• Millions in foreign funds spent in 2015 federal election to defeat Harper government, report alleges

    Foreign money funnelled towards Canadian political advocacy groups affected the outcome of the 2015 federal election, according to a document filed last week with Elections Canada… In 2015, Tides Foundation donated $1.5 million of U.S. money to Canadian third parties in the election year, according to the report… The complaint by Canada Decides alleges that foreign money “spawned” Leadnow and helped fund an elaborate campaign to oust the ruling Conservative Party.

  • A pre-pre-election budget to bolster Liberal fortunes

    Free pharmaceuticals for young people (a blessing). Transit breaks for old people (a sop). Cheaper child care for young parents (long overdue). Free tuition for most college students (already announced but still worthy and worth repeating). Rent control for everyone (a reprise). Hefty discounts off everyone’s hydro bills (a perennial). And the first balanced budget after a decade of deficits (about time). Which clears the way for its more progressive measures, notably phased pharmacare.

  • Reverse tax cuts to fund health care

    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?

  • Ontario’s Liberals take a big step to the left

    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

  • Backed into a corner, Liberals seek compromise on parliamentary reform

    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?

  • The dangers in a Liberal plan to ‘fix’ Parliament

    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.

  • Policy-makers should pay attention to world happiness rankings

    That’s the whole purpose of the happiness report. To raise the awareness that there are these scientifically replicable measures of the quality of life that don’t give you the same answers as GDP and don’t invite the same policies that maximizing GDP would mean… If these numbers are taken seriously, it’s to raise the level of policy awareness and discussion.”

  • Trump threatens to derail Trudeau’s economic fairness agenda

    Trump’s vow to cut U.S. taxes “bigly” does make it more difficult for Canada to raise its levies on the well-to-do, which Morneau has also been contemplating. Last year, the finance minister announced plans to look at tax breaks, sometimes called tax expenditures, which cost the federal treasury billions. But the Liberals will find it more difficult to boost taxes on the wealthy if, as expected, Trump’s America is going in the opposite direction.

  • Cutting the fiscal fat, finance ministers find lot of baloney

    Every budget dollar is precommitted to: debt service (approximately 9 per cent), transfers for health, education etc. (24 per cent), guaranteed spending for Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement etc. (17 per cent), and salaries and pensions for its own employees (29 per cent). When all the obligatory spending is sliced from the budget pie, every Canadian finance minister is left with about 20 cents of the budget dollar.

  • Alternative Federal Budget 2017: High Stakes, Clear Choices

    … we’re urging the federal government to table a budget that makes good on its promises to reduce income inequality and drive inclusive growth… the AFB proposes a federal budget that takes decisive action on what matters to Canadians: creating jobs, reducing income inequality, lowering poverty levels, closing unfair and expensive tax loopholes, and getting the economy moving.