Archive for the ‘Governance Debates’ Category

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Power will flow to a post-pandemic Ottawa

Sunday, May 24th, 2020

… if you are a near-bankrupt borrower, as several Canadian provinces and cities will soon be, you cannot demand money from the printing press owner without it coming with strings attached. For the first time since the Depression and the following war, Ottawa will be propelled into a much more powerful policy decision-making role, as a result of this shift in power dynamics, in ways that will seriously test the old boundaries of Canadian federalism.

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Liberals should take a cue from Mulroney, not Chrétien

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020

Mulroney could have adopted the approach that Chrétien took, slashing transfer payments to the provinces and eliminating the deficit entirely. But he judged it to be irresponsible and not worthy of a prime minister in our federal system. So he didn’t… The free trade agreement with the United States had been signed, the GST and deregulation put in place and privatization begun.

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There’s no such thing as a non-partisan recovery plan. Deal with it

Saturday, May 16th, 2020

… it’s worth being honest about COVID-19 recovery efforts: Trudeau’s plans are going to be different from Ford’s because they believe very different things… If you were a small-government conservative before the pandemic, Trudeau’s response will upset you; if you were a socialist before Ontario’s first coronavirus case, I regret to inform you that Doug Ford will not be leading the people in glorious revolution… conservative premiers will have enormous power to shape and constrain the federal response.

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COVID-19 has exposed ugly failings of our politics. Here’s how Ottawa can build on the lessons of the pandemic

Saturday, May 9th, 2020

COVID-19. It has proved that the Employment Insurance system is out of step with today’s workforce. It has stirred questions about globalization and whether international supply networks are truly a virtue in times of desperate need. It has spurred plodding bureaucracies, known for their cautious approach to issues, into impossibly speedy policy decisions to rush aid to Canadians. And it’s left Canadians with a deficit hangover… the pandemic has laid bare problems and blown up old ways of doing things.

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COVID-19 creates opportunities for Canada’s centre-left

Sunday, May 3rd, 2020

The Parliamentary Budget Officer predicts that the federal deficit will hit a staggering $252 billion this year thanks largely to a fall-off in tax revenues. Yet few predict fiscal doom. Indeed, many analysts argue that in an economy where the private sector has shut down, more government is needed not less… By comparison, a universal public pharmacare plan would be a bargain. It would cost Ottawa only $20 billion a year… an amount that would be more than offset by savings to individuals and provinces.

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We can see the way out of the coronavirus pandemic, but the steps to get there will be slow

Monday, April 20th, 2020

There is no easy option… We can tough it out at home, or we can tough it out at work. We can live a little less free, or a lot. We can lose thousands of lives, or tens of thousands; endure slow growth, or a depression. Those are the real choices before us. Either way, it will take months, at least, before we can declare victory.

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Why Canada’s emergency response benefit rollout might be a mistake

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

As the Trudeau government scrambles to include one forgotten group after another in the wage-support program, the argument for shifting to a universal basic income grows more compelling… But [the Prime Minister sidestepped repeated questions… as to why the government hadn’t opted for a guaranteed basic income instead of a program that is constantly in need of fixes… the debate over a guaranteed basic income could become a major issue in the next election.

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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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