• Justin Trudeau goes halfway on access to information

    The new legislation, the first major update to the act since it was passed more than 30 years ago, does offer a number of welcome and significant improvements to the current system… What the legislation doesn’t do, however, is extend the disclosure rules to PMO or cabinet documents… Instead, the Liberals have tried to placate the public and transparency advocates by including a measure that would force ministerial offices to “proactively disclose” certain information.

  • Another government, another attempt to undermine the budget watchdog

    The new legislation… seek[s] to make the head of the PBO an independent officer of Parliament, like the auditor general or the privacy commissioner… as if to ensure the watchdog is not made too independent, the bill goes on, proposing a series of reforms that would limit the office’s access to information and eliminate important aspects of its mandate.

  • Ontario should create a college of policing

    “The requirements needed to enter and continue in the profession of policing in Ontario remain largely static, ill-defined, and inconsistent One solution, Tulloch argued, would be for the province to create a regulatory college that would oversee training and uphold ethical standards for police, as similar bodies do for law, medicine and many other professions…

  • Police oversight isn’t broken, it was built this way

    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.

  • Canada must make sure everyone pays fair share of taxes

    The Conference Board of Canada now estimates that the federal government is missing out on uncollected taxes that amount to at least $16 billion a year – and might even be as high as $47.8 billion… That’s enough, for example, to pay Canada’s entire defence budget more than twice over. It’s almost 10 times more than the estimated cost of a national childcare program.

  • Canada misses out on nearly $50 billion in tax each year

    “Offshore is really big dollars from a smaller number of entities, but the majority of the tax gap is actually small amounts from a large number of people” … Aggressive tax avoidance — techniques that comply with the letter of a law, but contravene its spirit — as well as simple mistakes on tax filings and nonpayment of taxes round out the causes of lost tax revenues in the tax gap, according to the report.

  • Equalization payments aren’t sexy but they deserve attention, too

    The aim is to ensure all provinces have the wherewithal to pay for social programs of similar size and scope. It’s a nation-building exercise… Everyone who pays taxes in Canada contributes to equalization, and every province has, at one time or another, benefited from it – yes, even Alberta… Painting it unkindly, as a rigged interregional welfare scheme, is a disservice…

  • Province proposes limiting powers of Ontario Municipal Board

    The quasi-judicial OMB — which hears disputes on everything from plans for monster homes to developers’ proposals for tall buildings that ignore city planning guidelines — has long been the bane of communities and councils. It is one of the most powerful appeal bodies of its kind in North America, with the ability to hear appeals as if they were new proposals and to overturn council decisions — allowing developers to circumvent the process of community consultation, review by city planning staff and approval by elected city councils.

  • The illusion of participatory democracy

    It’s not clear how the thousands of comments made by citizens across the country are supposed to condensed, summarized and incorporated into the policy-making process. Without clear criteria for how to bring the findings of these meetings together, how should citizens assess whether the process is working? The major problem with the government’s strategy is that none of these processes seem designed to actually facilitate decision-making.

  • Hot!

    Ottawa must act to end First Nations water crisis identified in Human Rights Watch report

    “[T]he Canadian government has violated a range of international human rights obligations toward First Nations persons and communities by failing to remedy the severe water crisis,” the report concludes. Ottawa should be ashamed… past investments were erratic and arbitrarily allocated, often failing to take into account the particular sociological and economic realities of the reserves in question… The Human Rights Watch report is a blot on our international reputation.