Entries by Michel Kelly-Gagnon

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

(0) Comments | Posted August 29, 2014 | 4:28 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

(13) Comments | Posted August 5, 2014 | 12:11 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 | 5:23 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 8, 2014 | 11:46 PM

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 | 12:26 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 | 5:30 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 | 5:30 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 | 5:50 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 | 7:15 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 | 11:26 AM

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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Why Having a 'Contract' Job Instead of a Permanent One is a Good Thing

(4) Comments | Posted November 11, 2013 | 4:12 PM

There are still some people, including government officials, who look at any job which is not full-time and permanent as a non-standard or undesirable job. But these people should know that "non-standard jobs" are actually more numerous in Canada than the standard ones.

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Too Much Tax Kills

(0) Comments | Posted September 26, 2013 | 6:00 PM

This just in: Both in France and in Quebec, the law of gravity holds!

As does mathematical reality. Here as there, politicians are just now discovering a fact that some of us have been tirelessly repeating for years: Too much tax kills tax.

In France, after having continually...

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G20 Fails to Fix Global Finance. Again.

(0) Comments | Posted September 12, 2013 | 12:08 PM

It's a wonder that the heads of state and heads of government of the G20 who just met in Russia spent any time at all talking economics. Seriously, how could they pull themselves away from discussing Syria (or Sochi, or Snowden) long enough to actually focus on the international financial...

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No More Oil Means No More Smartphones

(0) Comments | Posted August 28, 2013 | 12:37 PM

Filling up at the gas station is certainly one of the ways to use oil that is most familiar to us. But guess what: of all the oil we use, only 43 per cent goes to fueling our cars.

Given this, can we seriously consider ending our "dependence on oil",...

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Canadian Flight Prices Need to Ground

(0) Comments | Posted August 23, 2013 | 5:22 PM

I recently took a flight from Porto to Rome. It lasted 2 hours 50 minutes (roughly the equivalent of a Montreal-Winnipeg flight). The plane was clean, the seats were reasonably comfortable, the staff was friendly. They served me a modest (but satisfactory) breakfast with unlimited coffee or tea. Now, the...

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Do Politicians Deserve All the Credit for Job Creation?

(0) Comments | Posted August 12, 2013 | 11:12 AM

Instinctively, everybody knows that job creation is something really important, both economically and socially. In a way, we should "thank" the job creators. But who is it, exactly, that we must thank?

Based on many newspaper headlines, we might be tempted to believe that it is politicians and their spending...

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Free Markets Help the Poor Better Than Aid Does

(0) Comments | Posted August 8, 2013 | 12:43 PM

"Aid is just a stop-gap. Commerce and entrepreneurial capitalism take more people out of poverty than aid."

If that line came from me, some might say it was an ideological rant. Though I strongly agree with these words, they came from someone just a bit more glamorous than me. An...

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Why the Big Three Are Right About Verizon

(24) Comments | Posted August 1, 2013 | 12:10 PM

Judging by the comments I hear or read on the Internet, many people don't have much trust in Canada's three major telecom companies. They see Bell, Telus, and Rogers as an oligopoly that tries to smother competitors in order to keep prices high.

Admittedly, private businesses don't necessarily like...

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Post Lac-Megantic Let's Talk Fact, Not Fantasy

(0) Comments | Posted July 12, 2013 | 8:15 AM

Like most Quebecers, I felt personally affected when I heard the news of the train derailment at Lac-Mégantic. I visited this charming little town several times, always during the month of August to look up at the Perseids from the Mont Mégantic Observatory.

The fact that this tragedy hit so...

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Why Public Health Activists Want to Hide Inconvenient Truths

(0) Comments | Posted June 14, 2013 | 12:05 PM

You may recall a study that got plenty of coverage last January that suggested gaining some weight is not so bad for your health after all, at least in some circumstances.

After studying about three million cases, its authors found that for people who are older than...

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