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Economy

Canadians experiencing second-longest and third steepest decline in living standards in last 40 years

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From the Fraser Institute

From 2019 to 2023, Canadian living standards declined—and as of the end of 2023, the decline had not yet ended, finds a new study published today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“Despite claims to the contrary, living standards are declining in Canada,” said Grady Munro, policy analyst at the Fraser Institute and co-author of Changes in Per-Person GDP (Income): 1985 to 2023.

Specifically, from April 2019 to the end of 2023, inflation-adjusted per-person GDP, a broad measure of living standards, declined from $59,905 to $58,111 or by 3.0 per cent. This decline is exceeded only by the decline in 1989 to 1992 (-5.3 per cent) and 2008 to 2009 (-5.2 per cent). In other words, it’s the third-steepest decline in 40 years.

Moreover, the latest decline (which comprises 18 fiscal quarters) is already the second-longest in the last 40 years, surpassed only by the decline from 1989 to 1994 (which lasted 21 quarters). And if not stabilized in 2024, this decline could be the steepest and longest in four decades.

“The severity of the decline in living standards should be a wake-up call for policymakers across Canada to immediately enact fundamental policy reforms to help spur economic growth and productivity,” said Jason Clemens, study co-author and executive vice-president at the Fraser Institute.

  • Real GDP per person is a broad measure of incomes (and consequently living standards). This paper analyzes changes in quarterly per-person GDP, adjusted for inflation from 1985 through to the end of 2023, the most recent data available at the time of writing.
  • The study assesses the length (number of quarters) as well the percentage decline and the length of time required to recover the income lost during the decline.
  • Over the period covered (1985 to 2023), Canada experienced nine periods of decline and recovery in real GDP per person.
  • Of those nine periods, three (Q2 1989 to Q3 1994, Q3 2008 to Q4 2011, and Q2 2019 to Q2 2022) were most severe when comparing the length and depth of the declines along with number of quarters required for real GDP per person to recover.
  • The experience following Q2 2019 is unlike any decline and recovery since 1985 because, though per person GDP recovered for one quarter in Q2 2022, it immediately began declining again and by Q4 2023 remains below the level in Q2 2019.
  • This lack of meaningful recovery suggests that since mid-2019, Canada has experienced one of the longest and deepest declines in real GDP per person since 1985, exceeded only by the decline and recovery from Q2 1989 to Q3 1994.
  • If per-capita GDP does not recover in 2024, this period may be the longest and largest decline in per-person GDP over the last four decades.

Adobe PDF Read the Full Report

 

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Economy

Trudeau drops $220,000 on airplane food

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News release from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

You ever get the feeling the government is running a secret contest to see who can order up the most expensive meals while flying around the world?

Well if they are, we’ve got a new winner: The Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

After Governor General Mary Simon spent $100,000 on airplane food, Trudeau said, ‘Hold my beef Wellington’ and doubled the taxpayer tab.

All that and more in this week’s Taxpayer Waste Watch.

Bon apétit.

Franco.


Fine China, fancy feasts and a $220,000 taxpayer tab

Welcome to Air Trudeau, where the cares are free, the juice is freshly squeezed, the meals are served on fine China and the bill is sent to you.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his entourage spent $223,000 of your money on airplane food during a six-day tour of the Indo-Pacific region last fall, according to government records dug up by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Eating that much could wear a silver spoon right out.

To put things in perspective: that’s enough money to cover a month of groceries for 165 Canadian families, or buy 13,937 glasses of Bev Oda’s favourite orange juice.

But the bill gets big when this is the grocery list:

Beef brisket and parsley mashed potatoes with truffle oil. Pan fried beef tenderloin with port wine reduction sauce. Braised lamb shanks with steamed broccoli and boiled baby potatoes. Strawberry shortcake and baked cheesecake with pistachio brittle.

Sounds just like the meals you get on Air Canada or WestJet, right?

The records indicate staff were told Trudeau’s meals (and ONLY Trudeau’s meals) must be appropriately garnished and served on China dishware.

Pro-tip for the prime minister:

Have you seen your polling numbers lately? It might be tough to connect with the middle class while chowing down on braised lamb shanks, topped with a sprig of parsley and served on fine China.

Snacks offered onboard Air Trudeau included cured meats and artisanal cheeses, veggies and dip, and fresh papaya, pineapple, dragon fruit, watermelon and berries. And the juice served was noted as being “freshly-squeezed.”

A special request was put in for the plane to be stocked with Trudeau’s favourite brand of premium alkaline spring water, and staff picked up $900 worth of pop and chips before take-off. Trudeau and his entourage also spent $300 on movies and magazines.

Well we already know the prime minister doesn’t read his briefing notes, so it’s good he had the latest editions of the Jacobin and Mad Magazine to keep him occupied – it was a long flight, after all.

All told, the trip cost you $1.9 million and counting.

Trudeau has now claimed the top spot on our leaderboard for the most extravagant taxpayer-funded travel expenses, surpassing Governor General Mary Simon’s legendary March 2022 performance, when she gobbled up $100,000 worth of airplane food.

After details of Simon’s airplane extravaganza went public (courtesy of your friends at the CTF), a parliamentary committee summoned high-ranking bureaucrats to answer for the outrageous tab.

The bureaucrats pinkie promised to change the rules and stop frivolous spending.

Well clearly those efforts are going swimmingly…

The government set out to lower costs.

Then Trudeau doubled them.

Poilievre grills Trudeau about airplane feast in House of Commons 

Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre grilled Trudeau about his $223,000 worth of airplane food expenses in the House of Commons.

 

Trudeau’s EV corporate welfare worse than you think

Federal and provincial governments are ponying up billions more in electric vehicle battery subsidies than the corporations themselves are spending to build their own factories.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer released a report this week showing just how bad taxpayers are being taken to the cleaners on these corporate welfare deals.

Governments promised $52 billion to these corporations. The corporations are only spending $46 billion.

Does that sounds like a good deal to you?

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Automotive

‘Save Our Cars’ Is A Winning Campaign Message In An Age Of EV Mandates

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From the Daily Caller News Foundation

By KEVIN MOONEY

 

Automobile consumers who treasure the open roads during the summertime could upend the presidential campaign and U.S. Senate races in surprising places if public opposition to electric-vehicle mandates and other regulations continues to rise.

That is what some recent polls suggest and it certainly helps to explain why the Biden administration is poised to artificially reduce fuel prices by selling one million barrels of gasoline from an energy reserve in New England timed with the summer driving season and in anticipation of the November elections.

Since the East Coast consumed in excess of three million barrels a day of gasoline last June, it is not evident that having an additional one million barrels on the market will make an appreciable difference.

Moreover, there is an argument to be made that by tapping into the reserve Team Biden is leaving the region open to cyberattacks that would disrupt energy supplies. (Recall, that is precisely what happened throughout the southeast in 2021 when a ransomware attack hit the Colonial Pipeline.)

But even in the absence of any cyber drama, the cumulative effect of President Joe Biden’s anti-energy agenda is already registering with consumers who benefit from affordable, reliable energy. This is particularly true where conventional, gas-powered cars are concerned.

On holiday weekends, cars erase differences, bring families together and improve the quality of life. The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts almost 50 million people will travel 50 miles or more from their homes to celebrate Independence Day over the weekend of June 30 to July 4.

This would represent an increase of 3.7% from 2021 bringing travel volumes to where they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019. This increase will be particularly acute with AAA expecting 42 million Americans to hit the roads this coming Independence Day.

But what about those EV mandates?

President Biden and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a fellow Democrat, remain undeterred by the paucity of charging stations, the limited range of EV’s, their exorbitant costs, and the vulnerability of foreign supply chains leading back to China as they press ahead with new regulatory initiatives. Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency finalized a tailpipe emissions rule in March aimed at coercing automakers into selling more EVs while the California Air Resources Board is pressing ahead with a “zero emissions” rule the board approved last year to meet Newsom’s stated climate goals.

California is clearly working hand in glove with the Biden administration to achieve zero emissions goals for vehicles by 2035. This effort will most certainly limit consumer choice and raise costs.

Despite all the subsidies and regulatory schemes developed to favor EV’s, they represent only about 1% of the 290 million vehicles in the U.S. today. Meanwhile EV costs continue to soar.

Recent studies also show that EVs, on average, are more expensive to own and operate than their gas-powered counterparts. So how should consumers respond to the regulatory onslaught?

Enter the “Save Our Cars Coalition,” which includes 31 national and state organizations devoted to preserving the ability of consumers to select the vehicles most suitable to their needs.

Tom Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, a coalition member that favors free market energy policies, views cars as an integral component of American life. The Biden-Newsom regulations amount to what Pyle describes as “an assault on American freedom.”

“In a nation as expansive as the United States, cars are not merely vehicles, they are integral to the American way of life,” Pyle says. “They play a pivotal role in our daily lives, especially in suburban and rural settings. This modern-day prohibition would outlaw a product and a value–in this case, gasoline-powered cars and trucks that have created personal mobility on an unprecedented scale – that it cannot persuade people to forego themselves.”

The coalition is perfectly positioned to make EV mandates a campaign issue in areas where the affordability of cars capable of traversing long distances without frequent stops is very much on the minds of voters. State officials who continue to double-down on California-type regulations will only serve to bolster the coalition’s arguments.

By contrast, states that break free from California’s emissions standards could become surprisingly competitive in the presidential race. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, recently announced that he would end California’s EV mandate in his state by the end of this year. Although Virginia hasn’t backed a Republican for president since George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004, polls show Biden and  Donald Trump are in a dead heat. The former, and perhaps future Republican president, is on record opposing Biden’s EV mandates.

By contrast, Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey, a Democrat elected in 2017 and re-elected in 2021, is moving full speed ahead with a California-type mandate requiring all new car sales to be electric by 2035. Polls show Murphy’s Jersey constituents are not keen on the policy change. In fact, more than half of state residents say they are not inclined to buy an electric car even with the mandates.

New Jersey has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since George Bush Sr. won the state in 1988. But fresh polls show Biden leading Trump by just seven points in the Garden State. It is worth noting that New Jersey has a large block of unaffiliated voters that can be pliable in tight races such as the most recent gubernatorial campaign.

Murphy almost lost his re-election bid to Republican Jack Ciattarelli, a former assemblyman and businessman, who came within a few percentage points of pulling off an upset. Trump’s campaign rally in Wildwood, N.J., that attracted more than 100,000 people could also serve as a barometer for a potentially close election. A beach resort community, Wildwood is practically inaccessible without the kind of vehicles Biden and Newsom are attempting to ban.

The big prize though may be Pennsylvania where Trump is leading Biden in recent polls. There is also a competitive U.S. Senate race in that state between Sen. Robert Casey Jr., the Democratic incumbent, and Dave McCormick, the Republican challenger.

Polls show Casey is only ahead by six points. So far, Casey has been ducking and avoiding any questions about his position on EV mandates. With Trump already leading, and McCormick gaining in the Keystone State, anyone running on a platform of “Save Our Cars” could have a field day.

Kevin Mooney is the Senior Investigative Reporter at the Commonwealth Foundation’s free-market think tank and writes for several national publications. Twitter: @KevinMooneyDC

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