Powerful government unions weaken the economy

While the U.S. is curtailing the strength of such unions, Canadian government finances are stretched by the cost of public-sector workers

Powerful government unions weaken the economyAmerican taxpayers and workers won a big victory recently, with the United States Supreme Court ruling 5-4 in Janus versus American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) that government employees not part of a union could not be forced to pay union dues. Previously, government employees in 22 states were forced to pay…

Equalization hurts every Canadian

It’s time to get past political posturing and regional protectionism and reform the national equalization payment program

Equalization hurts every CanadianNational debates on the federal equalization program have been marked by conflict, obscure technical jargon, little research on the impact of the program and excessive vitriol. But we get no closer to fixing the problem. It's time for equalization reform. Many Canadians have tuned out. They can’t deal with discussions that have become inaccessible to…

B.C. must rein in public sector wages and benefits

Bringing government employee wages and benefits in line with private-sector norms is key to balancing B.C.’s budget

B.C. must rein in public sector wages and benefitsBy Charles Lammam, Hugh MacIntyre and Milagros Palacios The Fraser Institute During last year’s election campaign and in his first full budget as premier, John Horgan promised to balance British Columbia’s operating budget. If his NDP government remains committed to this promise, the coming negotiations on compensation with 183 public-sector unions will be critically important. After…

Alberta can’t blame the equalization system for its economic mess

Undisciplined spending by successive governments is responsible for Alberta’s fiscal problems

Alberta can’t blame the equalization system for its economic messBy Ben Eisen and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute In William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, one of the conspirators encourages his ally not to blame fate for his misfortunes, but rather to recognize his own responsibility. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves,” says Cassius. When it comes to the state…

Deficit spending is no free lunch; it’s a bill to future taxpayers

The government should stop kicking the can down the road and reduce federal spending now to avoid future tax increases

Deficit spending is no free lunch; it’s a bill to future taxpayersBy Charles Lammam and Hugh MacIntyre The Fraser Institute The federal government ran a $19.4-billion budget deficit in 2017-18, according its fiscal monitor. And this government’s appetite for deficit spending shows no signs of relenting. In fact, there’s no plan to balance the federal budget for the next three decades. With deficits becoming common again,…

Prevention cuts demand on the health system

Increased spending has entrenched an inefficient system that has inflated the cost of getting the same outcomes. It’s time for change

Prevention cuts demand on the health systemProvincial ministers of health and finance seek to ‘bend the health care cost curve’ but year after year, provincial budgets bend the curve in the wrong direction, adding billions of dollars to provincial health spending. We’ve doubled spending on our medical treatment system in Canada since 2005 – and what did we get? Not improved…

Alberta sinks deeper into a sea of red ink

The more the government spends on servicing its debt, the less is left over for priorities that Albertans value such as health care

Alberta sinks deeper into a sea of red inkBy Steve Lafleur and Ben Eisen The Fraser Institute When people think of the long lost “Alberta Advantage,” they often think first about the province’s tax advantage over other provinces. Specifically, the 10 per cent single rate personal and corporate income taxes that prevailed until 2015. But Alberta enjoyed another fiscal advantage – all other…

Canadians pay the price for unnecessary Crown corporations

With more than $1 trillion locked in underperforming assets, Crown ownership is a hugely important issue for public policy debate

Canadians pay the price for unnecessary Crown corporationsThere has long been a public policy battle over government’s role in running enterprises. Strangely, that battle was not settled in the 1980s and ’90s when many state-owned firms were ‘privatized,’ since Canadian governments still own many Crown corporations. Air Canada, Canadian National Railway, Petro-Canada (now part of Suncor), PotashCorp of Saskatchewan (now part of…

Shove EDC off taxpayers’ shoulders and into the private sector

Canada's export credit agency is good at what it does. But part of that is taking risks with taxpayers’ money. It's time for that to end

Shove EDC off taxpayers’ shoulders and into the private sectorExport Development Canada (EDC) has a big problem – the kind of problem Crown corporations have no business courting. Canada’s export credit agency, EDC loaned Turquoise Hill Resources, a mining company, $1 billion. Unfortunately, Turquoise Hill allegedly transferred a considerable amount of money offshore to minimize the taxes it pays in Canada. EDC’s mission is…

Insurance Corp. of B.C. faces uncertain future

Canada’s only mandatory insurance provider is digging a deep financial hole and the B.C. government is looking for answers

Insurance Corp. of B.C. faces uncertain futureIt’s no secret that the Insurance Corp. of British Columbia (ICBC) is under financial distress. But should it be saved? In 2016-17, it suffered its largest loss ever – $889 million, an amount equal to 18 per cent of its total premiums. What’s worse, it’s heading for an even larger $1.3 billion loss this year,…

No ray of sunshine in Alberta’s fiscal forecast

Rachel Notley seems intent on duplicating the deep-diving debt performance of former Ontario NDP leader Bob Rae

No ray of sunshine in Alberta’s fiscal forecastBy Ben Eisen and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute When Rachel Notley’s NDP shook Alberta’s political landscape by winning a majority government in 2015, the similarities to the Ontario’s Bob Rae-led NDP government in the 1990s were striking. Both cases marked the first NDP government in provincial history, and both brought an end to Progressive…

Alberta crushed beneath a growing mountain of debt

The slow path to balance means the province will continue adding debt by the bucketful for many years, penalizing future taxpayers

Alberta crushed beneath a growing mountain of debtBy Ben Eisen and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute The Alberta government’s 2018 budget figures would be shocking if Albertans weren’t already accustomed to such numbers. The operating deficit is expected to be $8.8 billion in 2018-19, down slightly from its peak of $10.8 billion two years ago. It’s difficult to contextualize such a large…

Alberta’s fiscal fiasco threat to future generations of Albertans

Despite an improving economy, the provincial government still projects $9.1-billion deficit

Alberta’s fiscal fiasco threat to future generations of AlbertansBy Steve Lafleur and Ben Eisen The Fraser Institute The Alberta government recently released its third-quarter fiscal update. While the update contains some good news about the economy, the outlook for provincial finances remains dire. The government expects a $9.1-billion deficit this fiscal year and it has no intention of balancing the budget until 2023-24. First, the…

Federal budget turned a blind eye to Canada’s economic challenges

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s budget fails to address sluggish economic growth and declining business investment

Federal budget turned a blind eye to Canada’s economic challengesBy Charles Lammam and Hugh MacIntyre The Fraser Institute Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s 2018 federal budget does nothing to address serious concerns over Canada’s economic prospects or the challenges emerging from the United States. In some respects, the budget makes matters worse by continuing the government’s self-destructive policies of chronic deficit-financed spending and new taxes…

Balancing Alberta’s budget by 2023-24 isn’t good enough

Albertans have more debt, continued reliance on volatile natural resource revenue and higher taxes to look forward to

Balancing Alberta’s budget by 2023-24 isn’t good enoughBy Steve Lafleur and Ben Eisen The Fraser Institute The Alberta government’s large and persistent budget deficits remain one of the most important policy problems facing the province. This year, the province expects another deficit of more than $10 billion and forecasts call for a nearly identical deficit next year. The government of Premier Rachel Notley is…
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