canada

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Fiscal policy is really about taxes and spending and the federal government recently provided some hints on its plans in these areas.

In the recent Speech from the Throne, the government reaffirmed its commitment to balancing the budget by 2015-16 and providing "greater tax relief for Canadian families" after the budget is balanced. But what form this tax relief may take remains a mystery.


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The recent native protests in New Brunswick against proposed hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') are not only devoid of facts but harm the potential for prosperity and lower personal taxes. Add in the anti-fracking frothing in neighbouring Nova Scotia, and also in Quebec, and it adds up to ill-advised provincial policies, this despite the safety of fracking.

Before detailing the potential for a lighter personal income tax burden if more resource development was allowed, here are the facts on hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas.


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The season finale of the popular U.S. drama Breaking Bad brought with it renewed interest in a viral internet meme that implicitly suggested that the entire story might not have taken place had the main character, Walter White, lived in Canada. The meme suggests that within minutes of being diagnosed with cancer, Walt's "free" treatments would begin the very next week.


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As almost everyone knows by now, Canada has some interesting challenges looming when it comes to transporting increasing oil production to markets both inside and outside of Canada. What many Canadians might not realize is how important oil exports are to Canada’s economy. Canada has the world’s third largest proven oil reserves, is the fifth largest exporter of crude oil, and is the fifth largest producer of crude oil in the world.


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Innovative new medicines can have a profound impact on the health and wellbeing of those stricken with illness. Unfortunately, Canadians are often denied these benefits for months, if not years, while they wait for their government to approve drugs already deemed safe and effective by regulators in the European Union and United States. Smarter regulation could save resources, reduce patient suffering, and improve the lives of Canadians.


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Canadians routinely hear about alleged growing divides in Canadian society. But here is one rift that often goes unmentioned: the divide between the pension benefits of public sector employees and everyone else.

Such inequality incurs real costs, where ordinary taxpayers pay ever more for above-market, guaranteed pension benefits that ever fewer in the private sector possess.


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"If North Korea would be ready to attack the United States," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in 2006, "that would be a risk for Canada's national security as well not only because of our common values, but because of our geographical proximity." Much has happened in the intervening years apparently enough, if media reports are accurate, to force Canada to revisit its noncommittal position on missile defence. The case for participating in missile defence can be boiled down to four words: threats, technology, allies and cost.


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Canada is a superb creation and initial credit for that must, obviously, go to Canada's fathers of Confederation. How we came about is a fascinating tale of seemingly intractable regional disputes resolved, at least for a time, by new institutions and a new country.


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Canadians who don’t regularly track how governments spend money might be surprised to find how myths crop up about government expenditures. Exhibit A is a new report that claims Canada needs even more “industrial policy,” academic lingo for subsidies to business, and this as if governments had not already long practised such policy, and at a considerable cost to taxpayers.


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Get ready for Medicare’s annual summer slowdown, where the forecast calls for possibly poorer than usual service levels.

Every year, provincial health care systems across Canada dutifully reduce the volume of services they provide in preparation for the summer vacation season. This planned-for reduction has the inevitable effect of lengthening waiting times for Canadians over the summer months (and during Christmas holidays). The added twist this year is the slowdowns might be extended in a bid to reduce expenditures.