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Home Policy Articles: Fiscal & Budgetary: Reform


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A Taxing Issue: Enhancing Qu�bec's Investment Attraction

Pierre-Pascal Gendron describes the fiscal challenges he regards as most important for Quebec, both in the near future and the long term.

A Time for Vision: A Sustainable & Equitable Economy

The Alberta government’s 2005 budget will be the first since the provincial debt was eliminated. According to the Parkland Institute’s Committee on Alberta’s Finances, this budget should lay the foundations for a vision to build a socially sustainable and equitable economy. 2005...

Behind the Issues: Ontario 2003 - Ontario's tax cuts since 1995: The real tally

For the fourth consecutive time, Hugh Mackenzie points out how Ontario’s Conservative Party has placed tax cuts front and centre in the election campaign. He suggests the Tories’ political rhetoric is liberally sprinkled with evocative claims; Mackenzie argues, however, that an analysis of Ontario’s tax cut program from 1995 to 2003, and the changes promised and expected in the future, reveals a very different reality from the picture the Party paints.

Caring for Canadians in a Canada Strong and Free

Former Ontario Premier Mike Harris and former Reform Party leader Preston Manning discuss the “vision deficit” and “policy deficit” they consider to be evident in Canadian politics, particularly at the federal level.

Child Tax Deception: the Proposed Child Tax Deduction

Ken Battle considers the federal Conservative Party’s child tax deduction proposal to be “retrograde and regressive.”

Compliance and Administrative Costs of Taxation in Canada

In this report, Francois Vallaincourt, Jason Clemens, and Milagros Palacios prepare a calculated estimate of the “hidden” compliance and administrative costs of taxation in Canada.

Cutting CPP Contributions: Let’s pop this trial balloon

The federal government has a plan to reduce Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions from employers and employees by putting some of the federal surplus directly into the program. According to Michael Prince, this idea will put our pension funds at risk.

Dealing With the Fiscal Imbalances: Vertical, Horizontal and Structural

In this Working Paper Bev Dahlby discusses fiscal imbalances on three levels: she defines vertical fiscal imbalances as those between two tiers of government; horizontal imbalances are those that exist across a single tier of government; structural imbalances occur in the tax and expenditure ‘mix.’ The author considers each of these issues in turn.

Equalization and the Treatment of Non-renewable Resources

In Equalization and the Treatment of Non-renewable Resources, Paul Hobson analyzes proposals for the inclusion and exclusion of natural resources from Canada’s equalization payment system. According to Hobson, equalization is usually justified on two fronts: 1) it allows for an efficient allocation of mobile factors of production within federations, and 2) it establishes equity between provinces. To evaluate equalization, he posits, is a complex question of costs and benefits. Hobson therefore devotes a portion of his analysis to the theoretical case for equalization and a review of equalization in the Canadian context. He follows by assessing proposals for the treatment of natural resources in equalization, concluding his examination with a discussion of the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies’ proposal to remove natural resources from the equalization formula.

Equalization Reform in Switzerland: Ideal Solutions, Unpredictable Outcomes

This paper summarizes and analyzes a 1999 report by the Swiss government and the cantons that presents the planned reform of the equalization system in Switzerland.

Evaluation Framework for Federal Investment in the Social Economy: A Discussion Paper

This discussion paper presents a Results-Based Accountability Framework for the Social Economy Pilot Initiatives announced in the 2004 federal budget.

Financing the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans

In his paper Michael Mendelson describes the financing policies of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP). The paper also includes a discussion of the organization and experience of the two plans’ investment boards.

For the Good of the Patients: Financial Incentives to Improve Stability in the Canadian Health Care System

This article by Grant L. Reuber and Finn Poschmann analyzes the costs of public health care in Canada and the means of reform. The authors believe incorporating direct financial incentives into the system would “temper growth in demand for health services and place market pressure on providers to improve their efficiency and reduce costs” while still respecting the Canada Health Act. Reuber and Poschmann believe the best way of operationalizing the aforementioned financial incentives is through a provincial tax credit which would be tied to usage of the health care system.

Half-Way Home: Canada’s Remarkable Fiscal Turnaround and the Paul Martin Legacy

This article by Thomas J. Courchene analyzes Canada’s fiscal turnaround from its dire situation in the early 1990s (with the Wall Street Journal suggesting the Canadian dollar might “go the way” of the Mexican Peso, for example) to budgetary surplus.

Investor Confidence and the Market for Good Corporate Governance

In this paper, the authors, Jack M. Mintz and Finn Poschmann, analyze the issue of good corporate governance and its effects on investor confidence. As they explain, governments have taken action in this arena in the face of gross corporate misbehaviour (particularly in the United States), largely because investor confidence was deemed to be at risk. The authors argue that the point of government intervention should be to help good companies “improve the clarity of their message, making it less costly to distinguish themselves from bad companies.” That said, they suggest the growth potential of so-called “good” companies is restrained by the behaviours of the so-called “bad” companies, and also cite stockholder inability to distinguish good financial reports from spurious ones as mitigating factors.

Issues in Equalization: A Discussion

The Five-Province Standard, Representative Tax System for Equalization was fraught with difficulties and could only be held together through a series of arbitrary patches and stitches.

Modest But Meaningful Change: Reforming Equalization

In Modest But Meaningful Change: Reforming Equalization, Paul Boothe suggests what he calls “a modest reform” to Canada’s system of equalization payments. Boothe’s analysis discusses the current equalization program and what he believes are its shortcomings.

Ontario Prosperity: Is Best of Second Best Good Enough?

In this paper, Jason Clemens, Amela Karabegovic, and Niels Veldhuis suggest the Province of Ontario is simply not living up to its full potential, economically.

Ottawa's Annual Fiscal Follies

Michael Mendelson takes a critical look at the federal government’s practice of underestimating its annual budget surplus.

Promoting Trade and Investment in Canada: A Survey of Major Industry Associations

The purpose of Promoting Trade and Investment in Canada, authored by Erika-Kirsten Paupst and Yves Poisson of the Public Policy Forum, is to summarize industry views on the main impediments to Canadian trade and investment. The authors consulted a wide range of industry associations, asking each to identify federal policies and regulations they viewed as having the potential to impact Canada’s ability to attract trade and investment. In addition to presenting these issues, the report also summarizes the results of interviews conducted with federal government officials to gauge the Government of Canada’s response to the related industry concerns.

Quebec’s Tax and Regulatory Burden

Newly elected Premier Jean Charest stated that his government must lower taxes because the current load is hindering Quebec’s development. In this Economic Note the authors assess the size of the province’s tax burden and present a clear picture of the challenge awaiting the new government.

Reforming dairy supply management in Canada: an Australian example

Although Canada’s dairy industry received a reprieve after World Trade Organization (WTO) talks in Hong Kong in December 2005, Valentin Petkantchin contends the industry’s supply management system needs reform over the longer term.

Restoring Purpose: A Shadow Federal Budget for 2005

In this Commentary, Finn Poschmann and William Robson provide an outline for what they believe to be a more effective federal budget. As Poschmann and Robson explain, the 2005 budget lacked focus, creating across the board spending with unsustainable commitments. The plan developed by the authors requires major changes in federal and provincial spending and taxation powers as well as restoring “purpose to federal fiscal policy.”

Sobering Result: The Alberta Liquor Retailing Industry Ten Years after Privatization

In this report, Greg Flanagan examines the impact of privatization on Alberta’s liquor retail industry.

Submission to The Saskatchewan Business Tax Review Committee

This document represents a submission by Jason Clemens and Niels Veldhuis to the Saskatchewan Business Tax Review Committee, with recommendations and conclusions based on research they conducted.

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