Policy Articles: Economy: Economic Forecast: 2002
This article by the Conference Board of Canada outlines the major debates and findings from the 2002 TD Forum on Canada’s Standard of Living. The main objective of the Forum was to find a way of “raising Canada’s standard of living more quickly than it has been rising in the recent past, so that it will surpass that of the United States within 15 years.” Five main themes were discussed at the Forum: leadership and attitudes, human capital, smart social policy, strengthening the national socio-economic framework, and redefining Canada’s external relationships (especially with the United States).
This report by Judith Gibson, Jacek Warda and Janusz Zieminski analyzes Canada’s performance vis-à-vis innovation. The authors find that Canada ranks near the bottom of the G7 countries, and consider its overall performance to be poor. Stressing the fact that “innovation is a key driver of productivity gains and long-term economic growth,” Gibson, Warda and Zieminski argue that the federal government must improve its commitment to innovation while firms must improve practices and capabilities that foster innovation. Some of the factors denounced as impeding innovation at the government level include human resource development and regulation/taxation. It is the authors hope that this report can serve as a benchmark against which Canadian innovation efforts can be measured, and also as a conceptual framework to better enable understanding and analysis of innovation itself.
This report by the Conference Board of Canada comes was released prior to the federal government’s proposed systemic review of its regulatory regimes, considered through the lens of innovation. By comparing Canada’s economic, social, and administrative regulations with those of other G7 countries (as well as Finland, Sweden and Australia), the Conference Board is able to analyze the level of restrictiveness of its regulations, and how these impede innovation – or not. The authors find that Canada’s regulations are among the friendliest to innovation vis-à-vis surveyed countries with respect to their respective treatment of domestic firms. The authors suggest, however, that regulations are not nearly as friendly for foreign firms operating in Canada. The authors find this fact particularly troubling, considering that, in their view, foreign firms operating in Canada tend to be more innovative than domestic ones.
This survey, authored by Liv Fredricksen, presents a “report card” to governments regarding their mining policies. It takes into account several public policy factors, including taxation, regulation, labour issues and political stability, and then measures the effect of these factors on “attracting and winning investments.” The survey covers 45 jurisdictions, including all of Canada, numerous US states, as well as several other countries. Several Canadian jurisdictions finished near the top of the index, with Alberta taking the highest ranking. British Columbia finished last within Canadian jurisdictions, tying Russia with a score of 23 out of a possible 100.
This Communiqué includes a look at the Table of Contents, Foreword, and Introduction to the book Canadian Conundrums, edited by Robert Brown. In his introduction, Brown explains that the purpose of the book is to bring the insights of past Clifford Clark Visiting Economists to a broader audience. Topics included in the volume range from fiscal balance to taxation.
In this paper, the authors, Jack M. Mintz and Finn Poschmann, analyze the issue of good corporate governance and its effects on investor confidence. As they explain, governments have taken action in this arena in the face of gross corporate misbehaviour (particularly in the United States), largely because investor confidence was deemed to be at risk. The authors argue that the point of government intervention should be to help good companies “improve the clarity of their message, making it less costly to distinguish themselves from bad companies.” That said, they suggest the growth potential of so-called “good” companies is restrained by the behaviours of the so-called “bad” companies, and also cite stockholder inability to distinguish good financial reports from spurious ones as mitigating factors.
This issue of the Conference Board of Canada’s Performance and Potential, considered by the organization to be as its “flagship publication,” draws a picture of what Canada might look like in the year 2010, from both an economic and social perspective. This version of the publication improves upon its benchmarking process, to include the measurement of 95 indicators across six categories (Economy, Innovation, Environment, Education and Skills, Health, and Society). The article forecasts several important challenges for Canada in 2010, including growing inter-provincial employment and income gaps; labour and skills shortages; integration issues; a reduced international reputation; border management issues; and, a doubling of the income gap vis-à-vis the United States. Accordingly, the authors offer several policy prescriptions that may address these problems.
This article by Marcel Mérette examines the economics of aging, challenging the commonly held belief that the retirement of the baby-boomer generation will lead G-10 countries (Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Germany and Sweden) into “an economic abyss.”
This article, by Ross McKitrick and Randall M. Wigle, examines the federal government’s Discussion Paper on the Kyoto Protocol. The authors conclude this document offers an inadequate explanation as to how compliance under the Kyoto Protocol can be achieved.