• Three points on the GST, to end poverty? Guaranteed income sounds like a good deal

    The income guarantee in the Ontario Basic Income Pilot, the province notes, is set at 75 per cent of Statistics Canada’s Low Income Measure; combined with “other broadly available tax credits and benefits,” it would be enough to pay for basic household needs. Indeed, it is not far off the low income thresholds defined by StatsCan’s Market Basket Measure. Three points on the GST, to end poverty. I can’t think of a better way to spend public funds.

  • Charities ‘worried’ after meeting with Morneau on ‘political activity’ law

    … the legislation should be rewritten “to explicitly allow charities to fully engage, without limitation, in non-partisan public policy dialogue and development,” the panel recommended. Partisan activities, such as supporting candidates or parties, should remain banned, said the report — echoing a view widely held by charities themselves… there’s been a year of silence since. The 2018 budget in late February dashed charities’ hopes again…

  • NDP’s Andrea Horwath finds her footing on progressive platform

    While Horwath may gain traction with soaring rhetoric, her platform remains slippery in spots — brimming with good ideas on caring, but burdened by a black hole on hydro promises that sound too good to be true. Like the Liberals with their ambitious budgetary spending, the New Democrats stress caring while downplaying paying for it… The NDP fiscal plan calls for a budget deficit of roughly half the $6.7 billion projected in the Liberal budget in 2018-19, thanks to higher taxes on the rich and corporations

  • Too many Canadian governments are borrowing too much money

    Now that good times have returned, provincial and federal politicians are still piling on debt. This week’s Ontario budget crystalized the fact. A province with a strong economy and a small budget surplus, but the country’s fourth-highest net debt-to-GDP ratio, plunged itself back into deficit for the foreseeable future… social democrats have as much reason as conservatives to be appalled by heavy government debt. That’s because, far from being a reliable source of government revenue, debt quickly begins biting into government spending.

  • Doug Ford’s false fiscal promises

    Ford won’t find $6 billion in waste, just as he and his brother did not find the promised efficiencies at city hall. Instead, he will have to raise the money the old-fashioned way: taxes, debt or cuts to services. And given his outspoken disdain for taxes and debt, it’s no great mystery what path he would pursue… Ford is asking us to play a sort of austerity lottery. Because Ford won’t tell us, we can’t know which jobs will be lost, which programs deep-sixed, which services cut.

  • Highlights of the Ontario budget

    - $822 million extra to hospitals, funding more cardiac and cancer surgeries, chemotherapy, MRIs and other services; – $575 million to make drugs completely free for seniors; – $800 million over two years for drug and dental coverage for people without insurance (up to $400 for singles, $600 for couples, $50 for each child); – $2.1 billion over four years for mental health care; – $2.2 billion over three years, providing some parents free child care; – $1 billion over three years for a seniors home-care benefit of $750 a year…

  • Ontario’s debt has exploded. Is the province in trouble?

    Today, Ontario has an operating surplus that amounts to 4.2 per cent of its adjusted operating revenues – or in plain language, it’s running a surplus before accounting for interest expenses on the debt… Growth gives a big boost to government revenues and also helps temper the climb in its debt-to-GDP ratio. But with interest rates starting to rise, the fear now is that Ontario’s interest expense will jump. (Interest currently consumes about 8 per cent of provincial government revenues.)

  • Hot!

    The mounting case for a single public-school system in Ontario

    It is unequal: Jewish or Hindu or Muslim schools don’t get government funding. How is that fair…? It is expensive: running two giant school systems side by side… It is increasingly awkward: the values of Catholic authorities are bound to clash with changing views in the world… Most of all, it is backward… It is time to embrace that new reality and wind up the separate school system.

  • The right way to cut government spending? Focus on core responsibilities

    … some of the things government does it could do more efficiently — not by better central planning… but by structural reforms, changes to incentives that reward cost-consciousness rather than empire-building: for example, the “internal markets” that are the future of public health care. The sum of all these changes might well be a government that spent less — but as a consequence, not an objective; not at the expense of its core responsibilities, but by focusing on them.

  • National pharmacare is possible – but it won’t come easy

    While a single, national plan would theoretically save money on drug purchases, it would also mean a large-scale shifting of costs from the private sector to the public sector – a net $7.3-billion annually… The single biggest impediment to pharmacare is the unwillingness of federal, provincial and territorial governments to absorb those costs and then increase taxes to pay the bill – even if the consumer comes out paying less in the long run.