Others have already debated some assumptions in the Truth and Reconciliation Committee report -- healthy, given that history should never be left to past or present politics. I will deal with popular beliefs about funding for First Nations people in Canada -- something I have some familiarity with having traced such numbers back to the mid-20th century.
Mark Milke, an independent analyst, is a long-time contributor to the Institute. He has authored four books on Canadian politics and policy and dozens of studies on topics such as property rights, public sector pensions, corporate welfare, competition policy, aboriginal matters and taxes. Mr. Milke is a former Fraser Institute senior fellow, the former research director for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and former B.C. and Alberta director with the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation. His work has been published widely in Canada since 1997 and in addition to the Fraser Institute, his papers have also been published in the United States by the American Enterprise Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation and in Europe by the Brussels-based Centre for European Studies. <br> <br> Mr. Milke’s opinion columns appear regularly in the <em>Calgary Herald</em> as well as the <em>National Post, Globe and Mail, Reader’s Digest, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Province</em>, and <em>Victoria Times Colonist</em>. Mr. Milke has a Master’s degree from the University of Alberta where his M.A. thesis analyzed human rights in East Asia; he also has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Calgary where his doctoral dissertation analyzed the rhetoric of Canadian-American relations. Mr. Milke is chairman of the editorial board of Canada’s Journal of Ideas <em>C2C Journal</em>, president of Civitas, and a past lecturer in Political Philosophy and International Relations at the University of Calgary.
Ontario, as with many governments, is lucky its debt interest payments are not substantially higher given its almost doubled debt. That has everything to do with historically low interest rates. But luck is not a long-term strategy for governments -- at least not ones that prefer prudence over accidental fiscal offerings.
06/05/2015 05:28 EDT
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.
05/04/2015 05:26 EDT
During this tax and budget time, let's consider two "tectonic realities" about governments and numbers -- helpful to think about, given that there is plenty of "underground" action. It explains why governments often get themselves (and taxpayers) into trouble later.
04/28/2015 12:37 EDT
The Ontario government claims that it's shortchanged because Ontarians send more federal tax dollars to Ottawa than what the federal government directly spends in Ontario. But does this prove that Ontario's government deserves more money from the federal government?
04/22/2015 06:33 EDT
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.
04/18/2015 09:52 EDT
On the surface, both the Ontario's premier's speculative thoughts and B.C.'s policy change look positive for consumers. But both are a mirage.
04/15/2015 05:28 EDT
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.
03/26/2015 11:33 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
Once budget matters fade from the news, population growth, oil and gas exploration, agricultural demands, recreational use, and an increasing ecological sensitivity will likely again swirl around land use issues--private property included.
03/11/2015 05:51 EDT
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.
02/27/2015 06:42 EST
There was a good reason why Klein and his finance minister Jim Dinning acted when they did. Interest payments on provincial debt were consuming more and more tax dollars, diverting money away from the very programs Klein's critics claimed to value.
02/20/2015 03:28 EST
Unlike the iron fist of communism, capitalism's incidents of harm (recall the mugging in Central Park) result not from government oppression but from the nature of freedom itself. Misguided newspaper columns notwithstanding, in theory, practice and historical record, between capitalism and communism, there's no comparison.
02/16/2015 01:56 EST
Earn $17,787 in Alberta and you'll pay nothing in provincial income tax. Earn $50,000 and 6.4 per cent of your income is tax ($50,000 minus the $17,787 exemption; the 10 per cent tax is paid on the remaining $32,213). Earn $100,000 and 8.2 per cent of your income is tax. There's a word for such sliding proportions of tax paid: progressive.
01/27/2015 04:25 EST
With the price of oil plunging to below $50 per barrel and the outlook for Alberta's economy and provincial budget revenues falling in tandem, an oft-heard piece of advice is being recycled: Alberta should diversify its economy.
01/15/2015 02:02 EST
By placing bans and moratoria on fracking, governments in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have essentially stopped pursuing socially and environmentally responsible onshore natural resource development, even though jobs and extra tax revenues are sorely needed in the region.
12/25/2014 09:41 EST
New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant seems poised to follow through on a campaign promise to institute a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. News reports suggest he'll implement that moratorium before Christmas. Quite a lump of coal for the people of his province in need of additional jobs and higher incomes.
12/24/2014 08:42 EST
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.
12/23/2014 08:29 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
Sort through the statistics and the surprise is how consistently Ontario and Quebec now mimic the weak economic opportunities in the Maritimes instead of the bright economic opportunities available in the West. There's no great mystery as to why. Provinces with substantial private sector investment -- something the West has attracted with pro-entrepreneur policies and by simply saying "yes" to resource extraction in specific -- end up with enhanced employment opportunities, higher incomes and better prospects to enjoy a middle-class lifestyle.
12/15/2014 12:14 EST
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