• Notes on a Butter Republic [Social Democracy]

    … a country can produce agricultural products, be “dependent” by most definitions, yet use that as the basis for permanent elevation into the first world. And in today’s world, Denmark manages to be very open to world trade, while having very low levels of inequality both before and after redistribution. Globalization need not be in conflict with social justice… Denmark, where tax receipts are 46 percent of GDP compared with 26 percent in the U.S., is arguably the most social-democratic country in the world.

  • Still waiting for that adult conversation about taxes and public services

    The disconnect between public services and the taxes we pay to provide them… invites us to vote for a property tax freeze, a sales tax cut, an income-tax cut — even if it doesn’t benefit us much. It invites us to disregard the reality that governments have a responsibility to ensure the ability to pay for the public services that we depend on.

  • Provincial carbon tax revolt could be a blessing in disguise for federal Liberals

    Ottawa can and should proceed without them. A federal carbon pricing plan would not only offer the virtues of simplicity. It would also free the feds to tailor it to their own designs, rather than taking on whatever half-baked or watered-down plans the provinces threw at them… Maybe internal free trade is beyond us, but carbon-fuelled tax reform is eminently feasible.

  • 10 ways Ontario can save half a billion dollars a year

    The incoming administration proposes to conduct a “line-by-line audit of government spending to bring an end to the culture of waste and mismanagement.” If I can find $521-million of annual savings between the couch cushions in under half an hour, then a professional line-item audit of non-public information easily will find billions more in annual savings.

  • The real reason jobs left America

    … the part of the U.S. that specialized in assembly-line manufacturing, and assembly lines are the easiest things in the world to automate… The data that strongly suggested we were heading for a mostly jobless future was available years ago, but most people ignored it. It was too hard to deal with… Most of the attempts to future-proof our politics are currently focused on developing various versions of a guaranteed basic income (Ontario’s pilot program being the biggest and boldest).

  • NAFTA is dead and Canada should move on

    The compelling reason that Canada signed onto NAFTA (and to the original free-trade agreement) in the first place was to shield our economy from this type of capricious protectionism. It largely – if not completely – worked for us for the better part of three decades… But now we are locked in a relationship with an unpredictable and (economically) aggressive partner. No amount of nostalgia or wishful thinking can change that.

  • Ignore the gossip and guesswork. The facts prove that Canada’s competitive

    … it will require all of us to take a broad view of what competitiveness means. Yes, that means taking a look at tax rules. But competitiveness rests on so much more than that — from workforce participation to skilled workers to modern infrastructure to science and innovation to global trade… I also believe in making decisions based on the facts, and the fact is that Canada remains one of the best places in the world to start, grow, and invest in a business.

  • Offshore tax havens set to overtake Canada in corporate transparency

    Britain’s House of Commons passed legislation that will lift generations of corporate secrecy in its offshore territories by compelling company owners registered on the islands to reveal themselves in public databases. That kind of transparency is only an idea in Canada, where corporate owners can mask their identity behind lawyers and “figurehead” directors. There is no requirement for real company owners — or “beneficial” owners — to list their names in provincial or federal registries.

  • Comeau ruling about more than beer and the Supreme Court got it right

    … at any given point, one Canadian province or another will be leading the way on health, safety, energy-efficiency, or carbon standards. Thanks to Comeau, the innovators have a shield to protect their public-interest regulations from section 121 challenges. Otherwise, provinces with better standards would risk being dragged down to the lowest common denominator by those with lax or inexistent regulations.

  • Resource jobs are sustaining Canada’s middle class. Period.

    To maintain public support for pro-growth initiatives such as trade agreements and for doing Canada’s part in limiting climate change, we need to ensure that economic growth is felt by everybody in society. Economic growth that brings everyone along gives all families a stake in Canadian economic success. This increased economic security energizes social forces that pull us together. The polarizing alternatives to our social model can be seen in other countries