Entries by Michel Kelly-Gagnon

A Few Points About Quebec's Debt

(0) Comments | Posted January 9, 2015 | 6:03 PM

As 2014 drew to a close, one issue that was rearing its ugly head again was provincial government debt. On December 19, Fitch Ratings downgraded Ontario's debt, cutting its rating on Ontario bonds from double-A to double-A-negative and expressing "concern" that Ontario's deficit is going up for the...

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What the Arab Spring Taught Us About the Right to Earn a Living

(0) Comments | Posted January 8, 2015 | 5:42 PM

Things seem to be looking up for the small North African nation of Tunisia. The Arab Spring ignited there four years ago when a desperate street vendor set himself on fire has been a brutal disappointment in most countries, but Tunisia itself is an exception. In 2014, it adopted a...

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Want an Ad-Free Internet Experience? Pay for it

(9) Comments | Posted December 4, 2014 | 6:05 PM

While you're reading this blog post, Google is conducting an experiment that could revolutionize the online advertisement business... Or, at least, will force some of you to put their money where their mouth is.

We often forget about it, but today's Internet is mostly funded by advertising. Like hundreds of...

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Subsidizing Electric Cars Is a Waste of Money

(15) Comments | Posted November 28, 2014 | 1:00 PM

There's no doubt that electric cars are hot. From the beginning of 2012 to the beginning of 2014, the number of them on the road around the world quadrupled from 100,000 to 400,000.

This impressive growth is mostly due to the substantial subsidies offered by various governments, supposedly in an...

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Why CRTC's New Wireless Contract Rules Actually Give Us Less Freedom

(6) Comments | Posted November 27, 2014 | 1:14 PM

Do Canadians pay too much for wireless telephone service? As my colleagues have recently pointed out, Canadian prices are higher than some, but lower than others. And in many countries with lower prices, investment in the latest technologies has lagged, whereas Canadians enjoy some of the fastest, most...

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Most of Latin America Has Adopted Democracy. Will Cuba?

(22) Comments | Posted November 13, 2014 | 1:06 PM

Mario Vargas Llosa is one of the greatest writers of our time, whose collection of novels earned him the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature.

He's also someone with the curiosity and the intellectual courage to change his mind when faced with evidence that contradicts his beliefs, as detailed in a...

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Don't Believe the Alarmist Talk About Forests

(2) Comments | Posted September 16, 2014 | 1:21 PM

Should we be worried about the future of our forests? You might think so if you've come across one of several recent media stories citing a University of Maryland study prepared in collaboration with environmentalist groups like Greenpeace. According to this study, "Intact Forest Landscapes" are being "degraded"...

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Should Netflix Be Regulated as a Traditional Canadian Broadcaster?

(10) Comments | Posted September 12, 2014 | 1:27 PM

For the past couple of days, the CRTC has been holding wide-ranging hearings on the future of Canadian television. The way the sector is regulated certainly needs revising. Rules pertaining to Canadian content, for example, were written years and decades ago when there was no such thing as watching videos,...

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Don't Let International Bureaucrats Control Canada's Tobacco Taxes

(5) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 1:20 PM

Taxing tobacco in order to reduce consumption might seem like a no-brainer at first glance--and the higher the better, some might say -- but it is problematic for a number of reasons.

For one thing, the case of Quebec provides a cautionary tale, as the prevalence of...

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One Solution to Illegal Immigration Problems in the US

(3) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 8:47 AM

Despite pledging in June to adopt regulation before the end of the summer limiting deportations for millions of illegal immigrants, Barack Obama announced last weekend that he was postponing a decision on this matter until after the mid-term elections. Once again, partisan politics is preventing the adoption of a solution...

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Quebecers Want to Fight Climate Change But Worry About the Bottom Line

(0) Comments | Posted August 29, 2014 | 5:28 PM

Quebecers want to fight climate change. But according to a new Léger Marketing poll, they're also concerned about the economic costs of doing so.

Of the 1,000 Quebecers who responded to the poll conducted in mid-August, 54 per cent were initially in favour of the Western Climate Initiative,...

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Keep Health Warnings Off Junk Food

(12) Comments | Posted August 5, 2014 | 1:11 PM

In 2011 Russell Davies, head of planning at the advertising agency Ogilvy and Maher, made a bold prediction: governments, he said, instead of banning the sale of certain products outright, will gradually turn to prohibiting their advertisement.

His forecast was for the next 25 years. But...

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Tax Increases Don't Always Mean More Money for the Government - Even on Cigarettes

(0) Comments | Posted August 1, 2014 | 6:23 PM

Tax increases do not in each and every case lead to increases in government revenues. The "Laffer curve," named after economist Arthur Laffer, suggests that things are more complex because taxes affect the behaviour of taxpayers. When taxes on the consumption of a good are too high, you can get...

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Canada, Let's Tear Down These Trade Walls

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2014 | 12:46 AM

Ever wonder why some Canadian small businesses have a harder time selling their goods in the next province than they do in Europe? Or why a Quebecer can't order a bottle of wine from Niagara Falls without having to pay a ''kickback'' to Quebec's liquor monopoly?


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More Taxes Won't Fix Our Fiscal Mess

(12) Comments | Posted May 23, 2014 | 1:26 PM

Not a day goes by without someone, somewhere, asking for politicians to levy another tax on a particular group -- ''the rich'', drivers, smokers, or taxpayers in general.

And with fiscal deficits crippling many provinces -- especially Ontario and Quebec -- brace yourself. You can count...

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What the Anti-Tobacco Groups Get Plain Wrong

(4) Comments | Posted May 15, 2014 | 6:30 PM

Although cigarettes are without a doubt bad for your health, especially when consumed regularly, my small libertarian perspective on life has made me naturally skeptical of the anti-tobacco movement. But even if you don't share my live-and-let-live philosophy, there are some pragmatic and empirical arguments to be made against several...

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Businesses Need Protection Against Government Snooping Too

(0) Comments | Posted April 16, 2014 | 6:30 PM

Some people worry that certain companies have access to too much of our personal information, and they question the use those companies sometimes make of that data. Such worries should not be dismissed altogether, but objectively speaking, governments are by far the greater threat to our privacy, as recent spying...

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Quebec Is on a Dangerous Job Creation Path

(3) Comments | Posted March 14, 2014 | 6:50 PM

The ''two solitudes'' in Canada also show in the jobs market. And it's bad news for Quebecers.

The latest jobs numbers from Statistics Canada reveal a huge gap in the kind of jobs that are created in Quebec (when there is any) versus in the...

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Why Flaherty's Sin Tax on Cigarettes Won't Work

(9) Comments | Posted February 14, 2014 | 8:15 AM

The latest federal budget hits smokers in the pocketbook, with an increase on the excise duty on cigarettes.

Often, governments can't resist the temptation to increase taxes on certain products deemed to be harmful like alcohol or tobacco. Because no one can be against virtue, these kinds...

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My (Modest) Hopes for the Federal Budget

(1) Comments | Posted February 11, 2014 | 12:26 PM

There are many priorities and wish lists for the federal budget, to be presented this Tuesday. For my part, I have modest expectations but, in particular, I will be looking for two things:

1 -- The implementation of the phasing out of the 15 per cent tax credit that shareholders...

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