Categories

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

The Progressive Economics Forum: Do Calgary and Edmonton need more power and resources?

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Do Calgary and Edmonton need more power and resources?” The blog post comes as the Government of Alberta considers the possibility of, well, giving more power and sources to both Calgary and Edmonton.

Points raised in the blog post . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Do Calgary and Edmonton need more power and resources?

The Progressive Economics Forum: Ten things to know about the CPP debate

This fall, Canada’s Parliament will debate a proposal to expand the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). And over at the Behind the Numbers web site, I’m co-author of a blog post titled “Ten things to know about the CPP debate.” The blog post’s other co-authors are Allan Moscovitch and Richard Lochead.

Points raised in the blog . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Ten things to know about the CPP debate

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?

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 level of subsidy forever.”

Although inaccurate, her words were prophetic. When Premier Clark spoke, the province provided BC Ferries with 24¢ of each revenue dollar. Now it is 20¢, although inland ferries continue to be fully funded by the government of BC.

BC Liberals have other priorities. One of them is providing film and video producers with subsidies. Those have tripled to $491 million since the Premier spoke about ferry supports being unsustainable.

Seeing the rapid rise of tax expenditures flowing to picture producers during the past three years is surprising. The BC industry made huge gains from the declining Canadian dollar, which meant other supports were less needed to pull work from Hollywood South. Perhaps someone in Victoria turned a dollar exchange graph upside down and concluded higher, rather than lower, subsidies were appropriate.

In BC’s Pay-to-Play politics, political contributions influence policy. While Liberals gain valuable support from beneficiaries of film & video tax credits; they gain little from people travelling regularly on ferry routes scattered from Victoria to Prince Rupert. Good Liberals cross above the waters, not on top of them.

There is another important political factor affecting ferry operations on the coast, not one that any recent provincial government has made a priority. Last year, Stephen Hume reported:

Atlantic Canada’s ferry passengers get 350 times the federal subsidies that ferry passengers in B.C. receive, a study prepared for the Union of B.C. Municipalities finds.

Federal funding for West Coast ferries relative to East Coast ferries shows that Marine Atlantic is subsidized $493 per passenger. BC Ferries’ federal subsidy is $1.41 per passenger, the analysis notes. Ferry travellers here get about 0.2 per cent of the federal financial support counterparts on the Atlantic get, although ferry use here is 20 times greater.

I won’t attempt a calculation but imagine the relative value of coastal ferry operations, with 27 million annual vehicle and passenger movements, compared to movie making. If both came to a halt, which would be considered the essential service?

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

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 . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Trusted editorial content may not be trusted

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 . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Ten Things to Know About Homelessness in Canada

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 . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Dix Choses à Savoir sur l’Itinérance au Canada

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 . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Small Business Taxes, Big Loopholes

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 . . . → Read More: Michal Rozworski: The economics of the possible and beyond

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 . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Avoidance / Evasion: often a fine line

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.

Your browser does not support this audio

. . . → Read More: In-Sights: Serving public or corporate interests?

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 . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Remembering the desperate nineties

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 . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Horgan speaks to the Premier