National Newswatch

Taxpayers will be on the hook later for today’s COVID-19 largesse

May 19 2020 — Don Pittis — As procrastinators buckle down for the fast-approaching June 1 extended federal tax deadline, it’s worth recalling that income taxes were an innovation in 1917 to deal with a previous fiscal crisis. Last week, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau insisted that despite the nation’s current financial pickle, he is not contemplating raising taxes just now, even […]

Giant Canadian construction project incorporates low carbon heating and cooling

Jan 27 2020 — Don Pittis — The company that made an international splash by air conditioning downtown Toronto without air conditioners has more energy-saving innovations in the works. With the help of a gigantic purpose-built thermal reservoir, Enwave Energy will add an entire new neighbourhood to its underground low-carbon heating and cooling network with the project called The Well on the […]

Why Boris Johnson’s win may be to Canada’s trade advantage

Dec 16 2019 — Don Pittis — Whether you love or hate the idea of Boris Johnson’s sweeping victory in last week’s U.K. election, there is a potential bright side for Canada. Just as in our own parliamentary system that we inherited from Westminster, a party can win the most seats — even a commanding majority, like the British Conservatives — without […]

The Conservatives’ climate change conundrum

Oct 23 2019 — Don Pittis — Much has been made of the difficulty facing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he tries to manage a fractured country with a minority Liberal government. But Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer himself is facing a burden so onerous it seems almost impossible. The Herculean task for Scheer — or any successor — is how to formulate […]

Deficits can mean pain ahead, or they can be an investment in the future

Oct 1 2019 — Don Pittis — Should Canadians be worried when elected officials, or politicians who want your vote, promise to spend money they don’t have? The fear that the credit crunch and recession of 2008 would turn into something much worse accorded governments new licence to put taxpayer-backed money to work in the economy. And that new freedom to shell […]

Climate change politics may defy even the most rational arguments

Mar 25 2019 — Don Pittis — In the final year of its existence, a private sector group that advocates in favour of carbon taxes is taking another stab at convincing Canadians. Despite a recent spate of storms and floods whose violence scientists blame on climate change, anti-carbon tax politics seems to be in the ascendancy in many provinces. Between that and […]

Political circus diverts government attention from Canada’s economic woes

Mar 11 2019 — Don Pittis — If, as the prime minister has said, the current political circus over SNC-Lavalin began as an effort to focus on jobs and the economy, it appears to have all gone spectacularly wrong. Now, just as a series of Canadian data shows our leaders should be concentrating their efforts on economic concerns, the attention of government […]

Maxime Bernier’s new party stakes out classical liberal values

Sep 17 2018 — Don Pittis — In a phrase variously attributed to Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw, the United States and Britain are “two countries divided by a common language.” When it comes to the word liberal, that must certainly be the case. As usual, many Canadians, caught between British and American definitions, are, quite reasonably, in a state of […]

A deadline could be good for trade talks, but Trump’s isn’t firm

Aug 29 2018 — Don Pittis — There are few things better than a hard deadline to concentrate the minds of a group of people trying to make a deal. Debra Steger, part of the Canadian team that hammered out the world’s most most massive and complicated trade deal of all time, the Uruguay Round that resulted in the World Trade Organization, […]

Why Trump’s desire for a protectionist wall threatens more than NAFTA

Jan 22 2018 — Don Pittis — Completing Donald Trump’s Mexican border wall seems as far away as it ever did. But some Canadian trade experts fear the protectionist president may be succeeding in building trade walls that could weaken the entire global economy. The protectionists haven’t won yet. And if the current U.S. administration really wants to throw a wrench into […]

Ontario’s experiment with minimum wage could transform Canada’s economy

Jan 8 2018 — Don Pittis — Reading any statement from an economist on the subject of minimum wage, you might think the eventual results are unequivocal and well understood. The strongest critics of Ontario’s sharp hike on Jan. 1 in the hourly rate from $11.60 to $14 use traditional economics to predict certain doom for an economy devastated by plunging employment. […]

Politicians like Brad Wall must take the fall for boom and bust

Aug 14 2017 — Don Pittis — It seems only months ago that Brad Wall was one of the most popular politicians in Canada. In 2016 his conservative Saskatchewan Party swept to its third consecutive election victory, taking all but 10 seats in the 61-seat provincial legislature. But starting this spring, the mood in the province changed.

Bombardier reminds us how easy governments make it to forget taxpayer investments

Apr 4 2017 — Don Pittis — Gigantic pay packages for corporate executives always come with an intricate set of justifications, especially after they’ve generated public outrage. “Today, Bombardier is a $16-billion high-technology company on a growth path to $25-billion by 2020,” Jean Monty, head of the group that decides how much Bombardier executives deserve, declared Sunday. Monty himself raked in multimillion-dollar […]

It never seems a good time for a tax-the-rich budget

Mar 23 2017 — Don Pittis — Maybe it’s never a good time for greater equality. When Finance Minister Bill Morneau and his team of public servants began putting the final touches on his budget a few weeks ago, things could hardly have looked better for the economy. Oil prices were in recovery, but in no danger of pushing the loonie up […]