- Bruce Johnstone notes that rather than further attacking public services which have already been under siege throughout his stay in office, Brad Wall and his government should be looking to question Saskatchewan's inexplicable giveaways to businesses:
Well, if Doherty is looking for some “low-hanging fruit” to make our tax system more “competitive, simple and fair,” he might want to start plucking a few of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent every year on subsidies, exemptions and tax breaks for rural Saskatchewan, especially the farm sector.- Sujata Dey highlights the difference between trade and plutocracy, while noting that the agreements sold as promoting the former are almost entirely oriented toward entrenching the latter. Daniel Gros points out that we're all worse off as a result of blind faith in big business, while even Lawrence Summers is recognizing the reality that the combination of economic stagnation and inequality is unsustainable. And Maude Barlow and José Bové discuss the damage the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement would do to the public interest.
According to the 2016-17 budget, the rationale for tax exemptions or tax expenditures for certain sectors, like manufacturing, farming and small business, is to allow governments to “attain some of their social and economic goals by reducing the taxes paid by certain taxpayers.”
But provincial auditor Judy Ferguson couldn’t find any justification for the fuel tax exemption. Her 2016 report says the government “has not clearly defined, in a measurable way, its fuel tax exemptions for farmers and primary producers.” And the fuel tax program is getting more expensive; since 2010, the cost has increased by $22.5 million, she said.
When the provincial government or its third-party agencies, like health districts, start cutting funding to emergency shelters, laying off nurses, closing down community correctional facilities, shutting down northern educational programs, reducing subsidies to low-income families and people with disabilities, then it’s time to take a long, hard look at the revenue side of the ledger.
Like Doherty said, everything should be on the table.
- Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on the needed push for decent work in Ontario - while noting that businesses are predictably trying to avoid offering anything of the sort. And Hannah Finnie notes that the millenial generation is seeing bleak employment prospects as its reward for pursuing unprecedented levels of education - but points out that a renewed union movement is vital to ensuring security for new workers.
- Finally, Michael Vonn warns that CSIS is assuming all the powers of a secret police force - which we should see as antithetical to government by and of the people.