Labour Force Exodus

Statistics Canada reported this morning that 38,000 people gave up looking for work in February. The official unemployment rate fell because these Canadians were no longer counted as being unemployed. However, this huge withdrawal from the labour force is a sign of weakness in the job market. Nationally, 25,000 of…
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Tilting at Windmills: What to do about Dutch Disease

In response to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s complaint about oil and the exchange rate, several (conservative) commentators argued that this “Dutch disease” is not what ails Ontario manufacturing. Andrew Coyne took a different tack yesterday, agreeing that petroleum development drives up the exchange rate to the detriment of manufacturing and…
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Debunking Drummond

The Drummond report claims that Ontario is headed for a $30-billion deficit. This figure has been widely and uncritically reported. For example, The Globe and Mail printed four articles featuring this number in its February 18 edition. The Ontario government projected a balanced budget with a $1-billion contingency reserve by…
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Drummond, Deconstructed

In the Commission report that bears his name, and in all of his media appearances since its release, Banker Don Drummond has ably played the disinterested expert, taking no pleasure in sharing the “gloomy message” he has for Ontario. From the way most TV hosts and journalists have rushed forward…
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Drummond Misdiagnoses Ontario’s Economy

The Harvard International Review has posted an interview with Don Drummond. I have posted the following response: It is good Drummond confesses that his free-market policy prescriptions failed to improve productivity, but old habits apparently die hard: “We have an Employment Insurance scheme that basically dissuades people from going where…
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McGuinty’s Business Tax Breaks

An interesting nugget in last week’s Drummond report is Table 11.1, an updated version of Table 2 from “Ontario’s Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth” (2009). It provides a sectoral breakdown of the McGuinty government’s recent business tax breaks: HST input tax credits, cutting the corporate income tax, and eliminating the…
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Deflating Drummond

Statistics Canada reported today that consumer prices jumped in January (by 0.4% or 0.5% seasonally-adjusted), offsetting the drop in December. As a result, the annual inflation rate is now 2.5% and the Bank of Canada’s core inflation rate is 2.1%. Monetary Policy Both measures are well within the central bank’s…
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Drummond: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Drummond Commission reported today. The Good While the McGuinty government prevented the Commission from considering tax rates, it proposes some sensible measures to raise revenue. Chapter 18, “Revenue Integrity,” recommends combating corporate tax avoidance and cracking down on the underground economy. Businesses sometimes hire workers as “contractors” to avoid…
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