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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