National Newswatch

There is a fiscal crisis confronting Mr. Morneau

Apr 12 2018 — C. Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — There has been lots of hand wringing by fiscal conservatives over the failure of the 2018 federal budget to commit to eliminating the deficit by a fixed date. This, despite the fact that the federal deficit will be less than 0.5% of GDP and the ratio of debt to GDP (the debt burden) will fall […]

Federal “Market Debt” First Exceeded $1 Trillion Six Years Ago Under the Harper Government

Mar 31 2018 — C. Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — The print and TV media recently picked up on a statement in the 2018 Budget that the federal government’s “market” debt would exceed $1 trillion.  They reported this as the tipping point for federal finances, as if the government had hit the proverbial “fiscal wall”. The former Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page, observed, “the $1 […]

Planning the 2018 budget

Jan 15 2018 — C. 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 […]

Tax Reform Is Never Easy

Oct 12 2017 — C. 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 — C. 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 — C. 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 — C. 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 […]

Mr. Oliver makes an appearance

Apr 2 2015 — C. 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 […]