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The Progressive Economics Forum: House price inflation and what to do about it

I have a new report out today on affordable housing in Metro Vancouver. While it’s mostly of regional interest, I think the analysis and framework for housing solutions could have a much wider audience. The report looks at what’s driving the spectacular rise in housing prices in Vancouver, summarizing what we know from a wide range […] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: House price inflation and what to do about it

The Progressive Economics Forum: Ten things to know about the 2016-17 Alberta budget

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I have a blog post titled: “Ten things to know about the 2016-17 Alberta budget.” The link to the post is here. . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Ten things to know about the 2016-17 Alberta budget

In-Sights: Essential service – ferries or moviemaking?

In 2012, Premier Christy Clark declared that coastal ferry subsidies would not grow under her government:”That is not a sustainable amount of money from taxpayers across the province. It’s just not. You can’t run a ferry system with that kind of le… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Essential service – ferries or moviemaking?

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

In-Sights: Industry as policy maker or welfare bum

Many people believe that BC Hydro’s current job #1 is enabling the delivery of water and cheap power to northeast gas fields. If true, that serves as proof that government policy is being dictated by one favoured industry – an industry that presently e… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Industry as policy maker or welfare bum

In-Sights: Favoured friends

After the Campbell Liberals were  elected in 2001, influences of special business interests grew rapidly. Under Christina Clark’s leadership, non-renewable resource companies wield great political power and they use it to minimize regulations and … . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Favoured friends

In-Sights: Truth found in numbers, lies found in words

I am reading budget documents and will soon be writing more about the provincial government’s financial smoke and mirrors but I have initial comments.Natural GasBC Liberals, particularly Premier Clark, are proving to be a fine investment for British Co… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Truth found in numbers, lies found in words

In-Sights: Vanishing revenues

With land developers, the largest funders of the BC Liberal Party are natural resource companies. They’ve contributed millions of dollars to encourage government sympathetic to their needs. No administration in the province’s history has been as sympat… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Vanishing revenues

The Progressive Economics Forum: Redistribution, Inequality, and Federal Policy: Guest Post by Edgardo Sepulveda

We are pleased to present this rich guest post by a new PEF member, Edgardo Sepulveda. Edgardo has been a consulting economist for more than two decades advising Governments and operators in more than 40 countries on telecommunications policy and regulation matters (www.esepulveda.com). Redistribution, Inequality and the new Federal Tax & Transfer initiatives I want […] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Redistribution, Inequality, and Federal Policy: Guest Post by Edgardo Sepulveda

In-Sights: Medical services poverty program

Readers of an age to receive a monthly Old Age Security cheque will be thrilled to notice a 57¢ increase in January. As I mentioned on Twitter, cautious saving of that amount might allow a splurge next Christmas. Seniors on OAS get 57¢ more in Jan/16… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Medical services poverty program

The Progressive Economics Forum: Dix choses à savoir sur les défis associés avec mettre fin à l’itinérance au Canada

Le 18 novembre, j’ai fait une présentation sur les défis en ce qui concerne « mettre fin à l’itinérance » au Canada au 7 Cities Leadership Summit à Edmonton. Ma présentation, illustrée de diapositives, peut être téléchargée ici. Voici dix choses à savoir en tant que défis concernant « mettre fin à l’itinérance » au Canada. […] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Dix choses à savoir sur les défis associés avec mettre fin à l’itinérance au Canada

In-Sights: When industry buys a government…

Who knew that Christy Clark would make Gordon Campbell look like an effective, if somewhat dishonest, Premier. #bcpoli— Norm Farrell (@Norm_Farrell) December 4, 2015Did gas industry get a good deal when they bought a government? You betcha! #bcpo… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: When industry buys a government…

The Progressive Economics Forum: Ten Things to Know About the Challenges of Ending Homelessness in Canada

On November 18, I gave a presentation on “ending homelessness” at the 7 Cities Leadership Summit in Edmonton. My PowerPoint slides can be downloaded here.

Here are ten things to know about “ending homelessness” in Canada:

1. In 2008, Calgary became the first Canadian municipality to publicly commit to “ending homelessness.” More than a dozen other Canadian municipalities have since followed suit, with Medicine Hat’s Mayor recently claiming that his municipality has indeed “ended homelessness.” Such plans have the potential to raise awareness and focus collective efforts to develop new practices focused on ending homelessness. I think one (Read more…)

In-Sights: Trusted editorial content may not be trusted

Postmedia is a company in trouble. It cannot sustain crippling debt to American debt holders with revenues from traditional advertising, circulation and digital paywalls. One of its responses is Postmedia Content Solutions, which aims to elicit cash in controversial ways. Part of their sales pitch: We’ve learned that advertisers receive increased engagement when pairing their thought leadership with our trusted editorial content.

…You can provide us with content you’ve already created, or you can work with our dedicated Postmedia Works team to develop something brand new!

Writing at The Common Sense Canadian, Rafe Mair described – better than I (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Ten Things to Know About Homelessness in Canada

This afternoon I gave a presentation at Raising the Roof’s Child & Family Homelessness Stakeholder Summit in Toronto. My slide deck can be downloaded here. To accompany the presentation, I’ve prepared the following list of “Ten Things to Know About Homelessness in Canada.”

1.Efforts to enumerate persons experiencing homeless have generally been spotty, but it is reasonable to assert that homelessness in Canada saw substantial growth in the 1980s and 1990s. On a nightly basis in Toronto, there were about 1,000 persons per night staying in emergency shelters in 1980. By 1990, that figure had doubled. And (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Dix Choses à Savoir sur l’Itinérance au Canada

Cet après-midi, j’ai fait une présentation au Child & Family Homelessness Stakeholder Summit, organisé par Chez Toit, à Toronto. Ma presentation, illustrée de diapositives, peut être téléchargée ici. Pour accompagner la présentation, je vous ai préparé la liste suivante des « Dix choses à savoir sur l’itinérance au Canada. »

1. Les tentatives de dénombrer les personnes en situation d’itinérance ont généralement été intermittentes, mais il est raisonnable d’affirmer que l’itinérance au Canada a connu une croissance importante entre 1980 et 2000. Sur une base quotidienne à Toronto, il y avait environ 1,000 personnes par nuit séjournant dans (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Small Business Taxes, Big Loopholes

by: Kaylie Tiessen & David Macdonald

Small business taxes made the news last week when, during a CBC interview, federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau suggested many business owners are using the small business tax rate as a de facto in-country tax shelter.

Responding to the interview, Conservative leader Stephen Harper accused Trudeau of taking aim at the backbone of the economy. NDP leader Tom Mulcair called on Trudeau to apologize.

The Conservatives have already legislated a decrease in the federal small business tax rate – from 11% to 9% by 2019. The NDP have promised to make it 9% (Read more…)

Michal Rozworski: The economics of the possible and beyond

Last week, I wrote a short piece for Ricochet on the kind of simple but serious economic thinking missing from the Canadian election debate so far. Here, I want to expand on the reasons why we might have trouble talking honestly about the barriers to significant economic reform without a real popular upsurge. If you want the short, populist argument, just read the Ricochet piece. If you want more, read on.

Here’s the main problem as articulated in the short piece:

As the gap between rich and poor has widened over the past few decades, the economic elite has grown in stature. Deficits and government (Read more…)

In-Sights: Avoidance / Evasion: often a fine line

The price isn’t right, Corporate profit-shifting has become big business, The Economist: DURING THE TAX-EVASION trial of Leona Helmsley, a flamboyant hotelier, a former housekeeper testified that she heard her employer say: “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.” These days, multinational companies stand accused of taking a similarly haughty attitude to their fiscal affairs, shifting profits offshore to cut their tax bills…

Shifting profits across borders, Prem Sikka, The Guardian: …secrecy, complex organisational structures, tax havens and profit hungry accountancy firms [are] the key ingredients of the tax avoidance industry. They all come (Read more…)

In-Sights: Serving public or corporate interests?

The audio file below is a recording of my time with Ian Jessop June 17. We talk about LNG and resource taxation, inter-provincial cooperation on resource matters and oil spill response capability.

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In-Sights: Remembering the desperate nineties

Much of British Columbia’s recent political history has been written by a Liars Club sponsored by beneficiaries of corrupt public administrations. One fable claims that BC Liberals rescued the provincial economy in 2001 after a decade of socialist mismanagement. Yet facts assembled by Statistics Canada paint a different scenario.

I’ve previously demonstrated that the NDP (1991-2001) bested Liberal (2001-2014) results in a number of significant areas, including: Gross domestic product value growth, Job creation, Provincial debt management, Natural resource revenues.

Prior to the last election, Jim Shepard, fronting the quadrennial Concerned Citizens for BC, warned that any vote but a (Read more…)

In-Sights: Horgan speaks to the Premier

Hansard, May 28, 2015 The notion of a Debt-free British Columbia — hard to imagine when you’ve seen $135-billion increase in debt and contractual obligations under the B.C. Liberal watch. But somehow, in the fantasy world of the B.C. Liberals, you can make the assertion that we will be debt-free; you just don’t have to realize it.

It’s these assertions of reality that, I think, have most British Columbians perplexed. You say we’re going to be debt-free, yet the prospect of that is not even remotely on the horizon. You say we’re going to be the most (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: "Jobs, jobs, jobs" Or, maybe not

Your browser does not support this audioThe audio file above is a recording of my time with Ian Jessop May 12. We talk about jobs and natural resources but we don’t deliver BC Liberal talking points like many others in media.

I urge readers to visit the CFAX podcast pages. Ian has been holding conversations on subjects not often covered elsewhere. For example, at 2:30pm May 12, Damien Gillis of Common Sense Canadian followed my interview and gave important information and insights on the Site C dam, which, at $10 billion or more, may become the single largest boondoggle (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Myth busting

Andrew Nikiforuk wrote advice for Albertans in his recent article Eight Steps to Reform the Broken Petrostate: Behave like an owner: Alberta’s oil and gas resources belong to Albertans. The Tories’ “strip it and ship it” approach was not only wasteful, but also environmentally destructive.

…Governments that run on taxes raised from the general population represent their people. Governments that run on resource revenue represent the resource and its multinational extractors.

…The Tories consistently avoided transparency on bitumen revenues, and the impact of volatile prices or mining of unconventional resources on royalties. They gutted their own expertise on the (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Flawed analysis

Following the passing of Alberta’s Conservative party, Macleans writer Colby Cosh described a drawn-out illness that made the result inevitable. Followers of British Columbia politics will recognize symptoms also found west of the Alberta border: Elections Alberta, despite some political and legal controversies, did important work in investigating and documenting the web of illegal kickbacks from schools, municipalities, and other provincial institutions that the Progressive Conservatives had come to take for granted in hinterland Alberta.

Political financing disclosures added to this picture, showing that the PCs have consistently relied on donations from corporate clients of government—contractors, builders, professional associations—that would (Read more…)