A year after Kathy Dunderdale left office, the Fraser Institute said she was one of the best fiscal managers of all the Premiers in Canada.Provincial Conservatives repeated the story anywhere and everywhere they could, just as they had done the other t… . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Let’s hear it for the Fraser Institute geniuses #nlpoli
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…)
There are times when you wonder why anyone pays attention to a crowd like the Atlantic Province Economic Council.
They showed up in St. John’s on Monday to tell us that the major major projects that have been driving the economy are winding down.
And they charged $230 to anyone who wanted to show up for that insight or for the other one quoted in the CBC online story: the “party had to end.”
Penetrating Insight into the F**king Obvious.
Israel holds the Palestinian people captive because it believes it has no choice. While no Israeli leader will come right out and say it, there’s no way the country will restore the Occupied Territories to the Palestinians. No Israeli government is prepared to see their country withdrawn to its pre-1967 borders.
There is an alternative, a one state solution, that would make Israeli and Palestinian equal citizens. The problem there is demographic. The Palestinians are a good deal more reproductive, meaning Arabs would fairly quickly outnumber Jews and they might take their revenge for the past half-century at the ballot (Read more…)
The C.D. Howe Institute released a policy brief on Thursday that argues that demographic changes will hit the people of Newfoundland and Labrador very hard in the years ahead.
This is not a new issue, as the report notes right at the beginning. In fact, the crowd at the C.D. How Institute make it pretty clear everyone knew the problem was coming. The only question was whether the impact would be gradual over time or we’d hit it like a wall.
Pay attention to this little report. If you have been asleep for the past 10 years take the few minutes to skim the words, charts, and graphs.
Hebron is the last of the four, big, offshore discoveries from the 1980s.
It’s due to come into production in 2017 based on a development agreement reached initially in 2007 with the provincial government and finalised in 2008. There’s a potential problem with current production schedule. The topsides fabrication is delayed in Korea but we won’t know until the middle of 2015 whether or not there will be further delays that would impact the planned date for first oil in 2017.
Hebron plays a big role in the imagination of the people currently running the province. Their reaction to the provincial government’s financial problems is based, in part, on the expectation that Hebron will bring huge amounts of new cash into provincial coffers.
But with oil prices down, people are starting to consider that those assumptions about an imminent return to insanely fat oil royalties might be a bit off . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Legacy of Faulty Assumptions: Hebron Revisited #nlpoli
My post last week on the continuing decline in the employment rate in Canada (to below 61.5% in April, barely higher than the low point reached in the 2008-09 recession) has sparked some continuing discussion about the role of demographic change in explaining that decline (as opposed to a shortage of labour demand).
Is the decline in the employment rate due to weak labour market conditions, or is it due to the ageing of the workforce (as a result of which a larger share of the working age population consists of people in older age categories which normally have (Read more…)
This year it is Charlene Johnson’s turn to host a series of meetings across the province that the provincial Conservatives cynically tout as a way for people to have some input into the provincial budget.
It’s cynical because – as the Conservatives know – the major budget decisions are already made before the finance minister heads to the first of these meetings. They are a waste of time.
The people who show up at these sessions have no idea what the actual state of the province’s finances are. The provincial government hides the real numbers until budget day. Therefore the people who show up can’t offer any sensible suggestions, anyway. Instead, they wind up begging like a bunch of serfs for more cash for this and more cash for that, even though the cash isn’t really available.
Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.
- Robert Reich writes about the basic economic lessons the U.S. has forgotten since its postwar boom: First, America’s real job creators are consumers, whose rising wages generate jobs and growth. If average people don’t have decent wages there can be no real recovery and no sustained growth. In those years, business boomed because American workers were getting raises, and had enough purchasing power to buy what expanding businesses had to offer. Strong labor unions ensured American workers got a fair share of the economy’s gains. It was a virtuous cycle. Second, the (Read more…)
“Bullshit,” wrote philosopher Harry Frankfurt a few years ago, “is unavoidable whenever circumstances require someone to talk without knowing what he is talking about.”
Enter Danny Williams, Doc O’Keefe, and Tom Hann.
The T’ree Amigos dismissed the Conference Board of Canada’s recent population projection for the province with the simple argument that the booming economy in the province – due largely to oil – would attract people here in droves.
That’s a really interesting idea because we can actually look at the evidence available to see if that might be true. The province has been doing very well economically for the past decade. Arguably, the province was even doing fairly well for the decade before that, compared to the 1970s and 1980s what with oil development that started in the early 1990s.
So what happened?
It seems like Danny Williams can’t go two weeks without getting his mug on the news so it wasn’t surprising that on Monday the Old Man called the media together to unveil the latest name for his land development project south of Mount Pearl.
He wants to call it Galway. Nice for his mom. But not really very newsworthy especially since to the rest of us, the land development scheme will always be Udanda or one of the dozen other names local wags have stuck on the thing.
After the show, reporters asked the Old Man about the latest population projection for the province. This one is from the Conference Board of Canada and it concludes – not surprisingly – that the longer term trend for the population in Newfoundland and Labrador is downward.
“In my opinion, it’s absolute bullshit,” said Williams.
It isn’t bullshit, of course, and despite what . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Understanding Population Changes #nlpoli
These are Toronto’s current 44 wards listed in order of decreasing population density, expressed in number of people per square kilometre. The colours indicate which pre-amalgamation city a given ward is grouped under. Some wards cross these previous borders, such as ward 26, which covers both North York and East York. Still, it gives you a pretty good picture of Toronto’s population density: The top 5 wards are in the pre-amalgamation version of Toronto (“Old Toronto”) All 10 Old Toronto wards are in the top 12 for density The lowest density ward (#2) is also the ward (Read more…)
Ask people in the St. John’s business community about the economy and they are likely to have trouble holding back the grin long enough to get a few words out.
Look around Capital City and you’ll see plenty of job vacancies in the restaurants and small shops.
Meanwhile, some locals found it newsworthy this Labour Day weekend to note that the companies building the Long Harbour nickel smelter/refinery have had to bring in skilled workers from overseas to fill jobs the local labour pool can’t supply.
All sounds wonderful, until you start to look a little closer.
If you look at nothing else this week, take a look at a comment by Matthew Kerby called “’Representative’ by population in Newfoundland and Labrador”.
Before Kerby was a political scientist at the University of Ottawa, he practiced the craft at Memorial University. He still takes an interest in the goings-on down this way and the population growth strategy caught his attention.
He’s got a good handle on the problem, noting the financial implications for the provincial government. To illustrate the population trends, Kerby took the provincial government’s own forecasts and produced a set of
. . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Demographics in pictures #nlpoli
Ross Reid has a new job.
He used to be federal fisheries minister.
Since 2003 or so, Ross has been a deputy minister in the provincial government.
Lots of people got excited last week when Premier Kathy Dunderdale announced that Reid would be deputy minister responsible for the provincial government’s population growth strategy.
Yeah, well, maybe people need to take a closer look before they get their knickers in a bunch.
. . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Populations #nlpoli
Flip over to the Occupy NL blog and you’ll see a critique of some recent SRBP posts on the provincial government’s bonus cash for live babies program.
Let’s summarise the critique and then go from there. While this summary will get you through this post, to be fair and to make sure that nothing gets missed, go read the full post with all the charts included at Occupy NL.
The author takes issue with the SRBP approach in the initial post in the December series, which looked at the total number of births. He contends that we should look at “the average number of live births a woman can expect in her lifetime based on age-specific fertility rates in a given year. Secondly, his analysis doesn’t acknowledge that declining birth rates is a trend nation-wide and that provincial rates should be compared to what is happening in other provinces.”
. . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Creating a Baby Boom. Not. #nlpoli
Via Occupy Newfoundland and Labrador, a different take on the success of the bootie call from the one presented in this corner recently.
As the last instalment in our survey of birth rates, let’s take a look at the group 15 to 19 and the other end of the scale for statistics, women aged 40-44 at the time of the child’s birth.
The blue line is the number of births to mothers between ages 15 and 19. From 810 births in 1991 down to 321 in 2010. Note, though that the low point on the blue line is 2005 at 254. Since then the number of births to mothers between 15 and 19 has risen steadily. The rate is
. . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Teens and 40s #nlpoli
The number of babies born to mothers in their 30s in Newfoundland and Labrador has declined over the past couple of decades. But the drop isn’t as dramatic as the decline among the 20-somethings.
What stands out in this chart is the way the older age cohort – 35-39 – hasn’t declined as dramatically as the younger ones. The 30-34s basically match the 20-somethings, dropping from about 25,000 to around 15,000. But the older group actually peaked in 1993 but only declined by about 7,000 births per year