Though some unions, certain public officials, and political activists may not like the increase in private sector provision of health care in the province, a greater mix of public and private providers will bring better outcomes for suffering Ontarians. Pictured is Ontario Minister of Health Sylvia Jones. Photo credit: Twitter/Sylvia Jones   That sound you […]

Manitoba Conservatives jump ship

by Catherine Swift

Over a quarter of the governing PC Party caucus is not seeking re-election this October. Opinion polls indicate Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson (pictured) is one of the least popular provincial leaders in Canada right now. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/David Lipnowski   In recent weeks, a record number of Progressive Conservative Members of the Legislative […]

Atlantic jurisdictions push UBI

by Catherine Swift

Earlier this week, yet municipal council on Canada’s east coast passed a resolution calling for a guaranteed basic livable income. Pictured is Saint John, New Brunswick mayor Donna Noade Reardon. Photo credit: Facebook/City of Saint John   It seems that yet another municipal government has not read the literature on UBI (universal basic income). This […]

Not a very ‘just transition’

by Catherine Swift

The Trudeau government’s anticipated new energy strategy will be bad news for Albertans, and the Canadian oil and gas sector as a whole, but good news for Premier Danielle Smith’s election chances. Photo credit: Winnipeg Free Press   After talking about it for almost two years, and distributing a discussion paper in 2021, it seems […]

Politicizing issues delays solutions

by Catherine Swift

From the climate change issue to how best to treat drug addiction, censoring opinions and statistics based on political lines has become more commonplace in recent years. Photo credit: Britannica   High profile issues of the day have always been politicized to some extent, but this has been happening to an alarming degree in recent […]

Five fearless forecasts for 2023

by Catherine Swift

What will next year bring in terms of the economy, Canadian politics, and international affairs? For the fourth straight year, Swift makes her predictions. Photo credit: Getty Images/Cole Burston    For the fourth year running, I am going to once again try my hand at making some predictions about what is to come in 2023 […]

The reckoning: revisiting predictions for 2022

by Catherine Swift

Spot on in some areas, off base in others, but bold in their making, nonetheless. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick   As promised, I will now revisit the five predictions I made in my Niagara Independent column at the end of 2021 for this past year and see how off base I was. Most […]

A mixed bag in 2022

by Catherine Swift

It was an interesting year for Canadians filled with both good and bad, kicked off by the truckers’ convoy in January and February. Photo credit: Getty Images/Spencer Platt   To say that 2022 was an eventful year for Canada is an understatement. Slowly emerging from the pandemic early in the year, Canadians were still plagued […]

Self-serving union survey misses the mark

by Catherine Swift

Characterizing private health clinics as “for-profit”, as if profit in any and every form is inherently a bad thing, is all part of the conditioning Canadians experience on a regular basis. Photo credit: Twitter/OFL   The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), a federation comprised of 54 labour unions in the province, released the results of […]

The shocking cost of electrification

by Catherine Swift

Decarbonizing Ontario’s already clean electricity system would not only be shockingly expensive, but it would also significantly reduce reliability. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette   Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), the Crown corporation responsible for operating the electricity market in the province, recently published a study responding to the Energy Minister’s request to […]

A taxing year ahead

by Catherine Swift

Courtesy of your federal Liberal government. Photo credit: Reuters/Blare Gable   As if all the talk about a looming recession wasn’t enough, we also know that Canadians will be facing a number of tax increases in 2023, courtesy of the federal Liberal government. For starters, both Employment Insurance premiums and Canada Pension Plan premiums will […]

Premiers’ year-end approval ratings

by Catherine Swift

Francois Legault (pictured) leads the pack, with nearly six-in-ten Quebecers displaying a favourable view of the Premier. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Jacques Boissinot   The Angus Reid Institute has come out with its regular survey of approval ratings for Canada’s Premiers and as usual there is good news for some and coal in the stockings […]

Saskatchewan takes action toward autonomy

by Catherine Swift

Alberta’s recent efforts to better protect itself from federal encroachment on its internal affairs have received a lot of attention lately, but Saskatchewan is making similar moves toward greater provincial autonomy. Pictured is Premier Scott Moe. Photo credit: Twitter/Scott Moe   Alberta may be getting most of the attention with its Alberta Sovereignty Within a […]

Oil and gas investment avoids Canada

by Catherine Swift

High taxes, environmental regulations, and land claim issues, among other concerns, make Canada’s oil producing provinces some of the least attractive jurisdictions in which to do business. Photo credit: Flickr/Jason Hargrove    If there was still any doubt, a recent Fraser Institute study shows how various Canadian federal government policies have damaged the prospects for […]

Lots to chew on in AG’s latest annual report

by Catherine Swift

Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk (pictured) released her yearly assessment of the province’s financial manaveurs on Wednesday. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Aaron Vincent Elkaim   The annual Ontario Auditor General’s report was released this week, with its usual litany of financial and policy missteps by the provincial government and its agencies. Not surprisingly, some of […]

Carbon taxes hit the east

by Catherine Swift

Atlantic residents will soon be paying considerably more to heat their homes and fill their tanks, as the federal government is set to impose its carbon tax on Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and PEI. Pictured is Premier of Nova Scotia Tim Houston. Photo credit: CBC/Rob Short   The latest provinces to be hit by […]

Big changes in Alberta

by Catherine Swift

Premier Smith (pictured) is doing precisely what she said she would do, plus more. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Jason Franson   Newly-minted Alberta Premier Danielle Smith isn’t wasting any time making changes. Less than two months into the job, she has fired the entire Board of the Alberta Health Services (AHS), fulfilling a leadership campaign […]

Pension fund follies

by Catherine Swift

In losing nearly $100 million to a volatile cryptocurrency investment, and by committing to the ESG narrative, two of Canada’s largest and traditionally most successful public pension funds demonstrated that they’re hardly immune to poor judgement and being swept up by the flavour of the week. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Cole Burston   The spectacular […]

It’s always about the money

by Catherine Swift

Despite claims to the contrary, when it comes to public sector labour negotiations in Ontario, it is, has been, and always will be precisely about the money. Pictured is president of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions Laura Walton, Nov. 16, 2022. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Chris Young   In the context of labour […]

Dark clouds over Fall Economic Statement

by Catherine Swift

As economic slowdown looms, province delivers fairly tame, boring mini-budget – but perhaps that’s a good thing. Pictured is Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy presented the Fall Economic Update this week, and not surprisingly the news wasn’t great. In anticipation of a widely expected economic slowdown, […]

Prairies push back

by Catherine Swift

The current federal government has had a habit of interfering with areas of provincial jurisdiction, and it is long overdue that certain provinces begin to push back. Pictured is Premier of Saskatchewan Scott Moe. Photo credit: Facebook/Scott Moe   Canada’s Prairie provinces – Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba – have good reason to be perturbed about […]

More health care spending not the answer

by Catherine Swift

Canada already has one of the highest levels of per capita health care spending among developed countries in the world, and citizens are hardly getting good bang for their buck. Thus, the country’s Premiers should stop spending time and money asking the federal government for more taxpayer dollars and instead concentrate their efforts on garnering […]

Mass walkout a betrayal of students, families and taxpayers

by Catherine Swift

The “day of protest” is ostensibly a response to the Ontario government tabling back-to-work legislation intended to prevent education workers from striking. Pictured is head of the Ontario Federation of Labour Patty Coates during a news conference at Queens Park on Monday alongside OSBCU president Laura Walton (left) and CUPE president Fred Hahn. Photo credit: […]

Ford should testify at Emergencies Act inquiry

by Catherine Swift

To date, Ontario’s Premier has resisted all calls to take part in the public hearings currently underway in Ottawa. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Arlyn McAdorey   It is mystifying why Ontario Premier Doug Ford continues to adamantly resist appearing before the Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC), currently the hottest political ticket in Canada.  Ford has […]

Voting at 16 in Canada

by Catherine Swift

Internationally, there are a number of countries that have lowered their voting age to 16 in recent years, including Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Germany, Scotland, and Wales. It is likely inevitable this will happen in Canada as well in the not-too-distant future. But whether such a shift will actually bear fruit for its most vocal advocates […]

More imbalanced labour laws are bad news for Canada

by Catherine Swift

The whole notion of collective bargaining is predicated on there being a reasonable balance between the union and the employer. Prohibiting the employer from bringing in other workers to carry on operating severely upsets this balance, leaving far too much power in union hands. Photo credit: CityNews   The federal Liberals just announced they are […]

Be sure to vote in upcoming municipal election, but vote wisely

by Catherine Swift

Municipal elections historically drive the fewest number of voters to the ballot box. However, of all levels of government, the local level touches most citizens more directly and frequently than its provincial and federal counterparts – and not just in terms of basic services and policing. In recent years, municipal governments have become increasingly more […]

Public sector cost pressures rising

by Catherine Swift

Overall spending on Ontario public sector salaries has increased from about $36.3 billion in 2011 to $48.2 billion by 2022, about 2.9 per cent annually. It’s projected the wage bill will reach $56.9 billion by 2027, assuming average annual increases of 3.4 per cent. Clearly, an ever-increasing public sector funded by a shrinking private sector […]

A big week in provincial politics

by Catherine Swift

Premier Francois Legault won a resounding re-election victory in Quebec on Monday, while Danielle Smith became the new Premier of Alberta Thursday night. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson and Jonathan Hayward   Two major developments this week promise to have a big impact on provincial and federal politics in Canada for the next few […]

Death by taxes for Eastern Canada

by Catherine Swift

Recent analysis demonstrates taxpayers in Canada’s Atlantic provinces pay significantly more in personal income and sales taxes than their western counterparts. Pictured is Spinnaker’s Landing in Summerside, PEI. Photo credit: PEI Tourism/Stephen DesRoches   Whenever an election looms, all politicians claim to want to provide tax relief for the “middle class”.  This is a logical […]

NDP hypocrisy, as interim leader talks energy policy

by Catherine Swift

Peter Tabuns (pictured) recently decried the Ford government for raising natural gas prices. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Chris Young   We are all accustomed to the enduring hypocrisy of politicians by now, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be challenged. The latest instance came from MPP Peter Tabuns, interim Leader of the Ontario NDP. Tabuns […]

Another hit on housing costs

by Catherine Swift

A recent study found that to meet the Liberal government’s 2030 climate targets Canada would need to retrofit over half a million residences annually with electric heat pumps, at an average cost of $18,000 a pop.    The climate chickens are coming home to roost. In the early days of policies which were justified on […]

Energy insecurity awaits

by Catherine Swift

A number of Canadian jurisdictions are proceeding with plans to continue on the so-called “decarbonization” bandwagon and move away from more reliable and affordable energy sources. Pictured is Ontario’s Lennox Generating Station, dual-fuelled by oil and natural gas. Photo credit: OPG   All indications are that Europe is facing the prospect of a very difficult […]

Electoral boundary changes controversial as always

by Catherine Swift

The changes take place every 10 years and never fail to ruffle a few feathers. Quebec, for example, was set to lose one seat based on current criteria – an act deemed wholly unacceptable by the powers that be.    Following each national census conducted after a 10-year period, the Canadian Constitution requires that federal […]

The kids aren’t alright

by Catherine Swift

A recent study showed that Canada’s under-30 crowd is generally pessimistic about the future, especially in regard to employment, income, and the possibility of home ownership. Photo credit: Pexels/Liza Summer   Some very interesting research was published by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) recently regarding the state of mind of young Canadians and their expectations regarding […]

Poilievre win signals new direction

by Catherine Swift

One that views business as a good thing, instead of something to over-regulate, over-tax, and stifle based on industry. Pictured Poilievre addresses Conservative caucus members for the first time as leader in Ottawa on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick   It was a blowout by all metrics. Pierre Poilievre decisively […]

More challenges to plastics ban

by Catherine Swift

Alberta has joined dozens of industry manufacturers in Canada challenging the federal government’s ban on single-use plastics ban. Premier Jason Kenney (pictured) recently commented that the federal policy intrudes on provincial jurisdiction and is yet another Trudeau government initiative harmful to Alberta economic interests. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Chad Hipolito    The province of Alberta […]

The Alberta Sovereignty Act pushes back

by Catherine Swift

Should current favourite for the job Danielle Smith (pictured, centre) become the new UCP leader on October 6, she has vowed to introduce legislation designed to better protect Alberta’s provincial interests against federal encroachment and predation later this year. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Jeff McIntosh    It is said that the definition of insanity is […]

The state of the unions

by Catherine Swift

At right around 31 per cent, Canada has one of the world’s highest unionization rates. However, not all Canadian sectors are created equal, with a stark contrast in rates between the private versus public sectors. Photo credit: Toronto Star/Bernard Weil   In honour of Labour Day, it’s worth having a look at what Canadian labour […]

‘Quiet quitting’ – it’s a thing

by Catherine Swift

Though hardly a new concept, the pandemic has revitalized and made more acceptable the notion of putting in the bare minimum while on the clock.     There has been quite a bit of discussion in the media and workplaces of late about a supposedly new trend that is being called “quiet quitting”. This refers to […]

Small business pandemic carnage

by Catherine Swift

The true extent of the economic damage inflicted by the pandemic and its associated government policies on Canada’s mom-and-pop shops will take years to be fully realized and revealed. However, for preliminary illustration, a recent survey found that 17 per cent of small businesses across the country were preparing to close permanently because of inordinately […]

Ontario health care changes – they’re a start

by Catherine Swift

Probably the most important of the many changes announced this week by Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Sylvia Jones (pictured) is the expansion of surgeries to private facilities, while still having these procedures covered by OHIP. Photo credit: Twitter/Sylvia Jones   The Ford government announced the latest phase of its so-called “Plan to Stay […]

The ‘strong mayor’ debate

by Catherine Swift

New legislation introduced by the province would give the mayors of Ontario’s two largest cities, Toronto and Ottawa, the ability to streamline important decisions. Mayor of Toronto John Tory (pictured left, beside Premier Doug Ford) said he is in favour of the change. Mayor of Ottawa Jim Watson (not pictured) said he doesn’t see the […]

The three deadly words

by Catherine Swift

Ontario Legislative Building in downtown Toronto. High cost and poor performance are hallmarks of the public sector, and they are brought about and maintained across the country by a single phenomenon: unionized government monopoly. Photo credit: OLA   The hits just keep on coming. Blacklock’s Reporter, an independent media organization that does not take bailouts […]

Is Scott Moe Canada’s Ron DeSantis?

by Catherine Swift

Premier of Saskatchewan Scott Moe (left) and Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis (right). Photo credit: 980 CJME/Lisa Schick and AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack   Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has developed a reputation for pushing back against a range of leftist government policies including Critical Race Theory in the public education system to, most recently, what he […]

When will the green madness end?

by Catherine Swift

Ontario and other Canadian provinces stand to learn a thing or two from places like Germany (pictured) and Sri Lanka about the real-life consequences of over-reliance on “green” energy solutions and succumbing to climate change zealotry. Photo credit: Getty Images/Sean Gallup   As the evidence continues to pile up about how “green” policies are beggaring […]

Stop the presses! Nova Scotia pauses pay raises for provincial politicians

by Catherine Swift

Premier Tim Houston (pictured) recently stated, “when inflation is at a 40-year high, gas prices are at historic levels and many hard-working Nova Scotians are struggling to make ends meet, it is not the time to increase the pay of MLAs.” Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan   Something truly shocking happened recently and did […]

Provinces seek more control over immigration

by Catherine Swift

With an ever-growing backlog of new applicants, and significant need for more labour across the country, one would think the Trudeau government would jump at the opportunity for help from its provincial counterparts. And yet, as is typical with this federal government, the Liberals are dragging their feet, promising to ‘look into’ the problem. Pictured […]

It’s not about the climate

by Catherine Swift

If it was, all these government policies and plans would exhibit far greater internal consistency. Photo credit: PMO/Adam Scotti   A number of recent regulatory measures in Canada and abroad that are supposedly aimed at achieving various climate-related objectives contain some interesting inconsistencies that warrant attention.  Last week, the Fraser Institute released a study examining […]

Ontario finance news misrepresented by Opposition – again

by Catherine Swift

A recent FAO report indicates the provincial government spent several billion less than planned in the last fiscal year: an otherwise good news story that members of the Ontario NDP – like finance critic Catherine Fife (pictured) – are trying to twist as harmful “underspending”.  Photo credit: Twitter/Catherine Fife   The most recent Expenditure Monitor […]

Health care in peril

by Catherine Swift

Most politicians and many Canadians continue to promote the fiction that our badly broken health care system continues to be viable and among “the best in the world”. But, at present, the only people benefitting from the current health care system are the public sector unions. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson   The horror […]

Dissatisfaction out east

by Catherine Swift

A recent poll indicates that the vast majority of residents in the Atlantic provinces are none too pleased with their respective governments’ performance when it comes to health care, among other issues. Pictured is Fredericton, New Brunswick. Photo credit: Atlantic Traveller   A recent public opinion poll by the Angus Reid Institute has highlighted a […]

The impossible green dream

by Catherine Swift

Fully 32 Ontario municipalities, including most notably Ottawa, have bought in to the notion that they will be able to phase out natural gas in the coming decades while doing no credible planning on exactly how reliable, relatively affordable gas can be replaced by unreliable and costly renewables. Photo credit: University of Ottawa    The […]

Do you know what your children are learning?

by Catherine Swift

 Hint: it’s no longer just 2+2=4. Photo credit: Pexels/Ksenia Chernaya    Evidence that our public school system is too “woke” for its own good – and the good of its students and taxpayers – has been clear for some time. Recently, however, there have been a number of episodes in Ontario and other jurisdictions which […]

Doug Ford’s big fat Cabinet

by Catherine Swift

After winning another majority mandate last month, Premier Ford expanded his Cabinet to 30 members and significantly increased the number of parliamentary assistants that will work alongside his executive council. Pictured: Ford shakes hands with Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell outside Queen’s Park in Toronto before naming his new Cabinet, June 24, 2022. Photo credit: CBC/Evan […]

More dumb housing policy

by Catherine Swift

The latest entry in the dumb housing policy sweepstakes was submitted by the Ontario government, which earlier this week opted to cap the 2023 permitted rent increase to 2.5 per cent. Photo credit: Homestead   It seems like the only policies governments implement these days to supposedly deal with the housing crisis in Canada are […]

Paid sick days back on the agenda

by Catherine Swift

The Ford government’s pandemic-era Worker Income Protection Benefit is slated to expire at the end of July. Naturally, labour advocates are scrambling to ensure the program gets enhanced, or at the very least extended. Pictured: Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton. McNaughton introduced the benefit program back in April 2021 […]

Basic income under the microscope again

by Catherine Swift

A recently-published study from the Halifax-based Atlantic Provinces Economic Council – one of many from recent years – explored the feasibility of a basic income program on Canada’s east coast.    Yet another study has come out examining the feasibility of a basic income system. As you may recall, such a system – also known […]

Brace yourself for more inflation

by Catherine Swift

As a new round of union negotiations gets underway, expect any resultant public sector pay raises to increase everyday costs for the 80 per cent of Canadians who do not work for the government. Pictured: Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) members rally for “fair wages” in Ottawa, June 8, 2022. Photo credit: Facebook/PSAC   […]

Where’s the beef?

by Catherine Swift

Another major Alberta industry becomes target of Ottawa meddling. Photo credit: Facebook/Alberta Beef Producers   You have to wonder if there is a special section within the Canadian Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) whose sole function is to come up with ways to torment Alberta.  If implementing a bunch of policies detrimental to the oil and […]

Be careful what you wish for

by Catherine Swift

An organization named the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) recently released an open letter calling on the federal government to implement a “tobacco-style ban” on fossil fuel advertising in Canada. Erroneous comparisons aside, the group of doctors completely failed to acknowledge all of the good things produced by fossil fuels, including (ironically) […]

Public schools under pressure

by Catherine Swift

Having gained a glimpse into Ontario’s ever-devolving school system during the pandemic, more and more parents are pulling their kids out of public education in favour of independent alternatives and homeschooling. Photo credit: Pexels/Gustavo Fring   One of the unexpected side-effects of the pandemic was that, as students were required to stay at home and […]

Justice under the microscope

by Catherine Swift

Recent weeks have seen a number of developments on the criminal justice front, none of which should encourage Canadians who value fair and equitable treatment under the law and decent consideration of victims’ rights. Pictured is the Supreme Court of Canada. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons   One development on the criminal justice front that has […]

Four more Ford years for Ontario

by Catherine Swift

The PC Party won a commanding 83 seats Thursday night, plenty enough for a second majority mandate. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   It was a rout. There is really no other way to describe the outcome of the Ontario election. As of the latest data, Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives have picked up 16 seats (from […]

Beware the support of unions

by Catherine Swift

Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton meets with IUOE Local 793 representatives. The organization is one of several construction trade unions to endorse the Ontario PC Party this election. Photo credit: Twitter/Monte McNaughton   Coming up to the Ontario election this week, the Progressive Conservative Party has been boasting about the support […]

Vote Compass lacks a sense of direction

by Catherine Swift

Screenshot of the Ontario 2022 election Vote Compass launch page. Photo credit: CBC    The CBC has an odd survey it offers called the “Vote Compass” that the taxpayer-financed network trots out during the period prior to elections, supposedly to help the citizenry come to a decision about who they should be voting for. The […]

Making it easier for unions in Ontario

by Catherine Swift

The provincial NDP, led by Andrea Horwath (pictured), wants to add more imbalance to an already wildly imbalanced system. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette    Part of the NDP platform in the upcoming Ontario election is to make it easier for unions to organize workplaces.  Really? What exactly do they plan to do? Insist […]

Political upheaval in Alberta

by Catherine Swift

 Jason Kenney resigned as head of the UCP Wednesday evening after only barely passing a review of his leadership, leaving Alberta without a premier. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Dave Chidley   This week Jason Kenney lost his bid to remain leader of the United Conservative Party (UCP) of Alberta, and with it Premier of that […]

The four-day work week debate

by Catherine Swift

Both the provincial Liberal leader Steven Del Duca and NDP leader Andrea Horwath (pictured) have committed to exploring the idea of shortened work week. While it’s a debate well-worth having, any government would be wise to engage with caution and avoid any kind of top-down imposition. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Tijana Martin   The concept […]

Alberta court overturns ‘no pipeline’ bill

by Catherine Swift

Premier Jason Kenney (pictured) called it a “huge win”. Celebration may, however, be premature. The federal government has already stated that it will appeal the ruling. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Larry MacDougal   Politicians in Alberta and Saskatchewan were delighted at a ruling earlier this week by the Alberta Court of Appeal to quash federal […]

Lessons from North Korea

by Catherine Swift

Activist and North Korean escapee Yeonmi Park speaks onstage during the Tory Burch Foundation Embrace Ambition Summit at Alice Tully Hall in New York City, April 24, 2018. Ms. Park addressed the Canada Strong and Free Conference last week in Ottawa, retelling her harrowing story of escape, life in the “Hermit Kingdom”, and lessons about […]

The problem with subsidies

by Catherine Swift

While spending large sums of someone else’s money may be attractive and politically expedient for those in power, more often than not taxpayers end up with a bad deal. Pictured Doug Ford announces a massive public investment in automaker Stellantis in Windsor, May 2, 2022. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   In recent months we have […]

The Freshii foofaraw

by Catherine Swift

Photo credit: Toronto Pearson   You may have heard that Freshii, the Canadian fast casual franchise chain offering salads and other healthy meals, got into some public relations hot water last week because of a decision they made to use a virtual cashier located outside of Canada. This cashier turned out to be a person […]

Ontario’s pre-election budget

by Catherine Swift

Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy at a media briefing before release of the provincial budget on Thursday, Apr. 28, 2022. Photo credit: CBC/Evan Mitsui   It comes as no surprise that the budget announced by the Ford government this week will effectively serve as the Progressive Conservative Party’s election platform. The fact that the budget […]

Ontario election race tightens

by Catherine Swift

   Latest polling shows Steven Del Duca’s Liberals making gains. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Chris Young Most recent opinion polls on the voting intentions of Ontarians in the upcoming provincial election have suggested that the most likely outcome was the Progressive Conservative (PC) Ford government once again winning a majority. Late last week, however, an […]

Freedoms at stake

by Catherine Swift

Certain provisions of the provincial government’s Bill 100, for example, are cause for concern. Pictured is Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, who introduced the legislation last month. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn   A number of issues have arisen in recent weeks that have the potential to impact the basic freedoms of Canadians. In […]

Good news for Saskatchewan

by Catherine Swift

 Amongst other positive developments of late, the province was recently named the second most popular mining jurisdiction in the world. Photo credit: Mosaic   While the larger provinces typically attract most of the attention from the news media, Saskatchewan has recently enjoyed some notable successes that warrant comment.  For starters, the 2021 edition of the […]

Workplace democracy diminished in BC

by Catherine Swift

Recent legislative changes introduced by Premier John Horgan’s NDP government will further tilt the playing field in unions’ favour. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck   Last week the NDP government of British Columbia introduced legislation that will significantly change the way workplaces may be certified by a union under the provincial Labour Relations Code. […]

Ontario taxpayers provide interesting reaction to licence plate sticker rebate

by Catherine Swift

 Photo credit: Global News   It’s a different kind of sticker shock. Now that Ontarians have been receiving cheques in the mail for rebates of their license plate sticker fees, the reaction to a government actually giving average folks   some of their own money back has been interesting to say the least.    Although the […]

Only Liberals need apply

by Catherine Swift

The permissibility of oil and gas production in Canada apparently depends on how you vote.   This week’s approval of the Bay du Nord offshore oil mega-project in Newfoundland shows many things, but especially that voting Liberal matters a great deal in Trudeau’s Canada. The fact that the Liberal government has, within one week, imposed […]

Spend, spend, spend! It’s government budget season again

by Catherine Swift

 Canada’s and Ontario’s respective finance ministers Chrystia Freeland (left) and Peter Bethlenfalvy (right). The federal Liberals present their budget Thursday, while the provincial PCs will do so by or before April 30. Photo credit: Reuters/Patrick Doyle and The Canadian Press/Christopher Katsarov   Hold on to your wallets, Canadians. It’s government budget season, and the big […]

Alberta’s innovative energy sector

by Catherine Swift

The oil and gas industry has proven that major environmental benefits can be achieved through innovation and creativity without threatening energy security, affordability, and a decent standard of living for Canadians. Photo credit: Cenovus Energy   I spent a few days this week in Calgary attending a conference of energy industry executives, and it’s fair […]

The protected class strikes again

by Catherine Swift

While many in the private sector struggled, 2021 proved to be yet another profitable year for government employees – like teachers. Photo credit: Pexels/Thirdman   It really is time for a tax revolt. If taxpaying private sector Ontarians were not already well aware that there are two classes of people in Canada, the recent release […]

Worries grow among Canadians

by Catherine Swift

Runaway inflation, helped along in part by reckless and/or absent government policy, is making an increasing number of Canadians worry about how they’ll put food on the table or gas in the tank.    It will come as no surprise to most Canadians that a recent poll by Ipsos Reid showed that fully 60 per […]

Provide Canadians some relief: follow Alberta’s lead and reduce taxes on fuel

by Catherine Swift

As runaway inflation continues to hammer Canadian consumers, the Alberta government led by Premier Jason Kenney (pictured) recently announced it was suspending its 13 cent per litre tax on gasoline. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Jason Franson     A couple of weeks ago, the Alberta government made the welcome announcement that it would be suspending its […]

Critical Race Theory hits Ontario

by Catherine Swift

Bill 67, introduced by NDP MPP Laura Mae Lindo (second from left), recently passed Second Reading in the provincial legislature with almost all MPPs of all political parties supporting it. Photo credit: Ontario NDP   Last week, a piece of legislation called Bill 67: Racial Equity in the Education System Act, received Second Reading in […]

Canada’s two solitudes

by Catherine Swift

The truckers’ protests – and all the lies that were and continue to be told about it – spotlighted the growing chasm between the so-called elites in government, academia and the professions whose lives are comfortable and secure, and the lower- and middle-class working Canadians who are being buffeted by inflation, housing unaffordability, high taxes […]

Small business bears the brunt

by Catherine Swift

Even after all the draconian rules and regulations are long gone, small businesses, like they have throughout the pandemic, will continue to suffer the most from the government’s ostensible attempts to “slow the spread”. Photo credit: Getty Images/The Business Journals   What a long, strange trip it’s been. For just about exactly two years, Canadians […]

Ontario and the skilled trades

by Catherine Swift

Photo credit: SRP   It is no secret that there is currently and has been for some time an acute shortage of skilled tradespeople, and that this shortage will worsen in future. Over the next few years, there is expected to be 350,000 vacancies in skilled trades positions in Ontario alone.  The shortage is being […]

A few billion to the good – for now

by Catherine Swift

The province’s financial watchdog recently revealed that the Doug Ford government spent $5.5 billion less than was previously forecast for the first three quarters of the current fiscal year. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   Cue the outrage.  The latest report of Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office (FAO) came out this week and found that the province’s […]

A balanced budget for Alberta

by Catherine Swift

Premier Jason Kenney fist bumps an Alberta MLA after finance minister Travis Toews delivered the 2022 budget in Edmonton, Feb. 24, 2022. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Jason Franson   If there was a race to see which province could bring their budget back into balance following the pandemic government spend-fest – and there should be […]

Passing on gas?

by Catherine Swift

In the last few years, several dozen municipalities in Ontario have committed to phasing-out natural gas by decade’s end. Currently, 75 per cent of households in the province use natural gas for heating. Photo credit: Enersure   Most Ontarians would be surprised to find out that over the past couple of years a growing number […]

The housing conundrum

by Catherine Swift

For decades, Canada’s economic and social success has been based in part on the existence of a healthy and sizeable middle class. A key characteristic of Canada’s middle class is the prevalence of home ownership, which is one of the few means that average people have to accumulate wealth. The current housing crisis is threatening […]

An age-old dilemma

by Catherine Swift

Canada has a proportionately larger baby boom generation than many other developed countries, which means the demands for additional government spending on seniors will continue to grow in the years ahead. Photo credit: Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio   The good news is that Canadians are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. All indications are that this […]

More good financial news for Ontario

by Catherine Swift

Ontario Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy. On Monday, Minister Bethlenfalvy released the province’s third quarter finances – once again, they’re better than expected. Photo credit: CTV News   Hot on the heels of last week’s financial report from the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO), the Ontario Finance Minister has released the third-quarter of 2021 […]

Good news on the Ontario deficit front

by Catherine Swift

The province’s fiscal watchdog predicts sunnier than expected days ahead. Photo credit: Reuters   This week, the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) released a report on its expectations for provincial government finances for the next couple of fiscal years.  The FAO used the government’s data contained in the Fall Economic Statement from November of […]

More unhelpful “green” policy for Ontario

by Catherine Swift

The previously ‘Open for Business’ Ford government has created a new registry that appears to be another version of a carbon credit system. Photo credit: Bloomberg   For some unknown reason, it seems that the Ford government has been captured by the “green” lobby. In a recent announcement, the government heralded the creation of an […]

Some good news in the climate gloom

by Catherine Swift

Ontario’s St. Marys Cement (pictured) has figured out a way to offset the environmental impact of conducting business. Photo credit: St Marys Cement   The climate crusade to force the developed world to greatly reduce their dependence on relatively affordable and reliable fossil fuels and replace them with the much more expensive and unreliable green […]

The demise of oil – and Alberta – is greatly exaggerated

by Catherine Swift

Premier of Alberta Jason Kenney pays a visit to one of the province’s oil producers in Jul 2020. Photo credit: Twitter/Jason Kenney   Although many of our politicians and environmental advocates these days like to say that oil and gas have had their day, the facts show that the Canadian industry is actually enjoying quite […]

Another Ontario teachers’ strike?

by Catherine Swift

With yet more job action seemingly on the horizon, Swift suggests public education should be declared an essential service and strikes outlawed. Picture from an Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association picket line in Ottawa, Feb. 4, 2020. Photo credit: Postmedia/Errol McGihon   It is difficult to believe that the Ontario teachers’ unions could get even […]

The new tyranny of ‘ESG’

by Catherine Swift

ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) is everywhere these days, imposing its heavy hand on financial markets and setting out new conditions businesses must comply with if they want to access financing.   ESG is basically a means of evaluating a company’s eligibility for financing based on non-financial criteria such as the company’s environmental practices, social criteria […]

Carbon taxes on the agenda again

by Catherine Swift

Premier of Manitoba Heather Stefanson. Like Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe, Stefanson is hoping to craft a made-in-province carbon pricing plan that will be approved by the federal government that aligns with Manitoba’s unique needs and desires. Photo credit: CBC   After having had some experience with the federally imposed carbon tax, and having lost constitutional challenges […]

The highs and lows of premiers’ approval ratings

by Catherine Swift

Premier Ford hit a new low of 30 per cent approval. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette   The latest approval ratings for the various provincial premiers have come out from the Angus Reid Institute and, as always, there is good news for some and bad news for others. In the good news column, relatively […]

Ontario ready to open schools

by Catherine Swift

Premier Doug Ford (left) and Minister of Education Stephen Lecce (right). Ontario students return to in-person learning on Monday – and it’s about time. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Carlos Osorio    After an extended Christmas break, Ontario appears set to once again open the schools to in-person learning on Monday, barring some unexpected circumstances that […]

Truth at last: Wynne admits electricity mistake

by Catherine Swift

Former head of the provincial Liberal Party and Premier of Ontario from 2013 to 2018 Kathleen Wynne. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Chris Young   Perhaps the COVID vaccines have a little bit of truth serum in them, as some painful truths are finally emerging from various quarters.   One of the more recent instances involved former […]

Dumbing down Ontario’s education system

by Catherine Swift

To promote a distorted sense of equality, the Ontario Superior Court recently ruled that prospective teachers no longer need to pass a simple math comprehension test to serve as educators in the province. Photo credit: Getty Images/Sam Edwards   One of the developments over the Christmas holidays that didn’t get the attention it deserved was […]

Time for togetherness

by Catherine Swift

One way to promote unity may be to force public officials – those making all the pandemic-related decisions – to experience the same economic hardship many Ontario residents must endure every time further restrictions come into place. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette   The ever-quotable American economist Thomas Sowell said that “It is hard […]

Five fearless forecasts for 2022

by Catherine Swift

Prediction number four: following another electoral defeat in June, the 2022 provincial election will be Andrea Horwath’s last as leader of the Ontario NDP. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Chris Young   ‘Tis the season for predictions, and as an economist and political junkie I can’t resist the urge. Here are five shots in the dark […]

Batting .500 on 2021 predictions

by Catherine Swift

Photo credit: Getty Images   As promised, I have reviewed my prognostications made a year ago to see if my track record has improved any from previous years. Overall, it looks like my crystal ball got a little clearer, but still leaves much to be desired.   My first prediction involved whether Canada would have a […]

Timing is everything

by Catherine Swift

Premier Doug Ford (pictured) heads into the holidays with a sizeable lead over his NDP and Liberal competitors, according to a recent opinion poll. Photo credit: The Globe and Mail   It seems that the Ontario Progressive Conservatives just received an early Christmas present in the form of the latest opinion poll on how voters […]

We don’t need another lockdown

by Catherine Swift

Having been thrust into multiple lockdowns since the start of the pandemic, more and more Canadians starting to view the cure as worse than the disease. Photo credit: Toronto Star/Richard Lautens   Just in time for Christmas, the most recent COVID-19 variant has come on the scene to once again induce fear and loathing in […]

Medical wait times longer than ever

by Catherine Swift

A new report released by the Fraser Institute found that Canadians waited on average 25.6 weeks between doctor referral and treatment in 2021.    The Fraser Institute has been doing an annual survey of physicians across 12 medical specialties since 1993 to document the length of time Canadians need to wait for various medical procedures. […]

Allan inquiry follow up

by Catherine Swift

Primary author of the ‘Report of the public inquiry into anti-Alberta energy campaigns’ Steve Allan. Photo credit: Postmedia/Jim Wells   Alberta’s public inquiry into the activities of environmental groups opposing the oil sands and other fossil fuel developments released its report a couple of months ago and continues to be controversial.  The inquiry, headed by […]

Canadians open to health care changes

by Catherine Swift

Per a recent study conducted by Leger on behalf of Second Street, two-thirds of Canadians are in favour of provincial governments hiring private clinics for surgeries to reduce wait times. Photo credit: LCM Architects    For decades, the prevailing wisdom has been that most Canadians are quite satisfied with the state of our health care […]

The winter of our discontent

by Catherine Swift

A recent Leger poll revealed well over half of Canadians would shun the unvaccinated and not allow them to attend gatherings this holiday season. Photo credit: SciTechDaily   Maybe it’s the prospect of another COVID Christmas, but it seems like Canadians are getting mean these days. A couple of recent public opinion surveys have shown […]

Auditor General strikes again!

by Catherine Swift

Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk. Photo credit: CTV   The report of Ontario’s Auditor General (AG) was released earlier this week, and it was a doozie. The main focus of the report was, not surprisingly, the waste entailed in disbursing major amounts of money during the pandemic. The AG analysis found that: over $200 million […]

Divisive policies multiply

by Catherine Swift

Peel District School Board headquarters in Mississauga. Photo credit: Toronto Sun/Craig Robertson   The last couple of weeks have seen some truly unfortunate policies emerge from various parts of the Ontario government that are more likely to be divisive and harmful rather than accomplish anything positive. Not surprisingly, our always “woke” provincial public education system […]

Saskatchewan’s bold idea

by Catherine Swift

Premier of Saskatchewan Scott Moe. Moe recently floated the idea of Saskatchewan pursuing more autonomy as a province, an idea seemingly well-received amongst his constituents. Photo credit: Government of Saskatchewan   Premier Scott Moe of Saskatchewan recently came up with an interesting concept that attracted attention from across Canada. Moe’s idea was that Saskatchewan should […]

Daycare plans proceed – or do they?

by Catherine Swift

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announcing the province and federal government reached a deal regarding $10-a-day daycare, Nov. 15, 2021. Photo credit: Edmonton Journal   There was a supremely awkward press conference that took place last week in which Alberta Premier Jason Kenney “signed on” to the federal Liberal government’s so-called $10 per day daycare plan, […]

Electric vehicle subsidies back for Ontario?

by Catherine Swift

Tesla supercharge station. Photo credit: Drive Tesla Canada   In the wake of the Biden administration’s apparent intention to introduce significant subsidies to the tune of US$12,500 per vehicle to purchasers of electric vehicles (EVs) manufactured in the US, Ontario Premier Doug Ford seemed to have some softening of his views on EVs and measures […]

We’re all socialists now

by Catherine Swift

  Ontario Liberal leader Steven Del Duca (left) and Premier Doug Ford. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn and The Canadian Press/Richard Lautens   Is it just me, or does it seem like every policy initiative being put forward by governments of all political stripes these days involves discouraging people from working in one way […]

Ontario’s aging population comes home to roost

by Catherine Swift

Photo credit: Pexels/Vlada Karpovich   We’ve been hearing about Canada’s aging population for decades, and the most significant impacts will soon be manifesting themselves in a number of different ways. Most developed countries around the world experienced a post Second World War baby boom, and the boom in Canada was proportionately larger than in most […]

Economic update counts on growth

by Catherine Swift

 Ontario’s Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy. Bethlenfalvy presented the province’s 2021 fall economic update on Thursday, Nov. 4. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Christopher Katsarov    Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy presented the province’s fall economic update last week, outlining many areas of new spending as well as the continuation of some existing programs geared to […]

Minimum wage mythology persists

by Catherine Swift

Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton at an announcement in early 2020. McNaughton’s ministry has introduced a number of labour reforms over the past several weeks, including raising the minimum wage, that many in the business community have questioned as untimely or wholly unnecessary. Photo credit: Postmedia Network/Paul Morden   After rejecting […]

A foolish new tax for Newfoundlanders

by Catherine Swift

Canada’s easternmost province set to impose sin tax on sugary drinks next year.   The Newfoundland and Labrador government has recently announced its intention to levy a tax on sugary soft drinks, to be introduced on September 1, 2022. The amount of the tax is slated to be 20 cents per litre of any beverage […]

More red tape for Ontario business

by Catherine Swift

The province’s Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development recently introduced legislation that if passed would, amongst other things, force employers with over 25 employees to establish “right to disconnect” policies, such as no emails before or after work hours. Photo credit: Pexels/Greta Hoffman   At a time when we desperately need to get the […]

Optometrists’ dispute is just the start

by Catherine Swift

Photo credit: Pexels/Ksenia Chernaya   The Ontario government and optometrists in the province are currently at war and, as usual, the dispute is over money. The bottom line is that the government currently compensates optometrists at a rate of $44 per patient visit, and optometrists say the cost of such a visit is actually $75.  […]

Unions spend big in Alberta’s municipal elections

by Catherine Swift

  Calgary mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek. Gondek was one of several progressive candidates that benefitted from big union spending in Alberta’s 2021 municipal elections. Photo credit: CBC News   Once again, the biggest spenders in the recent Alberta municipal election were unions. This has been generally acknowledged as contributing significantly to the election of a so-called […]

Del Duca’s electoral reform gamble

by Catherine Swift

Ontario Liberal Party leader Steven Del Duca. Photo credit: The Canadian Press   Interest in different systems of voting was revived in Canada following the recent federal election which saw the Liberals re-elected with a record low percentage of the popular vote. Canada’s ‘First Past the Post’ (FPTP) electoral system, in which the candidate who […]

Canadians on the move

by Catherine Swift

Vancouver, BC. According to recent data, BC saw Canada’s largest increase of inter-provincial migrants in 2020-2021.   Some recently released population data from Statistics Canada showed some interesting trends for the migration of Canadians among the provinces, and potentially worrisome developments for some parts of the country.   The data pertained to the 12 months ending […]

‘Heat or eat’ is back

by Catherine Swift

Green policies working to make life more and more unaffordable for average Canadians, with utility prices set to soar this winter.    Leading up to the Thanksgiving weekend, it was hard not to notice the sky-high prices for gasoline as many people travelled to family gatherings for the holiday. Some of this was explained away […]

Supreme Court sides with Ford

by Catherine Swift

Supreme Court of Canada judges. Chief Justice Richard Wagner pictured in centre. Wagner was part of the majority that dismissed the City of Toronto’s appeal against the Ford government earlier this month. Photo credit: Facebook/Prime Minister   Last week the Supreme Court of Canada rendered a decision that supported the contentious 2018 action of the […]

Ontario kicks off session with throne speech

by Catherine Swift

Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell delivers the provincial parliament’s latest throne speech, Oct. 4, 2021. Photo credit Toronto Star/Rene Johnston   This week the Ontario government launched the second legislative session of the 42nd Parliament with the usual throne speech, read by Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell. The speech was supposed to be read several weeks […]

The threat and promise of AI

by Catherine Swift

Artist impression of facial recognition technology. Photo credit: SmartCitiesWorld   Artificial Intelligence – AI – is very much on the agenda of many governments these days. While the use of this sophisticated technology can have many benefits, it also has enormous potential negative implications for privacy and the misuse of personal information, as well as […]

Beware “Build Back Better”

by Catherine Swift

“Build Back Better” (and its many variations) is a slogan that has been adopted by a number of political figures on the political left as of late, including U.S. president Joe Biden. Photo credit: MSNBC   During the recent federal election period, the phrase “Build Back Better” was heard from time to time, mostly from […]

Sick of elections yet?

by Catherine Swift

Photo credit: The New York Times   The post-mortems are underway from the federal election, and they are not pretty. Seems that virtually every political party was a loser, with the possible exception of Maxime Bernier of the People’s Party of Canada, which increased its share of the popular vote but still failed to win […]

Alberta’s unsuccessful gamble

by Catherine Swift

Alberta premier Jason Kenney at a Sept. 15, 2021 press conference. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Jeff McIntos    A few months ago, Alberta premier Jason Kenney decided to roll the dice and, in concert with the support of health authorities in the province, pursued the most aggressive opening of the economy that has taken place […]

Are unions above the law?

by Catherine Swift

President of CUPE Alberta Rory Gill. Photo credit: CUPE   A few days ago, a story broke that deserved to get a lot more attention than it did. In response to some new labour legislation passed by the majority Alberta government, some union leaders commented that they do not intend to obey these laws. For […]

Provinces and the federal election

by Catherine Swift

Premier of Quebec Francois Legault. Legault has been the only Canadian premier to really wade into the current federal election at any considerable depth. Just a few days ago, the leader of Canada’s second largest province came out in support of the Conservative Party’s Erin O’Toole, calling the NDP and Liberals “dangerous”. Photo credit: The […]

The politics of “business” groups

by Catherine Swift

Photo credit: Pexels/Werner Pfennig   The ongoing and highly contentious debate over whether or not governments should implement vaccine passports or similar has prompted a range of different stakeholders to express their views in support or opposition.  In Ontario and some other provinces, a key justification given by governments for choosing to proceed with vaccine […]

Bracket creep is still with us

by Catherine Swift

Photo credit: Pexels/Rodnae Productions   Back in the mid-1990s, the issue of tax bracket creep was very much on the public policy agenda at the federal level. Now that inflation is increasing after years of modest change, it is once again time to look at this unfairness in the tax system and implement measures to […]

Unions telling tall tales again

by Catherine Swift

Ontario teachers’ unions protest alleged cuts to education outside of Queen’s Park, April 2019. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Tijana Martin   For many years and throughout the pandemic to date, some of the most vocal and constant complainers could be found in the teachers’ unions. These unions have claimed incessantly that horrible cuts to education […]

Vaccine passports for Ontario?

by Catherine Swift

Photo credit: ExPat Care   As more and more Ontarians have become fully vaccinated, support for some type of passport seems to have been increasing. A growing number of cases of the Delta variant of the virus has also prompted demands for a form of proof of vaccination as a means of avoiding or lessening […]

Health care myths delay needed reform

by Catherine Swift

Photo credit: Pexels/Laura James In recent weeks the federal Liberals have been desperately trying to find an effective “wedge” issue they can use in the election to make Conservatives look bad and divide Canadians. Early in the campaign, they trotted out the good old standby abortion question, claiming as they have so many times before […]

Lessons from the Alberta Heritage Fund

by Catherine Swift

Former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed talks to then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau. Lougheed’s government established the Alberta Heritage Fund in 1976. Photo credit: Globe and Mail   The Alberta Heritage Fund was set up in 1976 as a means of countering Alberta’s historical boom and bust economy. The pattern was for the province to have huge […]

A surprise from Nova Scotia

by Catherine Swift

Premier-designate of Nova Scotia Tim Houston, Aug. 17, 2021. Defying all the polls, Houston led the Nova Scotia PC Party to a majority government for the first time in decades. Photo credit: CTV News   With most political attention focused on the federal scene in recent weeks, the fact that a provincial election was underway […]

Provincial issues for the federal election

by Catherine Swift

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offers his hand to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, May 2, 2019. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick As a surprise to no one, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the long-awaited federal election this past weekend. While it is still uncertain whether provincial politicians will choose to get involved in campaigning for […]

More lies from the Left

by Catherine Swift

Jerry Dias, head of Canada’s largest private sector union Unifor. The union recently launched an attack ad campaign against Erin O’Toole and the federal Conservatives, claiming O’Toole will just institute “more cuts” and provide “more money to big corporations”. The irony, as Swift writes in the piece below, “is that the current federal Liberal Party, […]

The Ontario hydro mess continues

by Catherine Swift

Photo credit: The Canadian Press/National Observer  Three years into the Ford government’s term, one of its major promises – to fix the overpriced and inefficient hydroelectric power system that Ontarians have endured for many years – has still not come to pass. The serious problems with the system are proving very difficult to change, and […]

Rules for back to school

by Catherine Swift

Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Education Stephen Lecce walk the halls of a Whitby high school last August. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette   Ontario’s long-awaited plans for the return of students to school next month were announced this week, adding some certainty for parents and teachers but also raising questions. Key elements […]

Alberta’s bold move

by Catherine Swift

 Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw. Photo credit: Flickr/Government of Alberta Late last week, the Alberta government announced the most comprehensive lifting of pandemic restrictions that has taken place in Canada.  All provinces have opened up their economies to varying degrees in recent weeks, as vaccination rates continue to rise and case […]

Unequal treatment of the provinces divisive and unfair

by Catherine Swift

Premier of Saskatchewan Scott Moe (left) and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (right) wait for media to leave the office after a photo-op on Parliament Hill, November 12, 2019. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Justin Tang  A recent dispute between the federal government and the province of Saskatchewan got very little media coverage, yet should be of […]

The big September question

by Catherine Swift

What will a fall return to school look like for Ontario students, teachers, and parents? Photo credit: Pexels/RODNAE Productions As August approaches, the thoughts of Ontario parents and policy makers begin to turn to the school year and, in this most exceptional time, whether or not schools should open after months of closures due to […]

Some good fiscal news, for a change

by Catherine Swift

Peter Weltman, Ontario’s current Financial Accountability Officer. Weltman’s office recently announced some positive fiscal news for the province. Photo credit: FAO  Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office (FAO) announced earlier this week that, for the first time in a while, there were actually some positive aspects to the province’s financial status. For the fiscal year ending on […]

Women and the economy

by Catherine Swift

Photo credit: Pexels/Ketut Subiyanto The Ford government recently announced a new task force on women and the economy, with the stated goal of advising the government on how best to support women as they re-enter the workforce post-pandemic, promote female entrepreneurship and remove barriers to women entering some fields of study in which they are […]

Vaccine passport hot potato

by Catherine Swift

The question of whether we should be requiring some form of vaccine passports or similar proof of vaccination is heating up in Canada, with strong feelings on both sides of the issue. Prime Minister Trudeau has been trying to hand off this hot potato to the provinces, but the provinces are pushing back.

More daycare promises, with few lessons learned

by Catherine Swift

Photo credit: PlayTheTunes There have been many child care promises made by various provincial and federal governments in Canada over the years, but very few have come to fruition. Liberal governments in Ottawa have been making grandiose daycare announcements for decades, with little delivery of the goods. The most recent promise made by the Trudeau government […]

Wouldn’t you know it, vaccines work!

by Catherine Swift

As if we needed any more proof, a recent study from the Public Health Ontario (PHO), in concert with the University of Toronto and several hospitals, has shown the overwhelming effectiveness of all three major COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. As more people are vaccinated, data on vaccine effectiveness has become more accurate than earlier numbers based on smaller sample sizes.

Future challenges to health care

by Catherine Swift

Most Canadians take our health care system for granted and greatly appreciate the fact that they can access a comprehensive range of health care services “for free” whenever needed. Canadians regularly cite health care as one of the defining characteristics of being Canadian, and many believe we have one of the best systems in the world. However, health care is anything but “free” in Canada, and cost pressures indicate that there are major changes in store for our cherished system in the future, as illustrated in a recent CD Howe Institute analysis on provincial health care spending trends.

A year of living politically

by Catherine Swift

Now that we are just under a year away from the next Ontario election scheduled for June 2, 2022, the gloves are off. Opposition leader Andrea Horwath and Steven Del Duca have really ramped up the criticism of Premier Doug Ford and his PC government of late. Much of the criticism concerns how the government handled the pandemic, and there is surely lots to criticize on that basis. But considering that every single government across Canada, and for that matter the world, made many faux pas in their dealing with a once-in-a-lifetime health crisis, it is pretty difficult to argue that an NDP or Liberal government in the province would have done any better.

Elite’s negativity doesn’t reflect Canada

by Catherine Swift

Have we ever seen such a fraught Canada Day? The amount of negativity and self-flagellation championed by many politicians and other elites is truly exceptional this year. The appalling discovery of the unmarked graves of many Indigenous children has sparked much of this reaction in 2021, but if we look back at the last few years it becomes clear that a negative pall has been cast over our national holiday ever since the Justin Trudeau administration came to power in 2015.

Public education in peril across Ontario and country at large

by Catherine Swift

When are parents and taxpayers going to finally get fed up with the threats to our public education system posed by militant and obstructionist unions, politicized school boards, and special interests that are dragging down the quality of education in Canada?

The politics of COVID-19

by Catherine Swift

Remember how just a couple of months ago we were hearing regularly about how there were all kinds of “vaccines in freezers”, supposedly languishing there instead of being injected into the arms of an anxious citizenry? Funny how we don’t hear that claim anymore as it has become glaringly obvious that provincial governments have been doing a bang-up job distributing available vaccines. Looking back, this narrative was apparently promoted at the time as a smokescreen for the failure of the federal government to access sufficient amounts of vaccine as it became painfully clear that Canada was falling badly behind in the global vaccination sweepstakes.

Another tilt at the health care windmill

by Catherine Swift

This week will see yet another step in the longstanding crusade of Dr. Brian Day to permit the private provision of health care services to Canadians who face long waits in the public health care system. Dr. Day, a surgeon, operates the private Cambie surgical clinic in British Columbia. This clinic has a history of providing high quality health care to patients who were not being treated in a timely manner in the public system. Dr. Day’s long legal battle to enable private clinics to provide relief to patients suffering from the many shortcomings of the public system will continue this week in the BC Court of Appeal.

Ford’s use of notwithstanding clause hardly an affront to democracy

by Catherine Swift

Responding to a court decision which overturned the Ford government’s changes to election advertising rules for third parties, the Ontario PC government has said it will impose the notwithstanding clause of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms to follow through with its plans. The legislation that was struck down in Ontario’s Superior Court extended the period from six months to 12 months prior to an election in which the election-related spending of so-called “third parties” was limited.

Lockdown impact comes home to roost

by Catherine Swift

The May 2021 labour market data was released last week. Once again, it showed the heavy impact of the pandemic lockdowns on employment. The differences between Canada and the U.S. were particularly stark, as Canada lost 68,000 jobs last month, while the U.S. added 559,000.

Border measures criticism well-justified

by Catherine Swift

Recent weeks have seen a battle of words between the Ontario government and the federal Liberals over the issue of whether or not the Trudeau government has been imposing sufficiently effective controls at our border to keep out COVID-19 cases and its many pernicious variants. Throughout the pandemic to date, the federal government has announced various border policies with great fanfare, and then done very little if anything to actually implement them. This is a hallmark of the Trudeau government – make sweeping, self-congratulatory policy announcements on a wide range of issues, then do little or nothing to ensure the policy comes to pass.

Fire, ready, aim: Horwath’s recent flub

by Catherine Swift

NDP leader and head of Ontario’s Official Opposition Andrea Horwath got into some hot water last week because of a tweet she sent commenting on the case of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, the woman who died in Toronto after falling from her balcony a year ago. Horwath blamed police for the death, ignoring all available information about the tragic case and the results of the ensuing police investigation.

COVID misery measured across Canada

by Catherine Swift

After enduring the many deprivations of the COVID-19 pandemic for well over a year, we are now seeing the post-mortems come in on how the various Canadian provinces dealt with the crisis. A recent analysis by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) calculated a “Provincial COVID Misery Index” which evaluated the misery inflicted by the disease itself, misery caused by governments’ response to the crisis, and economic misery imposed because of the pandemic and actions taken by decision-makers.

Happy Tax Freedom Day!

by Catherine Swift

Congratulations! As of May 24, you officially started working for yourself. As reported every year by the Fraser Institute, Tax Freedom Day fell this year on the Victoria Day long weekend. For the almost five months leading up to May 24, if you had to pay all taxes up front, every cent of your earnings would have gone to various levels of government in the form of income taxes, sales taxes, payroll taxes, carbon taxes, property taxes, fuel taxes, health taxes and so many more. Last year, Tax Freedom Day fell on May 17, so in 2021 we were paying government for a week longer than in 2020.

Provincial reopening plan long overdue

by Catherine Swift

Ontario’s Minister of Health Christine Elliott (foreground) and Premier Doug Ford (background). Photo credit: Queen’s Printer for Ontario 2020 Saskatchewan led the way. Over two weeks ago, the ‘Wheat Province’ published a detailed, comprehensive three step plan to reopen the provincial economy, tied to meeting various vaccination thresholds. The first step in Saskatchewan’s plan is […]

A shot across the union bow

by Catherine Swift

During his much-awaited press conference on the state of the lockdown in Ontario late last week, Premier Doug Ford took a shot at the teachers’ unions when commenting on the issue of school closures. While disappointing many Ontarians by extending the current stay-at-home order for a further two weeks until June 2, Ford also said, “On the one hand, we have some doctors saying they want to open the schools. On the other hand, we have the teachers’ unions saying we can’t do that right now.”

The many costs of COVID

by Catherine Swift

The direct costs of the COVID-19 pandemic have been painfully clear since the beginning, with illness and death documented in the data we see every day. The indirect costs of the pandemic – a sharp increase in mental health problems, the negative effects on children of such massive disruption in their lives, the economic fallout and so many other impacts – are also legion but are likely to take many years to fully manifest themselves and as such are more difficult to quantify. A recent report from Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office (FAO) shed some light on one of these indirect pandemic impacts, and the news was not encouraging.

The bell tolls for Newfoundland – for now

by Catherine Swift

For those who pay attention to politics and public policy in Canada, it is no secret that Newfoundland and Labrador is on the brink of bankruptcy. Decades of out-of-control government spending, an expensive and bloated public sector, the disastrous high-cost Muskrat Falls energy project, the exodus of Newfoundland’s youth for greener employment pastures elsewhere, and other factors have led to Newfoundland’s debt crisis.

More deceptive climate policy revealed

by Catherine Swift

It’s been a banner week for those of us who don’t buy in to the “climate emergency” narrative that so many activists, globalists, and some governments are trying to push these days. This is not to say that we should not be concerned about environmental issues and do all manner of sensible things to have a positive impact.

Teachers’ unions bombard airwaves

by Catherine Swift

Have you tuned in to a Toronto Maple Leafs’ hockey game lately? Perhaps watched the news, or pretty much any other current affairs show on television of late? If so, you have likely noticed that there were almost constant ads sponsored by various teachers’ unions critical of Ontario Premier Doug Ford in one way or another.

Ontario long term care report highlights glaring issues

by Catherine Swift

Ontario’s Auditor General (AG), Bonnie Lysyk, released her report on the provincial long term care (LTC) sector this week, and its findings were dire. The overall conclusion, not surprisingly, was that LTC homes were not equipped or prepared to deal with the urgent and pervasive range of issues involved in the COVID-19 pandemic, and the government departments involved in overseeing the sector were similarly incompetent. The result was a horrific death count of 3,756 LTC residents and 11 staff members.

Regional chair calls for more subsidies to support media

by Catherine Swift

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley. Photo credit: YouTube/Niagara Region An odd statement came from Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley last week, as he called for the federal government to do even more to protect the news media sector than it is already doing. Bradley claimed that as the industry continues to struggle, and many local […]

Federal budget encroaches on provinces

by Catherine Swift

Earlier this week, the Trudeau government introduced the biggest spending budget in Canadian history – by a long shot – encompassing a doubling of Canada’s federal debt to $1.4 trillion by 2025-26, with a very “liberal” spreading of large quantities of taxpayer dollars to almost every constituency possible. One interesting and potentially troublesome aspect of the budget was that it contained measures in several areas that are in provincial government jurisdiction, which could cause difficulties down the road for federal-provincial relations.

Victims’ rights lag in Canada

by Catherine Swift

The one-year anniversary of the horrific mass murder in Nova Scotia took place this past weekend and
reminds us all of how poorly victims of crime are treated in Canada. Few Canadians are aware that Canada is seriously out of step with other developed countries with respect to our treatment of victims of crime. Virtually all other Western nations have well-established regimes of legal rights for victims, fair and equitable rules around compensation and support for things such as mental health treatment.

Liberal leader speaks to Niagara chamber

by Catherine Swift

This week the leader of Ontario’s Liberal Party made a presentation – virtually, of course – to the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) about his plans to govern the province, should he become premier in the next election expected to take place mid-2022.

The end of The Beer Store?

by Catherine Swift

As a diversion from the endlessly negative pandemic news these days, we recently heard some other negative news about an iconic and archaic Ontario institution: The Beer Store. It appears that The Beer Store lost a whopping $50 million in 2020, which followed similarly large losses of $46.5 million in 2019 and $18.5 million in 2018.

Our complacent, incompetent public service

by Catherine Swift

Now that we have passed the one-year mark in our collective pandemic nightmare, more and more information is emerging regarding how very poorly the various government bureaucracies throughout Canada have handled the emergency. Politicians have understandably attracted most of the criticism, and they certainly deserve their share of the blame, but Canada would surely have had a much less drastic pandemic experience if more government bureaucrats had been doing their job.

The “Vaccines in Freezers” Fallacy

by Catherine Swift

Ever since Canadians started to finally receive Covid-19 vaccines – initially in dribs and drabs – back in December 2020, there has been an ongoing narrative placing the blame on provincial governments for the slow pace of Canada’s vaccination effort as they were supposedly keeping vaccines in freezers instead of putting them into people’s arms. This accusation has been mostly levelled at the Ontario government, which continues to be accused of keeping excessive quantities of vaccines on ice, supposedly due to the inefficiency of its distribution network.

The real debt bomb

by Catherine Swift

It is no secret that government debt has increased dramatically over the past year because of the pandemic. And although most Canadians are understandably supportive of increasing our national debt at the present time because of the once-in-a-lifetime (we hope) crisis of COVID-19, we were heading for trouble before the virus hit. Typically when we see debt numbers for Canada in international comparisons, and things like debt/GDP ratios, it only refers to the federal government debt. But to get a true picture of our debt situation, the cumulative debt of all governments needs to be factored in. A recent Fraser Institute study looked at the total government debt situation in Canada, and the news is not good.

A trial balloon for online learning

by Catherine Swift

Last week, the Ontario government floated the idea of making online learning a permanent fixture in provincial public schools. Education Minister Stephen Lecce commented that the government was currently seeking input on the proposal, and that a decision would be made in the coming weeks.

A Liberal budget for Ontario

by Catherine Swift

It’s not surprising that the opposition parties really had to work hard to be critical of the Ford government’s annual budget presented this week. Even the usually big-spending NDP and Liberals would have had trouble outspending the Conservative government in this budget, prompting many to dub this a Liberal budget.

A golden opportunity

by Catherine Swift

As if things weren’t already bad enough over the past year, the Ontario Sunshine List just came out to remind us how much better off those folks we pay to be “public servants” were in 2020 as compared to the rest of us.

Big changes planned for Manitoba education

by Catherine Swift

This week the Manitoba government announced sweeping changes to their Kindergarten to Grade 12 public education system, including the elimination of elected school boards and the role of school trustees.

A difficult budget season

by Catherine Swift

It’s that time of the year when most governments look to present a budget outlining their financial position and spending plans for the coming fiscal year. The pandemic and its dramatic impacts on government spending and revenues will make putting together a budget this year more challenging than ever before.

Vaccination schedule is a work in progress

by Catherine Swift

Following several months of delay and uncertainty as the Trudeau government failed to procure supply of the various COVID-19 vaccines in a timely manner, meaningful quantities of vaccine are finally beginning to flow to the provinces, who bear the responsibility for their administration.

Ford flip-flops on per vote subsidy

by Catherine Swift

Back in early 2018 when Doug Ford was in pre-election campaign mode, he vowed to end the per-vote subsidy of political parties if he was elected Premier. At that time, Ford even referred to the subsidy as “political welfare”. Yet just last week, he not only said he would reintroduce the subsidy as part of Bill 254, but would actually increase it. He was right the first time.

Opposition grows to new highway

by Catherine Swift

Maybe it’s that the number of the Highway is unlucky, but recent months have seen opposition grow to a proposed new 400 series highway, called the GTA West Transportation Corridor or Highway 413.

More municipal motions

by Catherine Swift

At a time like the current pandemic, you would think all governments were exclusively focused on how they could be most helpful and supportive to the voters that elect them and taxpayers that compensate them generously when many of those taxpayers are themselves in dire financial straits.

The Ontario school bus tragedy

by Catherine Swift

Most Ontarians are unaware of the major upheaval in Ontario’s school bus industry that has taken place over the past decade. This disruption, precipitated by bad Ontario Liberal government procurement policy, decimated many small family businesses, reduced service on school bus routes and created more unnecessary bureaucracy. The original intent of the policy change was supposedly to save money – something that the McGuinty/Wynne Liberals were rarely concerned about – yet ended up costing taxpayers more while wreaking havoc on the industry.

The paid sick leave debate

by Catherine Swift

Discussion in recent months on the issue of government-imposed paid sick leave has been revived because of the pandemic and the dangers around sick people going to work because they cannot afford to take unpaid time off.

Politicians behaving badly

by Catherine Swift

This was not a banner week in the Ontario Legislature for anyone. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath continued with her ongoing opposition to opening up the economy, even a little, to give small businesses and their employees, among others, a chance at survival. The left in general, including public sector unions, have consistently favoured ongoing shutdowns despite the damage they are doing. That is of course easy to do when their livelihoods are not affected by the lockdowns, and in fact many in government are working less for the same or better money.

Them’s the March Breaks

by Catherine Swift

Last week the Ontario government announced that March Break would be postponed until the week of April 12.  This makes sense for all kinds of reasons, including those that are health-related and in the interest of students receiving some minimal amount of education during this school year. The timing appears to be right for students […]

With friends like these……

by Catherine Swift

When Joe Biden was elected US President last November, much of Canada breathed a huge sigh of relief.
There were many media stories about how this development was great for Canada and that the US-Canada relationship could now be much more positive than it was during the Trump years. And although Biden, who has been in US politics for almost 50 years, will certainly be a more typical politician than the mercurial and unpredictable Trump, it is by no means clear that his presidency will work to the benefit of Canada.

The UBI myth debunked – again

by Catherine Swift

The COVID-19 pandemic and its drastic economic impacts have revived debate around a number of policy issues, one of them being the Universal Basic Income (UBI).

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