• The difficulty with the public discourse on drug policy is that it often ignores the tradeoffs inherent in regulating substances. For instance, legalizing marijuana would ease pressure on the criminal justice system.

  • The Freedom Index a new report by the Frontier Centre on the state of various freedoms across the Canadian provinces. The Index assesses a large number of laws and measures, across fiscal, regulatory and personal freedom, in an attempt to measure how free each province is relative to the rest of the country.

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  • A decision will shortly be made about whether to build the Keeyask and Conawapa hydroelectric dams and the associated Bipole III transmission line, which could cost Manitoba billions of dollars. This paper argues that, if approved, this will burden the next generation with debt and higher utility prices.

  • The Frontier Centre for Public Policy is a non-profit research organization that works to support economic growth and an enhanced quality of life in Canada. The Frontier Centre is an educational charity devoted to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge and information. It is not affiliated with any political party and is strictly non-partisan.

  • Accountability, measured by results rather than inputs, is fast becoming a reality in Canadian universities, but administrators still claim they need more resources and fewer constraints on their spending. Over a seven-year period from 2001 to 2008, the resources for Canadian universities increased substantially, but the number of degrees awarded did not increase at the same rate.

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A decision will shortly be made about whether to build the Keeyask and Conawapa hydroelectric dams and the associated Bipole III transmission line, which could cost Manitoba billions of dollars. This paper argues that, if approved, this will burden the next generation with debt and higher utility prices. The paper reviews the development of the Manitoba electricity sector as well as how the interaction of gas and power markets is changing decades-old realities. It includes examples from other jurisdictions where government involvement in electricity has led to unintended consequences, thus providing a cautionary tale. By showing historical electricity demand forecasts that vastly differed from reality, as well as...

"I think what everyone believes and agrees with, and to be frank myself, is that the current approach is not working, but it is not clear what we should do," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper after a 2012 meeting with leaders of governments from the Americas.1 The topic of discussion was the War on Drugs that has ravaged South America for decades. After offering that candid response, Harper was quick to distance himself from advocates of drug liberalization.

"There is a willingness to look at the various measures that can be taken to combat that phenomenon, but just in terms of simple answers like legalization or criminalization,...

The Frontier Centre for Public Policy is pleased to announce the launch of the Freedom Index a new report on the state of various freedoms across the Canadian provinces.

The Index assesses a large number of laws and measures, across fiscal, regulatory and personal freedom, in an attempt to measure how free each province is relative to the rest of the country.

While some level of government is required to protect people and property and to provide a social safety net, the Freedom Index is designed to show the degree to which each provincial government is involved in people’s day-to-day...

Accountability, measured by results rather than inputs, is fast becoming a reality in Canadian universities, but administrators still claim they need more resources and fewer constraints on their spending. Over a seven-year period from 2001 to 2008, the resources for Canadian universities increased substantially, but the number of degrees awarded did not increase at the same rate. At the University of Manitoba (U of M), for example, some faculties and schools received substantially
more resources during a time when the number of degrees awarded decreased. In fact, the evidence shows that there is virtually no relationship between resources allocated to faculties and schools and the number...

The average household can no longer afford a home in the average price range. Housing is so expensive in Vancouver that an additional annual income of between $22,000 and $40,000 is required for the average house, compared to other major metropolitan areas (Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton). Most people are priced out of the market for the average house and have to accept lower-cost housing, which is generally smaller and can be of lower quality. Moreover, Vancouver has the highest house prices relative to income in the New World (Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States).

The principal cause of this difference is likely Vancouver’s...

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Discussions about Canada’s new prostitution laws rarely involve defining who is meant by the term “sex workers.” There are sex workers who want to work in the trade, those who work in the trade out of desperation, and victims of human trafficking.

In order to have a meaningful discussion about the pros and cons of legalization, people need to distinguish between these three categories.

Human trafficking is the practice of procuring human beings against their will, typically for prostitution or labour. The general public has recently become more aware of this brutal phenomenon happening worldwide, including in North America.

Alan...

Next month, university students will cough up money for tuition, textbooks, residence, and additional fees. Student fees, which include transit passes and health and dental insurance, range from $500 to $1000 a year at Canadian universities, of which approximately $100-$200 goes directly to student unions.

Student unions have many responsibilities, including administering health plans, funding student clubs, and advocating on behalf of students to the university administration and different levels of government.

Unfortunately, many student unions are leveraging a passive majority of students to advance the agenda of a fringe minority. They are spending their levy fees to fund controversial...

The view from the southwest flank of Canada’s coastline—between Surrey B.C.’s Crescent Beach and the city of White Rock—is breathtaking. “It’s Canada’s Amalfi coast,” enthuses Erik Seiz, President of the Crescent Beach Property Owners’ Association.  With its towering bluffs, ocean views and expansive beaches, it’s hard to argue.

But Southern Italy doesn’t have to deal with incessant, and increasingly dangerous rail traffic. Over the last ten years industrial train traffic in the Surrey region has seen a ten-fold jump. Close to 20 trains chug through the heart of Crescent Beach and White Rock every day, putting the community, which is...

Last week the Harper Government announced that the highly anticipated Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union had been finalized. The ratification process could take up to two years due to the complexities involved in national and sub-national approval on both sides. However, the promise of free trade with the EU and the anticipated benefits are enough to keep Canada’s business sector waiting with bated breath. CETA is expected to open up 98 per cent of the EU’s 9,000 trade lines as duty-free, allowing the Canadian market unprecedented access to the European economy, among the...

Early last week was the deadline for First Nations to comply with the divisive First Nations Financial Transparency Act (FNFTA). The FNFTA requires First Nations all over Canada to post their audited financial statements and the salaries and benefits of elected officials on both a publically-available website and the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada website.

Despite the pushback from First Nations leaders, transparency and accountability are key components of good governance. International standards have established that transparency is a universal norm that all governments should strive towards.

The United Nations Development Program considers transparency and accountability to be one...

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Today the Frontier Centre fror Public Policy released its latest report, Pipe, Dam and Electricity Dreams: Burdening Manitoba’s Next Generation written by Andrew Pickford.

On June 20, 2014, the Public Utilities Board panel provides its report to the Manitoban Government on the proposed Keeyask and Conawapa dams and the associated Bipole III transmission line, a new interconnection with the Utility’s American utility customers and a refurbishment and expansion of its existing grid. The cumulative cost of these projects is in excess of $34-billion.  If approved, they will have profound implications for Manitoba and its public finances.

Investments by Crown corporations...

Andrew Pickford joins Frontier Centre for Public Policy as Senior Director, Energy and Resources Policy.

Newly appointed Mr Pickford will be responsible for running FCPP’s innovative Energy and Climate Education program that will engage in a comprehensive review of the assumptions upon which Canadian decision makers are legislating energy, environmental and economic policy to provide viable policy alternatives based on rigorous research and findings.

According to Mr Pickford the Energy and Climate Education banner was deliberately chosen to reflect the reality that all Canadians care about the environment, but following a period of enthusiastic and sometimes disastrous policy choices, we...

Today the Frontier Centre for Public Policy published A Blueprint for Reorienting Canadian Drug Policy, a new report by policy analyst Steve Lafleur and research intern Andrew Chai.

In the report, the authors assert that the War on Drugs, in its current manifestation, is not working. Although many politicians seem to recognize as much, the report notes that they have been hesitant to pursue meaningful change, partly because they are not sure what effects liberalization might have, and how to mitigate potential side effects.

“Many politicians are reluctant to take steps toward liberalizing drug policy, fearing that it would be...

A new Frontier Centre study supported the NDP Minister of Education’s decision to shut down the Council on Post-Secondary Education.

The NDP Minister of Education, James Allum, planned to fold the Council on Post Secondary Education into the Department of Education.  A new study by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy supported the Minister’s decision.  Unfortunately, the Minister backed down as universities and faculty unions mounted their attacks. Nevertheless, taxpayers and students have been shouldering an ever-increasing burden, but there is little evidence that higher spending at the University of Manitoba resulted in higher graduation rates for undergraduate students. 

In...

The Frontier Centre for Public Policy has today released Housing Affordability and the Standard of Living in Vancouver, a new report authored by Wendell Cox, a senior fellow with the Frontier Centre.

Mr Cox is an expert in land use and transportation policy and the co-author of the annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, which has examined metropolitan areas in Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States since 2004.

In this report, Mr Cox draws on evidence from the Demographia survey, and his knowledge of the role of housing affordability in poverty reduction, to make...

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This report on Quebec Hydro is one in a long series of reports of 'troubles in Canada's utility land' brought about by the shale gas revolution, new technologies (solar, wind), larger investments in energy efficiency measures and slowing per capita demand, all taking the 'build' pressure  down for large and expensive hydroelectric generating plants.

The problem for ratepayers is that provincial governments with monopoly Crown corporation utilities - Newfoundland Labrador's Nalcor, Quebec's Quebec Hydro, Manitoba's Manitoba Hydro and B.C.'s B.C. Hydro - aren't listening.

Grown dependent on the income streams the Crown monopolies flow into their government masters' revenue...

Tomorrow, March 29th 2014, between 8:30pm and 9:30pm, we'll be celebrating Human Achievement Hour.

This one-hour event coincides with Earth Hour, an annual event where governments, businesses and individuals dim or shut off lights in an effort to raise awareness about pollution. In contrast, Human Achievement Hour (HAH) promotes human prosperity.

Human Achievement Hour is a period of time during which one shows appreciation for human accomplishments by engaging in capitalist acts between consenting adults. For example, going out shopping, or using electricity or indoor plumbing.

“We salute the people who keep the lights on and produce the energy that...

An animated version of Stephen Moore's talk - America's Energy Boom: How It Will Save U.S. Manufacturing and Recharge The U.S. Economy.

Last month I attended the Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa.

It's the largest annual gathering of conservative and libertarians in Canada, with a noticeable generational split between those two philosophies.

The keynote speaker on the final day of the conference was Mark Steyn.

Now, Mark and I wouldn't agree on every political issue, but he's a very entertaining guy.

He gave an entertaining speech in which he covered six political facts of life:

1) When money drains, power drains. When a nation loses control of its finances, it loses control of its destiny.

2) Permanence is the illusion of...

What does the federal government’s policy to enhance wireless competition look like the morning after the 700 MHz spectrum auction results were announced?  We have another player, Videotron, in BC and Alberta.  Videotron, Quebec’s largest cable company, has made a major play to compete in wireless in the west.  Everywhere else it is just about status quo.  Wind and Mobilicity remain as also ran acquisition targets that will eventually be consolidated with one of the larger players.

Rogers was the largest contributor to the total federal revenue take of $5.7 billion.  Telus and Bell, who share the same network,...

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Urban sprawl is still regarded as undesirable by city planners, but the arguments against it are changing.

The planners have long maintained that limited development should be allowed beyond existing urban boundaries, as long as there are areas in the core that could be reclaimed and redeveloped.

One of the arguments against developing outward is that it will take valuable farmland out of production.

But that's a case that no longer holds the strength that it used to.

These days, less land is needed to produce food because farming has become more productive and the same output is harvested from...

In less than a month, it will be back to class on Canada's university campuses.

Some schools like the University of Alberta, are more focused on research, while others, like Brandon University, concentrate more on teaching undergraduates.

Students enrolled in research-oriented universities will soon discover that teaching undergraduates is not a high priority.

In the research-oriented universities, students often find themselves in large classes, taught by less experienced recent graduates rather than veteran professors.

Such professors tend to be valued more for the research they produce, rather than on their teaching skills.

This means they have less time to focus...

The controversy continues over hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking' , to enhance recovery of oil and gas.

Some places, such as France and the state of New York, have banned fracking because of fears that it might harm ground water, or possibly cause an earthquake.

Meanwhile, much of the world continues to rely heavily on coal as a source of energy.

Coal mining is more dangerous than fracking, and the burning of coal produces harmful emissions, including mercury and sulfur dioxide.

Fracking has been around for decades, but it can now be done horizontally and not just vertically.

This is positive...

In five of Canada's provinces, including all three prairie provinces, barbers and hairstylists must be certified by a provincial regulatory body in order to do business.

It's what's known as a compulsory trade.

When a trade is voluntary, on the other hand, a person can seek certification if they desire but can legally work without it.

The designations are not at all consistent across the country.

In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, bricklaying is a compulsory trade, but it is not in the western provinces.

In most provinces, plumbing is a compulsory trade, but not in Manitoba.

But you do...

Australia has recently abolished what some have called the “world’s biggest carbon tax”.

It was designed to combat climate change by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide that result from the burning of fossil fuels.

Companies who produced emissions that exceeded a certain threshold were required to pay a hefty tax.

The Australian legislation was highly unpopular because the companies who were subject to it, simply passed the cost on to their customers and hurt the local economy.

Greenhouse gas emissions have been on the decline in Australia, but there is no consensus that the carbon tax is the reason.

Coal...

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Republished from the West Island Gazette.

So, how free do you think you are? To be honest, I’ve been feeling pretty free, as freedom goes, over the last bit of time. My kids are almost out of the basement and in interesting jobs. I can almost stop worrying about them.

Unless the young family doctor we recently lucked into is kidding me, I’m in reasonable health. That frees me up from a lot of medical appointments, which is what my age group talks about most of the time, that and downsizing, care homes and dying. And I’m not working any...

Reprinted from Dialogue.
Interview by Juanita Julliet Singh

On March 9, 2013, Aruna Papp established a record. She became the first Adventist Indo-Canadian woman to represent Canada as a delegate to the United Nations Conference on Global Violence Against Women.

For Papp, it was a long journey. Aruna (nee Irene Isaac) is the first of seven children of Pastor and Mrs. B.M. Isaac. Her father served the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a pastor and administrator in India before moving to Canada. While he labored hard to provide for the family, it was her mother who worked diligently to care for her children, have regular family worship, and shoulder the responsibilities for the extended family. Papp learned from...

Originally aired on Stuff for Parents. (stuffforparents.com/podcasts/whats-…ix-them-part-1/)

Michael Zwaagstra is a public school teacher, speaker, research associate with Frontier Centre for Public Policy and co-author of the book What’s Wrong With Our Schools and How We Can Fix Them. Michael and I discuss schools in North America, the challenges they face, questionable teaching methods and philosophies, and what you should know as a parent. If you’re a parent who is concerned about our schools or a teacher who has observed the questionable approaches and practices advocated by so-called experts, you’ll definitely want to tune-in!...

New Brunswick has ranked high in the first ever Entrepreneurial Index released by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and Ken Phillips. He discusses the results on McLean in the Morning.

David Vardy holds degrees in Economics from Memorial University, the University of Toronto and Princeton University. He was a member of the economics faculty at Queen’s University before returning to Newfoundland and Labrador to serve as a senior public servant for close to 30 years. He held numerous senior executive positions including President of the Institute of Fisheries and Marine Technology, Chair of the Public Utilities Board and Secretary to Cabinet.  He has received a number of awards in recognition of his public service leadership, including an Honorary Doctorate from Memorial University.  He was interviewed after his Frontier luncheon speech...

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