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    MPcon
    Deficit vs. surplus Re A Government’s First Budget: The Day To Stand And Deliver (March 21): Barry Campbell reminds readers of his Liberal roots when he says that the “New Balance sneakers, as worn by Joe Oliver, spoke to wistful fiscal probity.” Not really. My footwear clearly signalled that the budget was balanced. (The previous year had returned a surplus as well.) I had not contemplated that a successor Liberal government would introduce large deficits, so regretful longing for fiscal responsibility would come later. In that connection, permit me to counter a prevailing urban myth. The current government was not left with a deficit. It was left with surpluses for the fiscal year to October and to November. For the latest numbers available to last December, the government posted a surplus of $3.2-billion. Those facts can be verified on the Department of Finance website. Joe Oliver, former minister of finance, Toronto
    Mar 28, 2016 7:45 am | Ontario, Eglinton—Lawrence
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    MPcon
    Mar 28, 2016 7:39 am | Ontario, Eglinton—Lawrence
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    MPcon
    I extend my sympathies to Rob Ford's family & friends. Rob was dedicated to his beloved Toronto & to all Torontonians. We mourn his passing. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/letters/march-23-rob-fords-legacy-plus-other-letters-to-the-editor/article29344573/
    Mar 28, 2016 7:38 am | Ontario, Eglinton—Lawrence
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    MPcon
    Mar 18, 2016 1:44 pm | Ontario, Eglinton—Lawrence
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    MPcon
    Mar 17, 2016 7:14 am | Ontario, Eglinton—Lawrence
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    MPcon
    Interview @CJAD800 re Mtl Ec Institute @iedm_montreal, need to diversify energy mkts & looming budget deficits. https://soundcloud.com/tommy-schnurmacher-show/former-finance-minister-of-canada-joe-oliver-march-14-2016
    Mar 17, 2016 7:12 am | Ontario, Eglinton—Lawrence
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    MPcon
    Interview @BNN re interplay of monetary & fiscal policy, avoid massive structural deficits & focus on l-t growth. http://www.bnn.ca/Video/player.aspx?vid=825237
    Mar 14, 2016 11:14 am | Ontario, Eglinton—Lawrence
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    MPcon
    Inability to diversify our energy mkts is jeopardizing Canada's prosperity & is an urgent problem. http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/joe-oliver-how-justin-trudeau-can-avoid-a-historic-energy-blunder
    Mar 09, 2016 11:48 am | Ontario, Eglinton—Lawrence
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    MPcon
    Honoured to join Montreal Ec Institute @iedm_montreal & participate in research re public finance & nat'l resources http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/the-honourable-joe-oliver-joins-the-montreal-economic-institute-571499451.html
    Mar 09, 2016 11:48 am | Ontario, Eglinton—Lawrence
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    MPcon
    Joe Oliver: The ORPP — Ontario’s new Lada Joe Oliver, Special to Financial Post | March 2, 2016 4:33 PM ET More from Special to Financial Post Joe Oliver: The ORPP recently conked out on the yellow brick road to socialist nirvana. So Premier Kathleen Wynne towed it into the Queen’s Park garage for repairs, with a promise to wheel it out again in a year, gussied up, but with the same motor and faulty navigation. Stan Behal/Toronto Sun/Postmedia NetworkJoe Oliver: The ORPP recently conked out on the yellow brick road to socialist nirvana. So Premier Kathleen Wynne towed it into the Queen’s Park garage for repairs, with a promise to wheel it out again in a year, gussied up, but with the same motor and faulty navigation. Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Email Typo? More It is hardly a public policy concern if some wealthy people are less affluent in retirement During the dark days of the Soviet Union, the slightest hint of disenchantment with Uncle Joe Stalin could win you a trip to the gulag. A less risky outlet for the frustration of grinding poverty and lack of political and economic freedom was sardonic humour directed at the incompetent policies and inferior products foisted on the population by central planners. Since the early 1970s, the Lada was a favourite target, a clunker of a car you could wait decades for the privilege of purchasing. The stories are legion. A professor scrimps and saves to buy a Lada. A week after getting on the 12-year waiting list, he phones the plant manager, who assures him that everything is on schedule. “Thanks,” says the professor. “Now I know when to book an appointment for repairs.” Which brings me to the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP), the clunker scheme of our contemporary nanny state to take our money and dictate our behaviour for our own good. The federal government agreed to facilitate this tax hike by its provincial cousins, while it tries to achieve provincial agreement for an “enhanced” CPP, which raises comparable concerns. Related Jack Mintz: Kill Ontario’s pension plan Harper not the only one eager to criticize Wynne and Ontario ’s pension plan as a ‘payroll tax hike’ But the ORPP recently conked out on the yellow brick road to socialist nirvana. So Premier Kathleen Wynne towed it into the Queen’s Park garage for repairs, with a promise to wheel it out again in a year, gussied up, but with the same motor and faulty navigation. Could there be a worse time to impose a $3.5 billion payroll tax on workers and their employers? Yes, during a recession. Right now, Canada’s economy is growing but is weakened by the collapse in commodity prices and a lacklustre global economy. So this qualifies as the second-worst possible time for a job-killing tax, which will directly undermine the federal government’s costly stimulus program. To the point, the provincial government tried to bury an Ekos survey it commissioned that found over half affected businesses are considering a hiring freeze in response to the ORPP. So that is the pain. But what is the gain? Here, Houston, we have a problem — and it’s not inadequate retirement savings. It is instructive to examine the ORPP’s impact on different socio-economic groups. The poor will be squeezed most by a payroll tax, as they struggle to make ends meet. Middle-income workers will take home less savings for RRSPs and TFSAs, a downpayment on a home, mortgage repayment or their children’s education. As for the well off, it is hardly a public policy concern if some wealthy people are less affluent in retirement, which, in any case, a provincial pension would do precious little to address. Now let’s debunk the government’s core concern. First, I acknowledge the Broadbent Institute’s conclusion that Canadians are approaching retirement with totally inadequate savings. However, its position is an outlier. The federal Department of Finance notes that “Canadian retirees achieve relatively high levels of income in retirement.” The former chief economic analyst for Statistics Canada, Philip Cross, said “there is no crisis for the current generation of retirees.” The Montreal Economic Institute’s Michel Kelly-Gagnon concluded that only a very small proportion of Canadians are ill-prepared for retirement. The Fraser Institute points out that expanding public pensions would reduce private savings, disadvantage younger Canadians, impose a significant tax on the middle class and be less cost-effective than private plans. An exhaustive study by McKinsey & Co. found that only 23 per cent of Canadians are inadequately prepared for retirement, and they are in the wealthier cohort. Also, lower-income retirees are the best protected by existing government programs, including the CPP, old age security and the guaranteed income supplement. Moreover, McKinsey did not take into account home ownership, non tax-preferred accounts, family assistance or inheritance, the latter estimated to be worth $1 trillion over the next 20 years. The C.D. Howe Institute pointedly wrote that “in making the case for the ORPP, the province exaggerates the gap between what Canadians save and what they need to save, almost beyond recognition.” This devastating critique leads to another motivator for the fiscally challenged Ontario government — getting its hands on all that cash by diverting the new payroll tax to provincial infrastructure projects. Political interference in pension management is generally shunned because it is a sure way to compromise returns and jeopardize retirement savings. The word shameful comes to mind. The ORPP is a Big Brother intrusion that does not address a public need, but will impose hardship, cost jobs, undermine growth and jeopardize retirement. The Ontario government and its federal enablers should leave the Lada in the garage and let Ontarians decide for themselves how best to save for what they want and need. Joe Oliver is the former minister of finance
    Mar 07, 2016 9:41 am | Ontario, Eglinton—Lawrence
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    MPcon
    At $3.5b ORPP will impose hardship, cost jobs, undermine growth & jeopardize retirement for no gain. @nationalpost http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/joe-oliver-the-orpp-ontarios-new-lada
    Mar 03, 2016 4:15 am | Ontario, Eglinton—Lawrence

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