The question of the price of cellphone packages in Canada recently resurfaced again, this time during the election campaign. In the context of this debate, we too often forget that Canada has top quality telecommunications infrastructure, despite a regulatory framework that is very restrictive for companies in this sector.
There is a broad consensus that the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) will transform our lives both at home and at work. While most analysts agree that, in the long run, the net effect of AI on employment will be positive (as the net effect of all previous technological revolutions has been), some worry that in the short and medium term, AI could eliminate jobs faster than they can be replaced.
What does entrepreneurship contribute to health care? Despite the example of Europe, where companies have long had a large role to play within universal systems, simply posing this question in Canada can elicit strong reactions. And even when European successes are mentioned, other reasons are always suggested to explain their better results.
The technologies behind telemedicine are available, and more Canadians could receive remote care, at home or at work, thereby saving themselves trips and avoiding long waits. Unfortunately, our governments are slow to remove obstacles that prevent patients from benefiting from virtual consultations, and doctors from providing this care.
When it comes to education, successive Quebec governments have rarely been shy to brag about their “investments.” Especially in recent years, education has often been one of the favourite themes of the various political parties. Knowing that this file represents the second largest item in the province’s budget, and that education spending is expected to keep growing, two questions arise: Is this growth sustainable, and is there a way to do things differently?
Earlier this year, the media reported that the situation in Quebec emergency rooms had improved in 2018-2019. Yet when we take a closer look at the Department of Health and Social Services data, we see that the opposite has happened, despite a reduction in the number of patient visits.
Canada has avoided the great die-off of public companies afflicting American business especially since the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which imposed new, more restrictive accounting and financial transparency rules. But with trends reversing somewhat since 2012, much work remains to be done in Canada to promote access to investment opportunities for the middle class. This would not only further democratize wealth-building for regular Canadians, but also give start-ups even greater ability to raise funds to grow their business.
Montrealers may soon suffer the “unintended consequences” of two municipal policies likely to produce effects that are just the opposite of their stated purpose. This is in line with a dynamic that is well known to economists but often overlooked by politicians.
Since the 1920s and the work of A.C. Pigou, economists have generally agreed that imposing a price on pollution emissions is the most efficient way to reduce those emissions while minimizing the drawbacks associated with interventions aiming to limit pollution. This way of doing things usually yields better results than regulation or other government interventions that do not rely on market mechanisms.
With Air Canada seeking to acquire Air Transat, many public figures have made comments to the effect that this consolidation would lead to price increases. This argument is based on the premise that competition in a given market is determined by the size and the number of firms that are active in that market.