Fraser Institute

Gianni Diliberto via Getty Images

Asking if Canadians Spend Too Much on Taxes Misses the Point

"There are lies, damned lies and statistics" is the well-worn phrase, but nothing better sums up the recent Fraser Institute scare mongering about taxes being the single largest budget item of Canadian households -- as catchy as the headlines may be, it is alarmist spin. Such biased economic exercises raise a fundamental question: Just what indicators should we be using to keep score on Canada's economic performance?
Getty

Be Good to Debt and Debt May Be Good to You

Debt has been in the news a lot lately. The major news outlets in Canada are paying attention to our record-high household debt levels and are doing some fantastic reporting about the effects of oil prices, housing, health, divorce, and all the other factors that can damage a family's bottom line. Yet amid this rabble of expert voices and real Canadian tales of debt crisis, there was one lone dissenter.
John Lamb via Getty Images

The Real Reason Canadians Pay Higher Prices Than Americans For the Same Products

The United States and Canada do not allow for full competition, but Americans benefit from a bigger market given their much larger population. Thus, a continental market in airline travel would serve passengers if an American airline could compete head-to-head with Canadian airlines on domestic routes. But the federal government won't allow it. The result? Higher airline fares in Canada.
Olga Utlyakova via Getty Images

Ontario's Debt Situation Is About To Get a Whole Lot Worse

Consider that in 2013/14 interest on the provincial debt was $10.6 billion. According to the province's fall fiscal update, that was just over half of all provincial sales tax revenue paid by Ontarians last year ($20.5 billion). So Ontarians should know that when you pay your provincial sales tax at the till, half of it flutters away just to pay your provincial government's debt interest.

Don't Throw Out the P3 Baby With the Bathwater

Something as dull sounding as public-private partnerships (P3s) has suddenly grabbed headlines thanks to a recent report from Ontario's Auditor General. P3s are an increasingly common tool for governments in Canada, and around the world, to provide infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
CP

Democracy in First Nations Communities Requires an Informed Electorate

It is unclear why the Chiefs of these 44 communities are choosing to withhold this information from their electorate and Canadian taxpayers. It is particularly peculiar that two of these communities, Weenusk First Nation and Wuskwi Sipihk First Nation, previously published their audited financial statements and have now reversed course. That brings up the question: why are these 44 Chiefs afraid of an informed electorate?

Want Smarter Government? Focus it

There are multiple reasons why governments choose the policy paths they do. Political survival is perhaps the most obvious explanation. But as with any organization, divesting of unnecessary businesses, projects and tasks that are off-mission helps sharpen the focus. That matters if one cares about smarter, more effective government.
David McNew via Getty Images

No Province Should Ignore the Benefits of Fracking

Politicians are free to ignore the science, safety and history of hydraulic fracturing. But if the incoming New Brunswick government sticks with its election promise, it will outlaw (temporarily, at least) one of the more innovative ways to extract oil and gas in the 21st century. The science and risk-reward ratio are both on the side of hydraulic fracturing. The potential for a more dynamic economy is staring New Brunswick politicians in the face.
Getty Images

If Albertans Bank on Renewable Energy They'll Get Robbed

Alberta Premier Jim Prentice's energy policy comments are troubling. According to newspaper reports, Mr. Prentice has embraced the idea of replacing Alberta's coal-fired electrical generation, not with natural gas, but with renewable energy -- wind and solar power. But experience suggests that the bank accounts of Albertans will take a big hit should the plan move ahead.