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The post-COVID-19 economy: financing Canada’s leadership in sustainable energy

By Jatin Nathwani and Raynier Ramasra       

The challenges brought on by COVID-19 present a unique opportunity to pivot the country away from dependence on the oil and gas sector for our economic well-being.

To hand over to current and future generations a legacy of well-thought-out investments in clean-energy technologies would be a decision of minimum regret. By ensuring investments are directed toward deployment of sustainable, low-carbon energy resources and the necessary supporting infrastructure, we can exploit our collective innovation capacity to become global leaders in sustainable energy in the long run, write Jatin Nathwani and Raynier Ramasra. Photograph courtesy of Pexels.com

WATERLOO, ONT.—Conventional wisdom would suggest that government budgets should alternate with economic cycles: surpluses during economic expansions and deficits during contractions. In the past, deviations from this approach have led to subsequent fiscal challenges for Canada; profligate federal and provincial spending through the 1970s and into the early 1990s led to debt in excess of 100 per cent of GDP and necessitated significant spending cuts in the mid-1990s to reduce the debt and associated servicing costs. The current federal government returned to deficit spending while the economy was still expanding, which reduced the available fiscal capacity when the COVID-19 pandemic began. With interest rates already near historic lows, current monetary capacity to stimulate the economy is also diminished. Yet while no serious voice would suggest the government stop its current efforts to sustain the economy, the politicians and policy-makers who will be tasked with addressing Canada’s future fiscal situation likely have not yet begun their careers.

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Liberal MP Lamoureux continues prolific speaking record, raising opposition ire

‘I’m living the dream,’ says Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux of his regular House of Commons presence. With more than 550 House interventions so far this Parliament, he’s second only to the Speaker.

‘It’s an ongoing battle’: Bob Rae’s push to move the needle on human rights at the UN

News|By Neil Moss
'You don't stop trying to find ways of resolving differences in opinion, but I do think in this day and age you need a whole range of ways of expressing concern and trying to move opinion,' says Bob Rae.

In parliamentary ‘game of chicken,’ NDP side with Liberals to defeat Conservative motion, averting snap election

News|By Beatrice Paez
The nail-biter 146-180 vote came down in large part to the NDP. Its 24 representatives voted alongside the Liberals and the Greens’ three-member caucus in defeating a Conservative motion.

Feds misled House Defence Committee in 2019 on status of peacekeeping pledges

News|By Neil Moss
'It's a bald-faced lie if they actually said they did and didn't,' says Conservative Defence Committee vice-chair James Bezan of the non-registration of the promised 200-member Quick Reaction Force.

Infrastructure bank’s $10-billion growth plan raises hope of green bond push in Canada

Green bonds are fixed-income financial instruments usually used to secure funding for sustainable infrastructure projects.

Violence directed at Indigenous fishers in Nova Scotia leaves ‘black eye’ on Canada, says Mi’kmaq Senator, as he and rookie Mi’kmaq Grit MP urge long-term solution

News|By Palak Mangat
'I think the current route is a dead end, so if they continue to bang their heads against a wall, everyone’s going to get a headache,' says Independent Nova Scotia Senator Dan Christmas.

House vote looms over Conservative motion that could trigger federal election, as Liberals double down

News|By Palak Mangat
Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez dodged questions if the government was responsible for setting the stage for a stand-off that could trigger an election, saying the question should be asked of the Conservatives.

‘Six systemic crises’ confronting Canada, and politicians, policy-makers, health-care professionals need ‘systems thinking’ to tackle them, says public policy expert

News|By Mike Lapointe
Global Brief magazine editor Irvin Studin says politicians and policy-makers' thinking is 'too small, it’s too linear, it’s too path dependent, and it looks increasingly absurd as these systemic crises.'

Canada needs a new ‘fiscal anchor’ and Freeland needs to share financial plans, says PBO Giroux

Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux says he's found it 'much more difficult to get information out of the minister’s officer' since Parliament returned with Chrystia Freeland in charge of the nation's finances.
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