Roundup: Abandoning a fiscal anchor

In yesterday’s National Post, economist Stephen Gordon cast a critical eye on the fall economic update and the government’s excuse for running deficits, and the decision to abandon the fiscal anchor of balanced budgets in favour of a declining debt-to-GDP ratio. And rather than worrying about the non-existent debt-bomb, Gordon is mostly looking for answers why the policy shifted post-election. Fair enough. (He also does the math on how much more a government can spend by shifting the fiscal anchors like the government did here).

Enter fellow economist Kevin Milligan, who digs through and finds an answer. Enjoy.

Good reads:

  • We are headed into moral panic territory over blind trusts and ethics screens, and seriously guys, this is getting so stupid and unnecessary.
  • Justin Trudeau isn’t going to comment on the Harper memo about NAFTA.
  • Chrystia Freeland says that a diplomatic solution with North Korea is “essential and possible,” and that others in the region see Canada as having an important voice.
  • Freeland is also stepping up the diplomatic pressure on Venezuela, and is warning that there could be a coming refugee crisis in South America because of it.
  • The social media pile-on about the government purchasing luxury cars turned out to be for emissions tests. Because why wait for context?
  • Catherine McKenna says that Manitoba’s carbon price will have to go up within two years, responding to Brian Pallister’s dare.
  • CSE released some stats on state-sponsored cyberattacks, which are successful in Canada about once a week.
  • There are criticisms that the government is not being transparent with judicial appointments, with complaints that they aren’t appointing the most qualified.
  • The Commons Board of Internal Economy has approved a new disclosure system that the Liberals say would have caught the NDP satellite offices earlier.
  • Liberal Senator Massicotte has crossed over to the ISG, which secures their position as having the plurality in the Senate.
  • Some infrastructure spending is being pushed back to future years because the projects haven’t been completed yet, and these funds reimburse them.
  • While our military is halting training assistance in Iraq for the time being, they are keeping the combat hospital in northern Iraq up and running.
  • A full colonel has now been charged with sexual assault in the Canadian Forces.
  • Canada has been in talks with the UN for months about peacekeeping commitments, but most of Canada’s ideas have been panned as low priority.
  • The Chief Justice weighed in on the sexual assault debate by reminding people that a fair process matters more than expecting a particular verdict.
  • Andrew Coyne calls on the federal government to use the nuclear option of its dormant disallowance powers to overturn Bill 62 in Quebec.
  • Colby Cosh weighs in on the recent ruling that struck down the need for $1000 deposits to run in federal elections.
  • Paul Wells acidly takes apart that Stephen Harper NAFTA memo, and it’s pretty delicious.

Odds and ends:

The Supreme Court dismissed the appeals of two former RCMP officers responsible for the taser death of Robert Dziekanski, as they faced perjury convictions.