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Home Policy Articles: Economy

An important part of any society is its economic life. People need and desire goods and services. The “economy” includes all activities performed by citizens to acquire such goods and services. When we study the economy we can ask many questions, such as: How are both Canada’s economy, and the global economy, changing? Is Canada’s economy performing well? Who are the winners and losers in our current economic system? What are the best approaches to fostering economic success?

This section of offers insights into economic issues, both in a Canadian and international context.



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Addressing the Challenge: Deliberations at the TD Forum on Canada's Standard of Living popular

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).

Will We Rise to the Challenge? Eight Mega Issues Facing Canada popular

This briefing tracks eight key trends that are having a major impact on Canada’s business and public policy environment. Charles Barrett and Anne Golden point to the global economy and the consequences of competition from developing countries. They examine Canada’s relationship with the United States and the competing priorities of defence and trade. They also look at the need for investment in human capital and innovation for Canada to compete on the global stage, as well as the importance of addressing climate change and environmental issues.

"Markers" of Wealth and Poverty in BC

Steve Kerstetter’s article “Markers” of Wealth and Poverty in BC examines Statistic Canada financial data to understand who is likely to be rich and who is likely to be poor in British Columbia. Kerstetter draws a strong correlation between wealth and income, finding those with higher income often have great wealth, while the reverse is true for those with low income.

A Soft Landing: Saskatchewan’s Economic Profile and Forecast

Todd Hirsch examines Saskatchewan’s economic performance and makes predictions about its economic performance in the future. According to Todd Hirsch, in 2003 Saskatchewan’s economy posted real growth of 4.5 percent, the country’s second-highest provincial growth rate. He indicates that expansion that year was bolstered by good crop yield and quality from the previous year, as well as strong prices for natural resources.

A Time for Vision: A Sustainable & Equitable Economy

The Alberta government’s 2005 budget will be the first since the provincial debt was eliminated. According to the Parkland Institute’s Committee on Alberta’s Finances, this budget should lay the foundations for a vision to build a socially sustainable and equitable economy. 2005...

A Time to Reap: Re-investing In Alberta's Public Services

The Parkland Institute's Committee on Alberta's Finances prepared this report. The authors contend the Alberta government is stuck in yesterday’s rhetoric of debt crisis. 2004...

A Time to Reap; Re-investing in Alberta's Public Services

This report advocates improving the many public service areas that were subject to budget cuts a decade ago in the interests of improving Alberta's debt. With extensive empirical evidence the study considers the advantageous position of Alberta's economy and financial situation as well as the social conditions that have been created by budget cutbacks. Finally this report points to a lack of accountability of government expenditures and makes recommendations to improve specific public services.

Annual Innovation Report 1999: Building the Future

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.

Annual Innovation Report 2002: Including Innovation in Regulatory Frameworks

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.

Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2002/2003

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.

Anyone Got a Plan?

As a result of Hurricane Katrina, governments worldwide have scrutinized their emergency response plans for natural disasters. However, Michael Mendelson cautions, they have failed to plan for another type of emergency: an economic slump likely to happen within the next two to three years.

Asking for Trouble: The Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement

Ellen Gould’s report argues against the implementation of the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) between the governments of BC and Alberta.

Atlantica: Myths and Reality

This article by Scott Sinclair and John Jacobs examines the proposed Atlantica or Atlantic International Northeast Economic Region (AINER) agreement.

Blame Government for the Fall Out Weyerhauser Mill Closure

In this brief commentary Allen Evans discusses the closing of a mill in Prince Albert Saskatchewan and considers some of the policies that could have prevented the event.

Bread and Circuses: The Local Benefits of Sports and Cultural Businesses

John P. Palmer argues the economic benefits of sports or cultural businesses are not significant enough to justify government funding. Indeed, using the multiplier effect (also known as the “simple Keynesian multiplier”) that is often used to support investments in sports and cultural businesses, the author finds the effect to be either small, or in some cases, negative. The author also contends that sport and/or cultural businesses contribute little in the way of job creation.

Building Prosperity in a Canada Strong and Free

This is the fourth part of former Ontario Premier Mike Harris and former Reform leader Preston Manning’s vision for a stronger Canada. In this report, Harris and Manning discuss optimizing the size of government, reducing taxation, and eliminating inter-provincial trade barriers and excessive regulation.

Canada's Fiscal Advantage

This book compares the fiscal systems of Canada and the United States so as to challenge the traditionally held view that Canada's fiscal system is not competitive with that of the U.S.

Canada's Fiscal Advantage

In this book Joe Ruggeri and Jennifer McMullin argue that, contrary to a widely held view, Canada’s fiscal system is competitive with that of the United States.

Canada’s Changing Role in Global Supply Chains

With the globalization of the world economy, Kip Beckman and Danielle Goldfarb explain that companies now produce products made from regional and global components rather than building products with parts that originate all from a single place.

Canada’s Innovation Agenda: Where are we Going?

The key conclusion of Where are we Going? is that innovation in the Canadian economy is important because it is increasingly the key factor in generating wealth. This conclusion comes from a Public Policy Forum-led roundtable discussion on the issue of innovation in the knowledge economy. Roundtable participants – including private sector CEOs, deputy ministers, university presidents, and heads of research institutes – were tasked with exploring innovation in the Canadian economy.

Canadian Conundrums: Views from the Clifford Clark Visiting Economists

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.

Canadian Provinces, US States and North American Integration: Bench Warmers or Key Players?

This article by Stephen de Boer analyzes the role played by sub-federal states (known as provinces in Canada) vis-à-vis North American integration.

Capital Punishment?

Allan Evans discusses the need to create a more favorable investment environment in Saskatchewan.

Citistates and the State of Cities: Political-Economy and Fiscal-Federalism Dimensions

This Working Paper by Thomas Courchene examines the dynamic and potential of cities which he deems to be “Global City Regions” (GCR). As Courchene explains, cities, as political actors, actively work with one another, and even other countries, to expand their regional influence and grow economically. In Canada, Courchene points to Vancouver, Edmonton/Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax as examples of Global City Regions. Courchene explains that the focus of this paper is to examine both why GCRs have become so important in the information era and how these cities may evolve to effectively drive the local, national, and global economies.

Debt Accumulation, Debt Reduction, and Debt Spillovers in Canada, 1974-98

To a certain degree, the amount of debt a government accumulates is beyond its control. Recession means a loss of tax revenue, an increase in certain expenditures and an increase in debt. Debt accumulation from this source should, however, be of limited duration.

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