Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Do Calgary and Edmonton need more power and resources?” The blog post comes as the Government of Alberta considers the possibility of, well, giving more power and sources to both Calgary and Edmonton.
Points raised in the blog post . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Do Calgary and Edmonton need more power and resources?
I have a new report out today on affordable housing in Metro Vancouver. While it’s mostly of regional interest, I think the analysis and framework for housing solutions could have a much wider audience. The report looks at what’s driving the spectacular rise in housing prices in Vancouver, summarizing what we know from a wide range […] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: House price inflation and what to do about it
In 2012, Premier Christy Clark declared that coastal ferry subsidies would not grow under her government:”That is not a sustainable amount of money from taxpayers across the province. It’s just not. You can’t run a ferry system with that kind of le… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Essential service – ferries or moviemaking?
In 2012, Premier Christy Clark declared that coastal ferry subsidies would not grow under her government:
“That is not a sustainable amount of money from taxpayers across the province. It’s just not. You can’t run a ferry system with that kind of level of subsidy forever.”
Although inaccurate, her words were prophetic. When Premier Clark spoke, the province provided BC Ferries with 24¢ of each revenue dollar. Now it is 20¢, although inland ferries continue to be fully funded by the government of BC.
BC Liberals have other priorities. One of them is providing film and video producers with subsidies. Those have tripled to $491 million since the Premier spoke about ferry supports being unsustainable.
Seeing the rapid rise of tax expenditures flowing to picture producers during the past three years is surprising. The BC industry made huge gains from the declining Canadian dollar, which meant other supports were less needed to pull work from Hollywood South. Perhaps someone in Victoria turned a dollar exchange graph upside down and concluded higher, rather than lower, subsidies were appropriate.
In BC’s Pay-to-Play politics, political contributions influence policy. While Liberals gain valuable support from beneficiaries of film & video tax credits; they gain little from people travelling regularly on ferry routes scattered from Victoria to Prince Rupert. Good Liberals cross above the waters, not on top of them.
There is another important political factor affecting ferry operations on the coast, not one that any recent provincial government has made a priority. Last year, Stephen Hume reported:
Atlantic Canada’s ferry passengers get 350 times the federal subsidies that ferry passengers in B.C. receive, a study prepared for the Union of B.C. Municipalities finds.
Federal funding for West Coast ferries relative to East Coast ferries shows that Marine Atlantic is subsidized $493 per passenger. BC Ferries’ federal subsidy is $1.41 per passenger, the analysis notes. Ferry travellers here get about 0.2 per cent of the federal financial support counterparts on the Atlantic get, although ferry use here is 20 times greater.
I won’t attempt a calculation but imagine the relative value of coastal ferry operations, with 27 million annual vehicle and passenger movements, compared to movie making. If both came to a halt, which would be considered the essential service?
. . . → Read More: In-Sights: Essential service – ferries or moviemaking?
One interesting topic for a Canadian living in Australia is the manner in which fiscal and social responsibilities are divided between the levels of government. Both countries are big, regionally diverse, and resource-rich (with all the pluses and minuses that entails). As in Canada, Australian states are largely responsible for the big-ticket social programs: including […] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Comparing Fiscal Federalism in Canada and Australia
Many people believe that BC Hydro’s current job #1 is enabling the delivery of water and cheap power to northeast gas fields. If true, that serves as proof that government policy is being dictated by one favoured industry – an industry that presently e… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Industry as policy maker or welfare bum
After the Campbell Liberals were elected in 2001, influences of special business interests grew rapidly. Under Christina Clark’s leadership, non-renewable resource companies wield great political power and they use it to minimize regulations and … . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Favoured friends
I am reading budget documents and will soon be writing more about the provincial government’s financial smoke and mirrors but I have initial comments.Natural GasBC Liberals, particularly Premier Clark, are proving to be a fine investment for British Co… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Truth found in numbers, lies found in words
With land developers, the largest funders of the BC Liberal Party are natural resource companies. They’ve contributed millions of dollars to encourage government sympathetic to their needs. No administration in the province’s history has been as sympat… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Vanishing revenues
We are pleased to present this rich guest post by a new PEF member, Edgardo Sepulveda. Edgardo has been a consulting economist for more than two decades advising Governments and operators in more than 40 countries on telecommunications policy and regulation matters (www.esepulveda.com). Redistribution, Inequality and the new Federal Tax & Transfer initiatives I want […] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Redistribution, Inequality, and Federal Policy: Guest Post by Edgardo Sepulveda
Readers of an age to receive a monthly Old Age Security cheque will be thrilled to notice a 57¢ increase in January. As I mentioned on Twitter, cautious saving of that amount might allow a splurge next Christmas. Seniors on OAS get 57¢ more in Jan/16… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Medical services poverty program
Who knew that Christy Clark would make Gordon Campbell look like an effective, if somewhat dishonest, Premier. #bcpoli— Norm Farrell (@Norm_Farrell) December 4, 2015Did gas industry get a good deal when they bought a government? You betcha! #bcpo… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: When industry buys a government…
Postmedia is a company in trouble. It cannot sustain crippling debt to American debt holders with revenues from traditional advertising, circulation and digital paywalls. One of its responses is Postmedia Content Solutions, which aims to elicit cash in controversial ways. Part of their sales pitch: We’ve learned that advertisers receive increased engagement when pairing . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Trusted editorial content may not be trusted
by: Kaylie Tiessen & David Macdonald
Small business taxes made the news last week when, during a CBC interview, federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau suggested many business owners are using the small business tax rate as a de facto in-country tax shelter.
Responding to the interview, Conservative leader Stephen Harper accused Trudeau of taking aim . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Small Business Taxes, Big Loopholes
The price isn’t right, Corporate profit-shifting has become big business, The Economist: DURING THE TAX-EVASION trial of Leona Helmsley, a flamboyant hotelier, a former housekeeper testified that she heard her employer say: “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.” These days, multinational companies stand accused of taking a similarly haughty attitude to . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Avoidance / Evasion: often a fine line
The audio file below is a recording of my time with Ian Jessop June 17. We talk about LNG and resource taxation, inter-provincial cooperation on resource matters and oil spill response capability.
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. . . → Read More: In-Sights: Serving public or corporate interests?
Much of British Columbia’s recent political history has been written by a Liars Club sponsored by beneficiaries of corrupt public administrations. One fable claims that BC Liberals rescued the provincial economy in 2001 after a decade of socialist mismanagement. Yet facts assembled by Statistics Canada paint a different scenario.
I’ve previously demonstrated that the NDP . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Remembering the desperate nineties
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 . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Horgan speaks to the Premier