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…)
Federal Conservatives have been complaining lately about the courts being used, in the words of MP Dan Albas, “to do an end-run around our democratic process.” My immediate reaction to Albas’s remarks was, what democratic process? If he is referring to our current governance, describing it as democratic is overly generous.
To begin with, our government is run by a party that won the support of
The Harper Cons have announced they are naming the new Finance Canada building after the worst finance minister in Canadian (and Ontario) history, “Deficit Jim” Flaherty. To reflect Flaherty’s disastrous political record and mean-spirited personality, it will:
Be small and useless Go billions of dollars over budget and have a huge mortgage Be funded by money embezzled from veterans’ services, Employment Insurance, healthcare, scientific research, job training programs, environmental conservation, etc. Be built by underpaid temporary foreign workers instead of Canadians Be constructed and operated under unsafe conditions Have a false front Feature a gazebo, a fake lake and (Read more…)
“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).
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…)
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.
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…)
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…)
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…)
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 http://cupe.ca/economics/missing-action-federal-budget-2014 together with CUPE’s press release at: http://cupe.ca/economics/federal-budget-2014-help-hurt-canadian
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)