in knots, actual spending will likely (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: I’m sick of reading and hearing people say things like…

I’m sick of reading and hearing people say things like “It’s not fair to suspend those senators without pay, without conducting a full investigation and giving them their day it court.”

The dishonourable Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau have already been proven guilty of embezzling from the Canadian taxpayers and of abusing the public trust. They have already been proven to not live in the houses they claimed as primary residences. In the cases of Duffy and Wallin, they have already been proven to not even live in the provinces that Harper appointed them to represent.

In (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Homelessness Policy

This afternoon, I gave a presentation on public policy responding to homelessness in Canada, with a focus on the past decade. I gave the presentation at this year’s annual conference of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association.

Points I made in the presentation include the following:

-Once inflation is accounted for, the current annual value of federal funding for homelessness programming (now known as the Homelessness Partnering Strategy) has eroded to roughly 36% of its original value (that is, its value in 1999 when it was known as the National Homelessness Initiative).

-In recent years, it has become trendy (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: Whenever a new study or article comes out proving that the…

Whenever a new study or article comes out proving that the Canadian job market, compensation packages and standard of living are dwindling for most workers — especially young Canadians — the knee-jerk response from right-wing reactionaries is to sputter: ” Move to Alberta!” or “Go into the trades!” or “Go into the trades in Alberta!”

First, this is not a national economic plan. They are simplistic sermons by simple-minded blowhards who won’t let their ignorance hold them back from scolding others.

Second, many Canadians from across Canada have already taken those paths or are in the (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: I downloaded this image from Facebook. It perfectly sums up…

I downloaded this image from Facebook. It perfectly sums up what Canadians are experiencing under the disgraced Harper Conservative government. The traitorous scum are slowly destroying Canada bit by bit, scandal by scandal, crime by crime, sell-off by sell-off, treason by treason. They are deliberately trying to wear us down until we stop caring that our country is being sucked dry by parasitic sociopaths. Do not give them the satisfaction.

Obviously, as you know, it is very clear by all objective measures that:

The Harper Conservatives are the most scandal-ridden government in Canadian history.

The Harper Conservatives are the most (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Trickle Down Would Work If It Weren’t For The Sponges At The Top

This piece was first published in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab.

Five years after a global economic crisis unleashed chaos on markets everywhere, income inequality has become an inescapable political and economic issue, in Canada as elsewhere. That’s because of mounting evidence that the increasingly skewed distribution of gains from economic growth slows future growth potential, and erodes trust that a democratically governed system is working for the benefit of the majority.

It’s a conversation that is heating up in Canada, as two new, articulate voices were added this week to Canada’s federal political scene. Journalists Chrystia Freeland (Liberal) (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: When Good Data Goes Bad: The NHS2011

This piece was published today in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab.

Two findings stand out in the National Household Survey (NHS) data released Wednesday, both critical in this post-recession era of uncertainty:

1) A quarter of Canadian households spent 30 per cent or more of their pre-tax income on shelter, the official measure of housing affordability.

2) There was virtually no change in the rate of home ownership between 2006 and 2011. It was 68.4 per cent in 2006, and 69 per cent in 2011.

I’ll explain the significance of both; but first, let’s consider how (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: EI, Self-Insurance or Three-Card Monte?

Monte Solberg, the former Conservative cabinet minister responsible for Employment Insurance, proposed to eliminate the program in a recent Sun Media column:

An alternative would be to self-insure. Employee and employer premiums would accumulate in an account in each worker’s name. Including interest, anyone who managed to stay employed through their lifetime earning even a modest income would stand to collect several hundred thousand dollars at retirement.

The concept of insurance is that pooling premiums from many people provides enough money to compensate only those who suffer losses. It makes no sense to assume that saving up each individual’s (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: The un-Canadian Harper Conservatives recently announced they are…

The un-Canadian Harper Conservatives recently announced they are giving away $1.5 million of our tax dollars to fund a politically motivated monument with the misleading name Memorial to Victims of Communism—Canada, a Land of Refuge.

It’s not “victims of Stalinism”, “victims of totalitarianism”, “victims of dictatorships”, “victims of the Soviet Union” or something along those lines – it’s victims of communism, an economic system, a political philosophy. This monument is not really about freedom or justice; it is a tribute to capitalism and right-wing ideologies. The pet project is spearheaded by a shadowy fringe group called Tribute to (Read more…)