The issue of whether the new federal government requires explicit approval of the electorate via a referendum to change the way parliamentarians and our federal government is elected is gaining a surprising amount of attention.
The Liberal campaign platform has some laudable goals. However, one of the worrying policy initiatives, and one that is hopefully de-prioritized, is the raising of the top marginal federal tax rate on personal income from 29 to 33 per cent.
After seven years of budget deficits and over $160 billion in new debt, the federal government confirmed in its financial update Wednesday that it expects to record a surplus next year.
The 2007/08 recession knocked many Canadian governments off the sound policy footing of balanced budgets, falling debt levels, and tax relief. After a sustained period of deficit spending, the federal government now seems poised to balance the budget.
Government is the single most pervasive institution of modern life and its programs are important to our quality of life. While government spending around the world has grown, more and larger government is not always associated with better outcomes.
With the holiday season now behind us, the oncoming flood of credit statements to Canadian households is a powerful reminder that there are no free lunches. Borrowing to pay for current consumption brings interest payments, and ultimately, the need to pay off principal balances. Most Canadians are intimately familiar with this reality when it comes to their household finances. But this same reality also applies to governments. As taxpayers, Canadian families are also responsible for interest on government debt. And these payments are significant.
Allegations of expense scandals in the Senate have shocked many Canadians and rightfully so. Although unsettling, such antics are not an isolated case; they are part of a larger institutional problem with government.
After federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty unveiled his latest financial plan Tuesday, much of the media hype centred on the government's larger than expected surplus in 2015-16. Early chatter seemed to accept the government will deliver as promised and some declared its "conservative assumptions" might allow for the deficit to be eliminated even earlier.