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Charles Lammam

Director of Fiscal Studies, Fraser Institute

Charles Lammam is Associate Director of Tax and Fiscal Policy at the Fraser Institute. Since joining the Institute, Mr. Lammam has published more than 25 research reports and 100 original commentaries on a wide range of economic policy issues such as taxation, government finances, investment, entrepreneurship, income mobility, labour, pensions, public-private partnerships, and charitable giving. His commentaries have appeared in every major Canadian newspaper including the National Post, Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Sun, Montreal Gazette, Calgary Herald, and Vancouver Sun. He is a frequent contributor to Fraser Forum, the Fraser Institute’s flagship policy magazine. Mr. Lammam also regularly gives presentations to various groups, comments in print media, and appears on radio and television broadcasts across the country to discuss the Institute’s research. He has appeared before committees of the House of Commons as an expert witness. Mr. Lammam holds an MA in public policy and BA in economics with a minor in business administration from Simon Fraser University.
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Ottawa Should Focus on Tax Relief Instead of More Spending

The Conservatives should be commended for sticking to their commitment to the balance budget. But balancing the budget cannot become an end in itself or it can come to serve as a justification for spending increases with limited economic benefit. Reducing personal income tax rates and capital gains taxes would be a productive use of future surpluses.
11/17/2014 09:26 EST
CP

Harper's Income Splitting Is a Missed Opportunity

By allowing households to move income from one spouse facing higher rates to the other spouse, income splitting is one way to help fix this distortion. Income splitting, however, does virtually nothing to improve economic incentives or Canada's competitiveness. Therein lies the missed opportunity.
11/02/2014 07:48 EST
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Right-to-Work Law Would Help Put Ontario Back on Track

Ontario, once Canada's flourishing economic and manufacturing hub, is in steady decline with slow economic growth and rapidly expanding government debt being a sad yet reoccurring story. An important example of Ontario's biased labour relations laws is in the area of worker choice. Mandatory union membership and dues is problematic for many reasons. First, it means that unions can be less responsive to their membership since members don't have the option to leave the union. Restricting worker choice also artificially strengthens unions which can manifest in higher rates of unionization. But when workers are given more choice, they more often choose not to join unions.
09/05/2014 01:24 EDT
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How the Government's Interest Payments Are Costing You

Governments must make interest payments on their debt similar to families who pay interest on borrowing for mortgages, vehicles, or credit card spending. These interest payments leave fewer resources available for important priorities such as tax relief and spending on public programs such as health care, education, and social services.
08/22/2014 05:11 EDT
CP

Are "Wynne Days" Coming?

We've seen this script before. Higher spending. Tax increases. Persistent deficits. Growing debt. Warnings from credit rating agencies. A government unwilling to make the tough choices to turn things around. That's the Ontario of the 1980s and early 1990s. It's also where the province finds itself today.
07/21/2014 06:13 EDT
Getty

City of Vancouver Addicted To Debt

It's important to remember that the city, like the rest of us, has to pay interest on debt in addition to repaying the principal. With more money going to service past debt (interest plus principal), less is available for important municipal services such as garbage collection and policing. That means Vancouverites also "pay" for debt indirectly through reduced services.
07/18/2014 11:38 EDT
AP

How Taxes Could Affect the Leafs and Senators Next Season

There's a lot of speculation that the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs will be active this free agent season. Both teams failed to make the playoffs last year and will likely pursue new players to get them back into contention. But taxes can be a roadblock to attracting new talent.
06/27/2014 06:24 EDT
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Regional Carbon Tax For Metro Vancouver Is A Bad Idea

A carbon tax increases the cost of gasoline, diesel, and natural gas -- things that both households and businesses rely on, whether to operate their cars, heat their homes, or run their operations. For perspective, B.C.'s current tax of $30 per tonne of CO2 adds roughly seven cents per litre to the cost of gasoline.
06/24/2014 03:05 EDT
CP

Wynne, Stop Ontario's Credit Rating From Plummeting Further

The government already spends 9.2 per cent of its revenues to service its debt and, according to its own estimates, this will rise to nearly 11 per cent in the next four years. Put plainly, Ontario spends $1 out of every $10 sent to Queen's Park to pay for past debt. This is money not spent on health care, education, transportation, or other public priorities. The increase in rates and the expectation for further hikes means even more tax revenues will go to paying interest instead of key government services.
06/19/2014 08:24 EDT
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Are Metro Vancouver Municipalities Really As Poor As They Claim?

Asking for more money is common among municipal officials. Despite soaring transfers from higher level governments, municipalities repeatedly claim they need more because their revenue sources lack growth potential. So how has municipal revenue actually performed over the last 10 years in Metro Vancouver?
06/16/2014 03:56 EDT

Quebec's Budget Is the Next Step in a Recovery Plan

As the saying goes, the first step is overcoming denial and the premier's recent comments suggest he understands the magnitude of Quebec's fiscal problems. The next step requires a bold plan to rein in government debt and improve tax competitiveness. The upcoming budget is a chance to move the province forward.
06/03/2014 11:38 EDT
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Ontario's Debt and Deficits Will Only Get Worse

The results do not bode well for Ontario. Provincial debt amounts to 237.7 per cent of revenue -- the highest ratio amongst the provinces. In other words, the total debt accumulated by the Ontario government represents almost two and a half years of revenues. Ontario's ratio is much higher than Quebec, the second most indebted province (189.5 per cent) on this metric.
05/28/2014 12:45 EDT
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The Ontario Budget Is a Train Wreck

With Ontario lagging behind other provinces on a wide range of economic indicators and recently becoming a "have-not" province, it desperately needed a bold plan to improve competitiveness and foster economic growth. Unfortunately, Thursday's budget failed to deliver and will only exacerbate Ontario's fiscal and economic challenges.
05/02/2014 06:33 EDT
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What Ontario's Budget Should Look Like

On May 1 Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa will stand in the provincial legislature to deliver this year's budget speech. Imagine if Sousa were to surprise us all and take a different track -- one that sets out a new agenda to return Ontario to its historical position as the economic engine of the country.
04/30/2014 05:36 EDT
Getty

What the U.S. Can Learn From Canada's Government

For a real-life example of how scaling back government has led to positive and practical economic benefits, Americans should look north. In Canada the conventional wisdom for much of the second half of the 20th century favored increasing the size of government. This led to significant growth in government as a share of the economy.
04/15/2014 12:35 EDT
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Every Taxpaying Canadian Has a $243,000 Bill, Courtesy of Our Government

Put simply, the aging of Canada's population has resulted in large and growing unfunded liabilities. The funding shortfall is estimated at $792.3 billion for the CPP, $494.4 billion for OAS, and $894.7 billion for medicare. Together the unfunded liabilities in Canada's public pensions and health care programs total $2.2 trillion or $134,841 for each income taxpayer. These unfunded program obligations make up more than half of total government liabilities. And their sheer size calls into question the structure of taxing current workers to provide benefits for retirees. Ultimately, to maintain current levels of spending in the future, taxes will have to increase or benefits for other programs will have to be cut -- or both.
04/03/2014 05:23 EDT