Archive for the ‘Governance Debates’ Category

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Many fear COVID-19 will cause social breakdown. But something quite different is happening

Saturday, April 4th, 2020

We are witnessing an extraordinary surge of solidarity. Suddenly the notion that the economy exists to serve people and not the other way around seems blazingly obvious. Suddenly the notion that we can accomplish more collectively than we could ever accomplish alone is beyond debate… The pandemic is not bringing about a world of crumbled institutions and adversarial individualism; that’s the world we seemed to be heading toward before the virus started its terrible work… Just look how governments and experts and we together are mobilizing.

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We can’t just pick up the pieces after the pandemic subsides – we need to keep them together

Monday, March 30th, 2020

… All governments are being affected by dramatic losses in revenues, but, as with a virus, the impact is not universally the same. Some economies are more robust than others. These issues cannot be allowed to fester. They will need to be addressed. So too the continuing inequalities affecting Indigenous people and communities as well as the homeless and others deeply marginalized now stare us in the face…

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Our tax system is too costly for the poorest Canadians

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

… a lack of financial literacy – or even general literacy – has an impact. Insufficient computer skills and lack of access to accounting resources also play a role. Yet, the predominant cause remains the mind-boggling and growing complexity of our tax system… Even chartered professional accountants think that the current system of tax deductions and credits is too complex… tax credits and exemptions targeting middle and higher-income Canadians should be abolished and replaced by broad-based tax cuts.

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Making sense of Canada’s joyless democracy

Saturday, March 7th, 2020

Winning both a majority of votes and a majority of seats is a high benchmark for any politician to achieve. The past 50 years of federal elections in Canada have produced this double majority on only one occasion – under Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Mulroney in 1984. Also, minority governments have been and can be productive. One should not confuse the disappointment of a majority of Canadians after a particular campaign outcome with Canada’s democracy being dysfunctional.

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AFB meet GND: What role might the Alternative Federal Budget play in fleshing out the details of a Green New Deal for Canada?

Friday, March 6th, 2020

Advocates need a clear and practical agenda to make the most of this opportunity without sacrificing either environmental or social prerogatives. The AFB can help in this respect.  Adopting all the AFB 2020 actions would mark an important shift in government policy-making and put the Canadian economy on more inclusive and sustainable foundations. It would do so without significantly adding to Canada’s debt at a time when public debt is truly the least of our problems.

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Why the Canada Revenue Agency should do our taxes for us

Friday, March 6th, 2020

The CRA automatically receives information about the employment and investment income for most Canadians, so let its computers fill out the forms and do the math on our behalf for free… where effectively you get a prepopulated digital return, which has all your income and deductions that it [the CRA] knows about there. And you either sign off on it, ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ or add any additional lines that are relevant and then submit it… Already 36 countries, including Britain, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands, allow return-free tax filing for some taxpayers

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Do Canadian Conservatives even know what conservativism means any more?

Thursday, December 26th, 2019

Somewhere along the way, conservatives went off track. Tax cuts, deregulation and free trade became ends unto themselves without any consideration for their consequences for working-class citizens. Inevitably, the latter revolted. The result was Donald Trump’s election to the White House in 2016 and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union… Canadian conservatism needs to be more than a carbon copy of whatever becomes of its U.S. counterpart.

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Raising taxes to build Toronto is not just good — it’s necessary

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

In recent years, our leaders have tried every trick in the book… to avoid collecting the revenues needed to build the country. They’ve sold off profit-making public assets, giving up long-term revenue streams for one-time capital gains. They’ve embraced public-private partnerships (P3s), paying extra to build infrastructure but hiding the cost off the public books. They’ve taken on more debt.

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The mathematical truth about Toronto property taxes: raising them is the best option

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

The average annual residential tax bill across the GTHA and Ottawa for 2018 came in at $4,773 per household. In Toronto, it was $3,906… The mathematical truth says Toronto’s residential property taxes are low. The mathematical truth says there is room to raise them to pay for the things the city desperately needs.

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Toronto should move to a ranked ballot

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

Council recently voted 14-11 to direct city staff to start the process of moving toward a ranked ballot for the 2022 municipal election… No one likes how our system encourages negative campaigns, focuses on wedge issues and personal attacks, and gives incumbents at the municipal level where there are no political parties such an unfair advantage. Or that councillors can be elected with so little support from the electorate.

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