• Don’t outlaw hateful speech, counter it

    The right to free expression comes with a responsibility to counter bad and dangerous ideas, whether through a collective commitment to education or the use of the political bully pulpit. The state, and in particular our political leaders, must protect free speech, while also making sure to expose hate for what it is, and certainly never pandering to it… allowing hate in the public square carries risks, but more dangerous still is trying to bury it.

  • Ottawa’s tax reforms don’t go far enough

    Tax expenditures now account for upwards of $100 billion of forgone revenue annually, about a quarter of all government spending. Yet, unlike other government outlays, they are not subject to significant parliamentary scrutiny or even government study. No one seems to know exactly how much is lost through these loopholes, or whether they achieve their stated objectives… these tax breaks… too often benefit most those who need help least, deepening rather than mitigating economic inequality.

  • Ottawa targets income ‘sprinkling’ loophole that lets wealthy Canadians reduce tax bill

    Wealthy Canadians can now legally reduce their tax obligations by routing their incomes through private corporations. They then pay salaries to family members, such as their children, who are subject to lower personal tax rates or none at all. The government is working on new rules that would “help to determine whether compensation is reasonable, based on the family member’s contribution of value and financial resources to the private corporation,”

  • PBO costing of election platforms a boost for democracy

    Thanks to Parliament’s recent passage of the 2017 Budget Implementation Act, the legislative footing of the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) has been strengthened. The provisions around the independence of the work and the appointment, qualifications and tenure of the officer have been enhanced. In addition, the mandate for the PBO has been expanded to cost political party platforms.

  • Concerns that Liberal anti-terror bill looks to protect rights at expense of security

    The problem is, as the government’s own report on its consultations makes clear, the “secret and complex nature” of national security work means Canadians have no idea whether law enforcement officers need additional powers… The disruption provision allows CSIS to seek a court warrant to break laws or breach Charter rights, short of causing bodily harm or obstructing justice.

  • Ottawa shouldn’t ignore hunger for tax fairness

    … the government is well aware of the popular appeal of economic justice. The Liberals’ obsession with “the middle class and those who aspire to join it” defined their successful election campaign. Once in office, Morneau vowed to restore fairness to a tax system that has in many ways contributed to, rather than mitigated, deepening economic inequality… Yet despite Morneau’s repeated mentions of tax fairness, the budget left intact all of the most egregious loopholes, offering only a few marginal reforms.

  • How disruptive technologies are eroding our trust in government

    … disruptive technologies [are] producing gains in productivity and growth, to be sure, but also the inevitable displacement of jobs – and a looming quandary for policymakers. Part of this quandary is the growing gap between the scale, scope and speed of these transformations and the capacity of government to implement timely and effective policy changes.

  • … Top 23 takeaways from the Ontario budget

    Ontario will become the first province to offer pharmacare to all young people, regardless of income, who are 24 and under. Some 4,400 prescription drugs will be covered… the abortion pill will provide an alternative to women seeing to end a pregnancy up to seven weeks… The province will spend $20 million to increase respite care for dementia patients and increase the number of seniors’ centres… From elementary schools to jails to seniors centres, the province is improving mental health services in many of its service areas…

  • Ottawa changes its mind on UNDRIP, but it is taking a risk

    Ms. Bennett says her government does not agree that “free, prior and informed consent” adds up to an Indigenous veto on development but, rather, that it is about “making decisions together.” “It means not putting some fully baked project in front of people and getting them to vote yes or no,” she said.

  • Ottawa has even more reason to fix security law

    The government has run out of reasons for delay on Bill C-51. It should move as quickly as possible to fix this bad law. So it turns out that this country’s spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), may not actually need the additional powers the Harper Conservatives gave it back in 2015… CSIS has suspended use of the most controversial powers to disrupt threats of terrorism that were contained in the Conservatives’ Anti-Terrorism Act