The Broadbent Blog


Disclaimer: the opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Institute.

Christy Clark's flawed, risky home ownership gamble


In the lead up to the provincial election next May, the Liberal government has begun laying the groundwork for an election platform, announcing new policies in the hopes of wooing voters. 

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The case against privatization and P3s


When the Liberal party campaigned and won in 2015 on making significant new investments in infrastructure, there was cause for optimism.

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Why the sluggish Canadian economy needs a new public investment boost



The Liberal federal government took office just over one year ago, not least because Justin Trudeau promised to boost the economy and help the middle-class through a major increase to public investment. Economists and the public generally endorsed running modest deficits at a time of very low interest rates in order to spark a stronger recovery.

As 2016 draws to a close, the economy continues to limp along, and there is a growing case for further fiscal stimulus in 2017.

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The digital economy will not power a recovery


Economists and pundits are at odds over medium term prospects for the global economy. Pessimists see stagnant growth, rising inequality and growing unemployment and underemployment, widely held to be responsible for the rise of right-wing populists such as US President elect Donald Trump. 

Meanwhile, techno optimists such as Erik Bryjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, the authors of The Second Machine Age, argue that the digital economy will drive rapid productivity growth and underpin the gradual emergence of a post scarcity economy capable of providing prosperity for all.

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Ed Broadbent: Reflections on a life in politics, Donald Trump victory



Editor's Note: Ed Broadbent was awarded this year's Lifetime Achievement Award at Maclean's Parliamentary of the Year Awards. Here is his acceptance speech, delivered Tuesday night at an awards ceremony in Ottawa.

I want to thank Maclean’s for this award, for which I am deeply appreciative.  

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Whiteness trouble: the Left's challenge after Trump


The speed, scale and ferocity of racist attacks across the United States in the wake of Trump’s victory are revealing. Doubly revealing, in fact.

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Foreign investment not always a benefit



The federal government heeded the advice of the business dominated Economic Advisory Council and set out a new welcome mat for foreign investors in the recent  Economic Statement . The threshold for review of foreign take-overs of Canadian companies will be raised from $600 Million to $1 Billion (up from just $369 Million in 2015); a new agency, the Invest in Canada Hub, will be set up with a mandate to woo foreign corporations; and reviews of the security implications of foreign take-overs are likely to be limited.

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Government action to curb solitary confinement long overdue


Making a prisoner spend four years isolated in a plexiglass cell under the constant glare of artificial light is a form of custody that shocks Canadian sensibilities. It is difficult to believe that such cruel treatment was imposed on Adam Capay in a Thunder Bay detention centre – but it was.

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Liberal fiscal plan scales back "historic" infrastructure spending


The Trudeau government's fiscal plan as updated in the Fall Economic Statement meets a number of progressive commitments, but also raises a lot of questions about what can be expected of  the federal Budget to be tabled next March.

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Private infrastructure bank not in the public interest


The Advisory Council on Economic Growth chaired by Domenic Barton has proposed to federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau the creation of an independent Canadian Infrastructure Development Bank (CIDB) to help finance $200 billion of public infrastructure projects over the next decade. There is an argument for improved financing tools, but no case for such a lever for massive and costly privatization.

The report of the Council reiterates the consensus view that investment in public infrastructure such as roads, mass transit, railways, ports, water and waste water treatment, clean energy and power grids has been too low, and that a major increase could drive immediate job creation while also boosting longer term economic growth.

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