Behind the Numbers

Entries Tagged as 'British Columbia'

Apples and oranges: Comparing B.C. and Ontario debt ratios

February 20th, 2015 · · British Columbia, Ontario

The February 18, 2015 edition of the Globe and Mail featured an article by the paper’s B.C. correspondent Gary Mason, which in part drew favourable attention to BC’s debt-to-GDP ratio in comparison with that of Ontario.

On face value, B.C.’s reported debt-to-GDP ratio calculated from its most recent audited statements of 18.2% looks pretty good compared with the ratio for the same time period reported for Ontario of 38.4%. Unfortunately, a fair comparison of the positions of the two provinces is not as straightforward as it might seem.

older updates No CommentsTags: ··

Will Enbridge’s Pipeline Ever Get Built?

June 18th, 2014 · · British Columbia, Environment

You have to wonder why the Harper government bothered with process at all. It’s like there was never any doubt that Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline would get approved. But historians may look back on this moment as the beginning of the end of pipeline politics.

Opposition to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline is BC’s largest social movement. A large majority of British Columbians are opposed to the pipeline. BC First Nations, who hold the ultimate trump card – the constitutionality of their rights and title, have said no means no. Thousands testified to the Joint Review Panel (and its arguably limited flawed process). Even friend of fossil fuels, Premier Christy Clark, maintains her five conditions for BC’s approval have not been met.

older updates 3 CommentsTags: ···

LNG: BC’s Quest for a New Staple Industry

October 21st, 2013 · · British Columbia, Environment

I have a post as part of a new series from the Progressive Economics Forum celebrating 50 years of Mel Watkins’ publication of “A Staple Theory of Economic Growth.” Watkins’ piece follows the insight of Harold Innis to develop an understanding of economic growth uniquely rooted in the Canadian experience. The series begins with an intro by Jim Stanford here. The CCPA will be publishing a volume with all of the commentaries at some point.

older updates No CommentsTags: ·

Why the City of Vancouver should divest from fossil fuels

October 9th, 2013 · · British Columbia, Environment, Pensions

This is the text of remarks I made today to Vancouver city council on divestment. Earlier this year, Council requested that staff report back on how the city’s financial investments align with the city’s mission and values, and various ethical programs like the city’s purchasing policy and the greenest city initiative. So the meeting was essentially about the contents of the staff report.

The outcome of the meeting was a small victory for divestment. Council recommended:

older updates No CommentsTags: ···

Economist <3 car-sharing

August 1st, 2013 · · British Columbia, Cities, Environment

It started with a car accident in February, and the total loss of our 2004 Prius, which had only been ours for less than a year. We were quickly compensated for its market value and were in a position to buy another car, but we held off due to a looming sabbatical that would take us out of the country for a couple months. So, we did not buy a car then, and upon our return we are still car free.

older updates No CommentsTags: ···

The absurdity and injustice of now

July 25th, 2013 · · British Columbia, Environment

I’m back from a short sabbatical, grateful for some time outside of my daily work and home life, feeling all big picture. But as I settle back into work, I feel like I’m seated in a Theatre of the Absurd play. My news feeds are pulling up astonishing things.

older updates 1 CommentTags: ·

Climate justice and BC’s political moment

April 5th, 2013 · · British Columbia, Employment and Labour, Environment

The following is based on a talk at the Bring Your Boomers election forum on April 3 at the Rio Theatre in Vancouver, the fourth in a series of intergenerational dialogues from Gen Why Media, and was co-sponsored by the CCPA, Get Your Vote On, LeadNow and Vancity credit union. I was asked to set the stage for a conversation on climate justice between three youth and five politicians seeking office in the coming election. 

BC’s 2013 election comes at an important moment in history. Worldwide, extreme weather events from drought to floods to powerful storms and record-breaking temperatures are making a powerful statement that climate change can no longer be denied.

older updates No CommentsTags: ·

Boost the Minimum Wage, Boost the Economy, from the bottom up

February 27th, 2013 · · Alberta, British Columbia, Economy & Economic Indicators, Maritime Provinces, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Poverty and Income Inequality, Quebec, Saskatchewan

version of this article appeared today in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab.

(This version includes references to the debate plus charts and graphs from data specially tabulated from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. The data don’t include the self-employed.)

President Obama put the idea of raising the minimum wage on the radar in the U.S. It deserves to be on the radar in Canada too.  That’s because low-wage work is on the rise.

Obama says raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour is good for families dependent on low-wage jobs, and for businesses dependent on more consumer power to fuel their growth. A growing economy helps balance the books too.

older updates 2 CommentsTags: ·

The dubious case for casinos

January 22nd, 2013 · · British Columbia, Economy & Economic Indicators

I got way off my usual research agenda this morning for a business panel on CBC radio. The topic was the economics of casinos, the result of the City of Surrey voting down a new casino proposal. I have often disparagingly compared stock markets to casinos, but in fact I knew relatively little about the actual business of casinos. I don’t even buy lottery tickets. Perhaps it is the economist in me that knows the odds are stacked against me.

older updates No CommentsTags: ··

Marc’s Enbridge Testimony

January 16th, 2013 · · British Columbia, Economy & Economic Indicators, Employment and Labour, Environment

Testimony to the Joint Review Panel on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project
By Marc Lee, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
January 16, 2013

My name is Marc Lee, and I have served as an economist for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives for more than 14 years. Most recently I have been Senior Economist and the Co-Director of the Climate Justice Project, a multi-year SSHRC-funded research project with the University of British Columbia, in collaboration with a large team of academics and community groups.

older updates No CommentsTags: ···