Big changes in Alberta

by Catherine Swift

Premier Smith (pictured) is doing precisely what she said she would do, plus more. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Jason Franson   Newly-minted Alberta Premier Danielle Smith isn’t wasting any time making changes. Less than two months into the job, she has fired the entire Board of the Alberta Health Services (AHS), fulfilling a leadership campaign […]

Pension fund follies

by Catherine Swift

In losing nearly $100 million to a volatile cryptocurrency investment, and by committing to the ESG narrative, two of Canada’s largest and traditionally most successful public pension funds demonstrated that they’re hardly immune to poor judgement and being swept up by the flavour of the week. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Cole Burston   The spectacular […]

It’s always about the money

by Catherine Swift

Despite claims to the contrary, when it comes to public sector labour negotiations in Ontario, it is, has been, and always will be precisely about the money. Pictured is president of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions Laura Walton, Nov. 16, 2022. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Chris Young   In the context of labour […]

Dark clouds over Fall Economic Statement

by Catherine Swift

As economic slowdown looms, province delivers fairly tame, boring mini-budget – but perhaps that’s a good thing. Pictured is Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy presented the Fall Economic Update this week, and not surprisingly the news wasn’t great. In anticipation of a widely expected economic slowdown, […]

Prairies push back

by Catherine Swift

The current federal government has had a habit of interfering with areas of provincial jurisdiction, and it is long overdue that certain provinces begin to push back. Pictured is Premier of Saskatchewan Scott Moe. Photo credit: Facebook/Scott Moe   Canada’s Prairie provinces – Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba – have good reason to be perturbed about […]

In CUPE dispute, Ford government doing precisely what it was elected to do

by Janet Ecker

Premier Ford’s government was just given another majority mandate by Ontarians to do exactly what it is currently doing in ongoing dispute with CUPE: look out for the public interest by way of keeping kids in school and protecting taxpayer money during tumultuous economic times. Pictured is Education Minister Stephen Lecce. Photo credit: CBC/Carlos Osorio […]

Ford should be bold and cut the sales tax to counter inflation

by Jay Goldberg

Premier Doug Ford. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   It’s time for Premier Doug Ford to be bold. The cost of living is soaring for Ontario families. To deliver relief to every Ontarian across the province, Ford should cut the provincial sales tax. Ford owes Ontarians relief. Four years ago, he promised to cut income taxes for the […]

More health care spending not the answer

by Catherine Swift

Canada already has one of the highest levels of per capita health care spending among developed countries in the world, and citizens are hardly getting good bang for their buck. Thus, the country’s Premiers should stop spending time and money asking the federal government for more taxpayer dollars and instead concentrate their efforts on garnering […]

Mass walkout a betrayal of students, families and taxpayers

by Catherine Swift

The “day of protest” is ostensibly a response to the Ontario government tabling back-to-work legislation intended to prevent education workers from striking. Pictured is head of the Ontario Federation of Labour Patty Coates during a news conference at Queens Park on Monday alongside OSBCU president Laura Walton (left) and CUPE president Fred Hahn. Photo credit: […]

Ford should testify at Emergencies Act inquiry

by Catherine Swift

To date, Ontario’s Premier has resisted all calls to take part in the public hearings currently underway in Ottawa. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Arlyn McAdorey   It is mystifying why Ontario Premier Doug Ford continues to adamantly resist appearing before the Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC), currently the hottest political ticket in Canada.  Ford has […]

Be sure to vote in upcoming municipal election, but vote wisely

by Catherine Swift

Municipal elections historically drive the fewest number of voters to the ballot box. However, of all levels of government, the local level touches most citizens more directly and frequently than its provincial and federal counterparts – and not just in terms of basic services and policing. In recent years, municipal governments have become increasingly more […]

Ontario is fast-approaching an energy crisis and so-called “green” fuel solutions will hardly be able to fill the gap. Photo credit: Atura Power   Most voters don’t have high expectations of their governments. But they do expect a modicum of common sense. The Ontario government may be on the brink of ignoring it.  How else […]

Public sector cost pressures rising

by Catherine Swift

Overall spending on Ontario public sector salaries has increased from about $36.3 billion in 2011 to $48.2 billion by 2022, about 2.9 per cent annually. It’s projected the wage bill will reach $56.9 billion by 2027, assuming average annual increases of 3.4 per cent. Clearly, an ever-increasing public sector funded by a shrinking private sector […]

A big week in provincial politics

by Catherine Swift

Premier Francois Legault won a resounding re-election victory in Quebec on Monday, while Danielle Smith became the new Premier of Alberta Thursday night. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson and Jonathan Hayward   Two major developments this week promise to have a big impact on provincial and federal politics in Canada for the next few […]

Death by taxes for Eastern Canada

by Catherine Swift

Recent analysis demonstrates taxpayers in Canada’s Atlantic provinces pay significantly more in personal income and sales taxes than their western counterparts. Pictured is Spinnaker’s Landing in Summerside, PEI. Photo credit: PEI Tourism/Stephen DesRoches   Whenever an election looms, all politicians claim to want to provide tax relief for the “middle class”.  This is a logical […]

NDP hypocrisy, as interim leader talks energy policy

by Catherine Swift

Peter Tabuns (pictured) recently decried the Ford government for raising natural gas prices. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Chris Young   We are all accustomed to the enduring hypocrisy of politicians by now, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be challenged. The latest instance came from MPP Peter Tabuns, interim Leader of the Ontario NDP. Tabuns […]

Ford needs to make his gas tax cut permanent to avoid being the grinch

by Jay Goldberg

After a temporary six-month pause, the provincial gas excise tax is set to be reinstituted at the end of the year. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   If Ontario Premier Doug Ford doesn’t want to be the grinch who stole Christmas, he’ll start working on a plan to make Ontario’s temporary gas tax cut permanent. Ontario […]

Exams are essential tools that teach more than just their subject matter

by Janet Ecker

Traditional evaluation methods develop students’ ability to plan, deal with pressure, cope with expectations and, on occasion, experience and learn from failure. Pictured is provincial Minister of Education Stephen Lecce. Lecce’s ministry recently confirmed that local schools and boards can now decide if they will administer an exam to determine a final grade for secondary […]

Energy insecurity awaits

by Catherine Swift

A number of Canadian jurisdictions are proceeding with plans to continue on the so-called “decarbonization” bandwagon and move away from more reliable and affordable energy sources. Pictured is Ontario’s Lennox Generating Station, dual-fuelled by oil and natural gas. Photo credit: OPG   All indications are that Europe is facing the prospect of a very difficult […]

Electoral boundary changes controversial as always

by Catherine Swift

The changes take place every 10 years and never fail to ruffle a few feathers. Quebec, for example, was set to lose one seat based on current criteria – an act deemed wholly unacceptable by the powers that be.    Following each national census conducted after a 10-year period, the Canadian Constitution requires that federal […]

To ensure success, students need ‘uninterrupted’ return to class

by Janet Ecker

Direct data for Ontario is not yet available, but all signs from other jurisdictions point to extended school closures having had severe, worrisome effects on students’ academic progress. Pictured is Education Minister Stephen Lecce. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Tijana Martin   The quality of our children’s education should be a priority for parents and the […]

More challenges to plastics ban

by Catherine Swift

Alberta has joined dozens of industry manufacturers in Canada challenging the federal government’s ban on single-use plastics ban. Premier Jason Kenney (pictured) recently commented that the federal policy intrudes on provincial jurisdiction and is yet another Trudeau government initiative harmful to Alberta economic interests. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Chad Hipolito    The province of Alberta […]

The Alberta Sovereignty Act pushes back

by Catherine Swift

Should current favourite for the job Danielle Smith (pictured, centre) become the new UCP leader on October 6, she has vowed to introduce legislation designed to better protect Alberta’s provincial interests against federal encroachment and predation later this year. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Jeff McIntosh    It is said that the definition of insanity is […]

There are no quick fixes or silver bullet solutions. It will take time, increased resources, creativity, and better cooperation between government and those on the front lines. Photo credit: The Canadian Press   As one watches the Doug Ford government wrestle with the current health care crisis, several observations come to mind.  First, one needs […]

Healthcare debate steals centre stage as political leaders grapple with reform

by Josie Sabatino

Premier Doug Ford met with his counterparts from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island earlier this week. What emerged from the maritime meeting was a consensus that, as a whole, Canada’s healthcare system needs to not only change, but that new solutions must be introduced in order to address the fundamental flaws exposed […]

Ontario health care changes – they’re a start

by Catherine Swift

Probably the most important of the many changes announced this week by Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Sylvia Jones (pictured) is the expansion of surgeries to private facilities, while still having these procedures covered by OHIP. Photo credit: Twitter/Sylvia Jones   The Ford government announced the latest phase of its so-called “Plan to Stay […]

The ‘strong mayor’ debate

by Catherine Swift

New legislation introduced by the province would give the mayors of Ontario’s two largest cities, Toronto and Ottawa, the ability to streamline important decisions. Mayor of Toronto John Tory (pictured left, beside Premier Doug Ford) said he is in favour of the change. Mayor of Ottawa Jim Watson (not pictured) said he doesn’t see the […]

Anytime a government tries to talk about changing health care delivery for better outcomes, like the Ford government tried to do last week, the discussion is quickly shut down amidst the scare mongering over “privatization” and “budget cuts.” However, decades of excessive spending and exceedingly poor results indicate talks of change are not only worthwhile, […]

The three deadly words

by Catherine Swift

Ontario Legislative Building in downtown Toronto. High cost and poor performance are hallmarks of the public sector, and they are brought about and maintained across the country by a single phenomenon: unionized government monopoly. Photo credit: OLA   The hits just keep on coming. Blacklock’s Reporter, an independent media organization that does not take bailouts […]

Is Scott Moe Canada’s Ron DeSantis?

by Catherine Swift

Premier of Saskatchewan Scott Moe (left) and Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis (right). Photo credit: 980 CJME/Lisa Schick and AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack   Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has developed a reputation for pushing back against a range of leftist government policies including Critical Race Theory in the public education system to, most recently, what he […]

When will the green madness end?

by Catherine Swift

Ontario and other Canadian provinces stand to learn a thing or two from places like Germany (pictured) and Sri Lanka about the real-life consequences of over-reliance on “green” energy solutions and succumbing to climate change zealotry. Photo credit: Getty Images/Sean Gallup   As the evidence continues to pile up about how “green” policies are beggaring […]

Existing teachers’ contracts are set to expire August 31. High-performing Minister of Education Stephen Lecce (pictured) and his team started negotiations early to ensure educators are back and remain in the classroom this fall so that students can enjoy the “full school experience” after two years of closures and uncertainty. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Nathan […]

Stop the presses! Nova Scotia pauses pay raises for provincial politicians

by Catherine Swift

Premier Tim Houston (pictured) recently stated, “when inflation is at a 40-year high, gas prices are at historic levels and many hard-working Nova Scotians are struggling to make ends meet, it is not the time to increase the pay of MLAs.” Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan   Something truly shocking happened recently and did […]

Provinces seek more control over immigration

by Catherine Swift

With an ever-growing backlog of new applicants, and significant need for more labour across the country, one would think the Trudeau government would jump at the opportunity for help from its provincial counterparts. And yet, as is typical with this federal government, the Liberals are dragging their feet, promising to ‘look into’ the problem. Pictured […]

Ontario finance news misrepresented by Opposition – again

by Catherine Swift

A recent FAO report indicates the provincial government spent several billion less than planned in the last fiscal year: an otherwise good news story that members of the Ontario NDP – like finance critic Catherine Fife (pictured) – are trying to twist as harmful “underspending”.  Photo credit: Twitter/Catherine Fife   The most recent Expenditure Monitor […]

Health care in peril

by Catherine Swift

Most politicians and many Canadians continue to promote the fiction that our badly broken health care system continues to be viable and among “the best in the world”. But, at present, the only people benefitting from the current health care system are the public sector unions. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson   The horror […]

Dissatisfaction out east

by Catherine Swift

A recent poll indicates that the vast majority of residents in the Atlantic provinces are none too pleased with their respective governments’ performance when it comes to health care, among other issues. Pictured is Fredericton, New Brunswick. Photo credit: Atlantic Traveller   A recent public opinion poll by the Angus Reid Institute has highlighted a […]

The impossible green dream

by Catherine Swift

Fully 32 Ontario municipalities, including most notably Ottawa, have bought in to the notion that they will be able to phase out natural gas in the coming decades while doing no credible planning on exactly how reliable, relatively affordable gas can be replaced by unreliable and costly renewables. Photo credit: University of Ottawa    The […]

Do you know what your children are learning?

by Catherine Swift

Hint: it’s no longer just 2+2=4. Photo credit: Pexels/Ksenia Chernaya    Evidence that our public school system is too “woke” for its own good – and the good of its students and taxpayers – has been clear for some time. Recently, however, there have been a number of episodes in Ontario and other jurisdictions which […]

Doug Ford’s big fat Cabinet

by Catherine Swift

After winning another majority mandate last month, Premier Ford expanded his Cabinet to 30 members and significantly increased the number of parliamentary assistants that will work alongside his executive council. Pictured: Ford shakes hands with Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell outside Queen’s Park in Toronto before naming his new Cabinet, June 24, 2022. Photo credit: CBC/Evan […]

More dumb housing policy

by Catherine Swift

The latest entry in the dumb housing policy sweepstakes was submitted by the Ontario government, which earlier this week opted to cap the 2023 permitted rent increase to 2.5 per cent. Photo credit: Homestead   It seems like the only policies governments implement these days to supposedly deal with the housing crisis in Canada are […]

Paid sick days back on the agenda

by Catherine Swift

The Ford government’s pandemic-era Worker Income Protection Benefit is slated to expire at the end of July. Naturally, labour advocates are scrambling to ensure the program gets enhanced, or at the very least extended. Pictured: Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton. McNaughton introduced the benefit program back in April 2021 […]

Basic income under the microscope again

by Catherine Swift

A recently-published study from the Halifax-based Atlantic Provinces Economic Council – one of many from recent years – explored the feasibility of a basic income program on Canada’s east coast.    Yet another study has come out examining the feasibility of a basic income system. As you may recall, such a system – also known […]

Ford taking his time before ‘getting it done’

by Janet Ecker

Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   What’s wrong with this picture? For weeks during the provincial election we heard Premier Doug Ford promise to “get it done.” To build badly needed transit, highways, schools, hospitals, housing. You name it, he was going to build more, faster, and better than the other parties, to create more jobs […]

Where’s the beef?

by Catherine Swift

Another major Alberta industry becomes target of Ottawa meddling. Photo credit: Facebook/Alberta Beef Producers   You have to wonder if there is a special section within the Canadian Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) whose sole function is to come up with ways to torment Alberta.  If implementing a bunch of policies detrimental to the oil and […]

Public schools under pressure

by Catherine Swift

Having gained a glimpse into Ontario’s ever-devolving school system during the pandemic, more and more parents are pulling their kids out of public education in favour of independent alternatives and homeschooling. Photo credit: Pexels/Gustavo Fring   One of the unexpected side-effects of the pandemic was that, as students were required to stay at home and […]

Both PC leader Doug Ford (pictured with wife Karla) and Liberal leader Steven Del Duca handled the provincial election results with professionalism and tact. NDP leader Andrea Horwath, on the other hand, used her farewell speech on election night to be petty and spiteful. Photo credit: CBC/Evan Mitsui    How one deals with victory or […]

Four more Ford years for Ontario

by Catherine Swift

The PC Party won a commanding 83 seats Thursday night, plenty enough for a second majority mandate. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   It was a rout. There is really no other way to describe the outcome of the Ontario election. As of the latest data, Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives have picked up 16 seats (from […]

Beware the support of unions

by Catherine Swift

Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton meets with IUOE Local 793 representatives. The organization is one of several construction trade unions to endorse the Ontario PC Party this election. Photo credit: Twitter/Monte McNaughton   Coming up to the Ontario election this week, the Progressive Conservative Party has been boasting about the support […]

Doug Ford’s PCs ran a near perfect re-election campaign

by Janet Ecker

For their efforts, the Tories will almost certainly be rewarded another majority mandate Thursday. As it stands, it’s still unclear which left-of-centre party will become Ontario’s Official Opposition. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   If current provincial election polls are right, Premier Doug Ford is sliding into home plate with another majority government. The question is, […]

Vote Compass lacks a sense of direction

by Catherine Swift

Screenshot of the Ontario 2022 election Vote Compass launch page. Photo credit: CBC    The CBC has an odd survey it offers called the “Vote Compass” that the taxpayer-financed network trots out during the period prior to elections, supposedly to help the citizenry come to a decision about who they should be voting for. The […]

Making it easier for unions in Ontario

by Catherine Swift

The provincial NDP, led by Andrea Horwath (pictured), wants to add more imbalance to an already wildly imbalanced system. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette    Part of the NDP platform in the upcoming Ontario election is to make it easier for unions to organize workplaces.  Really? What exactly do they plan to do? Insist […]

Political upheaval in Alberta

by Catherine Swift

 Jason Kenney resigned as head of the UCP Wednesday evening after only barely passing a review of his leadership, leaving Alberta without a premier. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Dave Chidley   This week Jason Kenney lost his bid to remain leader of the United Conservative Party (UCP) of Alberta, and with it Premier of that […]

The four-day work week debate

by Catherine Swift

 Both the provincial Liberal leader Steven Del Duca and NDP leader Andrea Horwath (pictured) have committed to exploring the idea of shortened work week. While it’s a debate well-worth having, any government would be wise to engage with caution and avoid any kind of top-down imposition. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Tijana Martin   The concept […]

Alberta court overturns ‘no pipeline’ bill

by Catherine Swift

Premier Jason Kenney (pictured) called it a “huge win”. Celebration may, however, be premature. The federal government has already stated that it will appeal the ruling. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Larry MacDougal   Politicians in Alberta and Saskatchewan were delighted at a ruling earlier this week by the Alberta Court of Appeal to quash federal […]

NDP leader Andrea Horwath (left) and Liberal leader Steven Del Duca. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn and The Canadian Press/Chris Young   You have to hand it to the politicians running in this election campaign. Never let it be said that they are not laying out what they would do if elected.   Since the […]

The problem with subsidies

by Catherine Swift

While spending large sums of someone else’s money may be attractive and politically expedient for those in power, more often than not taxpayers end up with a bad deal. Pictured Doug Ford announces a massive public investment in automaker Stellantis in Windsor, May 2, 2022. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   In recent months we have […]

The Freshii foofaraw

by Catherine Swift

Photo credit: Toronto Pearson   You may have heard that Freshii, the Canadian fast casual franchise chain offering salads and other healthy meals, got into some public relations hot water last week because of a decision they made to use a virtual cashier located outside of Canada. This cashier turned out to be a person […]

Ontario’s pre-election budget

by Catherine Swift

Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy at a media briefing before release of the provincial budget on Thursday, Apr. 28, 2022. Photo credit: CBC/Evan Mitsui   It comes as no surprise that the budget announced by the Ford government this week will effectively serve as the Progressive Conservative Party’s election platform. The fact that the budget […]

Ontario election race tightens

by Catherine Swift

 Latest polling shows Steven Del Duca’s Liberals making gains. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Chris Young Most recent opinion polls on the voting intentions of Ontarians in the upcoming provincial election have suggested that the most likely outcome was the Progressive Conservative (PC) Ford government once again winning a majority. Late last week, however, an Ipsos […]

Freedoms at stake

by Catherine Swift

Certain provisions of the provincial government’s Bill 100, for example, are cause for concern. Pictured is Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, who introduced the legislation last month. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn   A number of issues have arisen in recent weeks that have the potential to impact the basic freedoms of Canadians. In […]

Good news for Saskatchewan

by Catherine Swift

Amongst other positive developments of late, the province was recently named the second most popular mining jurisdiction in the world. Photo credit: Mosaic   While the larger provinces typically attract most of the attention from the news media, Saskatchewan has recently enjoyed some notable successes that warrant comment.  For starters, the 2021 edition of the […]

Workplace democracy diminished in BC

by Catherine Swift

Recent legislative changes introduced by Premier John Horgan’s NDP government will further tilt the playing field in unions’ favour. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck   Last week the NDP government of British Columbia introduced legislation that will significantly change the way workplaces may be certified by a union under the provincial Labour Relations Code. […]

Ontario taxpayers provide interesting reaction to licence plate sticker rebate

by Catherine Swift

Photo credit: Global News It’s a different kind of sticker shock. Now that Ontarians have been receiving cheques in the mail for rebates of their license plate sticker fees, the reaction to a government actually giving average folks   some of their own money back has been interesting to say the least.    Although the Ontario […]

Only Liberals need apply

by Catherine Swift

The permissibility of oil and gas production in Canada apparently depends on how you vote.   This week’s approval of the Bay du Nord offshore oil mega-project in Newfoundland shows many things, but especially that voting Liberal matters a great deal in Trudeau’s Canada. The fact that the Liberal government has, within one week, imposed […]

Spend, spend, spend! It’s government budget season again

by Catherine Swift

Canada’s and Ontario’s respective finance ministers Chrystia Freeland (left) and Peter Bethlenfalvy (right). The federal Liberals present their budget Thursday, while the provincial PCs will do so by or before April 30. Photo credit: Reuters/Patrick Doyle and The Canadian Press/Christopher Katsarov   Hold on to your wallets, Canadians. It’s government budget season, and the big […]

Alberta’s innovative energy sector

by Catherine Swift

The oil and gas industry has proven that major environmental benefits can be achieved through innovation and creativity without threatening energy security, affordability, and a decent standard of living for Canadians. Photo credit: Cenovus Energy   I spent a few days this week in Calgary attending a conference of energy industry executives, and it’s fair […]

The protected class strikes again

by Catherine Swift

While many in the private sector struggled, 2021 proved to be yet another profitable year for government employees – like teachers. Photo credit: Pexels/Thirdman   It really is time for a tax revolt. If taxpaying private sector Ontarians were not already well aware that there are two classes of people in Canada, the recent release […]

Provide Canadians some relief: follow Alberta’s lead and reduce taxes on fuel

by Catherine Swift

As runaway inflation continues to hammer Canadian consumers, the Alberta government led by Premier Jason Kenney (pictured) recently announced it was suspending its 13 cent per litre tax on gasoline. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Jason Franson     A couple of weeks ago, the Alberta government made the welcome announcement that it would be suspending its […]

Critical Race Theory hits Ontario

by Catherine Swift

Bill 67, introduced by NDP MPP Laura Mae Lindo (second from left), recently passed Second Reading in the provincial legislature with almost all MPPs of all political parties supporting it. Photo credit: Ontario NDP   Last week, a piece of legislation called Bill 67: Racial Equity in the Education System Act, received Second Reading in […]

Premier Doug Ford. Photo credit: CTV News   In politics it’s the little things that can kill you. And if the Ontario government is not careful, they may undermine what look like decent odds for being re-elected.  A recent example was a modest dust up in the legislature over how many backlogged surgeries there are […]

Small business bears the brunt

by Catherine Swift

Even after all the draconian rules and regulations are long gone, small businesses, like they have throughout the pandemic, will continue to suffer the most from the government’s ostensible attempts to “slow the spread”. Photo credit: Getty Images/The Business Journals   What a long, strange trip it’s been. For just about exactly two years, Canadians […]

Ontario and the skilled trades

by Catherine Swift

Photo credit: SRP   It is no secret that there is currently and has been for some time an acute shortage of skilled tradespeople, and that this shortage will worsen in future. Over the next few years, there is expected to be 350,000 vacancies in skilled trades positions in Ontario alone.  The shortage is being […]

A few billion to the good – for now

by Catherine Swift

The province’s financial watchdog recently revealed that the Doug Ford government spent $5.5 billion less than was previously forecast for the first three quarters of the current fiscal year. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   Cue the outrage.  The latest report of Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office (FAO) came out this week and found that the province’s […]

A balanced budget for Alberta

by Catherine Swift

Premier Jason Kenney fist bumps an Alberta MLA after finance minister Travis Toews delivered the 2022 budget in Edmonton, Feb. 24, 2022. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Jason Franson   If there was a race to see which province could bring their budget back into balance following the pandemic government spend-fest – and there should be […]

Passing on gas?

by Catherine Swift

 In the last few years, several dozen municipalities in Ontario have committed to phasing-out natural gas by decade’s end. Currently, 75 per cent of households in the province use natural gas for heating. Photo credit: Enersure   Most Ontarians would be surprised to find out that over the past couple of years a growing number […]

The housing conundrum

by Catherine Swift

For decades, Canada’s economic and social success has been based in part on the existence of a healthy and sizeable middle class. A key characteristic of Canada’s middle class is the prevalence of home ownership, which is one of the few means that average people have to accumulate wealth. The current housing crisis is threatening […]

An age-old dilemma

by Catherine Swift

Canada has a proportionately larger baby boom generation than many other developed countries, which means the demands for additional government spending on seniors will continue to grow in the years ahead. Photo credit: Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio   The good news is that Canadians are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. All indications are that this […]

More good financial news for Ontario

by Catherine Swift

Ontario Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy. On Monday, Minister Bethlenfalvy released the province’s third quarter finances – once again, they’re better than expected. Photo credit: CTV News   Hot on the heels of last week’s financial report from the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO), the Ontario Finance Minister has released the third-quarter of 2021 […]

Good news on the Ontario deficit front

by Catherine Swift

The province’s fiscal watchdog predicts sunnier than expected days ahead. Photo credit: Reuters   This week, the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) released a report on its expectations for provincial government finances for the next couple of fiscal years.  The FAO used the government’s data contained in the Fall Economic Statement from November of […]

More unhelpful “green” policy for Ontario

by Catherine Swift

The previously ‘Open for Business’ Ford government has created a new registry that appears to be another version of a carbon credit system. Photo credit: Bloomberg   For some unknown reason, it seems that the Ford government has been captured by the “green” lobby. In a recent announcement, the government heralded the creation of an […]

Some good news in the climate gloom

by Catherine Swift

Ontario’s St. Marys Cement (pictured) has figured out a way to offset the environmental impact of conducting business. Photo credit: St Marys Cement   The climate crusade to force the developed world to greatly reduce their dependence on relatively affordable and reliable fossil fuels and replace them with the much more expensive and unreliable green […]

The demise of oil – and Alberta – is greatly exaggerated

by Catherine Swift

Premier of Alberta Jason Kenney pays a visit to one of the province’s oil producers in Jul 2020. Photo credit: Twitter/Jason Kenney   Although many of our politicians and environmental advocates these days like to say that oil and gas have had their day, the facts show that the Canadian industry is actually enjoying quite […]

Another Ontario teachers’ strike?

by Catherine Swift

With yet more job action seemingly on the horizon, Swift suggests public education should be declared an essential service and strikes outlawed. Picture from an Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association picket line in Ottawa, Feb. 4, 2020. Photo credit: Postmedia/Errol McGihon   It is difficult to believe that the Ontario teachers’ unions could get even […]

The new tyranny of ‘ESG’

by Catherine Swift

ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) is everywhere these days, imposing its heavy hand on financial markets and setting out new conditions businesses must comply with if they want to access financing.   ESG is basically a means of evaluating a company’s eligibility for financing based on non-financial criteria such as the company’s environmental practices, social criteria […]

Carbon taxes on the agenda again

by Catherine Swift

Premier of Manitoba Heather Stefanson. Like Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe, Stefanson is hoping to craft a made-in-province carbon pricing plan that will be approved by the federal government that aligns with Manitoba’s unique needs and desires. Photo credit: CBC   After having had some experience with the federally imposed carbon tax, and having lost constitutional challenges […]

The highs and lows of premiers’ approval ratings

by Catherine Swift

Premier Ford hit a new low of 30 per cent approval. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette   The latest approval ratings for the various provincial premiers have come out from the Angus Reid Institute and, as always, there is good news for some and bad news for others. In the good news column, relatively […]

Ontario ready to open schools

by Catherine Swift

Premier Doug Ford (left) and Minister of Education Stephen Lecce (right). Ontario students return to in-person learning on Monday – and it’s about time. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Carlos Osorio    After an extended Christmas break, Ontario appears set to once again open the schools to in-person learning on Monday, barring some unexpected circumstances that […]

Truth at last: Wynne admits electricity mistake

by Catherine Swift

Former head of the provincial Liberal Party and Premier of Ontario from 2013 to 2018 Kathleen Wynne. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Chris Young   Perhaps the COVID vaccines have a little bit of truth serum in them, as some painful truths are finally emerging from various quarters.   One of the more recent instances involved former […]

Dumbing down Ontario’s education system

by Catherine Swift

To promote a distorted sense of equality, the Ontario Superior Court recently ruled that prospective teachers no longer need to pass a simple math comprehension test to serve as educators in the province. Photo credit: Getty Images/Sam Edwards   One of the developments over the Christmas holidays that didn’t get the attention it deserved was […]

Time for togetherness

by Catherine Swift

One way to promote unity may be to force public officials – those making all the pandemic-related decisions – to experience the same economic hardship many Ontario residents must endure every time further restrictions come into place. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette   The ever-quotable American economist Thomas Sowell said that “It is hard […]

Five fearless forecasts for 2022

by Catherine Swift

Prediction number four: following another electoral defeat in June, the 2022 provincial election will be Andrea Horwath’s last as leader of the Ontario NDP. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Chris Young   ‘Tis the season for predictions, and as an economist and political junkie I can’t resist the urge. Here are five shots in the dark […]

Batting .500 on 2021 predictions

by Catherine Swift

Photo credit: Getty Images   As promised, I have reviewed my prognostications made a year ago to see if my track record has improved any from previous years. Overall, it looks like my crystal ball got a little clearer, but still leaves much to be desired.   My first prediction involved whether Canada would have a […]

Timing is everything

by Catherine Swift

Premier Doug Ford (pictured) heads into the holidays with a sizeable lead over his NDP and Liberal competitors, according to a recent opinion poll. Photo credit: The Globe and Mail   It seems that the Ontario Progressive Conservatives just received an early Christmas present in the form of the latest opinion poll on how voters […]

We don’t need another lockdown

by Catherine Swift

Having been thrust into multiple lockdowns since the start of the pandemic, more and more Canadians starting to view the cure as worse than the disease. Photo credit: Toronto Star/Richard Lautens   Just in time for Christmas, the most recent COVID-19 variant has come on the scene to once again induce fear and loathing in […]

Medical wait times longer than ever

by Catherine Swift

A new report released by the Fraser Institute found that Canadians waited on average 25.6 weeks between doctor referral and treatment in 2021.    The Fraser Institute has been doing an annual survey of physicians across 12 medical specialties since 1993 to document the length of time Canadians need to wait for various medical procedures. […]

Allan inquiry follow up

by Catherine Swift

Primary author of the ‘Report of the public inquiry into anti-Alberta energy campaigns’ Steve Allan. Photo credit: Postmedia/Jim Wells   Alberta’s public inquiry into the activities of environmental groups opposing the oil sands and other fossil fuel developments released its report a couple of months ago and continues to be controversial.  The inquiry, headed by […]

Canadians open to health care changes

by Catherine Swift

Per a recent study conducted by Leger on behalf of Second Street, two-thirds of Canadians are in favour of provincial governments hiring private clinics for surgeries to reduce wait times. Photo credit: LCM Architects    For decades, the prevailing wisdom has been that most Canadians are quite satisfied with the state of our health care […]

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