For beer fairness, end price controls and corporate welfare

If government believes it should discourage alcohol consumption, why does it subsidize the beer and wine industries?

For beer fairness, end price controls and corporate welfareWith much fanfare, the Ontario government has brought back “Buck-a-Beer” by lowering the government-mandated price floor on a bottle or can of beer (with alcohol volume below 5.6 per cent) from $1.25 to $1. Ontarians who don’t drink or who consume only more expensive alcoholic beverages won’t be much affected by this policy. But for…

Pouring money down the corporate welfare drain

Billions of Canadian taxpayers’ dollars go into ventures that don’t need or waste the money. And there is little oversight

Pouring money down the corporate welfare drainWhat do the federal government, responsibility and transparency have in common? When it comes to handing money to corporations, not much. Working-class Canadians watch helplessly as their hard-earned money is taxed away to be put into the laps of large businesses – often the same ones that receive it year after year. These dollar amounts…

Ottawa’s contradictory climate policy just wastes money

Billions of dollars in spending announcements allow politicians to burnish their green credentials. But they don't get the job done

Ottawa’s contradictory climate policy just wastes money“Around the world, businesses, governments and experts agree that carbon pricing is the cheapest and most efficient way to cut carbon pollution,” Catherine McKenna, Canada’s environment and climate change minister, recently tweeted. If what she says is true, it means all other anti-carbon strategies – including regulations and subsidies – are unnecessarily expensive and inefficient.…

Green Ontario Fund a misuse of resources

There’s no better way to waste public funds than to have programs where everyone is spending everyone else’s money

Green Ontario Fund a misuse of resourcesPremier Doug Ford has already broken a key promise. Instead of putting money back into the pockets of Ontarians, the new Progressive Conservative premier of Ontario is apparently hiking expenses. We know this because that great bastion of sound fiscal logic and clear economic thinking – the Toronto Star editorial board – says so. The Green Ontario Fund, which Ford plans to cut, “is putting money…

Canada must escape the corporate welfare trap

We need to scrap corporate welfare in order to restore Canada’s business tax advantage over the U.S.

Canada must escape the corporate welfare trapIt’s been more than two months since federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau said he would study Canada’s crumbling business tax advantage – while cautioning against any “impulsive” measures in response to tax changes south of the border that overnight wiped away a decade-plus business tax advantage over the United States. Yet, despite a chorus of…

Zapping taxpayers won’t validate green energy

The massively subsidized European power grid is in no way proof that the underlying renewables technology is viable

Zapping taxpayers won’t validate green energyA few years back, I had a chat with a reporter who had recently moved to Calgary from Europe, where he covered energy issues. In a discussion about renewables, he gave the oft-heard opinion that Europe was, of course, “ahead” of Canada. His eyes widened with admiration for how Europeans were greening their power grid.…

Wasting money propping up untenable news operations

Billions are spent on the CBC, hundreds of millions are redirected by the CRTC to ensure we’re informed. Is more federal funding for local news justified?

Wasting money propping up untenable news operationsThe smartest thing the federal government could have done to answer pleas for subsidy from the nation’s newspaper publishers is nothing. The next smartest thing it could have done is what I suggested it do last August – get the CBC out of the domestic advertising business and make all of its news content available…

Canada’s new superclusters could just be black holes

The government thinks that if industry doesn’t see fit to use its own money to stimulate innovation, perhaps taxpayer money should be the fire starter

Canada’s new superclusters could just be black holesCan Canadian industry lead the Liberal government’s latest innovation idea? I have mixed feelings about the new Innovation Superclusters recently announced by the federal government. While I support more taxpayer money supporting research, I’m not convinced that Canadian industry has the innovation chops to lead Canada out of our doldrums. True to their innovation mandate,…

Ottawa’s Supercluster initiative a mess of monumental proportions

The Liberal's Great Supercluster Screw-up just another drain on Canadian taxpayers

Ottawa’s Supercluster initiative a mess of monumental proportionsGovernments always want to look like they’re implementing good ideas and accomplishing important things. Take the Innovation Superclusters Initiative (ISI) for example. The federal government plans to throw almost a billion tax dollars at non-profit groups to create jobs and help Canadian companies dominate the world. As crazy as it sounds, that’s the ostensible reason…

Courting Amazon: the ends don’t always justify the means

Incentive packages often include tax breaks on property, income or permit exemptions – and taxpayers pay the freight

Courting Amazon: the ends don’t always justify the meansBy Josef Filipowicz and Steve Lafleur Fraser Institute Amazon’s recent announcement that it plans to open a second North American headquarters has sparked a mad scramble by communities seeking a huge economic payoff. But some notes of caution need to be sounded. The new Amazon headquarters are expected to house up to 50,000 “high-paying jobs” and add…