The Election and Public Finances

In the 2019 federal election, between the two front running parties, there seems to be battle lines drawn between the party of fiscal responsibility and the party of policy leadership.  We are led to believe that these choices are mutually exclusive.  Both the Conservatives and the Liberals are to blame for this confusion.  The blame can be shared by the rest of us who have failed to explain the nuances of a well performing government budgetary system.  We have attempted to assess the party platforms for fiscal credibility but feel that we should now put these in some context.

IFSD Fiscal Credibility Assessment: New Democratic Party (NDP) Platform 2019 Costing

IFSD finds that that the NDP Party Platform Costing merits an overall ‘pass’ rating including a ‘pass’ rating on the principles related to realistic economic and fiscal assumptions and responsible fiscal management; and a ‘fail’ rating with respect to transparency.

IFSD Fiscal Credibility Assessment: Conservative Party of Canada Platform 2019 Costing

IFSD finds that that the Conservative Party Platform Costing merits an overall ‘pass’ rating, including a ‘pass’ rating on the principles related to realistic economic and fiscal assumptions and transparency; and a ‘good’ rating with respect to responsible fiscal management.

IFSD Fiscal Credibility Assessment: Bloc Québécois Platform 2019 Costing

IFSD finds that the Bloc Québécois’ Platform 2019 Costing fails overall with respect to realistic economic and fiscal assumptions, responsible fiscal management and transparency.

IFSD Fiscal Credibility Re-Assessment : Green Party of Canada Platform 2019 Costing

The Green Party of Canada released a revised Platform 2019 Costing document on October 2, 2019. This document followed the initial release of a costing document on September 25, 2019 and a policy commitments document (Election Platform 2019 - Honest, Caring, Ethical Leadership) on September 15, 2019.

IFSD Fiscal Credibility Assessment: Liberal of Canada Platform 2019 Costing

The Liberal Party Platform Costing merits an overall ‘good’ rating with a ‘pass’ on realistic economic and fiscal assumptions and a rating of ‘good’ with respect to the principles of responsible fiscal management and transparency.

IFSD Fiscal Credibility Assessment : Green Party of Canada Platform 2019 Costing

The Green Party of Canada’s Platform Costing presents ambitious policy commitments without requisite economic and fiscal planning and transparency.

IFSD Platform Assessment Framework: Fiscal Credibility of 2019 Federal Party Election Platforms

In October 2019, Canadians will go the polls to elect a new federal parliament. Political parties are busy preparing campaign strategies and plans, including policy platforms. Policy platforms have been an important staple of federal elections campaigns in Canada over the past three decades. For the 2019 federal election campaign, IFSD plans to assess the fiscal credibility of the election platforms of the major political parties. The purpose of this note is to outline, in advance, the principles and criteria that will be used to assess and score the platforms. As with government agendas after an election, there should be no surprises.

Learning From The Failures of Past Pharmacare Efforts

Over the past 60 years, there have been many attempts to expand and reform the Canadian healthcare system to include pharmaceutical drugs. In that time, changes have definitely been made at the provincial level to diminish the exorbitant costs of patented drugs. Many individuals remain without coverage and the cost of prescription drugs have increased sharply these past few years. This is no longer an issue of whether the federal government should do something or not. It needs to act since the current system is unsustainable.

Government funding of programs that invest in the early years programming could improve outcomes among Indigenous peoples

An international evidence base supports early intervention as an effective and cost-efficient approach to improving outcomes. Programs like the Martin Family Initiative’s Early Years have the potential to do just that with First Nations on-reserve communities.

Journey to Running in a Federal Election: Reflections on the Candidate Experience

Since Confederation, only a select few have held the title of Member of Parliament (MP), representing their constituents in Canada’s House of Commons. Our ability to elect our MPs is a core element of representative democracy.

Performance Evaluation of Gender Budgeting in Canada

Following the Liberal victory in the 2015 federal election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent a strong message by establishing Canada’s first gender-equal cabinet. Since then, the federal government has been very vocal in its commitment to “embed feminism in all aspects of government work”.

How the Ontario Government could find significant savings with larger class sizes

If the government proposes to increase class size in our education system, it is important that MPs and citizens have access to a range of information including financial information, so that decisions are taken with as many facts on the table as possible. The purpose of this note is focus on potential fiscal savings. It is one factor among many that must be considered by our decision makers and those responsible for holding the government to account. As the Government of Ontario aims to change its fiscal trajectory, we may also wish to remind ourselves that Healthcare, Education, and Community Services account for nearly 70% of government spending. In this regard, it is hard to avoid touching the “Big 3” in any effort to significantly reduce the size of the deficit. The policy choices the government must make to restore fiscal balance in Ontario are tough political decisions.

Fiscal Policy: A Tale of Two Decades

In this note we provide an analysis of Canada’s actual and expected fiscal performance in two decades: 2014-15 to 2023-24 under the Liberal government (assuming it gets re-elected in October 2019) and 2005-6 to 2014-15 under the Conservative government.  We will explore whether governments during those two periods designed their fiscal policies to address fundamental economic challenges facing the country or were driven by electoral politics and short-term economic developments.

Is Budget 2019 addressing key economic and financial challenges facing the Canadian economy?

Minister Morneau has tabled his fourth budget. We expected that it would be a budget that would enhance electoral prospects for the Government in October.  However, what we got is a plan that touches upon many issues and sectors but does not effectively deal with any of the key challenges facing the economy. 

Federal Deficit and Public Debt in Canada: Are We Aware of the Implications for the Medium-Term Outlook?

The 2018 Fall Economic Statement by the Federal Government projects budget deficits and continued increase in the public debt for the next five years. The question of public debt has always been the subject of much discussion, especially during the election year. In this brief, we assess the potential implications of rising public debt for Canada’s medium-term outlook.

Canadian Economic Forecast: Things to Watch––Oil Prices, Trade Agreements, and Interest Rates

 After growing at a healthy pace in the first three quarters of this year, the Canadian economy is estimated to have slowed down in the fourth quarter, reflecting the impact of lower oil prices and global trade tensions.

Education Spending in Ontario: From the Classroom to the Cabinet Table

Education spending is always a heated topic no matter where you live, as the future economic and social success of children is paramount to everything from financial security in old age to long-term economic growth. But what drives education spending and the outcomes attained

Federal Fiscal Forecast: Accounting Revisions and Political Divisions

One year out from the 2019 federal election, and the battle lines are being drawn. Corporate income tax (CIT) rate cuts in the US have challenged Canada’s business tax advantage, and the pressure is on for the federal government to respond in the Fall Economic Statement. And then you have the federal carbon tax, the constitutionality and rationality of which is being challenged by several provincial governments and by every federal party on the right of the political spectrum. Beyond taxes, there is also the issue of the glacial pace at which infrastructure dollars have been flowing, resulting in large lapses. Add to that the flood of red ink spilled on the federal government’s fiscal forecasts, and Canadians should be prepared to be served up a spicy medley of rhetoric and public policies as Budget 2019 and election platforms are prepared.

For the Bank of Canada, Capacity’s Saying “Yes” and the Data’s Saying “Let’s Go”

With the announcement of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on September 30th, one of the few hurdles that remained in the way of the Bank of Canada taking the next step in its rate-hiking journey has been pushed aside. Now, it’s not as though the USMCA was a material game changer from the trade perspective. In fact, the USMCA looks a lot like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that is was intended to replace. Instead, what it did was remove a great deal of uncertainty around the economic outlook, particularly for trade and the business investment that it supports.