Canada’s phoney debate about carbon taxes

A carbon tax added on top of the various bans, subsidies and tariff we already have in place only worsens regulatory inefficiencies

Canada’s phoney debate about carbon taxesIn the Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership race, all four candidates hoping to replace Patrick Brown oppose carbon taxes, a centrepiece of Brown’s platform. The federal Conservative Party also opposes carbon taxes. Some commentators see this as a betrayal of Conservative free-market instincts because (supposedly) our choice is between inefficient bureaucratic regulation and the enlightened Liberal…

Balancing Alberta’s budget by 2023-24 isn’t good enough

Albertans have more debt, continued reliance on volatile natural resource revenue and higher taxes to look forward to

Balancing Alberta’s budget by 2023-24 isn’t good enoughBy Steve Lafleur and Ben Eisen The Fraser Institute The Alberta government’s large and persistent budget deficits remain one of the most important policy problems facing the province. This year, the province expects another deficit of more than $10 billion and forecasts call for a nearly identical deficit next year. The government of Premier Rachel Notley is…

Ontario politicians addicted to ill-fated pharmacare

Free prescription drugs skew people away from healthy lifestyles and spread the financial burden to taxpayers who don’t qualify for the drug plans

Ontario politicians addicted to ill-fated pharmacareOntario taxpayers receive nothing but bad news from their politicians on drugs. In April 2017, both the Liberal government and the opposition NDP proposed expensive drug plans. The one proposed by Liberals took effect on Jan. 1, to the detriment of the public purse. It isn’t a prescription for affordable public health, it’s a prescription…

Canada’s new superclusters could just be black holes

The government thinks that if industry doesn’t see fit to use its own money to stimulate innovation, perhaps taxpayer money should be the fire starter

Canada’s new superclusters could just be black holesCan Canadian industry lead the Liberal government’s latest innovation idea? I have mixed feelings about the new Innovation Superclusters recently announced by the federal government. While I support more taxpayer money supporting research, I’m not convinced that Canadian industry has the innovation chops to lead Canada out of our doldrums. True to their innovation mandate,…

Prepping for the reality of privatizing Canada’s power utilities

The uncertain future of Puerto Rico's badly managed power utility (PREPA) should serve as a clear warning to several provincial governments

Prepping for the reality of privatizing Canada’s power utilitiesPublic power utilities from B.C. to Newfoundland have expanded enormously, adding copious debt to provinces. This has burdened consumers and businesses with increasingly high power bills and will eventually lower their standards of living. With unsustainable debts, the provinces are going to be in trouble and restructuring looms for these companies. What’s happening in Puerto…

The Alberta disadvantage: tax rates drive away investors

Unfortunately, to bolster Alberta’s tax competitiveness will require meaningful action to repair the province’s once sterling finances

The Alberta disadvantage: tax rates drive away investorsIt’s time for Alberta to work towards regaining its former tax advantage. Until recently, the province was known for having the lowest personal and corporate income tax rates in Canada. In fact, in 2014 Alberta had the lowest combined federal/provincial top personal and corporate income taxes of any jurisdiction in Canada or the United States.…

PC carbon tax reversal still possible in Ontario

The Conservatives can reject their own carbon tax promise and defeat Kathleen Wynne in the June election

PC carbon tax reversal still possible in OntarioWhen the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party launched its policy platform, the People’s Guarantee, the most controversial proposal was implementing a carbon tax. Then-leader Patrick Brown was both praised and criticized for touting this decidedly anti-free-market concept. Brown, as we know, is no longer in charge. Two of the three declared leadership candidates, Christine Elliott and…

Canada needs to respond to U.S. tax reform

Companies in the U.S. will have more cash to give pay raises to employees, increase investment or raise dividends

Canada needs to respond to U.S. tax reformCanada needs significant corporate tax reform to remain competitive with the United States. Federal and provincial policy-makers need to act quickly. A contentious but mostly growth-boosting tax system overhaul finally passed through the United States Congress shortly before Christmas and was signed into law by President Donald Trump. While it didn’t simplify and clean up…

Deboning the backbone of the Canadian economy

No one doubts that Canada needs tax reform. But there’s filleting and then there’s butchering

Deboning the backbone of the Canadian economyWith its filleting knife in hand, the Trudeau government in July 2017 announced changes to income splitting, passive investment and capital gains that had farmers, small business owners, doctors and lawyers howling. The good news is some of the proposed changes won’t happen. The bad news is some of them will – and fast. “Most…

Stephen Harper in the rearview mirror

Calling the Harper years a particularly dark time for Canada is partisan fiction, not reality

Stephen Harper in the rearview mirrorWilliam Watson’s Financial Post columns are invariably worth reading. As centre-right economists go, his general perspective isn’t unusual, but his penchant for digging into data can be illuminating. One of the things that a dispassionate person might take away from Watson is a more nuanced view of former Canadian Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper. Harper,…