National Newswatch

Size of federal public service stable, staffing costs declining: PBO

Mar 20 2018 — Bill Curry — The size of the federal public service shows no signs of growth under the Liberal government and staffing costs are declining, according to a new report from Parliamentary Budget Officer Jean-Denis Fréchette. Based on department projections and historical trends, the PBO estimates the number of full-time employees in the core public service will essentially stay […]

Income-sprinkling tax changes a windfall for government, budget watchdog says

Mar 8 2018 — Bill Curry — Federal tax revenues from new income-sprinkling rules for small businesses could be about twice as much as Finance Department projections, states a new report from Parliamentary Budget Officer Jean-Denis Fréchette. Measures to restrict the use of income sprinkling by incorporated small businesses went into effect Jan. 1, even though small-business advocates said the federal government […]

Liberals set to roll out billions of dollars in second phase of infrastructure funding

Mar 7 2018 — Bill Curry — After months of negotiations, Amarjeet Sohi says he’s ready to launch the Liberal government’s centrepiece infrastructure program for major new projects across the country. The federal Infrastructure Minister announced his first deal on Wednesday – with the Northwest Territories – and more are planned later this month. The deals outline the precise amounts Ottawa will […]

Canadians think Liberal deficit spending ‘wrong,’ government-funded report suggests

Mar 6 2018 — Bill Curry — The federal government’s own internal surveys found Canadians believe Ottawa is getting it “wrong” on deficits and spending, but that didn’t stop the Liberals from releasing a third consecutive deficit budget with no timeline for balancing the books. The Finance Department also tested Canadians’ appetite for a national sugar tax, but the Liberal budget ultimately […]

Federal budget to include small-business tax details

Feb 27 2018 — Bill Curry — Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release his latest plan for small business tax changes Tuesday in a budget that is expected to be light on big new spending. After back-to-back budgets that announced billions for infrastructure and social programs over the next decade, the Liberal government is signalling that its third budget will focus on […]

NDP sees ‘disturbing trend’ in federal infrastructure spending

Feb 12 2018 — Bill Curry — The federal government is facing calls to improve the way it funds infrastructure projects after a Globe and Mail analysis found that ridings held by Liberal MPs are receiving a disproportionate share of federal funds. While the Liberal government insists politics plays no role in project decisions, policy experts note that the overall structure of […]

In wake of reprimands, Trudeau says he’s open to strengthening ethics laws

Jan 12 2018 — Bill Curry — Justin Trudeau says he’s open to tightening federal conflict-of-interest laws and strengthening the powers of parliamentary watchdogs after a year in which both he and his Finance Minister were reprimanded by Canada’s ethics commissioner. The Prime Minister made the comments at the conclusion of a cabinet retreat in London, Ont., where the government drafted plans […]

Morneau cleared of insider trading, ethics commissioner’s office still reviewing pension bill case

Jan 8 2018 — Bill Curry — The federal ethics commissioner has dismissed opposition accusations that Bill Morneau benefited from insider trading, but has yet to rule on whether the finance minister was in a conflict of interest when he introduced pension legislation. A two-page letter from Mary Dawson to Mr. Morneau, dated Jan. 5, outlines her consideration of concerns raised by […]

Deficit on track for elimination by 2045, a decade earlier than last year’s projection

Dec 22 2017 — Bill Curry — The federal deficit is on track for elimination by 2045 rather than 2055 thanks to this year’s stronger-than-expected economic growth, according to new federal projections. Further, Finance Canada says it wouldn’t take much for the deficit to be erased as soon as 2023. The department released its annual 40-year projection of federal spending and revenue […]