Behind the Numbers

Entries Tagged as 'natural resources'

Inequality is falling in Canada, but not for the reasons you think

November 26th, 2014 · · Income Inequality

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post included a graph that inadvertently made use of misleading historical stock market data. It has since been corrected and the author apologies for the error.

Statistics Canada surprised a lot of observers last week when it declared that income inequality in Canada is on the way down.

According to their newly published figures, the share of incomes going to the top 1% of income earners in Canada declined from 12.1% to 10.3% between 2006 and 2012. It is the first prolonged period since 1982 where the bottom 99% of income earners in Canada actually gained any ground on the very wealthy.

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New Mining Royalties: Much ado about nothing

May 13th, 2013 · · Environment, Quebec

On Monday, the Parti québécois government announced a new mining royalty regime. Its hybrid proposal combines aspects from two types of royalty systems: profit based and ad valorem royalties. In this blog post, we will demystify these ways of calculating royalties in order to best analyze the government’s choice as well as what its implications are.

Let’s start with a small yet important clarification: all mining royalty regimes must deal with the cyclical nature of metal markets, which periodically increase and then decrease. When metal prices are high, mining companies naturally tend to generate more profits than when prices are low. These fluctuations obviously affect royalties.

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Yukon’s court ruling on free-entry mining could help Idle No More

January 21st, 2013 · · Aboriginal Issues, Quebec

This past December 27th, the appeals court of the Yukon Territory gave an important ruling regarding the rights of First Nations in relation to Yukon’s free-entry mining policy. The plaintiff in the case, the Ross River Dena Council tribe, considers that Yukon’s government cannot allow quartz production on its territory without first consulting the Council. The Kaska nation, to which the Ross River Council belongs, owns more than 63,000 km2, which represents nearly 13% of the entire Yukon territory.

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Selling out our natural resources

January 8th, 2013 · · Environment, Quebec

In the beginning of December, the Harper government gave its approval to two takeover deals in the energy sector. Nexen is involved in offshore production operations around the world and in oil sands in western Canada. It will now be the property of CNOOC, a Chinese corporation. The second deal sealed Progress Energy’s takeover by the Malaysian giant Petronas.

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No Vale on the Plains?

August 19th, 2012 · · Economy & Economic Indicators, Employment and Labour, Media

I had the following comments in yesterday’s front-page story on Vale’s decision to postpone its proposed $3-billion potash mine at Kronau, Saskatchewan:

Regina economist Erin Weir, who is widely expected to run for the leadership of the provincial NDP, said in a statement Friday that the Vale announcement “represents a failure of the Saskatchewan government’s approach of almost giving away the resource to encourage companies to dig it out of the ground as quickly as possible.”

“The silver lining is that Vale will not increase potash supply as quickly as expected. A tighter potash market likely means higher potash prices and even larger profits for existing producers,” he said.

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Is the Plan Nord really an economic development tool for Québec?

April 27th, 2012 · · Quebec

On 9 May 2011, the Charest government presented its Plan Nord. Its objective is to revitalize the economy north of the 49th parallel. This plan relies on natural resource extraction to breath new life into the entire province’s economy. To do so, it invests in infrastructure at the different northern Québec resource extraction points to enable mining multinational corporations to access resources far from the big centres. At the moment, Québec’s government announced investments ranging up to $2G in routes and infrastructure. In addition, many investment groups such as Québec’s Caisse de dépôt, responsible for managing Québéckers’ pension funds, have promised investments in partnership with the private sector to fund infrastructures such as railroads or deep-water ports. The $82G project over 25 years will be divided as follows:

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2012 Québec Budget: timidity and omissions

March 23rd, 2012 · · Quebec

On March 20th, Québec’s Finance Minister, Raymond Bachand, tabled his third budget. This budget year follows in the wake of those of the last few years. The government is still insisting on transforming public service funding in accordance with the user-fee revolution logic (so dear to Mr. Bachand’s heart), developing the Plan Nord, and reforming the pension plan.

Limited royalties

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The Benefits of Higher Resource Royalties

June 12th, 2011 · · What We're Reading

The Canadian Union of Public Employees has launched a great new blog, Imagine What We Could Do, about the things that Saskatchewan should accomplish by raising resource royalties. It draws upon a Relentlessly Progressive Economic analysis of how the province could collect more royalty revenue and outlines public expenditure priorities for those funds.

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