Ontario must quickly balance budget in wake of pandemic

Deficits might seem like an abstract problem for the future but in Ontario this simply isn’t the case

Ontario must quickly balance budget in wake of pandemicBy Steve Lafleur and Jake Fuss The Fraser Institute New Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy inherits a difficult job from Rod Phillips. The province’s fiscal challenges long predate the pandemic. The province has mostly run uninterrupted budget deficits since 2008-09. The governments of both Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne sketched out long paths to budget…

Ontario’s lost decade of job creation

Toronto and Ottawa are thriving but as long as large regions of Ontario struggle, the province and the country won’t meet their full economic potential

Ontario’s lost decade of job creationBy Ben Eisen and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute Ontarians have suffered more than their share of economic pain over the past 15 years. For much of the 2000s, the province’s manufacturing sector was struggling and then the 2008-09 recession made things much worse. In the years that followed, the province’s recovery was unfortunately tepid.…

Feds should stop trying to fix Canadian housing markets

That’s a job better left to municipal and provincial governments, which can actually have an impact on supply and demand

Feds should stop trying to fix Canadian housing marketsBy Josef Filipowicz and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute Late last month, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the federal government is considering ways to make housing more affordable for millennials. While he didn’t mention specifics, a one-size-fits-all plan for the entire country isn’t likely to solve housing affordability woes in expensive cities like Toronto and Vancouver.…

Alberta government must cut taxes to restore economy

It’s time to reform the tax code, eliminate exemptions and cut corporate subsidies, while significantly reducing spending

Alberta government must cut taxes to restore economyBy Steve Lafleur and Ben Eisen The Fraser Institute Alberta’s recovery from the recent recession has been slow and, for many, painful. More than four years after oil prices plummeted in late 2014, private-sector employment in the province still hasn’t recovered to pre-recession levels. Although there will always be factors outside the provincial government’s control…

Inflated employee pay at the heart of Alberta government’s debt

From wages to benefits to job security to early retirement, government employee compensation must be constrained

Inflated employee pay at the heart of Alberta government’s debtBy Charles Lammam and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute Alberta’s public finances are in rough shape. The government of Premier Rachel Notley expects to run another budget deficit this year (estimated at $8.8 billion) and has no plan to balance the books until at least 2023-24. Since 2014-15, the province has added more than $33…

Alberta can’t blame the equalization system for its economic mess

Undisciplined spending by successive governments is responsible for Alberta’s fiscal problems

Alberta can’t blame the equalization system for its economic messBy Ben Eisen and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute In William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, one of the conspirators encourages his ally not to blame fate for his misfortunes, but rather to recognize his own responsibility. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves,” says Cassius. When it comes to the state…

Alberta sinks deeper into a sea of red ink

The more the government spends on servicing its debt, the less is left over for priorities that Albertans value such as health care

Alberta sinks deeper into a sea of red inkBy Steve Lafleur and Ben Eisen The Fraser Institute When people think of the long lost “Alberta Advantage,” they often think first about the province’s tax advantage over other provinces. Specifically, the 10 per cent single rate personal and corporate income taxes that prevailed until 2015. But Alberta enjoyed another fiscal advantage – all other…

In Florida, they’re snowbirds, in B.C., they’re speculators

Penalizing foreign homebuyers fails to address the fundamental problem: a lack of available houses

In Florida, they’re snowbirds, in B.C., they’re speculatorsBy Josef Filipowicz and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute Florida is a popular destination for retirees and vacationers. Not surprisingly, many people from colder northern states and Canada either rent or own property in Florida to escape harsh winters. In fact, temporary residents in Florida (also known as snowbirds) number more than one million by…

No ray of sunshine in Alberta’s fiscal forecast

Rachel Notley seems intent on duplicating the deep-diving debt performance of former Ontario NDP leader Bob Rae

No ray of sunshine in Alberta’s fiscal forecastBy Ben Eisen and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute When Rachel Notley’s NDP shook Alberta’s political landscape by winning a majority government in 2015, the similarities to the Ontario’s Bob Rae-led NDP government in the 1990s were striking. Both cases marked the first NDP government in provincial history, and both brought an end to Progressive…

Alberta buys another ticket on the resource revenue roller-coaster

Despite promises to end the reliance on resource royalties, Rachel Notley's government keeps piling up the debt and looking to the same revenue source

Alberta buys another ticket on the resource revenue roller-coasterBy Ben Eisen and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute Before forming government, Rachel Notley and the Alberta NDP vowed to get the province “off of the resource revenue roller-coaster.” So it’s ironic that now-Premier Notley’s third budget promises to take the province on yet another ride. Her government’s vague and risky “path to budget balance”…

Alberta crushed beneath a growing mountain of debt

The slow path to balance means the province will continue adding debt by the bucketful for many years, penalizing future taxpayers

Alberta crushed beneath a growing mountain of debtBy Ben Eisen and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute The Alberta government’s 2018 budget figures would be shocking if Albertans weren’t already accustomed to such numbers. The operating deficit is expected to be $8.8 billion in 2018-19, down slightly from its peak of $10.8 billion two years ago. It’s difficult to contextualize such a large…

Alberta’s fiscal fiasco threat to future generations of Albertans

Despite an improving economy, the provincial government still projects $9.1-billion deficit

Alberta’s fiscal fiasco threat to future generations of AlbertansBy Steve Lafleur and Ben Eisen The Fraser Institute The Alberta government recently released its third-quarter fiscal update. While the update contains some good news about the economy, the outlook for provincial finances remains dire. The government expects a $9.1-billion deficit this fiscal year and it has no intention of balancing the budget until 2023-24. First, the…

How B.C. can escape its painful housing trap

Instead of targeting affordable housing, B.C. government should be targeting housing affordability

How B.C. can escape its painful housing trapBy Josef Filipowicz and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute The B.C. government’s recent budget included a 30-point plan aimed at the province’s housing woes. The aim was off the mark. Most of the plan’s points fit into two broad categories: reducing demand by raising property transfer taxes, for non-residents and on homes over $3 million,…

Balancing Alberta’s budget by 2023-24 isn’t good enough

Albertans have more debt, continued reliance on volatile natural resource revenue and higher taxes to look forward to

Balancing Alberta’s budget by 2023-24 isn’t good enoughBy Steve Lafleur and Ben Eisen The Fraser Institute The Alberta government’s large and persistent budget deficits remain one of the most important policy problems facing the province. This year, the province expects another deficit of more than $10 billion and forecasts call for a nearly identical deficit next year. The government of Premier Rachel Notley is…

Pipelines are crucial to national prosperity

The battle between Alberta and B.C. over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has broad implications for all Canadians

By Steve Lafleur and Ashley Stedman The Fraser Institute The governments of Alberta and British Columbia are waging an intense trade dispute over the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which would run between Edmonton and Burnaby. But the implications extend far beyond those two provinces. The details of the feud have been well-documented. After B.C.’s…

The Alberta disadvantage: tax rates drive away investors

Unfortunately, to bolster Alberta’s tax competitiveness will require meaningful action to repair the province’s once sterling finances

The Alberta disadvantage: tax rates drive away investorsIt’s time for Alberta to work towards regaining its former tax advantage. Until recently, the province was known for having the lowest personal and corporate income tax rates in Canada. In fact, in 2014 Alberta had the lowest combined federal/provincial top personal and corporate income taxes of any jurisdiction in Canada or the United States.…

Courting Amazon: the ends don’t always justify the means

Incentive packages often include tax breaks on property, income or permit exemptions – and taxpayers pay the freight

Courting Amazon: the ends don’t always justify the meansBy Josef Filipowicz and Steve Lafleur Fraser Institute Amazon’s recent announcement that it plans to open a second North American headquarters has sparked a mad scramble by communities seeking a huge economic payoff. But some notes of caution need to be sounded. The new Amazon headquarters are expected to house up to 50,000 “high-paying jobs” and add…