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The Progressive Economics Forum: Comparing Fiscal Federalism in Canada and Australia

One interesting topic for a Canadian living in Australia is the manner in which fiscal and social responsibilities are divided between the levels of government. Both countries are big, regionally diverse, and resource-rich (with all the pluses and minuses that entails). As in Canada, Australian states are largely responsible for the big-ticket social programs: including […] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Comparing Fiscal Federalism in Canada and Australia

Accidental Deliberations: On failed obstruction

I’ve written several times before that any federal climate change plan was doomed to fail if it allowed Brad Wall a veto over any emission reductions.Well, it appears the Trudeau Libs have finally come to terms with that reality, indicating their inten… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On failed obstruction

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, expanding on this post about Brad Wall’s sad attempt to beg Justin Trudeau for federal money to make up for his own mismanagement. For further reading…- Once again, Wall’s call for a bailout was here. And his previous decision to drop any attem… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

– Tony Atkinson offers reason for hope that it’s more than possible to rein in inequality and ensure a more fair distribution of resources if we’re willing to put in the work to make it happen: (T)he present levels of inequality are not inevitable; we are not simply at . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: On leadership failures

Among the many responses to the Cons’ latest Senate shenanigans, one (from someone who’s not exactly known for his recent NDP ties) stands out as being worthy of mention: In his 10 years in office how many meetings with the prov premiers did PMSH hold to discuss Senate reform or abolition ? Ans: 0 #cdnpoli . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On leadership failures

Accidental Deliberations: On projection

Shorter Leona Aglukkaq to Canada’s provinces: I’m very disappointed in all of you for my government’s longstanding failings, and demand that you take responsibility immediately.

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that to start your year.

– Ian Welsh comments on the challenges we face in trying to turn wealth increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few into a better world for everybody: The irony is that we have, again, produced a cornucopia.  We have the potential to create an abundance society, the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

– In the context of Scotland’s referendum on independence, Polly Toynbee reminds us why fragmentation can only serve to exacerbate inequality – a lesson worth keeping in mind as the Cons look to devolve responsibility for taxation and public services in Canada: What’s to be done? The answer . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

– Robert Jay Lifton discusses the “stranded ethics” of a fossil fuel industry which is willing to severely damage our planet in order to protect market share: Can we continue to value, and thereby make use of, the very materials most deeply implicated in what could be the demise . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

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

Accidental Deliberations: Fool me twice

Andrew Coyne has a suggestion as to how the Cons might extort some increased adherence to free-market fundamentalism from the provinces: It’s the balance between spending and revenues, not just the totals, that matters. The federal government, as the PBO numbers show, will have substantial fiscal “room,” revenues in excess of what it needs to . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Fool me twice

The Progressive Economics Forum: Housing Policy Under Harper

Today I gave a presentation on Canadian housing policy at the annual conference of the European Network for Housing Research. Points raised in the presentation include the following:

-Fiscal context, more so than which party has been in government, appears to have shaped federal housing policy in Canada over the past two decades. Program expenses . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Housing Policy Under Harper

Song of the Watermelon: Three Solutions to Mark Canadian Environment Week

In honour of Canadian Environment Week — currently underway amidst accelerating tar sands development, hot on the heels of withdrawals from the Kyoto Protocol and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification — let us reflect upon what the federal government, if it were so inclined, could be doing differently. In other words, broadly speaking, how . . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Three Solutions to Mark Canadian Environment Week

The Scott Ross: A Toast For Canada

After the Quebec Conference, at a gala dinner hosted by George-Etienne Cartier, Canada’s Fathers of Confederation held a toast; it was offered as encouragement to face the difficulties still before them in forming a nation, but the verse stands today as encouragement for us to face the difficulties in now strengthening it.

 Then let . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: A Toast For Canada

Accidental Deliberations: Deep thought

If a non-Con federal government even hinted at this kind of policy in dealing with provinces, the western Village would collapse under the weight of its own hysterical shrieking. But because it only involves Stephen Harper trying to extort resources from First Nations, I don’t expect to hear of it again.

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellanous material for your Monday reading.

– Will Hutton recognizes that an unregulated market can lead to disastrous results for everybody concerned – and that conversely, effective regulation can help to ensure the success of businesses which best meet the long-term needs of their workers and customers: What the Paterson worldview has never understood is . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Pample the Moose: Define "junior", oh great Toronto Star!

Kathleen Wynne’s new Ontario cabinet is being announced today, and my local MP, Liz Sandals, has apparently been tapped to become the new education minister.  But that’s not the observation that leapt out at me from today’s Toronto Star article about the cabinet shuffle.  Authors Robert Benzie and Rob Ferguson note that former Education Minister . . . → Read More: Pample the Moose: Define "junior", oh great Toronto Star!

Pample the Moose: Define "junior", oh great Toronto Star!

Kathleen Wynne’s new Ontario cabinet is being announced today, and my local MP, Liz Sandals, has apparently been tapped to become the new education minister.  But that’s not the observation that leapt out at me from today’s Toronto Star article about the cabinet shuffle.  Authors Robert Benzie and Rob Ferguson note that former Education Minister Laurel Broten has been “demoted” to Intergovernmental Affairs, calling it a “a ministry so junior McGuinty ran it himself for years.”

 [ETA: Interesting to note that the updated version of the article calls Intergovernmental Affairs: “barely a stand-alone department because the premier usually handles all its major files personally.”]

To me, this drives home just how ill-served we are by many of our journalists these days.  Just because a portfolio is held by the premier does not make it junior or unimportant.  Indeed, given how Canada’s system of federalism works (or doesn’t), the role of intergovernmental affairs minister can be quite important indeed.  Federally, that role was once held by Stéphane Dion, in the aftermath of the 1995 referendum.  Many Canadian Prime Ministers also acted as their own foreign affairs minister.  And what does it say that Wynne is planning on running the Ministry of Agriculture herself?  Just last Wednesday, the Star ran an article arguing that this decision was a way of signalling the importance of this ministry!

Just to be clear, I do think that the decision to move Laurel Broten out of education is probably a demotion.  But to conflate that with implying that the Intergovernmental Affairs ministry is insignificant betrays a woeful lack of perception of how Canada’s system of government operates. . . . → Read More: Pample the Moose: Define "junior", oh great Toronto Star!

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

– John Studzinski describes how a sense of social responsibility and a country-wide commitment to making jobs available have placed Germany in a better economic position than its European neighbours: Let me highlight some of the features unique to the Mittelstand model that I believe everyone should learn . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

– Alison highlights the attempts of Sun TV to rally the most extreme reactionary movements in the country behind its bid for mandatory carriage. And the question of whether we want to publicly sanction a network beholden to such interest groups would seem to answer whether the application is . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Song of the Watermelon: Quebec, Referendums, and Formulas for Secession

National unity is back in the news after the NDP tabled a private member’s bill yesterday, a bill that would repeal the Clarity Act and set the bar for Quebec sovereignty negotiations at a mere 50 percent plus one in a clearly worded referendum.

We all know what that means. The NDP, it will be . . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Quebec, Referendums, and Formulas for Secession

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

– Thomas Walkom discusses the meaning of the Ontario Libs’ attempt to take collective bargaining rights away from teachers in the context of the wider labour movement: The union movement is one of the last remnants of the great postwar pact between labour, capital and government.

That . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: On needed advantages

Thanks in large part to an extremely active provincial leadership campaign, I haven’t discussed the evolution of the federal NDP over the past few months in as much detail as I’d like. But while there will be plenty more to talk about over the next little while, I’ll comment on a couple of the new . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On needed advantages

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

– The Star-Phoenix editorial board comments on the need to crack down on tax havens: (T)he scale of the avoidance Mr. Henry detailed in his report, The Price of Offshore Revisited, drives home just how immoral is the practice of tax avoidance, particularly at a time when even . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

– The presidents of Canada’s provincial Federations of Labour highlight how the provinces need to respond to the Harper Cons’ efforts to push down wages and trample on workers’ rightst: Canadians need our country’s premiers to denounce this low-wage agenda and stand up for what is in the best . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links