Federal Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation
Aaron joined the CTF as Federal Director in 2014. A lawyer by training, Aaron practised litigation in his native Kitchener, Ontario, and then corporate law with a major international law firm in London, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi, before returning to Canada to work with a prominent political consulting firm.
In addition to being a recovering lawyer, Aaron is also a recovering partisan, having previously served as a political organizer and campaign manager for several political candidates in federal and provincial elections and leadership campaigns (some successful, some not so much). He was author of a rabble-rousing weekly opinion column in the campus newspaper during his undergraduate days, and a prolific political blogger back in a time when people actually read blogs.
Aaron holds a BA in economics and political science from the University of Waterloo, and a J.D. from the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario, where he served as student body president during his final year of studies. He lives in Ottawa with his wife and two daughters.
Last week, the Trudeau government announced a 'technical paper' on its proposed federal carbon tax which suggests it will mimic Alberta's carbon tax plan, quashing the optimism of those who believed the federal government when they said their carbon tax would be revenue neutral.
Canadians are more likely to Google on their phone while standing in a grocery aisle than carry around a folded-up food guide poster. Almost every grocery product is now labeled, disclosing how much sugar, fat, vitamins and calories are contained in each serving. This new reality calls into question why Canadians are paying millions to update a government diktat on what we should eat. And given the nutrition information is out there for all to see, why are we allowing faceless Ottawa bureaucrats to recommend what we should eat?
Take the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), which recently reached a tentative agreement with Canada Post. Even though Canada Post faces a pension shortfall of $6.2 billion, all reports suggest that CUPW did not make any concessions on defined-benefit pensions.
New "independent" Senators could be emboldened to test out their new levels of "independence" -- particularly in the form of pushing back even harder on legislation passed by the House. Indeed, some people may even hope that happens. And if it does, it will be undermining the will of the House -- and by extension, Canadians.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in Tokyo this week for a bilateral visit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as well a G7 leaders summit in nearby Ise-Shima. While increasing trade is a major focus of the Prime Minister's visit (Japan is Canada's fifth largest trading partner), Canadians should cross their fingers that Trudeau doesn't ask his Japanese counterpart for advice on fiscal policy and the virtues of massive infrastructure spending.
Corporate welfare teaches companies and regions that what's important is about getting your "fair cut" of "free" money. And when your cut isn't perceived as fair, it can turn a wasteful policy into a corrosive, emotional weapon to be used by those with regional grievances.
Progressive economist Jim Stanford invites us to reimagine Bombardier's demand for another taxpayer handout as an exciting opportunity for an "equity investment." In his view, focusing on the usual metrics for businesses -- such as "does the company make money?" or "can it actually sell the products it makes?" -- is evidence of a dangerous affliction he refers to as "market fundamentalism."
Quebec Economy Minister Jacques Daoust announced that the Quebec government would be "investing" $1.3 billion in taxpayer money in Bombardier's beleaguered CSeries aircraft line, and promptly turned around to prod the new Trudeau government in Ottawa to pony up a similar contribution.
Over the last 50 years, Bombardier has received $2.2 billion in federal government assistance -- of which Industry Canada advises only $543 million has been repaid. In short, if history is any guide, Bombardier is far more likely to be calling on taxpayers again shortly with its hands outstretched, than to actually mature into a bonafide competitive business.