Category: Uncategorized

Ontario’s Doomed Legal Challenge to Ottawa’s Carbon Tax

The Ontario government recently announced that it will be challenging the federal government’s carbon tax in court.  Ontario will most probably lose.  To understand why, we need to consider four issues:
1.  The Ontario Court of Appeal cannot hear any of the political arguments the Ontario government has against the tax.  What can it hear?
2.   What taxes is Ottawa allowed to impose under our constitution?
3.   What does the so-called carbon tax actually tax, and who gets to keep the money it collects?
4.   Ontario (like Saskatchewan) has said the tax is unconstitutional because it treats different provinces unequally.  Is that true?

Continue reading “Ontario’s Doomed Legal Challenge to Ottawa’s Carbon Tax”

Hydro One Doesn’t Matter


Consider a typical family ordering food for delivery to their home. Assume that the restaurant used to charge $40 five years ago but is now charging $80 for the same food. Assume the delivery service used to charge $10, but is now charging $11. Thus, in five years, the total cost of the delivered food has increased from $50 to $91. Would it make sense to blame the delivery service’s $1 fare increase for the entire price increase when the restaurant has doubled its prices? Of course not. Yet that is what the political parties and some media critics have been doing with Hydro One. The only reason I can think of for this mistake is that they are confusing Hydro One with the old Ontario Hydro, which used to generate and deliver electricity but was broken up years ago. 

For a typical Toronto Hydro customer’s 2018 electricity bill of $123 a month, Hydro One would represent no more than 8% of that total bill, around $10.31. Why is everyone obsessed with “fixing” the 8% while ignoring the remaining 92%, which is truly broken? Continue reading “Hydro One Doesn’t Matter”

Are Old Polluters Better Than New Polluters?

Carbon dioxide emissions will become a scarce and valuable commodity in Canada soon. Who will be permitted to emit how much CO2? The answer should not depend upon whether someone has been emitting for a long time or  is just starting a new facility.  I have covered this topic in a recent publication of the C.D. Howe Institute that you can read here:

Are Government Sharks Eating Too Much of Your Income in Taxes?


 Note: I took this shark’s photo at the Ripley’s Canada Aquarium in Toronto.


According to an August 2017 study by the Fraser Institute Canadians pay, on average, more in taxes than for the basic necessities of life.  A typical Canadian household used 37 per cent of its income on basic necessities but 42.5 per cent of its income in taxes.  (

An average Canadian family with an income of about $83,000 paid $31,000 for basic necessities: housing (rent and mortgage payments), food and clothing, while  paying roughly $35,000 in taxes last year.  (That includes federal, provincial and local taxes, including income, payroll, sales and property taxes.)

Canadians’ tax bill has risen by over 2,000 per cent since 1961, while the Consumer Price Index rose by only 718 per cent over the period, the report said.  Thus, taxes have increased by around 2.8 times as much the general cost of living.

This rate of escalation in the tax share of income cannot go on indefinitely.  All levels of government will have to put tighter limits on their spending, sooner rather than later.  However, that day can be put off for a few more years by the federal government distracting the voting public from government spending increases by complaining that some income groups are not paying their “fair share”.

Is anyone not paying their fair share? Continue reading “Are Government Sharks Eating Too Much of Your Income in Taxes?”