Assistant Director of Research, Frontier Centre for Public Policy
Steve Lafleur is a public policy analyst with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. He recently graduated with a Master of Arts Degree in Political Science from Wilfrid Laurier University. He is currently a Contributing Editor for New Geography, where he writes about public policy issues facing North American cities. His works have appeared in publications such as the Toronto Star, the National Post, the Boston Globe, the Oregonian, Reason Magazine, and regional newspapers across Canada.
High quality public transit costs money. Someone needs to pay for it. At the moment, riders are paying a large portion of those costs. The City shouldn't change that. Someone working on Bay Street and living in King West probably doesn't need a free ride. But maybe someone at Jane and Finch needs a break on fares. A surgical approach is preferable to a blunt instrument.
If Toronto is going to compete with places like New York and DC for tourists, the City has to offer them a good time. Indeed, there is some recognition of this. That is why City Council allows some bars to stay open until 4am during Pride and TIFF. Toronto feels a bit like a Potemkin Village during these events.
09/22/2014 04:57 EDT
Tales of government waste make for excellent news headlines. Bev Oda's infamous $16 orange juice probably got more media attention than the $45 billion F35 procurement debacle. Part of the reason is that people understand the value and cost of orange juice. Rather than focusing on waste, analysts and the media should instead focus on getting more value for money from governments. We need to pay less attention to tens of dollars and more attention to billions.
09/19/2014 08:17 EDT
Shelters and soup kitchens haven't demonstrated an ability to provide long term solutions for the majority of chronically homeless people. They should be an integral part of alleviating homelessness, but they don't have the financial capacity to solve the problem on their own. Moreover, it isn't fair to let City residents bear the entire cost.
07/16/2014 12:30 EDT
The really unfortunate part of the "homeless spikes" panic is that everyone leapt to blame the property owners rather than addressing the issue: we have a homelessness problem. Gawking at the symptoms rather than searching for a cure is a waste of time. Those solutions exist, and are widely agreed upon by experts. It's time that provinces and municipalities move aggressively to mitigate homelessness.
07/10/2014 12:31 EDT
Some Canadian provinces and industries have the same need for foreign workers, and so it's crucial that the appropriate program is in place to meet these needs. The TFWP may be the right model in some instances, but permanent immigration is generally preferable. The temporary foreign worker program is only a temporary fix to the problem of labour shortages in Canada. What we really need is more foreign workers to become citizens. The Canadian government is catching onto this notion.
05/29/2014 01:15 EDT
Three principles would need to govern the new transit agency: 1) Decision-making should be vested with management rather than politicians; 2) Capital costs should not be financed by general government revenue; 3) Fares should cover 100 per cent of operating costs.
05/22/2014 12:32 EDT
Rather than impugning divestiture, the AGs report confirms that divestiture is the right approach. While it will take 7 or more years to recover the combination of divestiture costs and unfunded pension liabilities, the Government of Ontario will save and estimated $73 million annually afterwards according to the Auditor General's report.
12/17/2013 05:27 EST
It's easy to understand why people get upset when politicians get raises, especially during bad economic times. If we want good public policy, we need to lure high quality candidates into politics. In order to do so, we need to pay politicians competitive salaries. It's a small price to pay for governing a nearly $300 billion organization that touches every aspect of our lives.
11/06/2013 05:35 EST
A Winnipeg woman who burned herself while drinking Tim Hortons wants the Canadian government to set and enforce "safe beverage temperature rules." If you listen carefully enough, you can hear Ralph Nader and Michael Moore hi-fiving from the other side of the border. But while this might seem like a way of slapping down "irresponsible" big businesses, it would actually give them a huge competitive advantage over smaller players.
09/13/2013 05:42 EDT
If you are reading this article, you are surely one of the One Percent™. After all, technology only accrues to the world's wealthiest, right? If the message of <em>Elysium</em> were true, then yes. But it's not. As anyone who has given this more than a moment's thought realizes, technology isn't something simply the wealthy enjoy.
08/13/2013 05:15 EDT
Two sitting Toronto city council members faced off against each other in Wednesday's Ontario by-election, and a former councilor is running in another riding. Each is representing a different party. While this may seem banal, it is highly problematic.
08/01/2013 12:02 EDT
Recent political drama in Toronto has brought its numerous power struggles into the spotlight. Between the hovering possibility of Premier Kathleen Wynne dissolving the city's infrastructure and the ongoing conflicts between Rob Ford and his cabinet, the recurring question is: who really controls Toronto?
07/16/2013 05:49 EDT
Imagine there was a policy that could reduce global poverty, conserve natural resources and help alleviate the coming retirement crisis, all while also fostering domestic economic growth. You would have to be either misinformed or malicious to oppose this policy, right? Well, this policy exists, and it's called immigration. Ironically, "progressive" hero David Suzuki has come out in favour of reducing immigration levels. Mr. Suzuki is not only providing poor policy advice, but that advice runs contrary to his stated goals of reducing carbon emissions and fostering global development.
07/12/2013 12:15 EDT
Spreading money around for things like community centres, water treatment plants, and social housing is a common practice for the federal government, and is rarely met with opposition. It's hard to oppose dedicating money to good causes. However, those are clearly issues of provincial and municipal responsibility.
05/23/2013 05:36 EDT
Justin Trudeau claimed the Liberal Party of Canada leadership in a resounding victory, and if we believe the polls, Canadians are open to supporting their Liberal candidates in the next election. However, there is a lot of work to be done if the Liberals want more than just a temporary splash in the polls.
04/16/2013 05:31 EDT
Ontario's opposition parties never miss the chance to use toll roads as a wedge issue, regardless of who is in power. Canada's roads require expensive maintenance. Tolls are an excellent way of paying for road maintenance. Ultimately, charging for congestion is the only way to get Toronto moving again, and mobility is not a partisan issue.
04/08/2013 05:27 EDT
Social services such as job training are best left to the provinces. The constitution grants responsibility over education and healthcare to provinces for the same reason: it is the level of government best able to administer social services.
03/19/2013 12:43 EDT
Protestors associated with the Idle No More movement disrupted traffic to the Ambassador Bridge today. The disruption was planned from 11a.m. to 2p.m. While disrupting traffic may seem harmless enough, it comes with substantial costs.
01/17/2013 05:08 EST
We live in a world much like the world that Christopher Nolan built. Only without Batman. There are Bruce Waynes all around us. And anyone can be that symbol. While we don't have a silent guardian watching over us, we do have heroes like Victoria Soto. While nothing can right this horrible wrong that has been done to our collective humanity, we should be comforted by the fact that a 27-year-old teacher was willing to lay down her life to save the lives of her students.
12/18/2012 12:37 EST
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