National Newswatch

Mr. Harper’s taxing troubles

Feb 24 2015 — C. 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 — C. 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 — C. 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 […]

Budget 2015: Cue the smoke and mirrors

Jan 27 2015 — C. Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — When Finance Minister Joe Oliver did a backflip over budget timing on Jan. 15 — postponing his government’s pre-election budget to April, maybe even May — he claimed he was just being prudent, looking to get more information about the forces roiling the international oil market before committing to a revenue forecast. That’s his story […]

The fall fiscal update: The cupboard is now bare

Nov 13 2014 — C. Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — Several weeks ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced major tax cuts for families with children. He vowed to introduce income-splitting for families with children under the age of 18; enhancements to the Universal Child Care Benefit and to the Child Care Expense Deduction; doubling of the fitness tax credit for children and making it tax-deductible. […]

These are the wrong tax cuts for an economy in peril

Nov 5 2014 — C. Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — Say what you like about the package of tax measures rolled out by Prime Minister Harper last week — that they’re ruinously expensive, chauvinistically focused on households with stay-at-home moms and unfair to double-earner families and singles in general. Politically, they’re quite clever. The New Democrats and Liberals have their work cut out. The Conservatives […]

A windfall for the rich, a sop for everyone else

Oct 31 2014 — C. Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — Everyone was expecting Prime Minister Harper to announce a significant change to the tax system Thursday — one that would allow income-splitting for families with children aged 18 and younger. He did a lot more than that. He basically delivered much of the 2015 budget. According to the material provided with Harper’s announcement, the total […]

Fiddling while the economy burns

Oct 21 2014 — C. Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — Let’s begin with a gross understatement: The outlook for the global economy is not good. In its October 2014 World Economic Outlook (WEO), the International Monetary Fund reduced its forecast for global economic growth to 3.3 per cent for 2014, 0.4 points lower than the April 2014 WEO forecast. The global growth projection for 2015 […]

Mr. Harper’s peek-a-boo budget deficit

Oct 14 2014 — C. Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — Nobody should have been surprised when Prime Minister Harper recently let slip that the federal deficit for 2013-14 came in at $5.2 billion, substantially lower than the $16.6 billion forecast in the February 2014 budget. Deficits forecasts are political props now — part of the theatre of budget-making. A government’s fiscal credibility — with voters […]

The economy is in a coma. Tax cuts won’t help.

Sep 10 2014 — C. Scott Clark and Peter DeVries — We’re roughly a year away from the next federal election, and the recession recovery that forms the bedrock of the Harper government’s political narrative is looking more and more like smoke. Last Friday, Statistics Canada released its Labour Force Survey for the month of August. It showed the economy lost 11,000 jobs in August, following […]