John Ivison: Canada spends $29B a year on business subsidies — and half of it is wasted

An important new study has for the first time calculated the total amount the federal government and four largest provinces spend on subsidizing businesses — a staggering $29 billion a year — and it estimates more than half of that spending is wasted.

The aim of the spending in most cases is to improve economic performance. But the analysis by John Lester, an executive fellow at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, suggests programs like subsidies to attract foreign companies to shoot movies in Canada don’t work.

“Because government intervention is costly … just under half of overall business subsidies fail to improve economic performance,” he says.

  • andycanuck

    Mmm. Day-old donuts.

    • simus1

      “Who …. took …… my ….. English …….muffins …… and ….. onion …… bagel.”

    • More donuts!

  • Jay Harper

    Only Half wasted? I would put it much higher than that.

    • Millie_Woods

      They wisely spend the other half on hookers and nose candy.

  • simus1

    If they don’t waste half, the 15% that is outright looted would be very easy to spot.

    • J. C.

      Only 15%…???

    • Thread winner!

    • Observer

      Are you sure that 15% weren’t just the kickbacks to the Liberal Party?

  • mauser 98
  • Mark Matis

    It is NOT “wasted”. It clearly went to the Right People – ones who make the appropriate politicians look good, or who donate sufficient funds to their campaigns.

  • canminuteman

    29 billion would go a long way to help business in the form of an across the board tax cut, but I suppose that is out of the question.

  • A Hamilton Guy

    Whad’ja Spect.