• 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…

  • 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.

  • 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%.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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.