budget 2014

Jim Flaherty’s Keynesian moment, and its mixed results

Former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will be rightly remembered for the 2009 federal Budget which provided much-needed fiscal stimulus to boost a crisis-ridden Canadian economy and helped set the stage for recovery.

While the government was reluctant to act, domestic political as well as international pressure from the G20 forced even strict fiscal conservatives such as Prime Minister Harper and Minister Flaherty to find their inner Keynes.

Short-term infrastructure projects put many unemployed Canadians back to work, and extended unemployment benefits made a big difference...

Flaherty’s doubts about income splitting are one step to addressing inequality

This week has been a watershed moment in the battle against income inequality in Canada.

The curious twist is that it was comments made by Jim Flaherty – who, as Finance Minister, has actually exacerbated income inequality – that illuminate a fundamental shift in Canada’s political imagination.

Sometimes, the world works in mysterious ways.

A lot of ink has already been spilled about Mr. Flaherty’s unexpected decision to publicly repudiate family income splitting, the day after tabling a budget that set up the Conservative government to deliver on precisely this tax...

Income splitting: so divisive it's splitting the Tories

Discouraging women from working outside the home is surely not an appropriate goal for tax policy. But that may just be the motivation behind the Harper government's plan to introduce "income splitting" for families — an expensive tax gift to traditional families with one breadwinner and a stay at home spouse.

The gift is already proving costly to Conservative party unity. The Harper government's own finance minister is speaking out against the...

The unbalanced Harper budget

Presumably, Jim Flaherty considered the same economic picture of the country as the rest of us when planning the 2014 budget.

That picture is not rosy.

Almost one and half million Canadians are currently out of work. The unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at 7% and the employment rate (the proportion of the working age population with a job) has yet to recover since the great recession. For youth, the unemployment rate is almost double that, at 13.9%.

Add to that the growing proportion of precarious, part-time jobs, record-high levels of household debt, and...

Budget let-down: Canada's youth need much more

Recessions are always harder on young workers, but we are nearly five years out from the end of the last recession and there is still no recovery in sight for this important demographic.

Between October 2008 and January 2014, there was an increase of 100,000 unemployed young workers (15-29), so that there are now some 540, 000 unemployed. Even more startling, over 350,000 young workers left the labour force entirely over that same period.

It has been estimated that between 150,000 and 300,000 young workers participate in unpaid internships each year in Canada. Furthermore,...

Harper's unbalanced economic plan fails to help struggling Canadians

Budget sets the stage for income splitting, a costly and unfair tax giveaway

OTTAWA—Despite its commitment to eliminating the national deficit, Stephen Harper's 2014 budget denies Canadians the help they need to reduce inequality and create good jobs. The budget also prepares the way for the implementation of income splitting, a $3 billion tax giveaway that offers no help to the Canadians who need relief the most. 

With almost 1.5 million unemployed workers and a record 13% youth unemployment rate, Canadians need a government that...

Media advisory: Broadbent Institute Executive Director Rick Smith available to comment on 2014 budget

OTTAWA—Broadbent Institute Executive Director Rick Smith will be available in Ottawa to react to the 2014 federal budget. The budget is widely expected to contain few measures that address growing inequality.

DATE: Tuesday, February 11, at 4 pm EST

LOCATION: Reaction Room (Room 253-D Centre Block, Parliament Hill)

WHO: Rick Smith, Broadbent Institute Executive Director (613-866-3606) The Broadbent Institute recently launched a campaign reduce inequality in Canada. Learn more: ...

Income splitting a tax gift for the affluent

Click here to visit the Mad Men tax giveaway campaign page.

From deepening income inequality to rising unemployment, Canada faces a wide range of pressing economic challenges that ought to be addressed in next week’s federal budget. Yet little is expected in the way of, for instance, sorely needed measures to address our jobs crisis. Instead, the Conservative government is focused on

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Canada needs sound fiscal thinking, not balanced budget laws

In last year’s Speech from the Throne, the Harper government promised to introduce legislation to require “balanced budgets during normal economic times, and concrete time lines for return to balance in the event of an economic crisis.”

This proposed legislation makes little sense in terms of sound economic policy. But it will likely be introduced as part of the federal budget, expected early next month.

As Christopher Ragan argued...

As job crisis deepens, a do-nothing budget looms large

The job numbers for the end of 2013 could not have been much worse than this. But don't expect the Harper Conservatives to do anything about it in a February federal Budget which will be all about 2015 pre-election politics.

In December, the Canadian economy lost 60,000 full-time jobs, and the national unemployment rate rose sharply from 6.9 per cent to 7.2 per cent. The youth unemployment rate jumped from 13.4 per cent to 14 per cent.

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