Op-Eds

Looked at one way, the federal government’s recent musings about spending tens — even hundreds — of billions more dollars on a raft of new programs seem weird. Nobody thought we could afford such a binge before COVID hammered our economy. How is it a great idea afterward? Look at it another way, however, and the magical thinking in Ottawa is easier to understand. The crisis pushed the federal government’s revenues down and its spending up. Directionally, that is fine. But a mind-boggling two-thirds hike in program expenses this year has driven the apparent tax cost of a dollar of program spending through the floor. Federal largesse has never looked cheaper. How cheap? July’s fiscal snapshot suggested Ottawa’s revenue, excluding...
Bidenomie, n. f. Mot-valise formé par la contraction des mots Biden et économie. Il est opportun d’introduire ce néologisme pour explorer ce que le candidat démocrate à la présidence des États-Unis compte faire de l’économie de notre puissant voisin. La Bidenomics est d’ailleurs le dernier terme à la mode dans les médias de langue anglaise pour désigner son programme économique. Deux mises en garde s’imposent avant de plonger dans le sujet. Premièrement, le président propose, mais le Congrès dispose en matières législative et budgétaire, prescrit la Constitution américaine. Si le Sénat ne tombe pas aux mains des démocrates, on peut parier que plusieurs ambitions de la Bidenomie s’échoueront sur les récifs républicains....
The $343-billion deficit for this fiscal year, announced in July by former finance minister Bill Morneau in his fiscal snapshot, was shocking at the time. Partly it was the number itself, which implied that debt would top $1-trillion before year-end. And because, with no budget or even a fiscal plan out of Ottawa this year, the tally was incomplete. Now Mr. Morneau is gone, and his replacement, Chrystia Freeland, has signalled at least another $40-billion in new spending – which will push the borrowing higher yet. The 2015 election commitment to run “modest deficits” was a politically clever wedge issue – a pledge the Conservatives did not want to make, and the NDP dared not make. And borrowing in the depths of the COVID-19 crisis is...
Against the stark backdrop of intensifying climate change, the Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments on Tuesday concerning the constitutionality of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act – what is known as the federal carbon-pricing backstop. The hearing comes after a long saga of proceedings through provincial courts of appeal, and the decision will invariably be historic in how it shapes the way our country regulates carbon emissions in the decades to come. In Ontario and Saskatchewan, majority decisions upheld the backstop, finding that Ottawa had jurisdiction for the legislation under the “national concern” branch of the federal peace, order and good government power; in Alberta, the court found that it would...
Ce n’est pas demain la veille qu’on redressera les finances publiques, mais il n’est pas trop tôt pour y réfléchir, pour amorcer la nécessaire conversation sur la pertinence de ce redressement et les meilleurs moyens d’y parvenir. À ce sujet, on suivra avec intérêt le symposium que tiendra la semaine prochaine la Chaire en fiscalité et en finances publiques de l’Université de Sherbrooke. Aujourd’hui, je propose quelques repères pour le débat. Mes chiffres sont tirés du bilan de la fiscalité publié par la même chaire de recherche, que dirige Luc Godbout*. Du côté des dépenses, le premier défi est de sevrer les individus, les entreprises et l’économie en général des mesures déployées pendant la crise, en orchestrant un passage...