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Feds can’t say which regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions are working: audit

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Environment Commissioner Jerry DeMarco speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, Tuesday, April 26, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Ottawa

Environment Commissioner Jerry DeMarco says the federal government doesn’t know how well its regulations are working to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

One of his spring audits issued today looks at five regulations intent on reducing emissions from cars and trucks, power plants and oil and gas production.

DeMarco says while Environment and Climate Change Canada used scientific modelling to estimate how many emissions each of the regulations would eliminate, it did not measure or report whether it was actually happening.

DeMarco says that means the government simply doesn’t know if the policies it’s enforcing are actually working.

Canada’s overall emissions have fallen in recent years, but the department told him it is difficult to determine how much can be attributed to individual policies because some of them overlap.

While emissions from electricity generation have fallen in recent years, those coming from vehicles and the oil and gas industry have both increased.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 20, 2023.

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Alberta

Taxpayers applaud Alberta credit rating improvement

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Moody’s Ratings boosts Alberta’s outlook to positive. Balanced budget and spending restraint cited.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is applauding the provincial government for its latest credit rating outlook improvement.

“The province is getting this positive assessment from credit rating agencies because the government has a balanced budget and is restraining spending,” said Kris Sims, CTF Alberta Director. “Strengthening balanced budget legislation to curb spending was the right move.”

On Monday, Moody’s Ratings changed Alberta’s credit rating outlook to positive, up from stable and affirmed the province’s AA2 credit rating.

Moody’s cited the province’s balanced budget, spending restraint and debt payment rules as reasons for the improvement.

“The positive outlook reflects our view that if Alberta adheres to the governance controls as per its fiscal framework introduced in 2023, its debt and liquidity levels could be stronger than we currently project,” the report from Moody’s reads.

The CTF has been urging the Alberta government to keep spending increases below inflation plus population growth since the mid 1990s.

The Alberta government passed its balanced budget and spending restraint legislation last year.

The positive outlook from Moody’s follows a recent upgrade from the credit ratings agency, Fitch.

Interest charges on the provincial government’s debt will cost taxpayers $3.1 billion this year, according to government’s year-end report.

“Credit ratings matter because Albertans pay billions of dollars on debt interest charges every year,” Sims said. “Better credit ratings could make it less expensive to make payments on the debt, and the less money we waste on interest charges, the better.”

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Economy

Trudeau’s bureaucrat hiring spree is out of control

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Author: Franco Terrazzano

Bureaucrats love to think of themselves as “public servants,” but who is really serving who around here?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau added another 10,525 bureaucrats to the taxpayer payroll last year. Since becoming prime minister, Trudeau has added more than 108,000 new federal bureaucrats.

That’s a 42 per cent increase in the federal bureaucracy in less than a decade.

Ask yourself, are you getting 42 per cent better services from the federal government? Unless your paycheque comes from taxpayers, the answer is a big fat NO.

While Trudeau’s bureaucracy grew by 42 per cent, Canada’s population grew by 14 per cent.

That means there would be 72,491 fewer federal paper pushers had Trudeau kept growth in the bureaucracy in line with population growth.

It’s not just the size of the bureaucracy that’s ballooning – the cost is too.

The total cost of the federal payroll hit $67 billion last year, a record high. That’s a 68 per cent increase over 2016.

Trudeau gave federal bureaucrats more than one million pay raises in the last four years alone.

Since taking office, Trudeau also rubberstamped about $1.4 billion in taxpayer-funded bonuses to bureaucrats working in federal departments.

The bonuses were paid out despite the Parliamentary Budget Officer finding “less than 50 per cent of [performance] targets are consistently met.”

Then there’s the bonuses at failing Crown corporations.

CBC dished out $15 million in bonuses last year, while their President and CEO Catherine Tait whined about “chronic underfunding” and begged the government for more taxpayer cash. The CBC takes more than $1 billion from taxpayers every year.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation dished out $102 million in bonuses over the last four years, while Canadians couldn’t afford to buy a home. The bonuses rained down, despite the CMHC repeatedly claiming it’s “driven by one goal: housing affordability for all.”

The Bank of Canada dished out more than $60 million in bonuses over the last three years, even though it failed to do its one and only job: keep inflation low and around two per cent.

The average annual compensation for a full-time federal bureaucrat is $125,300, when pay, pension and perks are accounted for, according to the PBO.

There are now more than 110,000 federal bureaucrats taking home a six-figure base salary – an increase of 154 per cent since Trudeau took power.

Meanwhile, data from Statistics Canada suggests the average annual salary among all full-time workers in Canada was less than $70,000 in 2023.

Here’s why all this matters:

First, it’s an issue of fairness. The last few years have spelled hardship for Canadians who don’t work for the government, but do pay the bills.

Countless Canadians were sent to the ranks of the unemployed, lost their business and struggled to afford rising rents and costly grocery trips.

They’re paying higher taxes so more highly-paid bureaucrats can take bigger paycheques.

Second, more than half of the federal government’s day-to-day spending is consumed by the bureaucracy. That means any government that wants to fix the budget dumpster fire must shrink the bureaucracy.

Let’s recap:

Taxpayers paid for 108,000 new federal bureaucrats. Taxpayers paid for more than one million pay raises over the last four years. Taxpayers paid for more than $1 billion in bonuses.

And bureaucrats barely meet even half of their performance targets – targets they set for themselves.

It’s clear Trudeau’s bureaucratic bloat isn’t serving taxpayers. It’s time to find a pin and pop Ottawa’s ballooning bureaucracy.

This column was first published in the Western Standard on July 202, 2024.

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