• Canada keeps the populist forces at bay

    The Canadian public’s level of confidence in its country’s democracy and system of government has remained remarkably stable since 2014, and largely consistent with results dating back to at least 2010. Across more than three dozen measures, public trust levels have either held steady or showed modest improvement in comparison with three years ago.

  • If we’re serious about reconciliation, here’s some better ideas than wallowing in shame

    … maybe it’s time for some new ideas, to get us beyond the cycles of grievance-reiteration and epochs of national amnesia. Like reconfiguring the Office of Canada’s Governor-General as a permanent indigenous appointment. Like adding a fifth “region” to the Senate, in addition to Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes and the West, to represent the First Nations, Metis and Inuit… At the very least, we might start by recovering Canada’s forgotten history as a country that was being built long before Confederation by indigenous people along with the English and the French…

  • Welcome to the new and improved Senate

    They sit as independents, and act like it. They and other like-minded senators have improved more than one piece of legislation by sending it back to the House with recommended revisions. Sometimes the House has accepted their recommendations, sometimes it hasn’t. In all cases, the Senate has deferred to the final will of the Commons, as it did, ultimately, with the budget… We should think of this new, improved Senate as a jury, another institution of our democracy…

  • The Brass Tax: Busting Myths about Overtaxed Canadians

    … the average tax rate reflects disproportionately the tax rate of the highest-paid… typical Canadians, smack in the middle of the income spectrum, earn incomes of roughly $50,500 and pay about $7,000 in income taxes; their effective tax rate was roughly 14%. The table also shows that only 20% of working Canadians pay more than 20% of their income as income taxes… Canada’s highest earners have an effective income tax rate of only 26%.

  • 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.