Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday September 19, 2018
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday September 19, 2018
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday September 18, 2018
If stalled pipelines and deadlocked trade talks have given Justin Trudeau a pounding head, he should brace himself — and Canada — for an absolute economic migraine.
Two sobering new reports warn that, unless Canadian governments take fast, aggressive action, this country’s economy will be hammered by a one-two combination of recently lowered American taxes and a sharp decline in business investment.
This is bad news for Canadians and comes at a sensitive time for our economy, as well as the prime minister.
Parliament resumes sitting this week and with the next federal election barely a year away the Liberals are working overtime to persuade everyone these are sunny days, economically speaking.
But the free-trade deal with the United States and Mexico, which has sustained millions of Canadian jobs and enriched the Canadian economy for decades, could collapse at any moment.
Meanwhile, Ottawa’s plan to expand the Trans Mountain Pipeline — which it bought for $4.5 billion in taxpayers’ money — is going nowhere.
Now more storm clouds darken our horizon. A new report commissioned by the Business Council of Canada concludes the latest tax cuts in the United States could devastate Canada’s economy.
How bad could it get? The report suggests the damage could exceed the economic harm that would be caused by the end of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
years, businesses in Canada benefited from a corporate-tax advantage. That suddenly ended last December when the U.S. Congress passed tax reforms that slashed the federal corporate tax rate to 21 per cent from 35 per cent.
The report warns America’s tax cuts could cost Canada up to 635,000 jobs and reduce its annual gross domestic product by $85 billion — the equivalent of nearly five per cent of our economy. As governments could lose up to $20 billion a year in tax revenues, almost everyone in Canada would suffer.
The challenge to our economy from these tax cuts becomes even more serious when placed in the context of a growing reluctance to invest in Canada. A report released last week by the C.D. Howe Institute called weak capital spending a “threat to Canada’s future prosperity.”
Echoing the think-tank’s fears, the chief executive officer of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Victor Dodig, last week cited falling levels of foreign investment in Canada as he called on the country to set clearer rules to boost investor confidence.
Evidence from Statistics Canada gives credence to these concerns. In 2017, foreign direct investment in Canada declined for the third year in a row, dropping by a whopping 26 per cent.
It would be a mistake to consider any of these economic challenges in isolation. The failure to build a pipeline to carry Alberta’s oil to an ocean port where it can be sold for a higher price is surely convincing foreign investors to avoid Canada the way they would a patch of poison ivy.
Likewise, lowered American tax rates make that country a more desirable place to invest — once again to Canada’s disadvantage.
So far, Trudeau’s Liberals have dithered in their response to the U.S. tax cuts and investor flight. That vacillation must end.
In his economic update this fall, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau should offer concrete ways to improve this country’s ability to compete and make it more attractive for investment.
That may or may not bring corporate tax cuts and changes to regulations. It must translate into meaningful action. (Source: Hamilton Spectator Editorial)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday September 15, 2018
Canadians will be barred from entering the United States for smoking marijuana legally, for working in Canada’s legal marijuana industry and for investing in legal Canadian marijuana companies, a senior U.S. Customs and Border Protection official says.
Todd Owen, who spoke to the U.S. website Politico, said the U.S. does not plan to change its border policies to account for Canada’s marijuana legalization, which takes effect on Oct. 17.
“We don’t recognize that as a legal business,” said Owen, executive assistant commissioner for the office of field operations.
Owen’s comments corroborated anecdotal reports that have accumulated over the course of the year. Canadians with links to the nascent legal industry, including venture capitalist Sam Znaimer and the chief executive of a B.C. agricultural machinery company, have already been given lifetime entry bans.
Owen said border officers will not begin asking every Canadian about their marijuana use.
He said, however, that officers might ask if “other questions lead there,” or “if there is a smell coming from the car,” or if a dog detects marijuana residue.
Owen did not specify how much equity a Canadian has to hold in a cannabis company to be denied entry. Scott Bernstein, senior policy analyst at the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, said he is troubled by the lack of clarity.
Thousands of Canadians have shares in cannabis companies, which are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
“They’re investing in a completely legal industry in Canada, but it happens to be the cannabis industry …. That person who owns a mutual fund and maybe doesn’t even know where their money is going, are they going to be covered as well?” Bernstein said.
Bernstein, who also expressed concern about U.S. profiling of people stereotyped as likely marijuana users, said the Canadian government should negotiate with the U.S. at least to secure entry for workers and investors.
But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that he does not think he has the right to press the U.S. on its admission policy. (Toronto Star)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday September 14, 2018
When one Canadian province decides to opt out of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, you expect prime ministers to speak out strongly.
But it probably tells us something that the most spirited words against the use of the “notwithstanding” clause this week have come from a former prime minister, not the current one.
It was Brian Mulroney who came out swinging on Tuesday against the idea of provinces sidestepping the Charter — “how the hell did this thing get in our Constitution?” — while the current prime minister seemed to be trying to say as little as possible.
While Justin Trudeau can be hard line about people adhering to the Charter of Rights when it comes to summer-job applications or candidacy for the Liberal party, it took the prime minister more than a day after Premier Doug Ford’s staggering announcement on Monday to say anything publicly. And when Trudeau did speak on Tuesday, he chose a relatively mild adjective: “disappointing.”
Mulroney, on the other hand, seems to feel fewer constraints, despite a potentially awkward family conflict.
In a free-wheeling conversation at the National Library and Archives on Tuesday, Mulroney made abundantly clear that he has never been a fan of this opt-out provision in the Charter — and he’s no more fond of it now that it’s being used in a province where his own daughter, Caroline Mulroney, is the attorney-general.
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday September 13, 2018
After an unprecedented day comes unprecedented chaos.
Premier Doug Ford’s move to trump a judicial ruling in order to secure a Toronto city council with 25 wards has left candidates and lawyers scrambling and voters in limbo ahead of the upcoming municipal election.
That includes at least eight incumbent city councillors who had planned to run for re-election but who could be locked out of the 25-ward race depending on how the legislation is worded, with legal experts unsure of what to expect from Ford’s government.
When a Superior Court judge ruled Monday that Ford’s legislation cutting the size of council to 25 from 47 wards was unconstitutional, city advocates believed for a short time that they had won the day.
But Ford’s announcement hours later that he would invoke the rarely used “notwithstanding” clause in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to override Justice Edward Belobaba’s ruling led to a flurry of unanswered questions, including whether the election can even proceed as planned on Oct. 22.
The legislature will resume Wednesday after Ford recalled MPPs from recess. Ford indicated the new bill would be tabled then. What it will say, his officials refuse to tell.
The province doesn’t expect the new legislation to be passed before Sept. 24, with MPPs off for two days next week to attend the International Plowing Match near Chatham-Kent. That leaves a very small window between a fundamental shift in the election process and the start of advance polling days, which are currently scheduled to begin Oct. 10. City clerk Ulli Watkiss earlier raised concerns about having enough time to prepare an election, including printing ballots for the whole city.
City council will have an emergency meeting Thursday to again discuss their current legal options and what happens next. (Source: Toronto Star)