Ruddy: Canada's big city mayors need to rein in spending

By: Amber Ruddy


Mayors from across the country want us to believe they lack adequate funding and need more money to fix potholes, repair bridges, upgrade infrastructure and pay for social housing.

As they gather this week in Edmonton for the annual Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) conference, they will surely dedicate a significant amount of time to talking about their “revenue problem.”

But research from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) reveals that cities don’t really have a revenue problem.

What they have is a spending problem.

MacPherson: No New Tax Powers Without a Citywide Referendum

By: Paige MacPherson


Calgary City Council is currently mulling over a number of ways they could grab more of your cash to fund their transit plans. Some of them represent a major shift in the traditional taxing powers of Canadian cities, and all of them represent a major dent in Calgarians’ wallets.

On the table are a Calgary-specific sales tax, a four-cent-per-litre gas tax (weren’t Albertans just hammered with one of those?), a $144 per year vehicle registration tax, the likes of which was disastrously unpopular in Toronto and eventually repealed, and lastly, toll roads.

Fortunately, the province will be the final arbiter of whether to grant the city new taxing powers. But council should not ask any more taxing powers without first holding a city-wide referendum. Few if any of the current council ran on a platform of explicitly creating new taxes for Calgarians. Council needs the explicit consent of Calgarians before burdening them with new taxes or fees.