The Progressive Economics Forum: Debating Boyd on Resource Royalties

Saskatchewan’s Minister of Energy and Resources replied to my op-ed and letter on Dutch disease and resource royalties. On Friday, he was promoted to Minister of Everything. Columnist Murray Mandryk wrote, “Given the amount of power Bill Boyd now has in his super-economy portfolio, he may be one fluffy Persian cat and remote desert island ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Opting Out of Union Dues

Murray Mandryk’s excellent column today saves me the trouble of writing a lengthy blog post on the Saskatchewan government’s recent musings about labour legislation. From an economic perspective, it’s worth noting that enabling unionized workers to opt-out of paying union dues would create a classic free-rider problem. Indeed, Wikipedia’s article on this topic uses collective ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Record-Low Manufacturing Employment

Today’s Labour Force Survey indicates that the seemingly robust economic growth reported by Statistics Canada earlier this week is not translating into improved job prospects for Canadian workers. For the second consecutive month, employment is down and unemployment is up. (By contrast, the situation improved south of the border.) Manufacturing: Another Record Low Although overall ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Politics of Potash

Advocates of low potash royalties are claiming that New Democrats fared poorly in Saskatchewan’s recent election because they proposed higher potash royalties. Of course, potash companies and their boosters would like the NDP to give up this cause. Doing so would be a political mistake for the party and a disservice to the people of Saskatchewan. Most ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Brad Wall Light?

I got to know and like Dave McGrane in the Saskatchewan Young New Democrats, but the following assessment misses the mark: McGrane, an assistant professor at St. Thomas More College, said the NDP’s defeat was a product of failing to connect with rural Saskatchewan, poor political marketing and outdated policies. “People had no idea what ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: 2013: The Sask NDP’s Lucky Number?

To state the obvious, Saskatchewan’s provincial election result was not good for progressives. I was especially surprised by the NDP’s loss of constituencies like Regina Douglas Park (where I grew up), Moose Jaw Wakamow and Prince Albert Northcote. It could have been worse. Political commentators were musing about the NDP falling below 30% of the ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Unrest in Bill’s Republic of Doyle

PotashCorp CEO Bill Doyle waded into Saskatchewan’s election campaign on Friday with an op-ed in the province’s two largest newspapers. It was accompanied by a paid advertisement from PotashCorp in Saskatoon’s StarPhoenix. The company got some free advertising in Regina’s Leader-Post through Bruce Johnstone’s column, which repeated Doyle’s op-ed. The Saskatchewan Party is parroting the ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Sask Party Shills for PotashCorp

Yesterday’s strong earnings report from the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan confirms what this blog and the NDP have been contending: even modestly increasing Saskatchewan’s extremely low royalties on hugely profitable potash mines could fund substantially better provincial public services. The Saskatchewan Party still refuses to review potash royalties. In a well-timed column, Greg Fingas developed ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: What if Potash Tanks?

Regarding the NDP platform’s reliance on additional potash revenue, columnist Murray Mandryk asks, “What if potash tanks as it did in 2009?” Of course, budgets are necessarily based on assumptions about future commodity prices. Saskatchewan Finance estimates that each dollar of change in the price of oil alters provincial revenues by $20 million (page 35). ...