Keep government out of the internet business

Keep government out of the internet businessManitoba’s Opposition New Democratic Party proposes the creation of a new Crown corporation to provide high-speed internet service to rural and remote communities, particularly First Nations communities, in that province. This is a bad idea for several reasons. A host of private-sector and government organizations are launching enormous flotillas of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites to…

Canada must stand up to China now

The Chinese government wants to dominate all other nations, seeking submission on its terms. We must resist

Canada must stand up to China nowThe vote by Canada’s Parliament to declare the actions of the Chinese government a genocide against the Uyghur people highlights the growing discordance between Western democracies and the increasingly repressive and aggressive Chinese regime. The Chinese government also engages in cultural repression, surveillance or discrimination against its Tibetan, Mongolian and Korean minorities. China has benefited…

Alberta had no business pumping public money into Keystone XL

Given what was known about Keystone XL, it’s hard to understand the decision-making the government undertook to buy into the scheme

Alberta had no business pumping public money into Keystone XLThe long-suffering citizens of Alberta recently learned that they’re on the hook for yet more billions of dollars via an ill-advised investment in an oil pipeline. The Keystone XL project was festooned with red flags well before the injection of hard-earned and now lost taxpayer funds. Political risk can be hard to quantify but it’s…

19 steps to reviving Canada’s lackluster economy

We need to increase personal income, improve living standards and pay down the mountain of debt

19 steps to reviving Canada’s lackluster economyThe federal government is preparing a budget to be unleashed on the public and the financial markets sometime in March. We can be terrified at the prospect of more huge debt taken on by our servants on Parliament Hill. Or we can hope they may take a more creative, constructive and growth-generating approach. Here are…

Time for oil-rich provinces to sell off their assets

More than 70 years of Alberta prosperity could be in jeopardy. And the continued fixation and dependence on fossil fuels could bring disaster

Time for oil-rich provinces to sell off their assetsLack of diversification is a risky invitation to investment disaster. Very few institutional, corporate or individual investors would put their total net worth into one sector. Yet that’s just what Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan have done. The economies of these provinces are heavily dependent on the fortunes of the petroleum industry. Corporate and…

Why some oil and gas investment was doomed regardless of COVID-19

The Arctic, and all its alluring possibilities, is not part of the future as the energy and investment industries see it unfolding

Why some oil and gas investment was doomed regardless of COVID-19Toronto-Dominion Bank announced recently it won’t loan money toward any oil and gas or related development in the Arctic. While this may elicit joy from the woke anti-fossil-fuel global warmists, this was in reality a very easy decision for TD. So too will it be for others like investment banks, institutional investors, and financial entities…

How will we deal with our ever-rising national debt?

How do we sustain large deficits, wind them down and gradually slow the debt accumulation?

How will we deal with our ever-rising national debt?Ordinary Canadians have begun worrying about something that usually only ‘dismal scientists’ – i.e. economists – care about: our alarming federal and provincial deficits and exploding government debt. Putting an economy into lockdown was assuredly going to reduce tax revenues and increase transfers to individuals and businesses to ameliorate the devastation wrought by the COVID-19…

Eight steps to get Canada’s economy restarted

Government can do more by doing less, by unleashing the private sector

Eight steps to get Canada’s economy restartedFederal government schemes and programs to ameliorate the devastation wrought by the ill-considered shutdown of the Canadian economy for nearly three months have focused on compensating individuals and businesses for being unemployed or shutting down. Little thought, thus far, has been given to how to relaunch the economy for a sustained recovery from COVID-19. The…

Oil industry not dead yet despite disruptions

But a true recovery in oil prices will require an economic recovery, whose timing remains unclear

Oil industry not dead yet despite disruptionsWhile there’s certainly carnage and woe in the oil and natural gas sectors at the moment, reports of the death of the industry are exaggerated. Many climate change activists and their sympathizers have been cheered by the dramatic drop in oil prices that coincided with, and were partly caused by, the COVID-19 pandemic. Prominent among…

Why do Canada’s provinces gamble on the oil markets?

Provincial governments need to be sober, disciplined, realistic and do whatever they can to not lose money for their citizens

Why do Canada’s provinces gamble on the oil markets?While crude oil’s startling and unprecedented recent price plunge into negative territory was notable, it didn’t mean that producers were actually paying others to take oil off their hands. It did point to major problems the industry faces, however. In the short term, the foremost issue is weak demand. And it raised a significant problem…

Want to pay for medical supplies? Stop funding CBC

Our health-care budgets were already greatly strained before the COVID-19 crisis; they’re completely blown out now

Want to pay for medical supplies? Stop funding CBCTwo of the major issues arising from the current medical emergency and lockdown are how much it would cost to prepare for a similar crisis and how Canadians would pay for it (as well as pay for the one we’re enduring). The N95 particulate mask is deemed necessary to ensure that neither the wearer nor…

Easing urban traffic congestion no simple task

Cities are establishing taxes on electric cars and other low-emission vehicles to reduce traffic and raise infrastructure funds

Easing urban traffic congestion no simple taskThe state of Oregon recently became the latest devotee of a variation of congestion fees. The system falls short, even if the goal is worthy. It’s a sort of tax on road use more commonly directed at motorists and commercial vehicle drivers who access the central area of a city. Those drivers presumably add to…

How Canada can confront future pandemics

Our leaders should have ways to handle a public health disaster without throwing half the population into penury

How Canada can confront future pandemicsMost of the nations in the developed world, including Canada, were unprepared for the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. So we need to examine what steps should be taken to forestall or substantially mitigate the next microbial conflagration. While the current main weapon – the medieval quarantine – might still be part of the future arsenal, more…

Mortgage misery awaits too many Canadian families

At the heart of the COVID-19 crisis sits the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. and its low-income borrowers

Mortgage misery awaits too many Canadian familiesThe shutdowns ordered by Canadian governments to slow the spread of COVID-19 have caused unemployment to leap. And put mortgages in peril. Many of the millions of workers laid off have been low-income and lower-middle-income earners. They’re just the sort of people who qualify for home mortgages insured by the federal Canada Mortgage and Housing…

Practical ways to tackle our emissions problems

Climate warriors spend a great deal of time condemning current practices without offering realistic solutions

Practical ways to tackle our emissions problemsIn the past several months, we’ve heard dire and angry imprecations and accusations from the new climate crusaders. They demand total obeisance to their escalating demands. Any critics to their approach to catastrophic global warming are denounced as deniers or heretics. A new religious-political-social movement has sprung out of this trend: Extinction Rebellion, with the…

Industrial world held hostage by China

The COVID-19 crisis has amplified the warning: dependence on Chinese products is a key vulnerability for Western nations

Industrial world held hostage by ChinaMany key pharmaceutical ingredients used in North America reportedly come from China or, in the case of generics, India. In turn, India imports key ingredients from China. So diverting imports from China to India might not reduce our dependence on Chinese manufacturers. In addition, China reserves the right to provide its citizens with vital drugs before…

One government after another fails in face of COVID-19

Governments around the world have been tardy, negligent, dysfunctional or otherwise an impediment to an aggressive and successful outcome

One government after another fails in face of COVID-19While residents around the world deal with restrictions imposed to minimize transmission of COVID-19, many wonder how we got into a predicament where thousands die, millions are infected, and millions more lose their jobs or investment nest eggs. There were preliminary indications as far back as Nov. 17 that some people who frequented the wet…

Canada must regain its competitiveness 

We need tax reforms and other initiatives that will help spur entrepreneurial spirit and encourage investment

Canada must regain its competitiveness Canada is gradually losing its competitiveness – but it can be regained. According to the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), a graduate business school and research centre, we’re down three spots from 2018 to 13th. Canada is now ranked below the United States and Switzerland, as well as other energy-dominated nations such as Norway,…

Putting an end to Quebec’s energy vulnerability

The province's aversion to pipelines and its ban on fracking create serious problems. It's time to let free enterprise pave the way to a better future

Putting an end to Quebec’s energy vulnerabilityAlberta Premier Jason Kenney has suggested to Quebec that pipelines would prevent events like the recent propane shortage caused by the CN Rail strike. The lack of propane hampered harvest for Quebec farmers, and endangered users of propane heating in seniors residences, hospitals and mobile homes. Critics have noted pipelines don’t usually carry propane. But…

Government roadblocks cripple energy industry

Certainly there are factors beyond domestic control, but some simple regulatory changes and a general will to help industry will go a long way

Government roadblocks cripple energy industryAndrew Leach, an energy and environmental economist at the University of Alberta, recently observed that a number of things challenge the oil and gas industry in Canada, particularly the oil sands sector. And some of those challenges aren’t the fault of Canadian politicians or environmental activists. He noted that the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers…

Airport land lease fees inflate Canadian travel costs

The land leases that the federal government requires of the 26 largest public sector airports under its control in Canada are entirely avoidable

Airport land lease fees inflate Canadian travel costsTravellers will be annoyed at yet another hike in the airport improvement fee (AIF), from $20 to $25, on every airline ticket originating at Vancouver International Airport (YVR). But that’s a relatively minor irritant compared to another major airport expense that raises costs to airlines and, as a result, air fares. The land leases that…

Capitalism has its own moral virtues

Dictating social outcomes for corporations is unnecessary and unproductive

Capitalism has its own moral virtuesIn a time where capitalism is under attack from several directions, it’s also being undermined by the very individuals and organizations that should be defending it. The Business Roundtable, a group of chief executive officers of more than 100 of the largest publicly traded corporations in the United States, recently issued an open Statement on…

Moral investment constraints too onerous for pension funds

Never mind that reducing the choices available to a fund manager can result in negative consequences for pensioners

Moral investment constraints too onerous for pension fundsSome Canadian institutional investment and pension funds have faced scrutiny recently because they owned or own shares in American prison-management companies GEO and CoreCivic. That criticism is unwarranted and unfair. These firms operate prisons, detention centres and rehabilitation facilities in the U.S. Given that the U.S. incarcerates more people than anywhere else in the world,…

CMHC nudging more aggressively into housing market

The risk of housing price declines piles onto the risk CMHC already takes on when insuring mortgages

CMHC nudging more aggressively into housing marketCanada’s federal government will soon participate in the property bubble in a direct, equity-owning way through its new First-Time Home Buyer Incentive. But the merits of the program are questionable. Since the end of the Second World War, it’s been federal government policy to help low-income would-be home buyers via Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.…

Increasing government debt rarely a successful strategy

Increasing government debt rarely a successful strategyAll the rage in progressive policy and political circles in the United States, but not quite on the radar in Canada, is a fairly new set of ideas and prescriptions called Modern Monetary Theory, or MMT for short. Critics, somewhat unfairly, say MMT is simply a means of printing money to cover a vast, ambitious…

Bill C-69 is a loose, vague obstacle to development

The law is so full of giant holes that it could make things much worse for anyone planning a large project to improve our economy

Bill C-69 is a loose, vague obstacle to developmentCanada is no longer a low-risk, high-return venue for investment. The federal government has boxed itself into a corner in its attempts to square the process for reviewing and approving large mining, pipeline or other projects. It has run counter to the private sector’s desire for any such process to be clear, simple, relatively quick,…

Without new investment, Canada’s economy will stagnate

That means we need corporate tax reductions and we must ease the regulatory path for businesses

Without new investment, Canada’s economy will stagnateThere has been a lot of concern over the slow increase in living standards of the average Canadian over the past few decades. In the long run, economists say that the key to increasing real – corrected for inflation – wages is to increase productivity of those in the labour force. How to actually do…

The sad state of Canada’s economy can be remedied

Lower tax rates, with more capital investment, are crucial to increasing productivity, wages and living standards – and boosting the loonie

The sad state of Canada’s economy can be remediedCanadians’ standard of living isn’t growing as quickly as per capita gross domestic product (GDP). The reason: our dollar has been declining against the currency of our biggest trading partner, the United States. While some of that is because the U.S. dollar has risen against most currencies around the world, a lot of it is…

How to save Newfoundlanders from Muskrat Falls disaster

The hydroelectric project mess in Newfoundland and Labrador requires some hard choices. But taxpayers deserve and need some relief

How to save Newfoundlanders from Muskrat Falls disasterThe citizens and taxpayers of Newfoundland and Labrador received important news late in 2018: an autopsy of the horrific financial debacle at Churchill Falls and the beginning of an inquiry into the questionable new Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project. The long legal battle has ended over the Joey Smallwood era’s unprofitable Churchill Falls contract, which the…

Socialism at root of the green movement

Recent global developments cast doubt on the motives and methods of the most ardent proponents of global warming

Socialism at root of the green movementThe headlong rush in Canada to punitive carbon taxes, and restrictions on production, transport and consumption of coal, oil and natural gas, may take a much-needed pause. That’s due to the SNC-Lavalin affair dragging down the federal government, the resignation of a key leader of the World Bank, and a new head of the presidential…