Posts by Marc Lee

Marc Lee

About Marc Lee

Marc Lee is a Senior Economist at the CCPA’s BC Office. In addition to tracking federal and provincial budgets and economic trends, Marc has published on a range of topics from poverty and inequality to globalization and international trade to public services and regulation. Marc is Co-Director of the Climate Justice Project, a research partnership with UBC's School of Community and Regional Planning that examines the links between climate change policies and social justice. Follow Marc on Twitter

BC leads country in rising EI claims

Mar 24, 2009
According to today’s Statscan release, unemployment insurance (EI) claims were up 47% in January 2009 compared to January 2008. This makes BC the leader in Canada when it comes to rising EI claims. I don’t think that was one of the Great Golden Goals. There is a lag in the EI numbers, since the most… View Article

Statscan spins the recession

Mar 20, 2009
Here is the upbeat take on retail sales from Statistics Canada’s Daily: Retail sales rose 1.9% in January after decreasing 5.2% in December. Sales rose in five of the eight retail sectors, led by a 3.8% increase in the automotive sector. In volume terms, retail sales were up 1.8%. It goes on to report that… View Article

Well, now that Alberta is doing it …

Mar 17, 2009
You could say that BC is more than a little sweet on Alberta. We love their individualistic, tax-cutting, tar-sanding grit. Can’t get enough of it. We even signed a silly economic agreement called TILMA (the BC-Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement) so we could be more like them. If Alberta went and ran massive… View Article

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

Death of a P3

Feb 27, 2009
And so the P3 financing deal for the Port Mann Super-Bridge died, conveniently right when it will get the least media coverage. Here’s the breaking news from the Sun: The province has been unable to reach a finance-arranging deal with the consortium that was to build the new Port Mann Bridge, transportation Minister Kevin Falcon… View Article

Partisan claims and the BC economy

Feb 23, 2009
BC’s recession and election together mean things are going to get nasty in the political realm. Already we seeing plenty of sneering commentary from our esteemed cabinet ministers. Consider this jibe from Colin Hansen, the Minister of Finance, in his annual address to the brethren of Sigma Chi: “I want you to think about one… View Article