National Newswatch

Ontario’s new finance minister must recognize the importance of budget balance

Jan 16 2021 — Steve Lafleur and Jake Fuss — With the resignation of Rod Phillips, Ontario’s incoming finance minister Peter Bethlenfalvy inherits a difficult job. The province’s fiscal challenges long pre-date the global pandemic. Queen’s Park has mostly run uninterrupted budget deficits since 2008/09. Both the McGuinty and Wynne governments sketched out long paths to budget balance, neither of which came to pass. The […]

Health-care wait times in Canada hit record high in 2020

Dec 23 2020 — Bacchus Barua and Mackenzie Moir — As we continue our battle against COVID-19, another separate health-care crisis rages on. Wait times. Patients in Canada face the longest wait time for elective surgery on record—22.6 weeks (between referral from a family doctor to receipt of medically necessary treatment). Of course, the pandemic and the pre-emptive cancellations of procedures have influenced this historic […]

Trudeau government shows no interest in properly targeting assistance—despite deficits

Dec 5 2020 — Jason Clemens and Milagros Palacios — Since its election, the Trudeau government has consistently demonstrated its disinterest in targeting spending to those in need and limiting debt accumulation. Despite expected deficits of $381.6 billion this year and $121.2 billion next year, and the national debt (adjusted for financial assets) on track to reach $1.5 trillion by 2025-26, the federal government announced […]

Trudeau government’s approach to federal finances anything but ‘prudent’

Dec 3 2020 — Jason Clemens and Jake Fuss — Since coming to power in 2015, Prime Minister Trudeau—and his finance ministers—have characterized their management of federal finances as “prudent,” an adjective meaning to act with or show care and thought for the future. In other words, acting prudently would mean being judicious about borrowing and debt. And yet, based on this government’s performance pre-COVID, […]

New Brunswick government finances officially unsustainable

Nov 21 2020 — Jake Fuss and Alex Whalen — Due to the pandemic and economic downturn—and subsequent increased government spending, shrinking economy and lower projected government revenues—the Higgs government in New Brunswick, like other provinces across Canada, faces a large budget deficit and rising provincial debt. More important than this year’s deficit, however, are the long-term fiscal challenges looming over the province. The Parliamentary […]

Alberta’s government debt was unsustainable—before COVID

Nov 12 2020 — Tegan Hill and Ben Eisen — The Kenney government will release a three-year fiscal update later this month, and will be tempted to blame Alberta’s fiscal challenges on COVID-19. While the COVID-induced recession has certainly contributed to the province’s eye-popping budget deficit—projected to be $24.2 billion (2020/21)—and rapid debt accumulation, it represents a relatively small part of Alberta’s fiscal problems. In […]

New poll exposes key problems with any national pharmacare plan

Oct 30 2020 — Bacchus Barua — With fears related to COVID-19 and the economy running high, a new poll by the Angus Reid Institute revealed near universal support for some sort of public pharmacare plan. However, it also inadvertently revealed that, despite such support, most Canadians don’t actually need it. Conducted in partnership with a list of experts who have long […]

Focus on economic growth and the Millennials will be alright

Oct 28 2020 — Niels Veldhuis and Jason Clemens — Much ink has been spilled on the narrative that Millennials and other future generations of Canadians may experience lower living standards than preceding generations. A recent study on wealth inequality, however, challenges this narrative. In reality, from 2010 to 2019, Millennials have enjoyed greater increases in wealth than other generations of Canadians. Which raises the […]

Trudeau government deals another blow to Newfoundland and Labrador

Oct 8 2020 — Alex Whalen and Elmira Aliakbari — Newfoundland and Labrador’s energy sector, already struggling from the downturn in world oil markets and the COVID recession, has taken another blow—this time directly from Ottawa. The Trudeau government recently imposed new rules—known collectively as the Strategic Assessment of Climate Change (SACC)—that requires certain projects (including mines and oil and gas projects) to describe how […]

National pharmacare will be very expensive and likely unnecessary

Sep 22 2020 — Bacchus Barua — According to reports, the Trudeau government may unveil a national pharmacare program in Wednesday’s throne speech in Ottawa. The program may be based on last year’s Hoskins’ report, which recommended an expensive top-down Medicare-style approach that would artificially set drugs prices, restrict patient choice and limit private alternatives. Not only would such a program drive […]

Trudeau government should learn from Ontario’s green energy failure

Sep 18 2020 — Elmira Aliakbari and Jason Clemens — Gerry Butts, former principal secretary to Prime Minister Trudeau, is at the heart of a new group, the Task Force for a Resilient Recovery, which recently released a series of recommendations for massive investment in green projects. These recommendations seems to be influencing the prime minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, in terms of how […]

Economic freedom on the wane worldwide

Sep 10 2020 — Fred McMahon — Two troubling questions lurk behind the results of the Fraser Institute’s 2020 Economic Freedom of the World report, released Sept. 10. This year’s report is based on 2018 data (the most recent available). By 2018, global economic freedom had recovered from the 2008 financial crisis and was at its highest level ever, albeit by just […]

COVID crisis presents opportunity for trade reform in Atlantic Canada

Sep 2 2020 — Alex Whalen and Ben Eisen — Earlier this summer, the four Atlantic provinces formed the “Atlantic Bubble” as the region works toward freer movement of people amid the COVID crisis. And clearly, the pandemic’s effect on the economy underscores the value of free movement of people and goods, which—on the bright side—presents some opportunity. For example, as the Atlantic provinces cooperate […]

Precaution can kill—during a pandemic and beyond

Aug 21 2020 — Pierre Lemieux and William F. Shughart II — Proof that anything will have absolutely no harmful consequences is—well, impossible. But it’s pretty much the touchstone that government agencies in the European Union and the United States use to regulate chemical compounds—including medicines. It’s as if everything were forbidden unless explicitly permitted. The result? A life-threatening stifling of innovation. And that was true before […]