Category: Federal Politics

Positive post-pandemic recovery needs a fiscal plan

Back near the end of World War II, federal cabinet heavyweight C.D. Howe found himself in hot water when he brushed off complaints about overspending on the war with a remark that the opposition twisted into “What’s a Million?” The phrase, allegedly uttered during House of Commons debate, became synonymous with Liberal government arrogance and fiscal imprudence. Seventy-five years on the dollar figure was inflated several orders of magnitude as the House spent all of 4.5 hours last Monday debating a Liberal bill that, according to the Opposition Conservatives, will add $57 billion (that’s nine zeroes) to the federal...

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While public attention is elsewhere oil and gas industry takes advantage

As the saying goes, it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good. So the winds that have been blowing smoke from the terrifying infernos in California and the Pacific Northwest may have a positive impact of putting climate change back on the agenda in Canada after months during which the news cycle has been dominated by COVID-19, the WE fiasco and the Black Lives Matter movement. It will be recalled that just a bit over a year ago Canada’s House of Commons joined many other institutions in declaring a climate emergency. And climate change figured large in last...

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Conservatives repudiate the albatross but the elephant remains

With the election of Erin O’Toole to lead the Conservative party, the albatross around the neck has joined the elephant in the room in the menagerie of unmentionable creatures. The neck-adorning albatross – and a stinking one at that – was the metaphor notoriously used by Peter MacKay to explain the Conservatives’ failure to win the last federal election. The specific transgression was Andrew Scheer’s inability to convince voters his party would not impose conservative social and religious values on Canadians. As MacKay put it during a post-election panel discussion most voters didn’t want to talk about  issues like...

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CERB’s under scrutiny but CEWS needs a long hard look

Almost from the time it was introduced to provide Canadians with some economic protection from the COVID-19 pandemic there has been hand wringing in some conservative and business circles about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The claim that the CERB is holding back economic recovery by discouraging people from going back to work was heard again last week when the federal government announced a one-month extension of CERB to September 26, to be followed by a suite of assistance programs extending into 2021. The predictable response to that $37 billion aid package from the head of the Canadian...

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Federal deficit projection grows but no new help for child care, seniors or disabled

The federal Liberal government last week tabled its much-anticipated fiscal update – dubbed the Economic and Fiscal Snapshot 2020. Like many summertime photos, it was a bit blurry and unfocused. But what it lacked in definition it made up for with shock value. The federal deficit for this year is now estimated at $343 billion, pushing the country’s net debt well above a trillion dollars – $1.060 trillion to be exact. Both numbers are considerably larger than those estimated by the Parliamentary Budget Office in a scenario presented last month. The PBO estimated the deficit for this year at...

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On Racism and the Bloc

It may be a stretch to call it “the boot heard round the world.” But Jagmeet Singh attracted international attention with his ejection from the House of Commons last week for calling another member racist. The incident caught the attention of  both the BBC and National Public Radio in the U.S. and, according to iPolitics, assorted other international media outlets. As has been widely reported, the racist epithet was hung on Bloc Quebecois MP Alain Therrien who denied unanimous consent for debate on the NDP leader’s motion to recognize systemic racism in the RCMP and review the Mounties’ budget,...

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Richard Starr, The man behind the Point

About Richard

RICHARD STARR has had careers as a journalist, public servant, broadcaster, political staffer and freelance policy adviser. He is author of numerous newspaper and magazine articles, a former radio and TV producer and weekly newspaper editor, and the author of three non-fiction books. Starr has lived in Dartmouth for more than 30 years.

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