Social assistance caseload way up

Mar 15, 2009
In our pre-budget Reality Check, we noted that a recession would lead to upwards pressure on social assistance expenditures. The 2009 Budget notes that every 1% increase in the temporary assistance caseload increases expenditures by $3.5 million (and $7 million for the disability caseload). During a major recession it would not be unrealistic to project… View Article

The wrong kind of stimulus

Mar 13, 2009
I am a big fan of stimulus packages for our ailing economy. But my pitch has been that we need to use the occasion to retrofit our economy to be on a more sustainable footing. So it matters a great deal on what we spend those stimulus dollars. If we launch projects that take us… View Article

Beggar-thy-neighbour politics in Metro Vancouver

Mar 13, 2009
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts made the news this week calling for property-tax-free zones in Surrey to attract new business to her city. Of course, in a climate where businesses are not making new investments, this will at best lure businesses from other parts of Metro Vancouver. Economists call these beggar-thy-neighbour policies because you can only… View Article

BC unemployment rate surges to 6.7% (updated)

Mar 13, 2009
The hurt is on. After jumping to 6.1% in January, the ranks of BC’s unemployed swelled by 14,200 in February, pushing the unemployment rate to 6.7%, its highest level in five years. Given that February is the shortest month of the year, one can only imagine how bad things would have gotten had it been… View Article

Following the money in BC communities

Mar 12, 2009
It is one of those publications that few media outlets will report on, and even fewer British Columbians will read, but BC Stats just released the latest version of its Local Area Economic Dependencies, updated based on 2006 census data. This publication basically asks where the income in various BC communities comes from. In many… View Article

Bioenergy – Catching on like a house on fire or set for slow burn?

Mar 11, 2009
As the global economic meltdown and in particular the US housing market collapse continues to savage BC lumber producers, government leaders boldly predict that wood-fired energy – “bioenergy” – will ride to the rescue of a shell-shocked industry and brutalized rural, resource towns dealing with soaring unemployment rates. February’s Speech from the Throne is a… View Article