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Taxpayers Federation calls for transparency on World Cup costs

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Author: Carson Binda 

“Toronto taxpayers can’t afford to pay for soccer games that are almost a hundred million dollars over budget already”

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim to release updated cost estimates for the FIFA World Cup games scheduled for 2026. The CTF is also warning Toronto taxpayers that FIFA bills are spiralling in that city.

“Vancouver taxpayers deserve accountability when hundreds of millions are on the line,” said Carson Binda, British Columbia Director for the CTF. “Costs have ballooned in Toronto and Vancouver needs to be honest with its taxpayers about how much the soccer games are going to cost.”

Recent financial estimates have blown past the initial budget in Toronto. In 2022, Toronto expected the total cost of hosting world cup games would be $290 million. That number has now ballooned by 31 per cent to $380 million.

“Toronto taxpayers can’t afford to pay for soccer games that are almost a hundred million dollars over budget already,” Binda said. “That’s unacceptable when taxpayers are getting clobbered with higher taxes.”

Currently, the cost to host seven games in Vancouver is up to $260 million, however the provincial and municipal governments have consistently failed to produce updated cost estimates.

“What are Premier David Eby and Mayor Ken Sim hiding?” Binda said. “They need to stop hiding the numbers and tell taxpayers how much these soccer games are going to cost us.”

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Doubling Down on Missing the Mark

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By Chris Gardner

President, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association

Earlier this year, public opinion research company Leger published the results of a nationwide poll. One result stood out: 70 per cent of Canadians agreed with the statement: “It feels like everything is broken in this country right now.”

To young people, families and business owners struggling to buy or stay in a home, find a doctor, pay for gas and groceries, hire people, worried about how unsafe our streets have become, or having to navigate a never-ending web of red tape to get projects approved, a deep sense of helplessness has set in.

Over the past few years, Canada’s long slow decline has become the subject of an avalanche of scrutiny and by every measure of social well-being and economic competitiveness, Canada is coming up short among its global peers. Canada’s ability to generate opportunities and long-term prosperity for its people is now at serious risk.

But anyone reading the 9th budget of the Trudeau Government looking for some relief from the big challenges that Canadian families and entrepreneurs are facing, will come away sorely disappointed.

It seems that every day there is a new report telling Canadians what they already know – buying or staying in a home has never been harder in this country. Just last week, RBC reported that it is the ‘toughest time ever’ to afford a home and that the share of household income needed to cover ownership costs is now 64% in Canada and an almost inconceivable 106% in Vancouver and 85% in Toronto.

CMHC estimates that we need to build 800,000 homes a year between now and 2030 to meet demand, while CIBC says it’s closer to 1 million. Keep in mind that in 2023 we built about 230,000 new homes.

With the shortage of people across every part of our economy now acute, a central question asked by many is ‘who will build all these homes?’. Our labour markets are undergoing a seismic shift – absent immigration, our population is flat-lining and will start to decline. Indeed, in B.C., in 2022, for the first time ever, natural births exceeded natural deaths – and it happened again last year.

Part of the answer is immigration. However, our immigration system is failing us. Last year we added a city the size of Calgary to our national population, and we are on track to do the same in 2024. Two major challenges have emerged. First, we have failed miserably to assess the skills gaps in our economy – doctors, nurses, technicians, teachers and trades workers – and attract them to Canada. Case in point: only 2% of all permanent immigrants in 2023 will pursue a career in the construction trades. Second, the torrid pace of our population growth is crushing affordability and overwhelming the infrastructure in our major centres. In 2021 there was a total of 1.3MN non-permanent residents in Canada; today we have 2.6MN. We must find a better balance – attract the people with the right skills to power our economy and in numbers that our schools, hospitals, transit systems and housing stock can reasonably absorb.

Canada has a remarkable competitive advantage in its natural resources – energy and minerals in abundance and in high demand. And, harnessing them provides some of the highest paying jobs in the country. Budget 2024 offered barely a passing reference to this enormous potential for Canada. No one should be surprised. Leaders from Germany, Japan and Greece have visited Canada and received the diplomatic equivalent of a cold shoulder at the suggestion that Canada supply their economies with much needed energy. One federal minister stated that Ottawa is ‘not interested in funding LNG projects.’ He missed the point completely – no one was asking Ottawa to fund anything; they simply want Ottawa to get out of the way.

Finally, last year, the CD Howe Institute reported that for every dollar that an American business spends on training, technology and capital – the essential ingredients for innovation – a Canadian company invests 58 cents. Business investment in Canada from 2015 to 2023 ranked 44 out of the 47 most advanced economies, according to the OECD. This matters because the more innovative Canadian firms, the more they spend on upskilling their people and on adopting new technology, the more they can increase the size of paycheques for workers. Canada’s lagging productivity is to the point where the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada said, “You know those signs that say, ‘In an emergency, break the glass?’ Well, it’s time to break the glass.”

After reading the budget it’s hard not to come away with the feeling that Canada is not a serious country, and the Trudeau Government is incapable of addressing the big challenges facing the country.

Why do so many people feel like everything in this country is broken? Because so much is breaking all around us.

Chris Gardner is the President and CEO of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association.

The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA), the largest construction association in Canada, represents more than 4,000 members and clients. ICBA is one of the leading independent providers of group health and retirement benefits in Canada, supporting nearly 170,000 Canadians, and the single largest sponsor of trades apprentices in B.C. ICBA is Merit Canada’s affiliate in B.C. and Alberta. www.icba.ca

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Freedom Convoy

Trudeau’s use of Emergencies Act has cost taxpayers $73 million thus far

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

Expenses for the Emergencies Act, the use of which a federal court ruled ‘not justified,’ included $17.5 million for a judicial inquiry, $400,000 for charter flights and $1.3 million for hotel rooms for out-of-town RCMP officers.

The Liberal government’s use of the Emergencies Act against the 2022 Freedom Convoy has cost Canadian taxpayers over $73 million thus far. 

According to newly released records obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s enactment of the Emergencies Act, the use of which has since been ruled “not justified” by a federal court, to drive out Freedom Convoy protestors from Ottawa in 2022, cost the Department of Public Safety $73,550,568.  

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the $73 million figure was part of records released by the department at the request of Conservative MP Ziad Aboultaif, and despite its high number, is not the final account.

“With regard to enactment of the Emergencies Act in 2022, what was the cost burden for the government?” Conservative MP Ziad Aboultaif asked.  

“Cost associated with fiscal year 2023-2024 are still to be determined,” the department responded.  

According to the Department of Public Safety, most of the public safety expenses were attributed to local authorities in Ottawa and Windsor, Ontario.  

“It should be noted additional funding allocated by the government to Ottawa and its partners as well as Windsor were not specifically as a result of the Emergencies Act invocation but meant to compensate both municipalities for the extraordinary expenses incurred during and after the protracted blockades,” the report said. 

Other expenses included $17.5 million for a judicial inquiry, $400,000 for charter flights, and $1.3 million for hotel rooms for out-of-town RCMP officers.  

The costs were incurred after Trudeau enacted the Act on February 14, 2022 to shut down the Freedom Convoy protest which took place in Ottawa.  

At the time, the use of the Act was justified by claims that the protest was “violent,” a claim that has still gone unsubstantiated.

In fact, videos of the protest against COVID regulations and vaccine mandates show Canadians from across the country gathering outside Parliament engaged in dancing, street hockey, and other family-friendly activities.

Indeed, the only acts of violence caught on video were carried out against the protesters after the Trudeau government directed police to end the protest. One such video showed an elderly women being trampled by a police horse.   

Recently, Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley ruled that Trudeau was “not justified” in invoking the Emergencies Act.

However, the Trudeau government has doubled down on its heavy-handed response to citizen protesters, filing an appeal with the Federal Court of Appeal – a court where 10 of the 15 sitting judges were appointed by Trudeau.

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