The lessons from the Chrétien Liberals can be applied today, particularly in response to Trump's tax plan. Prudent spending, debt reduction and tax rate cuts would make Canada a more competitive location for investment and skilled labour, and help foster the prosperity Canadians enjoyed following the Chrétien reforms.
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.
Like many diagnoses of slow growth, the effects of bad government policies often get overlooked. This matters because unlike commodity swings or global forces, governments can actually influence the direction of policy. But in recent years, we've seen an onslaught of growth-hindering policies in Canada such as spending-induced debt increases, higher taxes and increased regulation.
10/03/2016 04:53 EDT
The combination of worsening economic conditions and the government's refusal to change course on spending means Alberta will rack up debt more quickly, with a projected budget deficit of $28.9 billion over the next three years. For context, that's roughly 50 per cent more than currently sits in the Heritage Fund, a "nest egg" that took decades to build.
04/22/2016 12:13 EDT
In an attempt to increase transparency, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made "mandate letters" to his ministers publicly available. These letters are intended to clarify the focus of each minister's portfolio. When it comes to the mandate delineated for the minister of finance, the prime minister should seriously rethink some of the priorities.
11/24/2015 01:50 EST
It's time for municipal governments to rethink the assumption that more revenue is needed to fund transit expansion. Savings can be found within current spending envelopes, given the dramatic increases in spending by municipalities and TransLink over the last decade.
07/22/2015 05:57 EDT
Some taxpayers may be willing to accept more costly city services as a result of a living wage policy if they actually helped those most in need. But the evidence shows otherwise.
07/08/2015 06:44 EDT
According to the plan, not all residents in the region are created equal. If you're a motorist, for instance, you won't get much love.
04/25/2015 06:22 EDT
The goal of helping struggling families and the most vulnerable in society is laudable. But the problem is the minimum wage is the wrong policy to achieve this end. Before determining what the right policy is, we first need to understand who the impoverished really are. It turns out they are overwhelmingly not minimum wage earners.
04/08/2015 01:04 EDT
Indeed, further restraint on compensation spending would help ease the pressure on Ontario's finances. Ensuring that the wages and benefits of provincial government workers are in line with private sector norms for similar positions would be a good first step towards getting things right.
03/29/2015 10:46 EDT
Taxes are indeed needed to fund important government services, critical both to a well-functioning economy and more generally, civilization. But there is a point when a larger, more interventionist government, combined with a heavier tax burden, can stunt economic growth and social outcomes, or achieve those outcomes only at great additional cost.
03/19/2015 12:37 EDT
De Jong should be commended for B.C.'s exclusive membership in the balanced budget club. But with its commitment to the status quo, the government misses an opportunity to build an even better economic future.
02/19/2015 06:32 EST
The risk is that a GAI would become just another program within a larger web of existing government programs. Some programs that target specific groups, particularly groups less able to work -- such as the severely disabled or the elderly -- may be difficult to consolidate into a single "one-size-fits-all" universal program like the GAI.
01/08/2015 05:42 EST
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.
12/22/2014 12:45 EST
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.
12/21/2014 03:01 EST
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.
12/05/2014 05:50 EST
When governments impose a minimum wage higher than what would otherwise prevail and without corresponding productivity increases, employers find ways to operate with fewer workers. While the more productive workers gain through a higher wage, their gain comes at the expense of others who lose as a result of fewer employment opportunities.
12/03/2014 06:08 EST
The key question for the new premier is: will he follow the lead of former Premier Don Getty--and raise taxes as both the premier and finance minister are hinting--or Ralph Klein, who controlled spending and reduced taxes? The answer will affect the fortunes of all Albertans.
12/03/2014 02:58 EST
By 2017/18, the government expects that over 10 cents of every revenue dollar collected by Queen's Park will go to servicing past debt rather than public services that Ontarians care about such as health care and education or tax relief that improves the province's tax competitiveness.
11/19/2014 01:25 EST
The Conservatives should be commended for sticking to their commitment to the balance budget. But balancing the budget cannot become an end in itself or it can come to serve as a justification for spending increases with limited economic benefit. Reducing personal income tax rates and capital gains taxes would be a productive use of future surpluses.
11/17/2014 09:26 EST
By allowing households to move income from one spouse facing higher rates to the other spouse, income splitting is one way to help fix this distortion. Income splitting, however, does virtually nothing to improve economic incentives or Canada's competitiveness. Therein lies the missed opportunity.
11/02/2014 07:48 EST
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