To start the new year, Hub readers discussed many topics over the past week, including a secret report documented by a British Ambassador and what it reveals about Canada, the country’s fiscal outlook, the Canadian legacy media and the Online News Act, Saskatchewan’s cancelling of the carbon tax, and the state of the country’s stagnant economy and finances.
The goal of Hub Forum is to bring the impressive knowledge and experience of The Hub community to the fore and to foster open dialogue and the competition of differing ideas in a respectful and productive manner. Here are some of the most interesting comments from this past week.
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‘Very Sensitive’ citizens, ‘Bizarre’ politicians: What a British ambassador’s secret report on Canada reveals 40 years later
Monday, January 8, 2024
“Maybe it’s just Canadians don’t speak or act on their truth. They always seem to hold back as if being polite. But I think it’s based on fear. Fear of being too forward, rude, or maybe wrong, we have to quit being followers and act on our own instincts to move forward and make a difference in this country.”
“Our young people have little hope of owning their own house, people struggle to buy groceries and gas, and taxes on everything are going up due to an ineffectual and punishing carbon tax. I fear that [Howard] Anglin’s bleak prediction for 2024 will indeed play out. But we must not lose hope.”
Tuesday, January 9, 2024
“As we approach the 30th anniversary of a key course correction that shifted us away from the fiscal wall we were careening towards, Canadians will soon find themselves facing the same consequences of borrowing money we don’t have to spend on federal programs that are the domain of the provinces.”
Wednesday, January 10, 2024
“When intervening in a market, which should only happen when the significant public good is at risk, governments are on safer (effective) ground when they try to create conditions with clear guidelines for broad and desirable (by society) outcomes, leaving the solutions to the players in that ‘space.’
Governments get into trouble when they try to favour a specific solution, for lots of reasons, most of which are not good. Too often, powerful players use their influence to have the government ‘go the solution route’ that, surprise surprise, favours them. This is what happened here.
A healthy journalism ecosystem is certainly a public good. However, attempting to force the shape of the ecosystem, particularly in a period of rapid technological change, was folly from the start.”
— Paul Attics
Thursday, January 11, 2024
“I sincerely hope that others now follow Saskatchewan’s lead on this. Less tax means people will spend more; hence, more taxes will be collected through the GST and PST, which means that the government will have an increase in general revenue and this will allow funding of green programs to continue.”
“While the carbon tax is effective, it has outlived its political welcome. In this sense, it’s time to start looking for another economic instrument designed to reduce emissions. I say this for two reasons.
First, climate change is an existential threat, and, in the name of intergenerational equity, action must be taken. The inefficacy objective—i.e., the common line that ‘Canada barely contributes to global emissions’—is insufficient.
Second, although technology will be a significant part of solving our current conundrum (e.g., carbon capture and storage projects), it alone will not get us out of this mess. Simply put, individuals also need to change their behaviour.”
“I certainly see this as a consumer-friendly option. The expense could become overwhelming for provincial governments and I believe spending money on health care is very, very important as we need more health-care people in the system to complement existing health-care workers, doctors, nurses, registered nursing assistants, and many other support workers.”
— Michael Abramowitz
Friday, January 12, 2024
“Obviously, the components of our fiscal health (growth, revenue/taxation, and spending) must be in balance over the medium term and beyond. Ideology has little to do with this practical reality at the top level. The current federal government has been chronically out of balance whether in ‘good’ times or ‘bad.'”
— Paul Attics
“Being in my 20s, the increasing federal and provincial debt burdens are very worrisome. I say this because it will inevitably result in more taxation down the line, which, apart from costing my age cohort more, will also drive investment—and by virtue of this, jobs—out of our great country. When you combine these potential tax grabs with the fact that housing, food, etc., is increasingly unaffordable, it makes you question whether you can remain in Canada.”