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May 4, 2006

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What effects would GST cut have?
Toronto Star, May 1

Researchers estimate the introduction of the GST pushed as much as 2 per cent of Canada's economy underground, or $21 billion in today's dollars. That unreported slice of the economy represents roughly $8.5 billion in lost income tax and GST revenue. Finance minister Jim Flaherty is ready to lower the GST to 6 per cent, then eventually 5 per cent. The government estimates a one-point cut in the GST will cost the treasury about $4.5 billion. However, lowering the GST may reduce underground activity, which would boost both GST collections and income tax collected. “We don't know how big that is, but conceivably it could be a significant proportion of the gross revenue loss from cutting the GST,” says Jonathan Kesselman, an economics professor in Simon Fraser University's graduate public policy program.

Experts foresee complex case
Calgary Herald, April 26

Had the former federal Liberal government followed proposed reforms to Canada's youth justice system history would likely remember the name of the girl accused in the triple slaying of a Medicine Hat family.  Instead, the 12-year-old will remain anonymous, whether she's found innocent or guilty of three counts of first-degree murder - the most serious offence under the Criminal Code, indicating police believe the killings were planned. It's believed no other child this young has ever stood accused of three homicides in Canada. “This is going to be a complex case because of her age,” said Raymond Corrado, SFU criminology professor specializing in youth justice. Children in Canada have rarely faced charges of murder.

Industrial spying worries tech firms
New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, April 25

Tech firms in B.C. say they share Prime Minister Stephen Harper's concerns about industrial espionage. Harper said he would seek answers from China and he backed foreign affairs minister Peter MacKay's earlier remarks that the government aims to crack down on Chinese economic spies.  Some China experts have questioned Ottawa's motives for raising the issue, and warned Canada's high-tech industry could suffer if Chinese students and professionals are made to feel unwelcome. SFU professor Neil Abramson, who specializes in international business strategies and business ventures in China, also questioned the federal government's motives, noting Canada tends to follow the U.S.'s lead.  “There is certainly a lot of paranoia about China in the United States,” he said, adding the Harper government appears to be more focused on building closer ties with the U.S. than the former Liberal government.

Good time for students to look for work
Vancouver Province, April 12

Economists says recent vigour in B.C.'s labour market is brightening the outlook for secondary and post-secondary students seeking jobs this summer. Historically, job-seeking students have flocked to two sectoral giants: trades, and accommodation and food. Last year, the two sectors generated 39 per cent of the jobs held by B.C.'s young men and 56 per cent of those held by women. B.C.'s building boom may make this summer a little different. Perhaps sensing a shift in labour-force dynamics, employers are becoming more proactive about attracting the people they will need this summer. Muriel Klemetski, SFU's co-op director, says employer demand for summer co-op placements is rising. She attributes the increase to overall strengthening in the job market. “Employers are very well aware of the competitiveness in the labour market now,” Klemetski says. “They're reaching out to students.”

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