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Higher Capital Gains Taxes cap off a loser federal budget

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5 minute read

From Frontier Centre for Public Policy

By Lee Harding

Even former Liberal Finance Minister Bill Morneau told the Financial Post the capital gains tax increase would be “very troubling for many investors.” He added, “I don’t think there was enough effort in this budget to reduce spending, to create that appropriate direction for the economy.”

New taxes on capital gains mean more capital pains for Canadians as they endure another tax-grabbing, heavy-spending federal deficit budget.

Going forward, the inclusion rate increases to 66 per cent, up from 50 per cent, on capital gains above $250,000 for people and on all capital gains for corporations and trusts. The change will affect 307,000 businesses and see Ottawa, according to probably optimistic projections, rake in an additional $19.4 billion over four years.

A wide chorus of voices have justifiably condemned this move. If an asset is sold for more than it was bought for, the government will claim two-thirds of the value because half is no longer enough.  It’s pure government greed.

If you were an investor or a young tech entrepreneur looking for somewhere to set up shop, would you choose Canada? And if you’re already that investor, how hard would you work to appreciate your assets when the government seizes much of the improvement?

Even before this budget, the OECD predicted Canada would have the lowest growth rates in per-person GDP up to 2060 of all its member countries.

In a speech in Halifax on March 26, Bank of Canada senior deputy governor Carolyn Rogers put the productivity problem this way: “You’ve seen those signs that say, ‘In emergency, break glass.’ Well, it’s time to break the glass.”

What can Canadians bash now? Their heads against a wall?

Even former Liberal Finance Minister Bill Morneau told the Financial Post the capital gains tax increase would be “very troubling for many investors.” He added, “I don’t think there was enough effort in this budget to reduce spending, to create that appropriate direction for the economy.”

No kidding. Not since the first Prime Minister Trudeau (Pierre) have Canadians been able to count so reliably on deficit spending, higher expenditures, and more taxes.

Long ago, it seems now, when Justin Trudeau was not yet prime minister, he campaigned on “a modest short-term deficit” of less than $10 billion for each of the first three years and a balanced budget by the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

His rationale was that low interest rates made it a rare opportunity to borrow and build infrastructure, all to encourage economic growth. Of course, the budget never balanced itself and Canada has lost $225 billion in foreign investment since 2016.

The deficits continue though the excuse of low interest rates is long gone. Despite higher carbon and capital gains taxes, this year’s deficit will match last year’s: $40 billion. Infrastructure seems less in view than an ever-expanding nanny state of taxpayer-funded dental care, child care, and pharmacare.

Of course, the Trudeau deficits were not as modest as advertised, and all-time federal debt has doubled to $1.2 trillion in less than a decade. Debt interest payments this coming fiscal year will be $54.1 billion, matching GST revenue and exceeding the $52 billion of transfers to the provinces for health care.

In 1970, columnist Lubor Zink quoted Pierre Trudeau as saying, “One has to be in the wheelhouse to see what shifts are taking place . . . The observer . . . on the deck . . . sees the horizon much in the same direction and doesn’t realize it but perhaps he will find himself disembarking at a different island than the one he thought he was sailing for.”

Like father, like son, Justin Trudeau has captained Canada to a deceptive and unwelcome destination. What started as Fantasy Island is becoming Davy Jones’ Locker.

Lee Harding is a Research Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

Automotive

Forget Tariffs: Biden Should Look to Domestic Mining to Thwart Chinese EVs

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Fr0m Heartland Daily News

By Rick Whitbeck

The Biden administration’s decision to raise tariffs on Chinese-manufactured electric vehicles, steel, computer chips, and other technological products is the epitome of a penny wise and a pound foolish.

To much of the nation, the news was a reelection flip-flop, or an attempt to prop up the electric vehicle industry Biden has prioritized since he took office, as part of his green agenda. The international supply chain for electric vehicles isn’t going to magically stop running through the Chinese Communist Party anytime soon.

If Biden really wanted to curb Chinese geopolitical power, he would make fundamental changes to his administration’s history of attacking domestic mining opportunities. Allowing development of copper, graphite, nickel, cobalt, and other critical and strategic minerals right here at home would go much further than imposing tariffs.

Biden has demonstrated affinity for promoting “net zero” policies and forcing transitions away from traditional energy supplies of oil, gas, and coal. In a nutshell, the attacks on domestic mining projects seem completely counterproductive.

According to the International Energy Agency, staggering quantities of subsurface elements will need to be mined by at least five times their current worldwide production by 2040 to meet the Biden administration’s green energy goals. Graphite, cobalt, and lithium all will be needed in quantities exceeding 25 times (or more) their current supplies. In the next quarter century, we will need twice as much copper than has been produced in the last 3,000 years. All of which is impossible when Biden won’t let us dig.

The U.S. has tremendous opportunities to have our own mineral resources. Yet, the Biden administration has thwarted their development at nearly every turn. For example, massive copper and nickel deposits could be developed in Minnesota at the Twin Metals and Duluth Complex projects, but Biden has ordered each of them off-limits for development. The Resolution Copper prospect in Arizona met a similar fate, with the Department of Interior placing on “indefinite hold” its approval.

The Western Hemisphere’s largest copper prospect is Alaska’s Pebble Mine. Kowtowing to environmental extremists—and ignoring a clean U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Final Environmental Impact Statement—the Environmental Protection Agency continues to stymie progress on a deposit worth more than $500 billion. All the while shutting down the possibility of 700 full-time jobs in an area of rural Alaska that has seasonal unemployment exceeding 20%.

Alaska has been the target of more than 60 administrative and executive orders targeting its resource-based economy since Biden assumed office. One of the most recent took place on Earth Day, when a congressionally-authorized road to the Ambler Mining District—an area rich in copper, zinc, and other strategic and critical minerals—was stopped by the Department of Interior.

Just like with the Resolution mine in Arizona, the Interior Department used “Indigenous opposition” as its deciding factor, even though many villages and tribes closest to the mining district publicly support the project and its future employment opportunities. In Alaska, the Biden administration literally blocks the road to the minerals Biden’s tariffs claim to protect.

Alaska’s governor, Michael Dunleavy, along with its entire congressional delegation, has been openly critical of the continued hypocrisy of the Biden administration when it comes to talking “net zero” and acting with vigor to oppose domestic mining projects. The same response has come from many within the Minnesota and Arizona congressional community. They’ve been unable to break through to the administration, as Team Biden chooses to listen to eco-activists and career bureaucrats with an anti-development agenda.

What would hurt China, empower America, and begin to chip away at the global imbalance would be mining and processing our crucial minerals and elements domestically. Let’s see if the Biden administration wises up to that fact, or if America tires of being subservient to the CCP and makes fundamental changes to federal leadership in November.

Rick Whitbeck is the Alaska State Director for Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs and fights back against economy-killing and family-destroying environmental extremism. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on X (formerly Twitter) @PTFAlaska

This article was originally published by RealClearEnergy and made available via RealClearWire.

To read more about domestic mining to escape reliance on China, click here.

To read more about clean energy and mining, click here.

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Business

Government red tape strangling Canada’s economy

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From the Fraser Institute

By Kenneth P. Green

The cost of regulation from all three levels of government to Canadian businesses totalled $38.8 billion in 2020, for a total of 731 million hours—the equivalent of nearly 375,000 fulltime jobs.

One does not have to look too deeply into recent headlines to see that Canada’s economic conditions are declining and consequently eroding the prosperity and living standards of Canadians. Between 2000 and 2023, Canada’s per-person GDP (a key indicator of living standards) has lagged far behind its peer countries. Business investment is also lagging, as are unemployment rates across the country particularly compared to the United States.

There are many reasons for Canada’s dismal economic conditions—including layer upon layer of regulation. Indeed, Canada’s regulatory load is substantial and growing. Between 2009 and 2018, the number of regulations in Canada grew from about 66,000 to 72,000. These regulations restrict business activity, impose costs on firms and reduce economic productivity.

According to a recent “red tape” study published by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), the cost of regulation from all three levels of government to Canadian businesses totalled $38.8 billion in 2020, for a total of 731 million hours—the equivalent of nearly 375,000 fulltime jobs. If we apply a $16.65 per-hour cost (the federal minimum wage in Canada for 2023), $12.2 billion annually is lost to regulatory compliance.

Of course, Canada’s smallest businesses bear a disproportionately high burden of the cost, paying up to five times more for regulatory compliance per-employee than larger businesses. The smallest businesses pay $7,023 per employee annually to comply with government regulation while larger businesses pay a much lower $1,237 per employee for regulatory compliance.

And the Trudeau government has embarked on a massive regulatory spree over the last decade, enacting dozens of major regulatory initiatives including Bill C-69 (which tightens Canada’s environmental assessment process for major infrastructure projects), Bill C-48 (which restricts oil tankers off Canada’s west coast) and electric vehicle mandates (which require all new cars be electric by 2035). Other examples of government red tape include appliance standards to reduce energy consumption from household appliances, home efficiency standards to reduce household energy consumption, banning single-use plastic products, “net zero” nitrous oxide emissions regulation, “net zero” building emissions regulations, and clean electricity standards to drive net emissions of greenhouse gases in electricity production to “net zero” by 2035.

Clearly, Canada’s festooning pile of regulatory red tape is badly in need of weeding. And it can be done. For example, during a deregulatory effort in British Columbia, which appointed a minister of deregulation in 2001, there was a 37 per cent reduction in regulatory requirements in the province by 2004.

Rather with plowing ahead with an ever-growing pallet of regulations to be heaped upon Canadian businesses and citizens, government should reach for the garden shears and start reducing the most recent regulatory expansions (before they have time to do too much harm), and then scour the massive strangling forest of older regulations.

Whacking through the red tape would go a long way to help Canada’s economy out of its dismal state and back into competitive ranges with its fellow developed countries and our neighbours in the U.S.

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