National Newswatch

Planning the 2018 budget

Jan 15 2018 — Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — By now the Finance Minister should be close to putting the “finishing touches” on his 2018 budget. He recently presented his updated economic and fiscal outlook to the Cabinet in London, Ontario  and he has finalized his own budget consultations and received the budget recommendations of the House Finance Committee.  Putting “finishing touches” on a […]

Lessons From The October Fiscal Update

Oct 26 2017 — Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — Poor Mr. Morneau, his credibility as Finance Minister already in the tank, desperately needed to do something in his Economic and Fiscal Update to begin restoring it. And there was a lot for him to brag about. The economy is doing well; in fact the Canadian economy has been doing better than any other G7 […]

Tax Reform Is Never Easy

Oct 12 2017 — Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — Finance Minister Bill Morneau did not have a very good summer. So far the fall has also not been good to the Finance Minister and, unfortunately, it is unlikely that the months leading up to the 2018 budget will get any better for him. He has only himself, or perhaps his department, to blame for […]

Why create an Infrastructure Bank?

Mar 28 2017 — Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — In its first report, released last October, the Finance Minister’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth recommended the creation of an independent “Canadian Infrastructure Bank (CIB)”. In his fall economic and fiscal update, the Finance Minister supported the Advisory Council’s recommendation, saying that that this represented “a great opportunity for the government to leverage its investments […]

Budget 2017 is already forgotten: Budget 2018 won’t be that easy

Mar 23 2017 — Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — Last Wednesday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivered the government’s second budget. For weeks before the budget, the government had been preparing the public for a budget that would not include any new spending or ambitious policy initiatives. In addition, recognizing worsening global growth prospects and the complete “mystery” as to what the Trump government might […]

The economic conversation we need to have

Aug 16 2015 — Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — The economy and jobs have always been the priority election issues for most Canadians. Today, with the possibility that the economy could be in a technical recession (two quarters of negative growth), that’s especially true. Canadians have every right to be concerned. The economy has been seriously underperforming for the past seven years and there’s […]

Tories’ economic projections all smoke and mirrors

Jul 29 2015 — Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — In the fall of 2008, private sector economists were forecasting that the Canadian economy was already in a recession due to the financial crisis. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his finance minister, the late Jim Flaherty, ignored these warnings and told Canadians there was nothing to worry about. The prime minister even advised Canadians that […]

A ‘balanced’ budget built on sand — oilsands, actually

Apr 22 2015 — Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — Finance Magician Joe Oliver did the expected, pulling a handful of rabbits out of his hat to achieve the long-promised balanced budget for 2015-16. “Mission accomplished” for the Conservatives? Not quite. Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be happy. Finance Minister Joe Oliver will be happy, as will every member of the Conservative caucus. Most importantly, […]

Mr. Oliver makes an appearance

Apr 2 2015 — Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — It’s been like some strange political pastiche of Hinterlands Who’s Who: The Canadian finance minister … a shy, reclusive creature who nests in the oilsands and tends to hibernate whenever the price of oil drops below $70. Joe Oliver is expected to come out of his cloister Thursday morning with a promised “announcement” at the […]

Could Harper launch an election without a budget?

Mar 5 2015 — Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — It was only eight weeks ago — January 13, to be precise — that Joe Oliver announced he was postponing the budget until sometime after April 1. His excuse: Rapidly falling oil prices were creating an unusually high degree of budget uncertainty and he needed more time to assess. The excuse was, of course, nonsense. […]

Mr. Harper’s taxing troubles

Feb 24 2015 — Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — Politicians don’t like talking about taxes much. Spending taxes — they love doing that, and they love getting credit for it. But when it comes to talking about how we collect the money that runs the state, they cling to slogans — “putting money back into taxpayers’ pockets”, for example. And there’s no question that, […]

Babbling while the economy falls to its knees

Feb 19 2015 — Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — “Our Government’s sound economic management and unwavering commitment to balance the budget this year — while creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canadians — has resulted in a resilient economic performance in a challenging global economy. As Canada is doing with its Economic Action Plan, we encourage G-20 countries to follow through on their […]

This government badly needs a Plan B

Feb 12 2015 — Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — The price of making risky political commitments is the threat of getting it wrong at the worst possible moments. Right now, the Harper government is paying for a series of budget blunders: assuming the price of oil would continue coasting along at 2014 levels, vowing to balance the budget in 2015 come hell or high […]