Op-Eds

Published in the Globe and Mail on December 5, 2014 By: Ben Dachis Ben Dachis is a senior policy analyst at the C.D. Howe Institute. We are surrounded by innovations made by Canadians. We invented canola oil, alkaline batteries and snowmobiles. Such innovations are at the heart of our economy. But where in Canada are the innovators of today? New data shows that we need to rethink old stories of which parts of the Canadian economy are the most innovative. Inventors in Alberta and in the utilities and construction sector – areas that some see as producing little domestic value added – are outperforming researchers in many other parts of the economy in applying their work to the Canadian market. Patents are a good measure of...
Published in the Globe and Mail on July 1, 2014 By Christopher Ragan Christopher Ragan is an associate professor of economics at McGill University and a research fellow at the C.D. Howe Institute. The Canadian economy is still mired in a tepid recovery, with real output growing at a rate well below what we saw before the recession. Canadian investment and exports are lagging far below normal levels, partly because the U.S. economy, although showing intermittent signs of life, continues to face its own recovery challenges. One crucial factor affecting both economies is widespread economic uncertainty. Uncertainty about the future path of the economy is a major reason for today’s slow growth. When firms are highly...
Published in the Globe and Mail on June 30, 2014 Philip Cross is a fellow with the C.D. Howe Institute and author of the report The Public Purse Versus Private Wallets: Comparing Provincial Approaches To Investing In Economic Growth. The upcoming Ontario budget will be a key determinant of whether future jobs and growth in the province will come from the public sector or the private sector. But Ontario is not the only province that needs to make this choice. It’s time that the provinces that have seen dismal private-sector investment, especially the Maritimes, Ontario and Quebec, focus on boosting their languishing private-sector investment. Business investment is the lifeblood of economic growth. It determines what the economy will look...
Published in the Globe and Mail on November 23, 2013 By Finn Poschmann The coming byelection in Toronto Centre, contested by two champions of greater equality, Chrystia Freeland and Linda McQuaig, has proven a jumping off point for a new round of handwringing over the rich and poor, and the distance between them. Toronto Centre, you see, contains Rosedale and Regent Park, meaning the rich and poor live rather close together. There’s nothing new about that:  Writing a century ago, a visitor to Ottawa remarked on the Rockcliffe neighbourhood, where the well-to-do jostled uncomfortably closely with residents of less tony Vanier. In the first half of the 20th century, income inequality was on the rise in the West. Two great wars destroyed many...
Published in the Globe & Mail on October 31, 2013 By Finn Poschmann BlackBerry Ltd.’s potential sale has kindled nationalist angst, concern over the motives of short-term investors and hand-wringing over the fate of its massive portfolio of valuable technology patents. Is the bell that tolled for Nortel Networks’ patents ringing for BlackBerry? The presumed front-runner in the bidding is Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. An insurer and institutional investor, Fairfax’s role is that of a typical hedge fund or private equity buyer. The playbook is straightforward: Acquire control via a leveraged bid that rewards current shareholders, and swiftly, perhaps brutally, reallocate resources within the firm, with a fresh eye and...