National Newswatch

The Federal Spending Power in the Trudeau Era: Back to the Future?

Jun 7 2023 — — The Canadian government’s use of federal tax funds to pursue policy objectives that rest within the purview of the provinces — a practice known as the spending power — has played an important role in Canada’s political development since 1945. Although it is not mentioned in the Constitution, the spending power has been used by […]

Canadians wait much longer for drugs than Americans and Europeans

Jun 5 2023 — Nigel Rawson and Bacchus Barua — Canadians have access to fewer new drugs than Americans and Europeans, and consequently may endure undue suffering from ailments and disease. And we wait much longer for drugs that are approved here. For once, this unfortunate situation has little to do with bureaucratic lethargy but rather hostility governments and public agencies have shown towards the […]

Closing the Implementation Gap: Federalism and Respect for International Human Rights in Canada

May 19 2023 — — Canada has long enjoyed an international reputation for having a stellar human rights record. Looking closer at Canada’s domestic record of human rights implementation presents a murkier picture of a country that is often reluctant to incorporate international human rights treaties and recommendations at home. There is an upcoming opening, however, to make progress on […]


May 17 2023 — Thomas Axworthy — Canadians happily sing in our national anthem O Canada, “the True North Strong and Free”; but a more apt description would be “the True North Weak and Ignored”. Forty percent of Canada’s land mass is considered Arctic and Northern. There are 162,000 kilometres of Arctic coastline, accounting for 75% of Canada’s national coastlines, making Canada’s […]

Governments in Canada spent more than $350 billion on corporate welfare

May 3 2023 — Tegan Hill and Joel Emes — According to a recent study published by the Fraser Institute, federal, provincial and local governments in Canada spent $352.1 billion (inflation-adjusted) subsidizing firms from 2007 to 2019—more than was spent on national defence over the same period. This corporate welfare, which does little if anything to stimulate widespread economic growth, came with huge costs to […]

Basic Income and a Just Society

Apr 25 2023 — — Canadian governments have over several decades implemented numerous programs and policies to tackle poverty, unemployment, precarious work and unaffordable housing. They have made progress in many areas, but significant gaps remain. While the overall percentage of people living below the poverty line has fallen, almost 30 per cent of single, working-age adults without children live […]

But is it a good job? Understanding employment precarity in BC

Apr 13 2023 — — The rise of the ‘gig economy’ and on-demand work using online platforms like Uber and Skip the Dishes has ignited public debate about precarious work and what makes a “good job.” Precarious work is not a new phenomenon, nor is it limited to the gig economy—but we don’t know just how widespread a problem it […]

Federal budget does not meet definition of restraint

Apr 6 2023 — — I was forced by Chrystia Freeland, the finance minister, upon her delivery of the federal budget, to repair to the Merriam-Webster dictionary to check my English comprehension. In her budget speech she said the government is exercising “fiscal restraint” and determined to uphold “fiscal responsibility,” but the tables in the budget document with all the […]

A capital gains tax reform simulation model

Apr 4 2023 — — There has been much concern about wealth inequality in recent years, and attention to the issue has grown since the COVID-19 crisis. There have been carefully reasoned proposals for new taxes on wealth, both abroad and in Canada. But first we should fix the existing tax system. In Canada today, only 50 percent of realized […]

Now is the Time for Canada to Re-think Middle East Policy

Apr 3 2023 — — A new Middle East is taking shape. We outline why it’s time Canada’s Middle East policy caught up, or risk being irrelevant. First, Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly deserves credit for landing a solid Indo-Pacific strategy early in her mandate. A re-aligned Middle East policy is essential not only to a successful Indo-Pacific strategy but to […]

Canada must cancel its free trade deal with Israel

Mar 25 2023 — — Thus far, 2023 is proving to be an extremely deadly year for Israeli violence against Palestinians. The Israeli military has killed over eighty Palestinians and wounded hundreds more in raids so far this year. Israeli settlers, with the backing of the state, recently attacked the town of Huwara, leaving large parts in ruins, killing one […]

Houston government should acknowledge attitude towards taxes in Nova Scotia

Mar 23 2023 — Alex Whalen and Jake Fuss — In Nova Scotia this week, the Houston government will table its second budget. Thus far, the government has experienced unusually strong growth in revenues while funnelling most of this new revenue into new government spending. But new polling data suggest the government should be cautious about continuing this approach. To understand why, we first must […]

University Research Key to Meeting Canada’s Economic Ambitions

Mar 23 2023 — — President Joe Biden’s visit to Canada this week comes at a time when our neighbour and most valued trading partner is re-thinking economic policy in a way that has important implications for the Canadian economy and the contribution research universities make to its success. “Modern supply-side economics,” as described by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, […]

Budget 2023: Will the Government Stay the Course on Deficit Reduction?

Mar 21 2023 — — On Tuesday, March 28th, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will table Budget 2023 in the House of Commons. Since taking the Finance reins in 2020, Freeland has successfully steered public finances towards normalcy. The federal budgetary deficit has fallen from a COVID-related record high of $328 billion in 2020-21 (14.9 percent of […]

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