National Newswatch

The Big Deal of the Global Minimum Tax

Jul 9 2021 — Kevin Page — People reading financial news in recent days were likely surprised to learn that the international community has coalesced around an approach to establish a global minimum tax for large multinational digital companies. Is it a big deal? It needs to be. On July 5, following years of work led by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation […]

Budget 2021: The Big Spending Plan

Apr 20 2021 — Kevin Page — Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s budget is titled “A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth and Resilience”. It is a big-spending budget. There is new deficit spending for COVID relief, economic recovery and a transition to a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient economy. If there is an election in the fall, this is the type of budget […]

Fiscal Policy and the Post-COVID Recovery

Dec 17 2020 — Kevin Page — Historians debate key turning points in history—Pax Romana; the birth of spiritual leaders like Jesus and Mohammed; the invention of the printing press; the renaissance; and many more. Will the 2020 global pandemic mark an inflection point, the beginning of a special moment in human history? Can global leaders imagine a new future? Can countries, […]

Fall Economic Statement 2020: Let the Questions Begin

Dec 1 2020 — Kevin Page — Hippocrates said that desperate diseases demand desperate remedies. The COVID-19 pathogen is a novel coronavirus. It is highly transmissible and deadly. The Fall Economic Statement is a novel approach to budget planning. In a period of radical uncertainty, the fall statement lays out economic scenarios with potential fiscal responses contingent on the evolution of key […]

The PBO Economic and Fiscal Outlook and the Post-COVID Economy

Sep 29 2020 — Kevin Page — Ten years ago, a business book was published titled Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most. It was a New York Times business best seller. One of the authors, Douglas Stone, said “difficult conversations are almost never about getting the facts right. They are about conflicting perceptions, interpretations, and values.” In reading the latest […]

The Throne Speech by the Numbers

Sep 24 2020 — Kevin Page — The ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras said “Numbers rule the universe.” Typically, you do not see a lot of numbers in a Speech from the Throne (SFT). Who would want to listen to a Governor General talk numbers (besides me)? Still, it is possible to deconstruct what was in the speech — and not in the […]

A Fall Budget 2020 Strategy: Drive Toward the Future

Sep 5 2020 — Kevin Page — It is a safe assumption that government of Canada cabinet ministers and Finance Department officials have spent much of their summer thinking about an economic recovery plan for Canada and a fall budget. The political and economic stakes are high. With the prorogation of Parliament, triggered in part by the resignation of a finance minister, […]

Future Shock: Unemployment and COVID-19

May 12 2020 — Kevin Page — The numbers of the April Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada were both shocking and expected. The problem of high unemployment looms large. Not all jobs displaced by COVID-19 should be expected to return quickly as the economy re-opens. The law of unintended consequences will extract a pound of flesh. I wish this were not […]

The Big Short: Big policy initiatives but short on fiscal prudence

Mar 22 2016 — Kevin Page — For its first budget, the Liberal government leveraged its 2015 electoral platform to deliver on promises to be a more interventionist government. Several legacy programs were announced today, with still more to come — one can surmise, given the scope of their promises — in subsequent years. The budget will be remembered for a number […]

Finance ministers need to have tough conversation

Dec 14 2014 — Kevin Page — Federal, provincial and territorial finance ministers are holding a pre-budget meeting in Ottawa on Sunday. This ought to be a momentous occasion. Sadly, though, it will likely be something far less than that. It’s a shame that in a federation such as ours, in which intergovernmental collaboration is essential to economic success, the federal government […]

Before we can fix our economy, we must fix government

Jan 19 2014 — Kevin Page — The American educator and philosopher John Dewey once remarked that “we only think when we are confronted with a problem.” As a great procrastinator, that quote has always resonated with me. As did another Dewey remark: “We can have facts without thinking but we cannot have thinking without facts.” As we set out into 2014, […]

Forget the Senate — it’s time for Parliament to get serious

Sep 6 2013 — Kevin Page — Ottawa is going to be a busy and interesting place over the next few months. As the leaves turn colour in the Gatineau Hills, there will be a speech from the throne and an Economic and Fiscal Update. When the snow comes and the canal freezes over, we’ll have a budget. Besides the weather, our […]