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PM’s frequent family vacations cost taxpayers well over $200,000 each time: CTF

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Trudeau’s latest Tofino vacation cost taxpayers $287,000

Author: Ryan Thorpe

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s vacation to Tofino, B.C., this August cost taxpayers at least $287,285, according to access-to-information records obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

That brings the total cost for the three vacations Trudeau has taken this year to more than $678,000.

“Ordinary Canadians get to go on a big vacation every few years, but this is the third vacation Trudeau took this year and each one cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director. “If Trudeau skipped just one of these vacations and instead stayed at his taxpayer-funded cottage at Harrington Lake, then he’d save taxpayers what most people make over a couple of years.”

Trudeau spent Aug. 10-18, 2023, in Tofino with his family. The Prime Minister’s Office told the press the Trudeaus would be paying for their own stay.

But RCMP security costs alone cost taxpayers at least $287,285, with the Mounties warning “additional payments may still be processed.”

That doesn’t include potential costs from the Privy Council Office or the Royal Canadian Airforce, as the family flew to B.C. on a government Bombardier Challenger jet.

Trudeau currently finds himself in hot water over another vacation, as CBC News reported this week that the prime minister’s recent Easter visit to Montana, U.S., cost taxpayers significantly more than disclosed.

In response to an order paper question from Conservative MP Luc Berthold, the government reported to Parliament two weeks ago that Trudeau’s Easter vacation only cost taxpayers $23,846.

But that figure left out RCMP security costs, which pushed the bill up to $228,839.

Trudeau’s Christmas trip to a private resort in Jamaica, from Dec. 26, 2022, to Jan. 4, 2023, cost taxpayers $162,000.

Trudeau’s three vacations in the past year have cost Canadians more than $678,000. And there’s still three months left in the year.

“Trudeau’s vacations over the past year cost taxpayers the same amount as a nice family home in the suburbs,” Terrazzano said. “Most Canadians will be baffled by how expensive Trudeau’s vacations are for taxpayers and rightly demand the government figure out a way to bring these costs down.”

This isn’t the first time Trudeau’s vacations have sparked controversy.

Trudeau’s 2019 family vacation to Costa Rica cost taxpayers about $200,000.

Trudeau’s 2016 Christmas vacation to a private Bahamian island owned by the billionaire Aga Khan, breached government ethics rules and cost taxpayers $271,000.

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Economy

Canada’s struggling private sector—a tale of two cities

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From the Fraser Institute

By Jason Clemens and Joel Emes

” the private sector must generate the income used to pay for government bureaucrats and government programs. When commercial centres have lower median employment incomes than capital cities, the private sector may be in real distress. “

According to almost every indicator including economic growth, business investment, entrepreneurship, and the employment and unemployment rates, Canada’s private sector is struggling.

A novel way to think about the sorry state of the private sector is to compare income levels in “commercial” cities (basically, cities with little to no provincial or federal government activity and largely characterized by private business activity) with income levels in capital cities, which are dominated by government.

Since the beginning of COVID (February 2020) to June 2023, government-sector job growth in Canada was 11.8 per cent compared to just 3.3 per cent for the private sector (including the self-employed). Put differently, the government sector is booming while the private sector is anemic.

The marked growth in employment in the government sector compared to the private sector is also important because of the wage premiums paid in the government. A 2023 study using data from Statistics Canada for 2021 (the latest year of available data at the time), found that—after controlling for factors such as sex, age, marital status, education, tenure, industry, occupation and location—government workers (federal, provincial and local) enjoyed an 8.5 per cent wage premium over their private-sector counterparts. And this wage gap does not include the more generous pensions typically enjoyed by government workers, their earlier retirement, and lower rates of job loss (i.e. greater job security).

According to a separate recent study, five of the 10 provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and New Brunswick) have a distinct commercial centre other than the capital city, and in all five provinces in 2019 (pre-pandemic) the median employment income in the capital city exceeded that of the commercial centre, sometimes by a wide margin. For example, the median employment income in Quebec City was $41,290 compared to $36,660 in Montreal. (The study used median income instead of average income to control for the effect of a small percentage of very high-income earners that can influence the average income for a city.)

Remember, the private sector must generate the income used to pay for government bureaucrats and government programs. When commercial centres have lower median employment incomes than capital cities, the private sector may be in real distress.

Equally as telling is the comparison with the United States. Twenty-three U.S. states have a capital that’s distinct from their main commercial centre, but among that group, only five (North Dakota, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Ohio and Kentucky) had capital cities that clearly had higher levels of median employment income compared to the main commercial centre in the state. This is not to say the U.S. doesn’t have similar problems in its private sector, but its commercial centres generate higher median employment incomes than the capital cities in their states, indicating a potentially better functioning private sector within the state.

Many indicators in Canada are flashing red alerts regarding the health of the economy. The comparative strength of our capital cities compared to commercial centres in generating employment income is yet another sign that more attention and policy reforms are needed to reinvigorate our private sector, which ultimately pays for the government sector.

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Alberta

Taxpayers Federation hoping for personal tax relief in Alberta budget

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Albertans need income tax relief now

Author: Kris Sims 

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the Alberta government to stick to its promise of cutting its income tax in tomorrow’s provincial budget.

“Cutting the provincial income tax was a huge campaign promise from the UCP and it needs to happen right away,” said Kris Sims, CTF Alberta Director. “Finance Minister Nate Horner should announce this income tax cut in the budget tomorrow.”

The provincial budget will be presented Feb. 29.

During the 2023, election the UCP promised to create a lower income tax bracket for the first $59,000 of earnings, charging eight per cent instead of the current 10 per cent.

The UCP said that move would save Albertans earning $60,000 or more about $760 per year.

The Alberta government currently charges workers who make under $142,292 per year a 10 per cent income tax rate.

By comparison, British Columbia charges an income tax of five per cent on the first $45,654 of earnings and seven per cent up to $91,310.

In B.C., a worker earning $100,000 pays about $5,857 in provincial income tax.

In Alberta that same worker pays about $7,424 in provincial income tax.

“Taxpayers need to see a balanced budget, spending restraint and our promised lower income taxes in this budget,” said Sims.

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