National Newswatch

Four Cheers for the Office of the Auditor General

Jun 1 2022 — Kevin Page — It is said that empathy is the building block for morality. It can build strong relationships because it helps us understand the perspectives and needs of others. It is said that strong institutions and the ability to hold a government to account are the cornerstones of liberal democracy. Countries fail under weak institutions. Let us […]

Everyone’s Talking About Gas Prices

May 22 2022 — Kevin Page — Canadian gas prices have moved with global oil prices. The price of oil is set in the global market-place (established in spot and future markets), Three factors largely drive price movements – supply, demand and market sentiment. Prices paid for oil can differ around the world due to factors like transportation and the quality of […]

Budget 2022: Modest, Measured, and Responsible in Uncertain Times

Apr 8 2022 — Kevin Page — Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled Budget 2022 in Parliament on April 7, 2022. It was titled “A Plan to Grow Our Economy and Make Life More Affordable”. Growth and affordability are the right policy priorities in an economic environment facing a second global supply shock in a few years and high […]

2021 Fiscal Update: The Moneyball Version

Dec 15 2021 — Kevin Page — Economic and fiscal updates and budgets are multi-dimensional documents. They are a combination of policy, numbers, and politics. The Economic and Fiscal Update for 2021 presented to Parliament by Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland ticked off all those boxes, within the exceptional context of a persistent pandemic that asserted its influence by […]

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 […]