Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Natasha Luckhardt examines what we can expect from Burger King's takeover of Tim Hortons - and the news isn't good for Canadian workers and citizens alike. But Jim Stanford reminds us that we're not without some public policy options by following up on the employment effects of an increased minimum wage.

- Of course, that would require a government committed to ensuring that the benefits of public policy go where they're needed. And we plainly can't count on that as long as the Cons are in power - as Kathleen Lahey, Jennifer Robson, and Scott Clark and Peter DeVries all note in discussing the distortions created by income splitting. Per Clark and DeVries:
According to the Harper government, income-splitting will cost Ottawa $2.4 billion 2014-15 and $1.9 billion in 2015-16. That’s an awful lot of revenue to give up just to make a small group of well-heeled taxpayers happy. Why do these households deserve a deep tax break more than the vast majority of Canadian taxpayer? How can the government justify a re-distribution of income that benefits the wealthy?
There is no justification whatsoever for introducing income-splitting on social or economic grounds — certainly not in the current economic environment. The argument that the government makes — that it did it for seniors and therefore it should be applied to other families — doesn’t make a particle of sense. The fact is that the Harper government gave income-splitting to seniors to make amends for its decision to tax income trusts.

Income-splitting is being done to placate a small part of the Conservative base at the expense of virtually everyone else.
- Meanwhile, Canada Without Poverty highlights the Cons' targeted attacks at those who most need help, this time through a budget which attacks benefits to refugees.

- But in case anybody thought that meant the general public is safe from the Cons' action, Scott Anderson and Vanmala Subramaniam report on the latest example of gross regulatory neglect - as Transport Canada let GM vehicles with a deadly flaw stay on the road after failing to follow up on an investigation. (And as an added bonus, Lisa Raitt lied to the public about her department's knowledge - though that seems to be the trend among Harper and his provincial puppet governments.)

- Finally, the CP reports on the NDP's work to pass an environmental bill of rights.

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