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Canadian Politics

Can we dismiss this `economists only care about GDP’ crap, once and for all?

Yesterday, the Pembina Institute and Equiterre released a report entitled Booms, busts, and bitumen: The economic implications of Canadian oil sands development.   The report opens with a foreword from University of Ottawa economics professor Serge Coulombe. His opening paragraph states that, “Environmentalists don’t accept gross domestic product (GDP) as a complete measure of well-being in the […]

Reading the National Energy Program

As a non-native-Albertan academic (in particular one from back east), I have learned that there are two golden rules to follow when in Alberta – don’t mention the National Energy Program, and don’t mention the National Energy Program.  This post, and my next one, are going to break both of those rules.

Data: Statistics Canada and the US EIA, Author's Figure

When you fill up your tank, thank our “petrodollar”

Last night, I wrote a long post on exchange rates, and discussed the impact of the Canadian dollar appreciation on our purchasing power. As usual, the best way to demonstrate that increase in purchasing power is with a graphic, so here you go: What you’re looking at is the relative changes in gas prices, in local […]

Source: CERI (

On exchange rates and the importance of “net” exports

Last week, BC economist Robyn Allan weighed-in on the McGuity-Redford fiasco with a post of the effect of oil extraction on the Canadian dollar, and the knock-on effects of a high dollar on Canadian industry, including the oil and gas sector.  Ms. Allan makes some important points, some which surprised me, but she also makes […]

Forecasts are wrong, but that doesn't mean we should ignore them

Forecasts are wrong, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore them

Oil price forecasts are wrong.  That’s not going to change. Today’s Alberta budget has one in it, it’s aggressive, and it will be wrong.  Will it be proven to be too high or too low?  I haven’t a clue. But, in a province where approximately 1/3 of future provincial revenue depends directly on energy prices, […]

My latest in The Globe and Mail: Oil sands monitoring plan a good step forward

Environment Canada has released the second of two phases of a proposed environmental monitoring plan for the oil sands, and one need only look at the second name on the list of authors on the first page to understand its significance: Dr. David Schindler. Dr. Schindler is one of the most high-profile and well-respected personalities […]

Can green energy in Ontario avoid the same fate as Commodore?

In this column in today’s Toronto Star, James Biggar of calls on Ontario to, “embrace the green future,” and to avoid becoming the, “Commodore 64 of the world economy, sitting on the trash heap of history.” I agree, but perhaps not for the reasons you expect.

Alberta needs to do more than tell Ottawa, “hands off the golden goose!”

This article, by Jason Fekete and Darcy Henton, discusses the Alberta Government’s growing anxiety with respect to the coming Federal GHG regulations for the oil and gas sector. Premier Stelmach and the Alberta Government may be late to the game, but they have moved quickly in the past to head off federal action with regulatory […]