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Tuesday, February 11, 2014 

'Economists Against Austerity' - Statement by 70 Canadian Economists

Statement by 70 Canadian Economists Against Austerity
We, the undersigned, strongly urge the federal government to stop implementing fiscal austerity measures just to achieve its political goal of budgetary balance by 2015.

Since the mid-1990s, we have witnessed an era during which, under the influence of the same economists who had also advised the deregulation of the financial sector in the US, Canada, and other G20 countries, government policies brought the international economy to the edge of economic meltdown in 2008. After initially implementing a series of necessary fiscal stimulus measures to prevent the Canadian economy from slumping into depression, the current government did a policy U-turn and, at the time of the G20 Summit in Toronto in 2010, decided to go back to the pre-2008 era of targeting balances and budgetary surpluses. This turnaround occurred despite the fact that employment rates remained, and continue to stagnate, below pre-recession levels.

We believe that such austerity policy is terribly misguided. Not only are cuts in government spending completely inappropriate in the current context, but also the primary macroeconomic concern of the federal government ought to be the achievement of high levels of incomes and full employment for all Canadians, rather than the attainment of an elusive political target of budgetary balance that condemns the Canadian economy to remain stuck in a state of long-term stagnation. Unlike the countries of the Eurozone, as a sovereign country with its own national currency and a floating exchange rate, Canada faces none of the constraints on spending that prevent Eurozone governments from engaging in deficit-spending to stabilize their economies.

At a time when growth rates remain low and unemployment high, and with a world economy facing mounting uncertainties not seen since the 1930s, the government must pursue deficit spending, at least for a while, especially in the form of public investment, whose effect will be to repair private sector balance sheets and spur on private sector growth. A sustained and forceful investment effort on the part of the government would induce the private sector to follow suit. Cutbacks, by contrast, would create further uncertainty for many Canadian households and businesses and dampen economic activity.

The prime minister gave a speech (in November 2008) affirming that he was once studying to become an economics professor with interests in macroeconomic theory, political economy and economic history. It would seem unwise not to learn the lessons of history. Economic history teaches that the current fiscal behaviour, which characterized government policy of the 1930s, merely placed the Canadian and world economy on the path of stagnation throughout that era prior to the Second World War. During the war years, fiscal deficits no longer seemed to be a problem and the Canadian economy quickly restarted. It is time to pursue pro-growth policies and not fiscal austerity. Low interest rates by themselves were not enough to stimulate growth during the 1930s and they are not enough to guarantee strong growth today. What is needed is a rise, not cuts, in public spending and the abandonment of the ideology of austerity.

Abdella Abdou (Associate Professor of Economics, Brandon University)
Robyn Allan (Independent Economist)
Nigel Amon (Instructor, Department of Economics, Capilano University)
Fletcher Baragar (Associate Professor of Economics, University of Manitoba)
Tuna Baskoy (Associate Professor of Public Administration, Ryerson University)
Mike Bell (Economist, Manitoba Teachers’ Society)
Mehdi Ben Guirat (Lecturer in economics, Laurentian University)
Robin Boadway (Professor emeritus of Economics, Queen’s University)
Michael Bradfield (Retired Professor of Economics, Dalhousie University)
Jordan Brennan (Economist, Unifor)
Hassan Bougrine (Professor of Economics, Laurentian University)
Paul Bowles (Professor of Economics, University of Northern British Columbia)
Robert Chernomas (Professor of Economics, University of Manitoba)
Michel Chossudovsky (Professor emeritus of Economics, University of Ottawa)
Anupam Das (Professor of Policy Studies (Economics), Mount Royal University)
Radhika Desai (Professor of Political Economy, University of Manitoba)
Mathieu Dufour (Assistant Professor of Economics, John Jay College, CUNY, NY)
Bernard Élie (Professeur associé des sciences économiques, Université du Québec à Montréal)
Pierre Fortin (Professeur des sciences économiques, Université du Québec à Montréal)
Lynne Fernandez (Errol Black Chair in Labour Issues, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Manitoba)
Myron J. Frankman (Senior Research Fellow, Centre for International Sustainable Development Law)
Louis Gill (Professeur des sciences économiques (retraite), Université du Québec à Montréal)
Ricardo Grinspun (Associate Professor of Economics, York University)
Larry Haiven (Professor of Management, Sobey School of Business, Saint Mary’s University)
Trevor Harrison (Professor of Political Economy and Sociology, University of Lethbridge; and Director, Parkland Institute, University of Alberta)
Terry Heaps (Retired Professor of Economics, Simon Fraser University)
Roderick Hill (Professor of Economics, University of New Brunswick)
Andrew Jackson (Packer Professor, York University)
Kim Jarvi (Senior Economist, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario)
Larry Kazdan (Retired Instructor of Accounting, British Columbia Institute of Technology)
Afifa Khazri (Assistant Professor Economics and Management, Royal Military College)
Richard Kleer (Associate Professor of Economics, University of Regina)
Anna Klimina (Associate Professor of Economics, St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan)
Tamara Krawchenko (SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Mount Saint Vincent University)
Marc Lavoie (Professeur de science économique, Université d’Ottawa)
Joëlle Leclaire (Associate Professor of Economics, Buffalo State College, NY)
David Leadbeater (Associate Professor of Economics, Laurentian University)
Ronald C. LeBlanc, (Professeur de science économique (retraite), Université de Moncton)
Louis Lefeber (Professor emeritus of Economics, York University)
Ernie Lightman (Professor Emeritus of Social Policy, University of Toronto)
John Loxley (Professor of Economics, University of Manitoba)
David Macdonald (Senior Economist, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives)
Brian MacLean (Professor of Economics, Laurentian University)
Paul Makdissi (Professeur de science économique, Université d’Ottawa)
Bryce McBride (Lecturer in Economics, University of Guelph (Kemptville campus))
Mike McCracken (Economist, CEO, Informetrica Limited)
Marguerite Mendell (Professor, School of Community and Public Affairs, Concordia University)
Eric Miller (Consulting Economist, Hamilton)
Rob Moir (Chair of Social Sciences, Associate Professor of Economics, University of New Brunswick, Saint John)
Anthony Myatt (Professor of Economics, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton)
Lars Osberg (Professor of Economics, Dalhousie University)
Pierre Paquette (Professeur d’économie et de gestion, Collège militaire royal du Canada)
Ian Parker (Professor of Management, University of Toronto)
Corinne Pastoret (Professeure agrégée de science économique, Université
Mark Peacock (Associate Professor, Social sciences, York University)
Patricia E. Perkins (Economist, Professor of Environmental Studies, York University)
Éric Pineault (Professeur de sociologie économique, Université du Québec à Montréal)
Kari Polanyi Levitt (Professor emerita of Economics, McGill University)
Louis-Philippe Rochon (Professeur agrégé d’économique, Université laurentienne)
Ellen Russell (Assistant Professor, Digital Media and Journalism, Wilfrid Laurier University)
Toby Sanger (Economist, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Ottawa)
Mario Seccareccia (Professeur de science économique, Université d’Ottawa)
Andrew Secord (Associate Professor of Economics, St. Thomas University)
Jim Sentence (Associate Professor of Economics and Chair, University of Prince Edward Island)
John Smithin (Professor of Economics, York University)
Brenda Spotton Visano (Professor of Economics and Public Policy, York University)
Jim Stanford (Economist, Unifor)
Salimah Valiani (Associate Researcher, Centre for the Study of Education and Work, University of Toronto)
J.I. Vorst (Senior Scholar, Department of Economics University College, University of Manitoba)
Joseph Warbanski (Economist, Manitoba Teachers’ Society)
Mel Watkins (Professor emeritus of Economics, University of Toronto)
Erin Weir (Economist, United Steelworkers and President, Progressive Economics Forum)
Armine Yalnizyan (Senior Economist, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives)

Louis-Philippe Rochon (lprochon2003 [at] yahoo.com) Tel.: 647-505-1976
Mario Seccareccia (Mario.Seccareccia [at] uOttawa.ca) Tel.: 613-562-5800 x 1691

Progressive Economic Forum

Interesting item in the "New Statesman" today linking Cameron's austerity with rising mortality rates among Britain's elderly.


Austerity Kills.

Re: Petition supporting Economists Against Austerity

Recently a group of progressive economists spoke out against current government austerity policies.

In order to support them, I have started an on-line public petition.

Would you take a minute to read it and if you agree, add your name?

The link is http://chn.ge/NMZW5n

Many thanks for your help!

Warmest regards,



Larry Kazdan,


(604) 874-9982

Vancouver, B.C.


Modern Monetary Theory in Canada - website

Modern Monetary Theory in Canada - facebook


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