• 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.

  • Hot!

    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.

  • Hot!

    Canada joins alliance to crack down on corruption

    Canada is joining the United States, Britain and three other countries in setting up the International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre to crack down on global corruption and recover looted assets… The announcement came at the start of an anti-corruption summit in London. The conference is being attended by about a dozen Prime Ministers and Presidents from around the world… [with] topics including corruption in sports, tax evasion and money laundering.

  • Only proportionality will fix our democratic malaise

    … only a proportional system can meet the government’s first principle: To ensure that votes are fairly translated into elected results. No more staying at home because our preferred candidate cannot win. No more so-called strategic voting in which we vote to stop a party we like the least rather than choose the candidate or party that best reflects our views… Electoral reform is… about the public interest, what works for voters, what makes our democracy stronger.

  • Hot!

    Canada Revenue Agency needs a new playbook

    … the CRA has not had a single successful prosecution of international tax evasion in the past 10 years… Crowns have no interest in taking on time-consuming cases that can drag on for years… Even if the CRA could interest prosecutors, the CRA simply does not have the resources or experience to investigate such cases. And on cross-border white-collar crime, the RCMP is like a fish out of water… The line between legal international tax avoidance and offshore criminal tax evasion is blurry.

  • Hot!

    Tax-cheat crackdown nets $1-billion more than expected, CRA data show

    The 2013 budget estimated and booked $550-million a year by 2014-15 in additional revenue from added enforcement. The CRA now says the final net impact of the measures was $1.57-billion for that year… the 2013 changes required the disclosure of the name of the institution holding the foreign funds, the specific country where the property is, and the specific amount of foreign income that was generated.

  • Hot!

    Wernick ties DMs’ performance pay to workplace well-being

    … deputy ministers… will be assessed on the health and well-being of their departments. That means a portion of their performance pay will be tied to how well their departments are faring in building a “respectful” workplace. It’s the second year in a row that the public service’s top bureaucrat has made mental health a management priority… a much-anticipated strategy on how to make the public service a healthy workplace.

  • Ottawa to step up efforts on tax cheats in bid to collect $2.6 billion in back taxes

    … the new Liberal government said it will provide $444.4 million to the Canada Revenue Agency over the next five years so it can crack down on tax evasion and combat tax avoidance. The government says it expects these efforts to result in the collection of $2.6 billion in back taxes over the next five years. The crackdown will extend to what the federal government describes as “aggressive tax planning.”