When was the last year you remember that there weren’t any cuts to hospitals and health care, education, pools, rinks and all other public-sector services, not to mention the infrastructure deficit with our sewers, water, roads, bridges and hydro system? How much of the federal deficit, since 1981, has been caused by corporate tax cuts and tax cuts that mostly went to the top one per cent?
Governance Debatesposted April 21, 2017 / No Comments
People who produce facts – scientists, reporters, witnesses – do so from a particular social position… They rely on non-neutral methods… to communicate facts to people who receive, interpret and deploy them from their own social positions … Truth is not found, but made, and making truth means exercising power.” … The right has cottoned on to [these ideas] because they are useful, from a Machiavellian perspective.
Governance Debatesposted April 20, 2017 / No Comments
The Ontario government signalled its intention to move to the left over past weeks. Already they have announced: Capping class sizes in Grades 4 to 8 at 25 students a class. Significant new investments in hospitals, hard-pressed after a decade of austerity. Moving to expand rent controls, an unthinkable move just months ago. Fundamental reform of the Ontario Municipal Board, a lightning rod for controversy in land-use planning across the province. What is waiting in the wings is even more dramatic
Governance Policy Contextposted April 17, 2017 / No Comments
The government has run out of reasons for delay on Bill C-51. It should move as quickly as possible to fix this bad law. So it turns out that this country’s spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), may not actually need the additional powers the Harper Conservatives gave it back in 2015… CSIS has suspended use of the most controversial powers to disrupt threats of terrorism that were contained in the Conservatives’ Anti-Terrorism Act
Governance Delivery Systemposted April 12, 2017 / No Comments
Thanks to Justice Michael Tulloch, who led the review and published his report last week, we have new clarity on the strategic dysfunction that is the SIU. Tulloch has made 129 recommendations for better police oversight, including dozens for the SIU. Many of Tulloch’s recommendations are painfully obvious… The tradition of having former police investigate current ones helps to explain why more than 97 per cent of all SIU investigations end without an officer being criminally charged.
Governance Policy Contextposted April 11, 2017 / No Comments
The bedrock principle of an efficient tax system is neutrality: the system should neither reward nor penalize any particular thing or activity, but should rather apply as evenly and as uniformly as possible: tax everything, and tax it at the same rate… A personal consumption tax, and a corporate cash-flow tax, are essentially mirror images of each other. Together they would make a fine pair of reforms, addressing critical weaknesses in the present system without adding their own.
Governance Debatesposted April 4, 2017 / No Comments
The government has narrowed the list of issues that it considers crucial — reforming question period to institute a Prime Minister’s Questions once a week; ensuring governments are forced to justify proroguing the House; ending the use of omnibus legislation; and, reform of the Estimates process to give MPs a better sense of what it is on which they are voting. What’s not to like in any of those if you are an opposition MP?
Governance Debatesposted April 1, 2017 / No Comments
The imbalance in Canada’s Parliament is weighted entirely in favour of a majority government and its legislative agenda, not the other way around, as Mr. Trudeau’s party absurdly claims. That’s because MPs, who were once elected to form governments, and oversee them, now mostly serve the wishes of their parties. The neutering of MPs has been constant over the past 50 years, and it is the reason so many Canadians find Parliament to be irrelevant.
Governance Policy Contextposted March 24, 2017 / No Comments
To combat a structural problem requires a structural solution… First… An independent committee can be tasked with delivering a bundle of reforms to be accepted or rejected as a whole… Second, the process should deliver a clear and transparent benefit to all taxpayers… Third, any new tax measure should by law become subject to a mandatory review for effectiveness after a set number of years.
Governance Policy Contextposted March 23, 2017 / No Comments
Closing unfair and ineffective tax loopholes could have raised $16 billion. They failed to deliver, again, on their election promise to end the stock options deduction that gives almost a billion dollars to some of the richest people in Canada. They failed to make the tax system simpler or fairer… How long before regular taxpayers conclude that the promise of fair system was an empty one?