• Supreme court ruling clears way for B.C. ski resort on sacred Indigenous land

    The Supreme Court ruled the approval of the ski resort did not violate section 2(a) of the Charter, which guarantees the right to freedom of religion. “The Ktunaxa’s claim does not fall within the scope of s. 2(a) because neither the Ktunaxa’s freedom to hold their beliefs nor their freedom to manifest those beliefs is infringed by the Minister’s decision to approve the project,” said the decision, written by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and Justice Malcolm Rowe.

  • The era of big government isn’t over. It may be about to start

    The mystery is why anyone ever thought private companies were the way to cover huge costs like health or pensions. It’s costly and patchwork; public programs make far more sense. They’re stabler, better funded and include some democratic oversight. But before the economy got financialized, and mighty companies turned into hedgies’ playthings, they could at least pretend to fill the need. Public programs, however, mean you need revenues to fund them.

  • Liberals need to get back on track to tax reform

    While the economy is booming the government can afford to have it both ways – increase benefits for the middle class and working poor, while sweetening the pot for small business. But the economy will inevitably hit bumps in the road (starting with the Trump threat to NAFTA) and to make its vision sustainable over the long run the government must produce a plan to shore up its finances with true tax reform.

  • Why the CRA thought it could take a bite of your free lunch

    The idea of taxing income equally is at the heart of any idea of tax fairness. Unless we want to encourage the creation of tax loopholes, our tax system has to try to respect it… [but] It comes down to a question of proportionality and reasonableness. There’s an old Latin expression: De minimis non curat lex. The law should not concern itself with trifles.

  • How do governments come up with good public policy when an issue has polarized the public? There are some basic guidelines that can help.

    In a post-fact era, when reasoned arguments are not always sufficient to secure support, the perception of a government’s presumed motive is critical and sensitive policy changes must be presented without an overtly political agenda. Voters do not always have the time or inclination to study complicated policy frameworks; if they believe the government is acting for good reason, or has good intentions, that trust can provide an effective shortcut to policy acceptance.

  • Demographics the real driver of Trudeau’s planned tax changes

    For the past 50 years, politicians focused on addressing the needs of baby boomers… Coming of age in the 1990s, Gen Xers were basically ignored by politicians as little demographic clout begat little campaign outreach begat little voter turnout begat little political power… Millennials are the echo generation, children of the boomers and an even larger demographic bulge… Winning campaigns are now constructed to address the value set of millennials rather than boomers.

  • Justin Trudeau should finish the job on access to information

    Bill C-58, which is now in its second reading in the House of Commons… is the first attempt to amend our access regime since the current law was passed in the pre-digital world of 1983… the legislation would allow the office to issue binding orders that would compel government departments and agencies to release information… within certain timeframes… But the government’s proposed legislation… is “far more conspicuous for what it fails to do.”

  • Know the dirty little secret about taxing the rich? It doesn’t work

    … the annual financial report shed some light on why the party hierarchy is so dogmatic about the tax changes. The report revealed that personal income tax revenues dipped by $1.2 billion in 2016-17, reflecting the impact of the introduction of the 33-per-cent top income tax rate in 2016. Some high-income Canadians realized capital gains and dividends in the 2015 tax year to avoid the new rate; others pushed their income into more complicated tax-planning structures like private corporations.

  • Closing tax loopholes a sure vote winner

    … But the backlash comes from the people using the loopholes… It should worry the complainers that most Canadians with jobs, where taxes are pre-deducted at source, had no idea this was allowed. They are not just annoyed, they are incandescent… But as Prime Minister Trudeau said, “People who make $50,000 a year should not pay higher taxes than people who make $250,000 a year.

  • The tax system can’t possibly do what people want it to do

    … the long hours a doctor works, the vacations a small business owner never takes, and all the rest. I’m sure all this is true but — how to put this — the tax system is not intended or designed to compensate for every hardship of life, or to weigh in the balance all of the pluses and minuses of one job versus another. It can’t possibly do so. Rather, there has long been a consensus that the tax burden should be apportioned on the basis of “ability to pay.” There’s no perfect measure of this, but income is the best we’ve got