Hansard, May 28, 2015 The notion of a Debt-free British Columbia — hard to imagine when you’ve seen $135-billion increase in debt and contractual obligations under the B.C. Liberal watch. But somehow, in the fantasy world of the B.C. Liberals, you can make the assertion that we will be debt-free; you just don’t have to realize it.
It’s these assertions of reality that, I think, have most British Columbians perplexed. You say we’re going to be debt-free, yet the prospect of that is not even remotely on the horizon. You say we’re going to be the most (Read more…)
Your browser does not support this audioThe audio file above is a recording of my time with Ian Jessop May 12. We talk about jobs and natural resources but we don’t deliver BC Liberal talking points like many others in media.
I urge readers to visit the CFAX podcast pages. Ian has been holding conversations on subjects not often covered elsewhere. For example, at 2:30pm May 12, Damien Gillis of Common Sense Canadian followed my interview and gave important information and insights on the Site C dam, which, at $10 billion or more, may become the single largest boondoggle (Read more…)
Andrew Nikiforuk wrote advice for Albertans in his recent article Eight Steps to Reform the Broken Petrostate: Behave like an owner: Alberta’s oil and gas resources belong to Albertans. The Tories’ “strip it and ship it” approach was not only wasteful, but also environmentally destructive.
…Governments that run on taxes raised from the general population represent their people. Governments that run on resource revenue represent the resource and its multinational extractors.
…The Tories consistently avoided transparency on bitumen revenues, and the impact of volatile prices or mining of unconventional resources on royalties. They gutted their own expertise on the (Read more…)
Following the passing of Alberta’s Conservative party, Macleans writer Colby Cosh described a drawn-out illness that made the result inevitable. Followers of British Columbia politics will recognize symptoms also found west of the Alberta border: Elections Alberta, despite some political and legal controversies, did important work in investigating and documenting the web of illegal kickbacks from schools, municipalities, and other provincial institutions that the Progressive Conservatives had come to take for granted in hinterland Alberta.
Political financing disclosures added to this picture, showing that the PCs have consistently relied on donations from corporate clients of government—contractors, builders, professional associations—that would (Read more…)
Your browser does not support this audioIn April, listeners to Ian Jessop’s CFAX1070 program heard about how government pays more to facilitate mining than it receives in direct payments for metals and minerals. In the latter part of the audio segment, we discuss government plans for secret agreements that will ensure future governments cannot retract gifts or favours granted to Liberal friends. The politicians who happily tore up public sector labour contracts don’t want that happening to their sponsors in the resource industry.
According to John Horgan, Christy Clark has “given companies what they wanted, then more, and now (Read more…)
[View the story "Natural resources, public assets, or corporate?" on Storify]
I have huge amounts of respect for Armine Yalnizyan. In the People’s Republic of Chris she is Finance Minister. For life. However her latest item on rabble.ca wherein she (or her headline writer) calls for the Tax Free Savings Account program to be fixed (as opposed to scrapped) has got me thinking she’s plugged in … Continue reading Armine, I need to hear more about this ‘fix don’t scrap TFSA’ business →
Normally the Globe’s Parliament Hill coverage is pretty good. But this Bill Curry item makes the unattributed claim that seniors organizations support the trial-ballooned proposal to double the annual contribution limit to tax free savings accounts (TFSAs). Really? Which ones? The Society of Retired CEOs? Or maybe the Grey Circle at the Empire Club? It … Continue reading Seniors organizations support doubling the TFSA limit? Can we have a source please? →
For each $1 million of Nestle branded water sold, BC is paid about $2. Mind you, this is a better rate of return than the province gains from resource companies mining for metals and minerals.
According to the 2015 Budget and Fiscal Plan, revenue from “metals, minerals and other” is forecast at $83 million. However, revenue from the mining sector is offset by “tax expenditures” of $114 million, all but $10 million credited to corporations. That suggests a deficit of $41 million.
Most people would be surprised to learn that the BC Liberal Party receives more in contributions from mining (Read more…)
If you are a worker, you already know that Canada’s economy is a mess. The only people who don’t seem to know it are at the top.
Press Progress published a very detailed analysis of how messed up our economy is today. A few of the highlights: First, the good news: Corporate Canada’s profits have hit a 27-year high, according to a new report by CIBC World Markets. Bay Street has never been happier, right?
Well, there’s just one little catch: new Statistics Canada data shows the Canadian economy shrank in January. All those layoffs and store closures you’ve (Read more…)
The Harper government gives five reasons why Canadians ought to be happy with its proposal to double the maximum contribution to the Tax-Free Savings Account. Examine each of its points more closely, however, and it’s clear that the TFSA carries far higher risks than rewards — for individual Canadians as well as for the economy as a whole.
Let’s unpack the government’s arguments one by one:
1. The TFSA helps people save
The evidence certainly doesn’t support this statement. TFSAs first saw the light of day in January 2009 at a time when the savings rate had already been climbing (Read more…)
CCPA Budget Submissions
Natural Resource Royalties Reform, Iglika Ivanova, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, October 2014 BC used to collect well over $1 billion per year from natural gas royalties, but over the last five fiscal years these averaged a mere $330 million per year. The tax/royalty regime for LNG put forward in Budget 2015 should place more emphasis on achieving public benefits before signing away the rights to this non-renewable, publicly owned resource. BC should also collect more from companies using our water and forest resources.
The decline in revenues from natural resources is even worse than stated by (Read more…)
Over at the blog of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Ottawa U professor Mario Seccareccia has given an interview titled “Greece Shows the Limits of Austerity in the Eurozone. What Now?”
The interview can be read here.
By Emily Griffiths
The Transit referendum “Yes” campaign has been asserting itself all over Facebook, Twitter, neighbourhood news boxes, and I can’t help but ask myself, Since when is increasing a flat tax a leftist thing to do?
Oh! The word “transit” has been attached to the newest proposed consumer flat tax increase, therefore rendering it “left” and “sustainable”. Have we forgotten that the poorest members of our community are already shelling out $91-$170/ month just to be able to ride a crowded bus to work and back without risk of being detained by over zealous transit police (the only (Read more…)
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: The So-Called Transit Referendum: Don’t Be Duped!
Well now I’m just shocked. The Globe has an item about some finance department documents Canadian Press unearthed via an Access to Information Act request Families earning $30K-$60K to benefit least from Tories’ family plan. Yes, the kleptocracy is here. And it’s now.
So, according to Premier Prentice, the downturn in oil prices is going to create an $11 Billion hole in provincial revenues, and is now talking about putting the brakes on all kinds of infrastructure spending, including a new cancer hospital in Calgary.
Okay, that’s a significant chunk of change. Let’s talk about this for a moment.
As the leader of the governing party, Mr. Prentice has a responsibility to all Albertans to ensure that the machinery of government continues to operate smoothly. Over the last 25 years, we have seen the government make further tax cuts all over (Read more…)
I’ve had a number of requests for copies of this article by people wishing to share the information. Readers can download a copy from SCRIBD.
Sorry poor people
(The following is something I’ve prepared for the next issue of CUPE’s Economy at Work, a popular economics quarterly publication I produce.)
In his annual Economic and Fiscal Update (EFU), finance minister Joe Oliver told Canadians that while the federal government will finally record a surplus next year after seven years of deficits, we can’t expect the economy to grow much faster than the slow growth we’ve experienced since the financial crisis, with economic growth expected to average just 2.4% over the next four years.
Economic growth in this recovery is a third slower than in the (Read more…)
Andrew MacLeod of The Tyee is reporting that BC Government officials aim to exempt natural gas producers from requirements they contribute to an industry fund that would pay to clean up toxic spills. “The gas sector would be exempt through a system that redefined what substances would be described as toxic.
“…’This takes [natural gas] off the table for these elements (and possibly coal – need some work on coal),’ [Jim] Hofweber wrote in the message to Fazil Mihlar, the assistant deputy minister for oil and strategic initiatives in the ministry of Natural Gas Development, and Jim Standen, an (Read more…)
Note 11 from a study by John Calvert and Marjorie Griffith Cohen of Simon Fraser University, Climate Change and the Canadian Energy Sector: “In this regard it is interesting to compare the approach of Alberta with Norway. While the timing of their respective production rates varies, both jurisdictions have produced about the same volume of oil over the past four decades.
“According to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, as of December, 2010 Norway has over US$512 billion in its ‘rainy day’ pension fund for future generations — a fund built up principally from its oil and gas revenues.” (Read more…)
Nearly half a million children are missing school days this year because government believes that spending restraint is imperative. Restraint in collecting taxes, at least from ordinary citizens, is not as vital.
The Transportation Investment Corporation (TIC) annual report provides a view of what lies ahead for commuters crossing the Fraser River on the new Port Mann bridge. When Gordon Campbell announced the structure and associated roadworks, it was to cost $1.5 billion and the toll was to be $2.50. The final tab, at $3.319 billion, is 121% higher but, at $3.00, the small vehicle toll (Read more…)
BC Liberal Throne Speech: “The core services this government provides need to be protected, and the inescapable truth is that they can only be protected if we can afford them.”
Translation: The core services this government provides
[ like subsidizing business, funding the Premier's trips and photo ops, employing hundreds of spinmeisters, paying extravagant executive salaries and giving away natural resources ] and the inescapable truth is that they can only be protected if we can afford them, [ so that requires higher MSP & ICBC premiums and increased BC Hydro rates, ferry fares, carbon taxes, transit taxes, fuel (Read more…)
The Globe and Mail reported September 19, 2014: “Internal Canada Revenue Agency documents confirm the agency is cutting some of its most highly-trained staff and folding international tax evasion units…
“The shakeup is raising concern both inside and outside the agency that the government is backing away from its promised crackdown on offshore tax cheats. Both the 2013 and 2014 federal budgets contained extensive pledges to increase enforcement in this area. There is also concern that veteran staff who know the ins and outs of offshore tax schemes will lose their jobs, leading some to take jobs in the (Read more…)
In a little noticed comment, Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently was reported to say:
“Dropping our tax rate has not caused the government’s corporate income tax revenues to fall, which indicates that it does in fact attract business.”
No one seems to have questioned his statement, even though it was made on the same day Canada dropped to 15th place on the World Economic Forum’s index of global competitiveness from 9th in 2009. These rankings show corporate tax rates bearing little relationship to measures of global competitiveness.
Harper’s statement puts him squarely in the company of (Read more…)
. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Is Harper right? Did corporate tax cuts really pay for themselves?