Op-Eds

Which is the most innovative city in Canada? You might be surprised to know that Calgary has now taken the lead on that front, as measured by one of the most common ways of gauging innovation — patents. Calgary has now surpassed the likes of Ottawa and Waterloo in terms of patents per capita. And yet, the Alberta city's rise has happened without the fanfare that accompanied the ascent of the country's previous tech hubs in Ontario. This is the untold story of how Calgary quietly rose to become Canada's innovation leader. It's a story that doesn't have a central character. Unlike the tech booms of the past, there's no Blackberry or Nortel dominating the scene. Rather, it's a multitude of players in the oil and gas industry...
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau and economist Jack Mintz debated Canada’s competitiveness for business investment in Wednesday’s FP Comment. Morneau said Canada’s competitiveness is good, and showed a chart to support his view. Mintz said it is bad, and showed a chart to support his view. Morneau is a former chair of the C.D. Howe Institute’s board of directors and Mintz is a former president of the institute, so perhaps it will help if the institute’s current president weighs in. And I say that Mintz is right. Canada’s relative investment performance is the worst on record. And growth-friendly tax changes are a key tool Morneau should use to improve the situation. The topic Morneau and Mintz were debating...
Business investment in Canada is weak. The 2017 federal budget highlighted how it is lagging the rest of the economy. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz and his colleagues have expressed concerns. A few weeks ago, Deputy Governor Larry Schembri emphasized the importance of business spending on new plant, equipment and intellectual property for growth in the short run, and for the capital stock that raises living standards over time. Weak investment is a problem now and for the future. We estimate that Canadian businesses will spend about $11,700 per worker on new, non-residential capital this year, far below a peak of $15,100 in 2014. The fall-off means the average Canadian worker will have less infrastructure, machinery...
By Peter Howitt With the Canadian economy shrinking for the past two quarters, the news has looked grim. But people leaving jobs and companies going out of business can also be signs of a dynamic economy – one in which new companies are successfully challenging old ones. Economic growth is an uneven process that does not immediately benefit everyone. The technological innovations that drive growth arise sporadically. Economist Arnold Harberger taught us that an economy doesn’t grow uniformly as if it were bread rising in the oven. Instead, economic growth is like mushrooms springing up in the forest bed. Some industries grow rapidly, while others languish. Some people thrive, while others face obsolescence. This unevenness...
Published in the Financial Post on April 2, 2015 By: Finn Poschmann Finn Poschmann is vice president, policy analysis, at the C.D. Howe Institute. Uber in Toronto now faces 36 by-law related charges If you stay at an inn or hotel in Ontario, and fail to pay your bill on leaving, after two weeks the innkeeper has the right to place a lien on your horse, and to sell it. The innkeeper, however, must sell your horse at public auction, and only after publishing a classified ad in the newspaper within his municipality or, if none, the newspaper published nearest to it. The Innkeeper’s Act is specific on this point, and it is clear that neither eBay nor Kijiji will do. While the Act does not rule it out in so many...