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Economy Lab

Delving into the forces that shape our living standards
Best Business Blog, EPPY awards, 2011 and 2012

Entry archive:

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Investment should be the federal budget priority


The federal budget to be introduced on April 21 should have one clear priority – to boost public and private investment so as to create jobs now and a more productive and sustainable economy tomorrow.

The slowing Canadian economy continues to be mainly driven by household borrowing fuelled by ultra-low interest rates. With wages stagnant, families are still going deeper into debt to spend more than they earn, setting the stage for a nasty housing crash and a rude shock to family finances down the road.

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The U.S. economy revisited: A southern tailwind for Canada


It has been more than 18 months since the last time we used this column to discuss the macroeconomic background of the world’s largest economy, and our main trading partner, the United States. Those who follow us know that we are very optimistic about the strength of the U.S. recovery, which has in fact entered the expansion phase since late 2013. But like in all things, nothing is ever all black or white, so let’s have a look at where we are a quarter into 2015.

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Universities are vital investments for all orders of government


One of the best spin words used to justify government spending is the word “investment.” It implies that tax dollars are being used for something that will bring future prosperity. The word itself is impervious to criticism. Yet most government spending isn’t really investment at all. It’s just spending on things voters like.

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What the end of the commodity supercycle means for Canada


It appears more and more likely that the global commodity supercycle has come to an end. While the recent collapse in oil prices has attracted much of the focus, prices for many commodities across the board have softened. These commodities include energy, metals and agricultural products, all of which are important to Canada. No one has a crystal ball but if the commodity supercycle is indeed winding down, Canada will surely be affected.

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Carbon pricing with a practical Canadian twist


From Alberta to Nova Scotia, and especially in Ontario, spring has ushered in fresh discussions about climate policy. On Tuesday, Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission (which I chair) released a new report, The Way Forward, with specific recommendations for how Canadians can make real progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). The report’s two main recommendations will be surprising to many people, but for quite different reasons.

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