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Angella MacEwen

Angella MacEwen

Economist for @CanadianLabour, @Broadbent Fellow, @Relentless_econ webmistress.

Articles by Angella MacEwen

Jason Kenney’s tax plan full of holes

April 5, 2019

Jason Kenney has proposed that he will revive the Alberta economy and create jobs by cutting corporate taxes from 12% to 8%. The thinking goes that profitable businesses already located in Alberta will take their larger tax returns and make capital investments or hire more workers. This also assumes that businesses in other provinces will decide to move their operations to a lower tax jurisdiction, increasing the tax and employment base for the province.

In practice, cutting tax rates for profitable corporations doesn’t create jobs. It didn’t work for the BC Liberals when they tried it. And recent experience at the federal level showed that it only made it more likely for corporations to sit on ‘dead money’, as former Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney put it. Bigger tax returns

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Jason Kenney’s tax plan full of holes

April 5, 2019

Jason Kenney has proposed that he will revive the Alberta economy and create jobs by cutting corporate taxes from 12% to 8%. The thinking goes that profitable businesses already located in Alberta will take their larger tax returns and make capital investments or hire more workers. This also assumes that businesses in other provinces will decide to move their operations to a lower tax jurisdiction, increasing the tax and employment base for the province.

In practice, cutting tax rates for profitable corporations doesn’t create jobs. It didn’t work for the BC Liberals when they tried it. And recent experience at the federal level showed that it only made it more likely for corporations to sit on ‘dead money’, as former Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney put it. Bigger tax returns

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Parental Leave and Pay Equity

February 26, 2018

Budget 2018 is being advertised as a truly comprehensive gender budget, with two key pieces of that being use-it-or-lose-it paternity leave, and action on pay equity.
Last year’s gender budget implemented the Liberal campaign promise to extend EI parental leave from a total of 12 months to 18 months, despite the fact that the idea was universally panned by feminists, Canada’s unions, and business groups.
The problem? Other than the fact it doesn’t recognize that the primary issue facing parents of young children is the need for a national childcare system, the plan didn’t increase the total amount of funding, it simply extended the current allotment over a longer period of time. Instead of getting 55% of your average earnings for 35 weeks of parental benefits, you can choose to get 33%

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Self-insurance for workers doesn’t work

September 24, 2017

This is a guest post from Rod Hill, a Professor of Economics at the University of New Brunswick, Saint John campus. A previous version of this post first appeared in the New Brunswick Telegraph Journal.
In a report this month for the Halifax-based Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS), entitled “An Alternative to Employment Insurance”, Justin Hatherly proposes replacing the Employment Insurance (EI) system. A look at the proposal quickly reveals how unsatisfactory it is.
Instead of EI, Mr. Hatherly wants individuals and employers to contribute to Personal Security Accounts (PSAs). These accounts would be the property of the individuals, which they could draw upon in certain circumstances in the event of unemployment. The funds would be invested in the stock market by an independent

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Ease up on shareholder payouts, pay your workers more instead

August 16, 2017

With Alberta and Ontario raising their minimum wage to $15 per hour, and BC possibly following suit soon, the usual suspects have begun their predictable howling about how this is a bad time, or it’s happening too fast, or how it will simply hurt those we are trying to help. It is true that increasing the minimum wage may result in slightly fewer jobs for teenagers, and slightly fewer hours for other workers – but the evidence shows that overall the effect is positive, especially for low income households.
Thank goodness progressive economists have been on the case, with this great analysis of corporate fear mongering from Zohra Jamasi and Michal Rozworski, and Shelia Block’s article explaining how a higher minimum wage will reduce inequality in Ontario.
Cole Eisen has added another

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Income transfers, means testing, and universality, oh, my!

July 17, 2017

Overall, the NDP leadership race has provided a lot for progressive economists to be excited about.
From progressive tax reform to fair wages and worker’s rights, poverty fighting income transfers to new universal social programs, the four leadership candidates have put substantive and laudable social democratic proposals on the table.
Unfortunately, the last debate waded into unhelpful – if not disingenuous – exchanges on income transfers, means testing and universality, particularly on the topic of Jagmeet Singh’s proposed senior’s guarantee. In the interest of supporting well-informed and honest debate, I want to take this opportunity to clarify what Singh has proposed, and elaborate on why I think targeted income transfers are useful and progressive tools in the fight for economic

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Precarious work, Federal government edition

May 25, 2017

There was a recent article in the Hill Times about temporary workers in the federal public service, noting that this number is growing even under Trudeau’s sunny ways (that’s not entirely fair, the report only covered the first 5 months of the Liberal’s tenure).
The numbers come from the Privy Council clerk’s annual report, which shows that the number of temporary and contract workers in the federal public service increased by 2,800 between March 2015 and March 2016, to 35,000 workers, or about 13% of the total federal public service.
Because the recent Changing Workplaces Review from Ontario was on my mind, and the recent attention on the abuses of temporary employment agencies, I wondered if we even knew how many temporary agency workers there are in the federal public service, or the

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NAFTA and Labour Rights

May 17, 2017

I recently spoke at the Standing Committee on International Trade on their study “Priorities of Canadian Stakeholders having an interest in Bilateral and Trilateral trade in North America, between Canada, United States and Mexico”.  I share my notes with you here, although I did ad-lib a bit in the actual committee meeting.
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The labour movement is keenly aware that trade is, and always has been, an important feature of the Canadian economy. Many of our jobs depend on trade. We understand that all governments have an interest in fostering open trade.
Part of the problem we now face is that distributional impacts of trade and investment agreements have long been ignored. We are told that trade deals will have winners and losers, but not to worry – we can compensate the

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Transit costs are too darn high

April 5, 2017

Public transit is a key piece of urban infrastructure, important for getting people where they want to go while limiting congestion and pollution. A central part of the federal government’s infrastructure plan involves expanding and improving public transit, through their newly established Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.

Note that Budget 2017 allocates some amount of the total public transit funding to the Canada Infrastructure Bank, the Smart Cities Challenge, and Superclusters (really?), so I have only included the amount committed to the Public Transit bilateral agreements here.
This falls short of what the Green Economy Network recommended – we estimated the need to be closer to $1.76B annually from the federal government (Table 2), which would lead to a reduction of between

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Alberta Alternative Budget 2017

March 14, 2017

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Alternatives to Corporate Globalization: Cooperatives

February 6, 2017

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