When Toronto’s board of trade recommended higher taxes

Tease the day: New taxes are a bold suggestion during a week when everyone’s talking about national finance

Dave Chidley/CP

Some things you just come to expect during the week when a new federal budget is released. This morning, there’s the usual speculation and pre-criticism and the annual sort-of guarantee of a budget measure, as well as the pre-reaction to that sort-of guarantee—and perennial hopes for a new relationship with government. This isn’t a lament for those voices and conversations, just a reminder that we should expect them. Just like we should expect this morning’s pair of columns, one from a Liberal and one a New Democrat, that argue it would be so much smarter if the Liberals and New Democrats all worked together.

This morning’s stand-out is a proposal, reported in the Toronto Star, from that city’s board of trade: raise more taxes to fund transit. The suite of proposals could raise $2 billion each year that could pay for an ambitious regional transit plan. The idea has its critics, as any suggestion to take money away from people would. But the board’s CEO, Carol Wilding, is stoic in the face of the naysayers: “It will be hard for all of us, but all of us have to contribute. All of us will benefit when the new transportation is in place,” she told the Star. A board of trade suggesting tax hikes just days before the nation’s attention turns to the state of our collective finances, and the government’s annual proclamation about how much it’s reduced taxes since it came to power? Bold.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with expected accountability measures imposed by the feds on the provinces when it comes to how they spend $2.5-billion worth of federal skills training money. The National Post fronts hopes that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will undo many of the budgetary measures he’s implemented over his term in office. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with the Toronto board of trade’s proposed suite of new taxes that could fuel new transit funding. The Ottawa Citizen leads with an unnamed Canadian who participated in, and died during, a hostage taking at an Algerian gas plant. iPolitics fronts constitutional negotiations as a welcome distraction for new Quebec Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard. leads with Pope Francis’s inaugural mass. National Newswatch showcases Warren Kinsella’s Calgary Sun column that calls for a Liberal-NDP merger.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Libya. Cabinet documents from 2011 show that Canada hoped to receive a return on its military investment in Libya—and engaged Libyans on trade issues even before the war ended. 2. Omar Khadr. A 2011 memo prepared by a senior policy analyst to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews contains allegations about Omar Khadr’s crimes not proven in any court.
3. Mr. 3 Per Cent. The head of BPR Inc. admitted to Quebec’s corruption inquiry that his firm paid $150,000—about a three per cent commission—to secure construction contracts. 4. David Dodge. The former Bank of Canada governor, who also serves as Queen’s University chancellor, will advise the Ontario provincial government on economic affairs.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.