Canadian News

Canadian News and Opinion

What’s a Canadian soldier’s life worth?

It should not be the end of the matter that Canada’s juvenile terrorist Omar Khadr got a C$10.5 million payout for temporary sleep deprivation at Guantanamo, and no lasting disability.

For background, Khadr was born in Toronto and therefore his Canadian citizenship is not in question. His father and mother were immigrants from Egypt and Palestine respectively. During Khadr’s formative years, the family shuttled between Canada and Pakistan. His father became a close associate of Osama bin Laden and he was killed in a raid by a Pakistani helicopter team in 2003.

Under the influence of his parents, and perhaps implied compulsion, Khadr joined the anti-government guerrillas in Afghanistan. He became involved in an engagement with American forces during which he is said to have thrown a grenade that killed combat medic Christopher Speer, and blinded another soldier, Layne Morris, in one eye.

By Colin Alexander - Monday, July 10, 2017 - Full Story

The Khadr $10.5 Million and Ruling Class Rot

The Canadian government will pay $10.5 million to Omar Khadr, 30, a Canadian-born al-Qaeda militant who killed an American soldier, Sgt. Christopher Speer in a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan. In addition to the $10.5 million, Khadr will get an apology from the Canadian government. The case marks a stark contrast to the Canadian experience.

When Canadians have fought abroad they have joined Canada’s allies and engaged in combat against Canada’s enemies. My grandfather Lorne Henry Billingsley was with the Canadian forces at Vimy Ridge and other major battles of World War I.  He was one of the first victims of German mustard gas attack but never received a monetary award in seven figures.

His son James Richard Billingsley, who recently passed away at 94, fought in the World War II Battles of Groningen and Oldenburg, on the enemy’s home turf. He was wounded in action twice, once by a German sniper, but duly returned to his regiment and fought on. The Canadian government never issued this hero a monetary award, let alone anything in the millions.

By Lloyd Billingsley - Sunday, July 9, 2017 - Full Story

CTF petition opposing $10 million payout to Omar Khadr reaches 52,000 signatures

OTTAWA, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) announced this morning that the organization’s petition calling on the Trudeau government to revoke its offer of a $10 million payout to Omar Khadr had already reached 52,000 signatures.

“With over 52,000 names in under 48 hours, it is clear this issue has struck a nerve,” said CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick. “The notion of giving $10 million in taxpayer money to Khadr is so outrageous that many Canadians are simply beside themselves.”

The CTF is looking forward to delivering the petition to the Trudeau government, but wants to ensure all Canadians wanting to sign the petition will have their chance before delivery.

The CTF’s petition opposing the $10 million financial payment to Khadr is available HERE.

By Canadian Taxpayers Federation - Thursday, July 6, 2017 - Full Story

Critics of Ontario premier erroneously assume she’s trying to do the right thing

Not only is Kathleen Wynne unpopular in the province she governs but she has the lowest approval ratings of any premier in Canada. In a poll late last month, while 70 percent of Ontarians disapprove of her performance, almost half of all Canadians (48 percent) disapprove of her job performance.

Back in March, an Angus Reid poll gave her a record low; only 12 percent of Ontarians polled approved of Wynne’s performance. As the late Finance Minister Jim Flaherty might have put it, she reached Elvis territory; the percentage of people who like the job she is doing is about the same as those who think the singer is still alive.

Watching her majority government headed for what could be third party status after the next election scheduled for June next year, Wynne took action. In May, Wynne announced the province’s minimum wage, now at $11.40 an hour, will increase to $15 by 2019. As of Jan.1 next year, the minimum wage will be increased to $14 an hour. Under the premier’s plan, the minimum wage will increase by a whopping 32 percent in less than two years. Other measures announced such as workers being paid for three hours if their shifts are cancelled and workers being entitled to 10 days of personal leave (two of them paid leave) have been announced.

By Arthur Weinreb - Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - Full Story

Toronto housing boom driving economic growth in Ontario; masks weak business investment

TORONTO—Weak business investment in Ontario has the provincial economy increasingly dependent on Toronto’s housing market for growth, leaving the province especially vulnerable if the market slows, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“Toronto’s hot housing market is the one leg propping up Ontario’s otherwise weak and vulnerable economy, making the spectre of a possible housing bubble burst or even just a slowdown all the more worrying,” said Philip Cross, former chief economic analyst for Statistics Canada and author of Ontario’s One Cylinder Economy: Housing in Toronto and Weak Business Investment.

The study finds that housing—both homebuilding costs and record high prices—accounted for more than a quarter (29.0 per cent) of Ontario’s economic growth in 2016.

By Fraser Institute - Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - Full Story

Pallister right to challenge legality of Ottawa-imposed carbon tax

REGINA, SK: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is applauding Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister for serving notice to Ottawa that the province may take legal action to defend itself against a federally imposed carbon tax.

“It’s wrong for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to impose a carbon tax scheme that disregards huge investments in hydro power and damages the economy” said Todd MacKay, Prairie Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “Manitobans don’t want a carbon tax and Premier Pallister is right to stand up for people in his province.”

Premier Pallister drew a clear line in the sand in a government release issued on June 29.

By Canadian Taxpayers Federation - Friday, June 30, 2017 - Full Story

More Ontario students attending independent schools as public school enrolment declines

TORONTO—The share of Ontario students attending independent schools increased 24.5 per cent over a 15-year period, despite not receiving any financial support from the provincial government, according to a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“For their children’s education, parents in Ontario are increasingly choosing options outside the public school system,” said Angela MacLeod, a policy analyst with the Fraser Institute’s Barbara Mitchell Centre for Improvement in Education and co-author of Where Our Students are Educated: Measuring Student Enrolment in Canada, 2017.

By Fraser Institute - Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - Full Story

Trapping Canada’s media darling on electoral reform

In 2015 Canada’s Liberal party promised electoral reform and campaigned on a commitment to ensure that 2015 would “be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system.” The Liberals, led by Mr. Trudeau won about 39.4% of the popular vote and a total of 184 seats in a 338 seat House to form a majority government.

An all-party committee of the House was struck in June of 2016 to recommend an alternative voting method; it reported in favor of a proportional representation system in November; and was fully repudiated in February of 2017 when Prime Minister Trudeau announced that “a clear preference for a new electoral system, let alone a consensus, has not emerged” and therefore that nothing further would be done.

By Paul Murphy - Monday, June 19, 2017 - Full Story

First Nations activist wins precedent setting court victory for financial transparency

SASKATOON, SK: First Nations activist Charmaine Stick and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) are celebrating a precedent setting court victory to strengthen band members’ rights to demand financial transparency from their leaders.

“First Nations leaders have a sacred responsibility to serve the grassroots people and that means being open about what’s happening with our money,” said Ms Stick, a member of the Onion Lake Cree Nation. “For years I’ve been demanding answers from our leaders and they’ve told me I’d never get anywhere, but today’s court ruling proves that all of us have the right to hold our chief and council accountable.

By Canadian Taxpayers Federation - Saturday, June 17, 2017 - Full Story

CTF applauds rejection of internet tax

OTTAWA, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is applauding Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly for rejecting the Heritage Committee’s recommendation to impose a new internet tax on Canadians.

“A new internet tax is a terrible idea, and would make the internet less affordable for Canadians,” said CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick, “Even worse would be using the revenue to create a new corporate welfare slush fund for the government to subsidize their favourite media outlets.”

The CTF has previously noted that taxpayers are already forced to spend billions subsidizing cultural industries, and the best way forward is fewer subsidies, not more.

By Canadian Taxpayers Federation -- Aaron Wudrick, CTF Federal Director- Thursday, June 15, 2017 - Full Story

Hundreds of Ontarians are sending the Premier a message

TORONTO, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) has delivered 797 little rubber ducks to Premier Wynne in protest of her government’s wasteful spending.

The 797 ducks were ordered by individuals from across the province as a part of the CTF’s campaign. The campaign was launched after it was uncovered that the government had paid over $121,000 to rent a giant inflatable rubber duck.

“When news of this duck became public, we received calls and emails from across the province. It’s almost as if the government is running out of ways to waste our money. That’s why we wanted to send the government a message,” said CTF Ontario Director, Christine Van Geyn.

“Since the Premier likes ducks so much, hundreds of hardworking taxpayers from across Ontario are sending her these 797 little rubber ducks as a message to her government to stop wasting money,” continued Van Geyn. “With any hope, this duck debacle will make the provincial government take a good, hard look at how they spend taxpayer dollars and start treating those dollars with more respect.”

By Canadian Taxpayers Federation - Monday, June 12, 2017 - Full Story

Morneau’s ‘tax escalator’ a bad precedent

(This column originally appeared on the Toronto Sun)

Most taxpayers probably breathed a sigh of relief that Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s spring budget didn’t include any headline-grabbing tax hikes, such as increases in income taxes or business taxes. Rumoured new taxes on health and dental benefits and capital gains thankfully never materialized.

But that doesn’t mean taxpayers got off the hook completely.

There were still a few small increases, including tax hikes on cigarettes, and a two per cent tax hike on beer, wine and spirits.

By Canadian Taxpayers Federation -- Aaron Wudrick, CTF Federal Director- Monday, June 12, 2017 - Full Story

Ontario’s plan for ‘universal’ and ‘affordable’ day care won’t be universal and it sure isn’t afford

This column first ran in the Financial Post and is now free to reprint.

What could Kathleen Wynne possibly have left in her progressive bag of tricks? There’s an election one year away, and the premier has already offered universal pharmacare for kids, rent control and a $15 dollar minimum wage. What costly razzle-dazzle does the premier have left to wow voters?

Behold Wynne’s June 6th proposal of “universally affordable” child care—which is neither universal nor affordable. With this idea the premier is following in the footsteps of the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair, the NDP’s Rachel Notley, and of course the separatist former Quebec premier Pauline Marois.

By Canadian Taxpayers Federation -- Christine Van Geyn- Friday, June 9, 2017 - Full Story

June 9 is Tax Freedom Day, when Canadians start working for themselves and not government

VANCOUVER—Canadian families celebrate Tax Freedom Day on June 9 this year, according to the Fraser Institute’s annual calculations.

Tax Freedom Day measures the total yearly tax burden imposed on Canadian families by federal, provincial and municipal governments. If you had to pay all your taxes up front, you’d give government every dollar you earned before Tax Freedom Day.


By Fraser Institute - Friday, June 9, 2017 - Full Story

Manitobans reject carbon taxes according to government survey

WINNIPEG, MB: Results from the Manitoba government’s carbon tax survey show that 59 per cent of those who provided comments oppose carbon taxes, according to analysis done by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF). The CTF obtained the survey comments through a freedom-of-information request.

“The Manitoba government asked what people think of carbon taxes and people sent a clear message: Manitobans don’t want a carbon tax,” said Todd MacKay, Prairie Director for the CTF. “Premier Brian Pallister needs to listen to the people and oppose a carbon tax.”

The Manitoba government ran its online Climate and Green Plan survey from Mar. 3 to Mar. 31. While the survey failed to ask respondents whether or not they support a carbon tax, 3,700 people provided comments. The CTF has analysed those comments and more than 59 per cent of those who commented clearly oppose a carbon tax.

By Canadian Taxpayers Federation - Thursday, June 8, 2017 - Full Story

Premier Wynne preaches her Fair Hydro Plan - How is This Fair

Ontario’s financial accountability officer states that the Wynne’s Liberals hydro plan could end up costing Ontarians up to $93 billion more if this plan is financed.  The best case scenario is it will cost Ontarians $45 billion more if Ontario can manage to balance the budget for the next 30 years. What this means is we are going to be paying a lot more money for hydro in the long run for a very short period of relief on a pre- election bribe.

What Premier Wynne failed to tell everyone is that Hydro One has applied for a large rate increase on distribution rates,disconnections / reconnections
removal of load limiters,account collections and access to their poles all increased , in 2018 a $2.79 per month increase- 2019 a $2.47 per month increase -2020 a $ 2.31 per month increase - 2021 a $1.95 per month increase and 2022 a $2.23 per month increase then we will have other rate increases. The OPG has also applied for a 69% increase to produce nuclear power by 2022.  Tis would add a further $5.25 a month to our hydro bill, a decision on this rate increase will come later this year, the increases will keep coming each year
Premier Wynne stated our rates would be tied to inflation for four to five years Do the math here people, how can Premier Wynne say she is going to temporary subsidize 25% of our hydro bill when our rates continue to rise.

By Guest Column -- Ross Ayotte- Wednesday, June 7, 2017 - Full Story

New Hydro Increases Looming

Thank you for your note Ross on Hydro One’s application to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) for a distribution rate increase.

Not only does the application request a distribution rate increase, but they are also applying to have the service charges on disconnection/reconnections, removal of load limiters, account collections and access to their poles all increased.

By Randy Hillier - Wednesday, June 7, 2017 - Full Story

Waterloo Region District School Board electricity costs up by more than $1.7 million

TORONTO, ON: Documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) reveal a dramatic increase to the cost of electricity to the Waterloo Region District School Board since 2012.

The documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, show that in the last four years, bills for schools within the board rose from $7.1 million to $8.8 million. That’s a 25 per cent increase, even though the number of schools remained the same.

“How are the schools in Waterloo Region expected to provide top notch service to students when their electricity bills have grown by 25 per cent? The more money schools have to spend keeping their lights on, the fewer resources they have for students,” said CTF Ontario Director, Christine Van Geyn.

By Canadian Taxpayers Federation - Monday, June 5, 2017 - Full Story

Minister Bains’ lackluster clusters

(This column originally appeared on the Toronto Sun)

Last week, federal Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains announced new details about the federal government’s plan to grow Canada’s economy: hand out nearly a billion dollars in taxpayer money to a few businesses who are willing to ask for it.

To the minister’s credit, he had the good sense not to express it in such candid terms. In the rich tradition of rhetorical poli-babble, he chose far more exciting phrases such as “jumpstarting innovation” “meaningful economic activity” and “superclusters”.

But try as he might to apply lipstick to this pig, it’s still the same old swine underneath.

By Canadian Taxpayers Federation -- Aaron Wudrick, CTF Federal Director- Monday, May 29, 2017 - Full Story