Government Spending

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

Liberals' 2016 Budget Opts For Big Spending Over Restraint

We've seen this story before in the mid-1990s, when out-of-control deficits and an impending sovereign debt crisis led to painful spending cuts and tax increases. The government is wrong to make the return to budget balance conditional on strong economic growth. Population aging is already taking its toll on long-term projections, and too many unforeseen events can derail the fiscal path. Only tight fiscal discipline can balance the budget within a reasonable timeframe, protecting Canadians' standards of living from future large tax increases and cuts to government services.
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Government Spending Does Not Equal Compassion

The assumption that government is best placed to care for us also overlooks a fundamental truth. Most people already care about people beyond their immediate circle. They express that care through kindness, volunteering, support for charities and in a thousand other ways. That's a more accurate and holistic understanding of compassion.
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Money Kept by Canadian Taxpayers Is Not a "Loss"

The Liberal finance minister assumed that taxes were useful but indeed a loss -- not to government, but to the citizens who pay the tax. Taxes are necessary, but we must be judicious about the money sent to politicians and civil servants. That includes understanding the money first belongs to Canadians.

Alberta's Missed Heritage Fund Opportunity

Over the past decade, the province of Alberta treated boom-time resource revenues like a permanent state of affairs. That set the province up for fiscal failure, for multiple lost opportunities. One high-profile example is the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund.
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Why Ontario Should Stop Demanding Money From the Federal Government

Instead of demanding more money from the federal government, Ontario could a) cut provincial spending or b) reform everything from labour laws to regulation to tax policy and electricity policy, to unleash the economy and thus produce more at-home tax revenue or c) both. Ontario should not expect continued billions in annual equalization payments. While the exact decline in equalization is unknown -- it depends on how badly the resource economies and their provincial treasuries are hit -- Ontario should face reality and act accordingly.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

What France Can Learn From Canada's Economy

France's economy saw only a weak rebound after 2009 with real GDP growth rates of about two per cent in both 2010 and 2011 before slowing to a crawl with only 0.3 per cent growth in 2012. In comparison, Canada positively raced ahead, experiencing real GDP growth of 3.4, 3.0 and 1.9 per cent in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively.
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Small Fixes Won't Solve Quebec's Deep-Rooted Fiscal Problems

While the government has talked the talk on taxes, it has yet to walk the walk. In fact, the fiscal update announced additional tax increases including plans to levy a temporary (until 2017) increase to payroll taxes on financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. Quebec's fiscal problems run deep so small fixes won't cut it. More fundamental reform is needed to put Quebec on the right fiscal track.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Harper's Secret Budget Cuts Undermine Canada's Democracy

When a government underspends to the extent we are seeing with the Harper government, the estimates become unreliable. Parliamentarians aren't able to find out how much the government is actually spending until months after the end of the fiscal year. As a result, they can't inform the public about what programs and services have been diminished in time to make a difference. The way the underspending scheme stifles debate reminds me of the Harper government's omnibus legislation, except it's even worse.

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.
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There's Good Reason to Monitor Government Spending

Too many use Orwellian language to propose something contrary to the public good. But, considering the reality of power, the term "taxpayer" helps people focus on the real cost of political decisions that favour a narrow interest, ones which can injure the good life for everyone else.