House price inflation and what to do about it

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 of sources. It looks […]

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Comparing Fiscal Federalism in Canada and Australia

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 health care, hospitals, and education. […]

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Redistribution, Inequality, and Federal Policy: Guest Post by Edgardo Sepulveda

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 to present an analysis of […]

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Dix choses à savoir sur les défis associés avec mettre fin à l’itinérance au Canada

Le 18 novembre, j’ai fait une présentation sur les défis en ce qui concerne « mettre fin à l’itinérance » au Canada au 7 Cities Leadership Summit à Edmonton. Ma présentation, illustrée de diapositives, peut être téléchargée ici. Voici dix choses à savoir en tant que défis concernant « mettre fin à l’itinérance » au Canada. En 2008, Calgary est devenue […]

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Ten Things to Know About the Challenges of Ending Homelessness in Canada

On November 18, I gave a presentation on “ending homelessness” at the 7 Cities Leadership Summit in Edmonton. My PowerPoint slides can be downloaded here. Here are ten things to know about “ending homelessness” in Canada: 1. In 2008, Calgary became the first Canadian municipality to publicly commit to “ending homelessness.” More than a dozen other Canadian municipalities have since […]

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Ten Things to Know About Homelessness in Canada

This afternoon I gave a presentation at Raising the Roof’s Child & Family Homelessness Stakeholder Summit in Toronto. My slide deck can be downloaded here. To accompany the presentation, I’ve prepared the following list of “Ten Things to Know About Homelessness in Canada.” 1.Efforts to enumerate persons experiencing homeless have generally been spotty, but it is reasonable to assert that […]

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Dix Choses à Savoir sur l’Itinérance au Canada

Cet après-midi, j’ai fait une présentation au Child & Family Homelessness Stakeholder Summit, organisé par Chez Toit, à Toronto. Ma presentation, illustrée de diapositives, peut être téléchargée ici. Pour accompagner la présentation, je vous ai préparé la liste suivante: « Dix choses à savoir sur l’itinérance au Canada. » 1. Les tentatives de dénombrer les personnes en situation d’itinérance ont […]

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Small Business Taxes, Big Loopholes

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 at the backbone of the […]

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Doubling Contributions To The Tax Free Savings Account: Even Nastier Than Income Splitting

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 […]

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Why the economy sucks (in one chart)

(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 […]

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BC proposes LNG tax

I posted this on CCPA’s BC Policy Note blog but others across Canada should pay attention to BC’s quest for LNG gold. I’d also recommend this comparison of the Quebec and BC budgets by Michal Rozworski, which highlights the stubborn emphasis on natural resource development in both budgets. It’s like the tax cut culture has so permeated Canadian politics that […]

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Affordable Housing and Homelesness

This morning I gave a presentation to a church group in Ottawa on affordable housing and homelessness.  My slides can be downloaded here. Points I raised in the presentation include the following: -Though government provides subsidies to some low-income households for housing, it is important to be mindful of the considerable funding available for Canadian homeowners as well (including for […]

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Income Splitting Déjà Vu

This blog’s unofficial slogan has been “Tomorrow’s conventional wisdom, today.” After this week’s Conservative backpedaling on income splitting, we may need to change it to “Today’s conventional wisdom, seven years ago.” Or we could just stick with “You read it here first.” My first-ever blog post, Income Splitting Redux, argued that this tax policy “would benefit an affluent minority at the […]

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Missing In Action: Federal Budget 2014

Here’s the first section of the budget summary and analysis I’ve prepared for CUPE. The full version is on-line on CUPE’s website at http://cupe.ca/economics/missing-action-federal-budget-2014 together with CUPE’s press release at: http://cupe.ca/economics/federal-budget-2014-help-hurt-canadian Missing In Action: Federal Budget 2014  CUPE Federal Budget 2014 Summary and Response   Conservatives ignore pressing economic needs with a Do-little budget Using more of their doublespeak, the Harper […]

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Do High Tuition Fees Make for Good Public Policy?

This afternoon I gave a presentation to Professor Ted Jackson’s graduate seminar course on higher education, taught in Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration.  The link to my slide deck, titled “The Political Economy of Post-Secondary Education in Canada,” can be found here. Points I raised in the presentation include the following: -Tuition fees have been rising in […]

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Capital Gains and the Incomes of the Wealthy

Yesterday’s release from Statistics Canada on the income share of the wealthy generated some interesting coverage and commentary.  It reported that the top 1%’s share of total income in Canada remained steady in 2011 in Canada, at 10.6 percent — but still significantly higher than in the 1980s. Most observers did not mention, however, that this oft-cited income share statistic does NOT […]

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Canada’s (not so incredible) shrinking federal government

Buried in the federal government’s recent Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections are figures showing the Harper government is set to squeeze federal government’s role to the smallest it has been in seventy years.   (Bill Curry at the Globe also just wrote about this, but without figures further back than 1958). Total federal government spending as a share of the economy is projected […]

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Why Is Tom Mulcair Opposed to Tax Increases?

A recent online article suggests that Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is opposed to increasing federal tax rates. I find this quite surprising. According to the August 8 article: Mulcair seemed surprised when he was asked if taxes would go up under an NDP government. “You’re the first person who’s ever asked me that,” he said, adding quickly that they […]

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Funding Cuts to Alberta’s PSE Sector: There Are Alternatives

It has recently been reported that the University of Alberta wants to “reopen two-year collective agreements” with faculty and staff “to help the university balance its budget…” This appears to be in direct response to Alberta’s provincial government announcing in its March budget that there would be a “7% cut to operating grants to universities, colleges, and technical institutes.” This […]

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How Offshore Tax Havens Destroy Governments

Last fall, Greek magazine editor Kostas Vaxevanis published in his magazine Hot Doc a list of 2,000 wealthy Greeks who were hiding taxable savings in the Geneva branch of HSBC. The list had been furnished years earlier by the then French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde to the Greek government, who did nothing in regards to chasing after the money or the offenders […]

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Are average Canadians paying too much in taxes?

On April 23, the Fraser Institute released the annual update of their misleading Consumer Tax Index report. The piece is meant to feed the anti-tax sentiment with numbers sprinkled liberally for their shock value instead of providing any meaningful analysis. Here are some of the main flaws with the report’s methodology. If what follows sounds familiar, it’s because I’m drawing […]

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Tax and the Top 1%

Further to Toby’s comments, Miles Corak has posted an excellent commentary on the new numbers on high incomes, together with a spread sheet showing average effective tax rates by income group from the 1980s. The big story is that the average effective tax rate for the very affluent has been stable since the early 1980s as their income share has […]

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