Monthly Archives: August 2015

Trudeau and Mulcair spar on deficits

trudeau mulcair

Trudeau and Mulcair sparring on the deficit partly reflects tactical positioning and partly reflects real policy differences.

With at least one poll suggesting Tom Mulcair’s New Democratic Party is within reach of securing a historic NDP majority government, the debate between the two opposition parties over fiscal policy has become considerably more pointed.

In this post, Canada Fact Check takes a look at the latest polling numbers and then assesses the fiscal positions being staked out by the Liberals and NDP.

First, the most recent polling numbers.

The latest polls

A Forum Research poll for the Toronto Star shows the NDP with enough support to win 174 seats – a slim majority in the expanded 338 seat house. The Liberals now sit in second place with 30 per cent support, while the Conservatives are slipping and have the backing of just 23 per cent.

Regionally, the Forum poll shows the NDP well ahead in four provinces with 54 per cent support in Quebec, 41 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and 39 per cent in British Columbia.

In Ontario, the race appears to be quite a bit tighter with Forum showing the New Democrats leading with 36 per cent, the Liberals in second with 33 per cent and Harper’s Tories at 26 per cent support.

The Liberals lead in the Maritimes and the Conservatives remain ahead in Alberta.

In contrast to the Forum poll, other recent polls have not shown the NDP with sufficient support to secure a majority government. That said, all recently published polls have shown the NDP with at least a slight lead over rival parties. Continue reading

Harper Energy Policies Fail to Create Sustainable Economic Growth

Harper economy platform election

The collapse in world oil prices and the resultant stock market correction, have badly undermined Prime Minister Harper’s plans to turn Canada into an “energy super power”.

In a previous post, Canada Fact Check took a look at the Harper government economic record and began an examination of the three economic legs of the Conservative economic plan: 1) reduced corporate taxes; 2) Canada as an “energy superpower”; and 3) an aggressive approach to balancing the budget rooted in curtailing government spending.

In today’s post, Canada Fact Check assesses the economic impact of the Conservative government’s policies aimed at turning Canada into an “energy super power”.

Canada as an “energy super power”: success or failure?

As Canada’s main stock market dropped more than 2% on Thursday and likely another 2% on Friday, Prime Minister Harper’s dream of making Canada an “energy super power” continued to fade.

How is the stock market correction related to Harper’s Canada as an “energy superpower” project?

Some history may help. Continue reading

Harper Claims On The Economy Not Backed Up By the Numbers

Harper economy

A close look at the numbers reveals that Prime Minister Harper’s economic policies have been largely ineffectual and have contributed to a more polarized labour market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Friday, Statistics Canada released its jobs report for July, 2015 – the first such release during the election period. Employment was up a bit in July as compared to June (+6,600) and the unemployment rate stayed at 6.8% for the sixth straight month.

Compared with a year earlier, employment had increased by 161,000 (or 0.9%), primarily because of the growth in full-time work.

Provincially, employment in Ontario was virtually unchanged in July. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the province was up by 67,000 (+1.0%) and the unemployment rate fell 1.1 percentage points to 6.4%, the lowest rate since September 2008.

In contrast, in Alberta the unemployment rate increased by 0.3 percentage points to 6.0% in July. Since January of this year, the unemployment rate in the resource dependent province had increased by 1.5 percentage points.

Bottom line: not surprisingly, mainly due to the oil price collapse, central Canada is doing somewhat better than resource-based western Canada on the jobs front. But overall, the Canadian labour market remains sluggish and is performing at a far weaker level than its U. S. counterpart. Continue reading

Mulcair vs. Trudeau: which leader has the truly progressive tax plan?

Mulcair, Trudeau, corporate tax, election

In their willingness to propose an increase in the Corporate Tax rate, Tom Mulcair’s New Democrats have the edge on the question of which opposition party has a truly progressive tax program.

Canada Fact Check continues its election coverage with a look at the likely tax planks in the NDP and Liberal platforms.

Mulcair and Trudeau on Harper Tax Cuts

First, both Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and NDP leader Tom Mulcair have announced that if they form a government, they will cancel the Conservative “Family Tax Cut”, an income-splitting measure that primarily benefits higher-income earners. Both parties would also cancel the increase in the Tax free Savings Account (TFSA) to $10,000 which also largely benefits higher-income earners.

The Family Tax Cut, announced in the fall by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, would allow couples with children under 18 to transfer income for tax purposes up to a maximum tax savings of $2,000.

An analysis of the initiative by Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) Jean-Denis Fréchette found that the benefits of the measure will primarily go to “medium-through high-income households”. In fact, the PBO says families in the bottom 20 per cent of income would receive next to nothing from the tax cut.

Mulcair and Trudeau on Personal Taxes

In his most significant tax proposal, Trudeau has promised that a Liberal government will raise personal income taxes on individual income over $200,000 a year while at the same time reducing rates for middle income earners.

The current top tax bracket starts on income over $138,586 with a rate of 29 per cent. Trudeau proposes to add a new tax bracket starting at $200,000, with a rate of 33 per cent. Liberals suggest this will raise about $3 billion, which they propose to re-allocate into a reduction of the middle tax-bracket rate from 22 per cent to 20.5 per cent, affecting income in the range from $44,701 to $89,401.

NDP leader Mulcair has not endorsed an increase in the top personal income bracket to date, but has promised to close the tax loophole currently enjoyed by senior executives who exercise stock options. Mulcair says the new revenue (approximately $750 million/yr.) would be re-directed to low-income families through an enhanced Working Income Tax Benefit and an enhanced National Child Benefit Supplement. Continue reading