Fracking can lift the Maritimes out of economic doldrums

Fracking can lift the Maritimes out of economic doldrumsThe economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic should include Nova Scotia and New Brunswick lifting restrictions on natural gas fracking. Natural gas prices are low but that won’t last forever. Energy industry observers say the natural gas supply glut existed even well before the pandemic. However, the oversupply problems seem to be worse for American…

The restaurant industry can help save the economy

But the federal government and most provinces have failed to help the hospitality sector. Only New Brunswick is making a difference

The restaurant industry can help save the economyThe best way to get an economy going again is to get to Canadians’ wallets by way of their stomachs. But it’s a long road. Up to 25 per cent of restaurants in Canada have closed for the season and perhaps for good. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce expects 60 per cent of restaurants to…

COVID crisis opportunity for trade reform in Atlantic Canada

Eliminating trade barriers can help accelerate the economic recovery

COVID crisis opportunity for trade reform in Atlantic CanadaBy Alex Whalen and Ben Eisen The Fraser Institute Earlier this summer, the four Atlantic provinces formed the “Atlantic Bubble” as the region works toward freer movement of people amid the COVID crisis. And clearly, the pandemic’s effect on the economy underscores the value of free movement of people and goods, which – on the…

Gasoline price-fixing harms Atlantic Canada

Controls were intended to ease consumer anger over rare but large price fluctuations. But government isn’t meant to be an anger management therapist

Gasoline price-fixing harms Atlantic CanadaGasoline price controls are a major burden for the minor benefit of having less mercurial cost fluctuations. Government policies are often contradictory. This isn’t directly the result of conspiracy or ill intent. Governments are no different than individuals. We all embrace beliefs that sometimes contradict others we hold. To eliminate these contradictions, Atlantic Canadian governments…

N.B. on its way to building a more inclusive democracy

Electoral reform recommendations seek to build a bigger democratic tent and populate it with under-represented New Brunswickers

N.B. on its way to building a more inclusive democracyDemocracy only works if all citizens have an equal role in the process. New Brunswick is working diligently to ensure that equality remains entrenched. The province has completed the first stage of its electoral reform journey. Earlier this month, an independent commission submitted a list of recommendations for reform. The recommendations, under the title A Pathway…

Atlantic Canada’s oversized public sector

Money can be saved by paring the size of the public sector, finding efficiencies, privatizing some services and controlling wages

Atlantic Canada’s oversized public sectorBy Marco Navarro-Génie and Jackson Doughart Contributors Atlantic Canada employs public sectors larger than the national average, to the detriment of the region's economies. Public policy choices mean that provincial and municipal governments have large commitments in civil servants' salaries and benefits. The task of shrinking provincial government expenditures will be difficult without addressing this problem.…

Beer-barrel economics: what goes down stimulates the economy

A cut in beer prices in New Brunswick led to an increase in beer sales to Nova Scotia and Quebec residents

Beer-barrel economics: what goes down stimulates the economyThe lesson of lower beer prices in New Brunswick has implications on a broad array of provincial taxes. Not long ago, many New Brunswick consumers living near Quebec routinely crossed the border to purchase less expensive beer. Prices in Quebec are considerably cheaper because taxes are lower. But these cross-border shoppers weren’t just getting a…

Political change? Nowhere in the Canadian breezes

If you hold power now, chances are you will continue to do so

Political change? Nowhere in the Canadian breezesChange? No thanks. It's the end of summer, politically. Legislatures will soon back in session. How are the major players doing? Out in B.C., Christy Clark owns the strongest economy in the federation. However much the B.C. NDP try to lay a glove on her, they can’t. She’s got the biggest smile in Canadian politics,…

New Brunswick HST increase outweighs spending cuts five to one

Raising taxes to pay for more spending isn't working; new jobs aren't being created and subsidies to add workers can't be sustained

New Brunswick HST increase outweighs spending cuts five to oneNew Brunswick Treasury Board Minister Roger Melanson has a tough job as the province's workhorse on tax and spending. But his policies don't create the economic growth the province needs. Melanson was finance minister until early June. His budgets increased taxes on personal and corporate income. More recently, the government hiked the harmonized sales tax…

Tax hike won’t solve New Brunswick’s spending problem

The government raised taxes simply to be able to spend more

Tax hike won’t solve New Brunswick’s spending problemNew Brunswick raised its Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) on Canada Day to 15 per cent, joining slow-growth Nova Scotia and Newfoundland & Labrador with the highest HST rate in Canada. Taxpayers were told the two-point HST increase is needed to control the province’s deficit, which today stands at $347 million. But that isn’t happening. Instead,…