The Broadbent Blog

THE HUB FOR CANADA’S LEADING PROGRESSIVE VOICES.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Institute.

"Tax Freedom Day": freedom from what, exactly?

8201935758_fb991e5d32_b.jpgConcrete is poured into the foundation of the Trois-Rivieres Regional Hospital.

 The Fraser Institute has declared yesterday “Tax Freedom Day”: the day, they claim, that Canadians stop earning wages that go towards income taxes and begin making money that they can spend at their discretion. Fraser's goal is to paint a picture of Canada as an overtaxed country suffering under the weight of big government.

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Statement on the first reading of Bill C-525

This summer, the Conservative government unleashed the latest wave in their ongoing attack on Canada’s democratic institutions. Bill C-525, like Bill C-377, is further evidence of a Conservative government bent on undermining Canada’s unions. We view this bill as part of a broader assault on our democracy that includes shutting down debates in Parliament to ram through legislation, muzzling government scientists, and intimidating civil society groups.

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Why it’s worth paying for public transit

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Ontario politics in the coming months are set to revolve around a debate on whether taxes should be raised to pay for a massive expansion of public transit and transportation infrastructure in the highly urbanized and acutely congested Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), home to about half of the province’s population.

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Statement on the launch of Unifor

On behalf of the Broadbent Institute, I’d like to congratulate the Canadian Auto Workers and the Canadian Energy and Paperworkers’ Union on today’s launch of their new union, Unifor.

A strong and effective labour movement is critical for the prosperity of all Canadians. This bold move today is important not just for Unifor’s 300,000 members, but for the future of Canada itself.

The Broadbent Institute looks forward to working with Unifor over the years ahead for good jobs, a renewed democracy, and a sustainable and prosperous Canada.

Keystone XL and Canada’s Resource Trap

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Harper has just made a trip down the US, after the Canadian government has launched a “please buy our oil” publicity campaign promoting the Keystone XL pipeline on the American airwaves. The federal Conservatives have been tirelessly lobbying American officials. Thus far, this campaign has been quite bizarre, resulting in the Natural Resources Minister hurling threats at governments and insults at climate scientists.  

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Canada needs to consider a fiscal Plan B

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Canada’s Economic Action Plan is being widely advertised this National Hockey League playoff season, but it is hardly working as advertised. It needs to be rethought in light of new thinking about the costs of austerity.

While the feel-good ads would have us think that the famous “Plan” is generating growth and jobs, last week’s Labour Force Survey showed that we have lost almost 100,000 paid jobs in the private sector since December.

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Pipeline dreams turn to ashes for Big Oil

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Two years ago, shortly after the last federal election when I still worked for a national environmental organization, I had a private meeting with one of the more senior lobbyists for the Canadian oil industry. Over a lengthy coffee I suggested that the recent election of his friends in the Conservative party for a comfortable majority mandate presented him with two possible courses of action:

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The Downtoning of America

6259632310_e719457f38_b.jpgBy Leo W. Gerard, International President, United Steelworkers.

This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

President Obama went to Austin, Texas, last week in pursuit of an industrial and employment revival. He wants to launch manufacturing institutes to foster American innovation and job creation.

Republicans responded by ridiculing the president, in the same arrogant way that the blooded aristocrats on the British television series Downton Abbey scorned a chauffeur who sought to marry into the patrician Crawley family. "No opportunity for the downtrodden!" the GOP and wealthy vow.

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Unemployment -- why worry?

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Brian Lee Crowley’s recent column in the Globe and Mail shows that he's a glass-half-full kinda guy. He says we shouldn't be worried about unemployment because a) it's old-fashioned, b) Boomers had it worse (and now they're getting old) c) we're doing better than the U.S., and d) it's really only young people and immigrants that are unemployed.

This is a relief.

So I shouldn't worry that the Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey indicates that real average hourly wages have risen by only twenty cents between 2009 and 2012 (an annualized growth rate of 0.3%). Or, that at the same time, real median hourly wages have actually fallen, indicating that any wage growth has been limited to a few at the top end.

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Canadians' consumer tax burden is not as onerous as it sounds

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Hidden deep in the bowels of the Fraser Institute in Vancouver, there is an elaborate contraption known as “the Canadian Tax Simulator.” It generates the data for “the Canadian Consumer Tax Index,” an annual report that supposedly tells us how much tax is paid by the average Canadian family.

The latest report was released just before the income tax filing deadline of April 30. Taxes, we were told, are shockingly high as a proportion of family income, and now loom larger than spending on the necessities of life.

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