• On small-business tax reform, Bill Morneau was more right than wrong

    … tightening up the rules around income sprinkling, large passive investment portfolios held inside small business corporations, and conversion of dividends into capital gains – was sound… the Senators were right to also call for a big, independent study of the whole tax system, and not just one part of it, to consider major reforms for reducing complexity, enhancing competitiveness and increasing fairness.

  • Canada’s wealthy may have started a tax revolt, and Ontario is the first to notice

    The provincial update revealed that personal income tax revenues in the country’s largest province were downgraded to come in nearly $2 billion lower than forecast in the spring budget, despite an upgrade in projected economic growth. No explanation was offered for this unusual set of circumstances — tax revenues should rise in a growing economy — but the suspicion is that high-earning Canadians are fed up seeing more than 50 cents on every dollar they earn over $200,000 taken by the taxman.

  • Paradise Papers tell a troubling story about money and power

    The Paradise Papers are doing nothing to soothe those who worry about the unseemly intertwining of money and power in politics or about the extent to which the economy is rigged by the few against the many. The government can do something about that. It can, for instance, close unfair and ineffective tax loopholes and collect what’s owed. Or it can sit back, defend the current arrangements and watch the cynicism grow.

  • Good public policy doesn’t just happen. It takes hard work

    Acting through the political process, governments try to resolve these competing judgments and choose their policy goals. This is a tough process… because there are always alternative ways to achieve that goal… First, a good policy achieves its stated objective… Second, a good policy has few undesirable side effects… Third, a good policy achieves its objective at the lowest possible cost… good policy needs to be communicated to the general public, whose support is needed for its implementation.

  • Ottawa has made a mess of Indigenous policy in this country

    … the entrenchment of their right to comprehensive negotiation about anything they claim affects their lives as natives, has placed the whole country in the absurd position of being held to blackmail by this nebulous community… by a policy of exaggerating their authority, vesting the natives with the right to extort treasure, retard reasonable development and tar the 95 per cent majority of Canadians of other descent as trespassers, interlopers, and usurpers, we have created a monster…

  • First Nations leaders break with Ottawa on environmental policy

    The AFN’s rebuke on what they believed to be “co-development” of environmental legislation illustrates the significant challenges the Liberals face as they look to put those principles in practice. Rather than insist on the right to free, prior and information consent, the Liberals’ principles for relations with Indigenous people says the government “aims to secure” their consent “when Canada proposes to take actions which impact them and their rights, including their lands, territories and resources.” Mr. Carr said last week that the government must strike a balance among interests when assessing major projects like pipelines and mines.

  • Election reform is coming to Canada — somewhere, somehow, and soon

    Justin Trudeau may have put the issue on ice at the federal level, having quite spectacularly reneged on his 2015 campaign promise to make that the last election to be held under first past the post. But elsewhere change is very much in the air. Ontario has passed legislation allowing the province’s municipalities, if they choose, to use ranked ballots for their elections… B.C., too, voted by a majority to switch to a form of PR…

  • A good day for press freedom

    … Members of Parliament passed the Journalistic Source Protection Act, which originated as a private member’s bill in the Senate, marking a major step forward for press freedom. We will finally be joining the United States, Britain, France and others in providing a legal safeguard for the privileged relationship between source and reporter.

  • Bill Morneau should refine tax proposals, then look at larger reform

    Surely these changes would have been easier to swallow had they been part of a holistic tax reform agenda, guided by clear principles… those affected might understandably wonder, why us? … especially when there are so many more costly and regressive loopholes still on the books.

  • Are wealthy Canadians paying their fair share of taxes?

    Our tax system has become the ultimate insider deal, in which the well-connected consistently rewrite the rules to escape the rational and just responsibilities that should be placed upon them by a progressive income-tax system in a democratic nation…If middle-class Canadians had the same attitude toward paying taxes that the people at the top did, our country would be just another bankrupt, basket-case banana republic. Democracy is not free, nor is it particularly cheap.