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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.

B.C.'s Business Tax Regime Needs Competitive Jumpstart

One item sorely missing from the B.C. finance minister's recent budget was a plan to make the province's business taxes more competitive and attractive for investment. When the province shifted back to the PST last year, the cost of doing business and investing increased dramatically. Disappointingly, de Jong's budget did nothing to address this shackle around BC's economy. Tax reform, however, might be the light at the end of tunnel.
03/05/2014 05:19 EST
CP

Pro-Markets Not Pro-Business: There's a Difference

The government's "Venture Capital Action Plan" ignores Canadian evidence that shows government-sponsored venture capital is ineffective. More fundamentally though, it represents a further blurring of the lines between pro-market and pro-business government policy.
02/13/2014 12:53 EST
CP

Ottawa's On Track to Balance the Budget -- So What's Next?

After running six consecutive deficits totaling $156.5 billion, Flaherty has been clear that balancing the budget in 2015-16 is his top priority. Budget 2014 reaffirms that commitment. Despite risks in Flaherty's plan, his budget signals that a return to surplus may soon be upon us. The next step for the federal government is to enact an ambitious personal tax reform plan.
02/13/2014 05:16 EST
Alamy

Cut Spending -- Don't Just Slow Its Growth

With federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty poised to unveil his 2014 budget on February 11, early signs point to a business-as-usual budget with his government staying focused on eliminating the deficit in 2015 and creating the fiscal room to provide tax relief in next year's budget. But Flaherty could take a different approach and positively surprise Canadians.
02/04/2014 04:29 EST
CP

Why A Higher Minimum Wage Won't Help the Poor

Kathleen Wynne raised the minimum wage -- yet another clear case of politics trumping evidence in the setting of government policy. Minimum wage legislation has been studied ad nauseam so there's plenty of evidence to draw upon. And the vast majority of that evidence shows increasing the minimum wage does little to help impoverished families and often hurts the most vulnerable workers.
01/31/2014 12:45 EST
David Cooper via Getty Images

Why Living Wage Laws Don't Help Those Who Need It Most

Living wage laws can also lead to higher municipal taxes. This occurs because municipal governments are typically the customer of firms affected by living wage laws. And this unique arrangement allows businesses to more easily pass on the artificially higher labour costs to their customer rather than scale back on employment.
01/24/2014 05:22 EST
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Will Canada's Government Continue the Tax Hike Into 2014?

The trend of governments increasing taxes seems poised to continue in 2014. As of Jan. 1, the federal government increased taxes on certain dividend income, British Columbia raised its health care premiums yet again and introduced a new tax rate for those earning more than $150,000.
01/16/2014 05:29 EST
CP

Canada 2020: What's the Right Scope and Size of Government

The Clerk of the Privy Council's Blueprint 2020 exercise is a positive step in redefining the role and functions of the federal public service in Canada. However, a key question omitted from the blueprint document is: what's the right size and scope of the federal government in 2020?
01/16/2014 05:23 EST
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A Financial New Year's Resolution for Ontario

Another year has come and gone and Ontario's weak public finances remain largely unchanged. The provincial government did little to improve its fiscal position in 2013 and recently signalled it intends to continue with debt-financed spending into the New Year. But the status quo isn't serving Ontarians well. For 2014, the government should chart a new course that places provincial finances on a more sound footing. That would be a much-needed New Year's resolution for Canada's largest province.
01/10/2014 12:14 EST
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Government Debt: A Painful Reminder There Are No Free Lunches

With the holiday season now behind us, the oncoming flood of credit statements to Canadian households is a powerful reminder that there are no free lunches. Borrowing to pay for current consumption brings interest payments, and ultimately, the need to pay off principal balances. But this same reality also applies to governments.
01/09/2014 12:16 EST
Getty

There's No Retirement Crisis in Canada

The upcoming meeting of federal and provincial finance ministers will touch on what's become a politically charged debate about expanding the Canada Pension Plan. Proponents have tried to convince Canadians they are not saving sufficiently for retirement with some even suggesting we are on the brink of a retirement crisis. These views simply do not reconcile with the available empirical evidence.
12/12/2013 05:30 EST
CP

Flaherty Hasn't Slain the Deficit Yet

Mr. Flaherty may indeed eliminate the deficit in 2015-16 as planned. We hope he does. But his plan as conceived still contains considerable risk that shouldn't be ignored. More conservative revenue forecasts and lower program spending would reduce these risks and help to ensure he can deliver on his promise.
11/14/2013 03:17 EST
Getty

Politicians, Please Use Caution in Expanding Canada's Pension Plan

As our political leaders deliberate expanding the CPP, they would do well to consider the evidence which does not support the notion of a broad retirement income crisis. They also need to consider that a compulsory expansion to CPP could reduce private savings and the flexibility they afford Canadians.
11/03/2013 01:24 EDT
Getty

If the Government Was a Company it Would Be Bust

Can government really deliver? Evidence suggests the answer is a resounding "no." This is plain to see for anyone who peruses the catalogue of reports from Canada's Office of the Auditor General, an independent federal body charged with reporting to parliament on the performance of various government programs and initiatives. We did just that -- and it's not a pretty picture. It's hard to imagine a private company staying in business for long if it behaved this way. But therein lies the problem. Unlike a private company, a government can't go out of business. And government typically operates in a monopoly environment protected from competition so the consequences of mistakes and inefficiencies tend to persist.
11/01/2013 05:29 EDT
Getty

Predicting the 2014 Budget (Based on Ottawa's Hints)

To achieve the target of eliminating the deficit by 2015-16, the government announced new commitments that are intended to restrain the growth of spending. This is perhaps partly in recognition of the slow economic growth environment and the fact that robust revenue growth cannot be counted on as the sole basis for returning to balance.
10/31/2013 05:35 EDT
Getty

Why Raising the Minimum Wage Won't Help Anyone

If the government is serious about tackling Ontario's youth unemployment and fostering job creation, then it should steer clear of future minimum wage increases regardless of what formula the advisory panel recommends. The reality is that increasing the minimum wage will actually reduce job opportunities and not alleviate poverty.
08/29/2013 05:22 EDT
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How the CPP Expansion Could Curb RRSP Savings

The CPP debate thus far has largely ignored a critical economic insight. An expanded CPP would not increase overall savings to the extent expected, but would change the mix, with more going to CPP and less to other savings like RRSPs.
06/27/2013 05:43 EDT