• All parents want their children to receive a great education. This desire is understandable because a solid education significantly improves a young person’s chances of success in life. In particular, literacy and numeracy have been and still are the foundational skills that will never become obsolete.

  • 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.

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


All parents want their children to receive a great education. This desire is understandable because a solid education significantly improves a young person’s chances of success in life. In particular, literacy and numeracy have been and still are the foundational skills that will never become obsolete. No one should ever graduate from high school without mastering these basic skills.

There are more than 650,000 K-12 students in Alberta. Most attend public schools or fully funded separate (Roman Catholic) schools, while relatively few, approximately 5 per cent, are enrolled in private schools.1 This means that the vast majority of parents rely on the public education systems, non-denominational and...

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...


Two years ago, eight bright orange metal silos—each five-stories in height—appeared overnight on the land abutting rail giant, BNSF’s Winnipeg track. The rail corridor cuts through the heart of Winnipeg’s Tony River Heights neighbourhood. “An eyesore,” claimed one resident; “it’s like someone erected a big ugly apartment block overnight.”

Vancouver should take note. The city’s leafy West Side could see a similar industrialization along the city’s so-called Arbutus corridor, the CP-owned, 45 acre stretch of land also happens to lie at the hear of the world’s most expensive real estate.

Winnipeg’s fluorescent silos house an agent used as a de-icer...

People flock to major cities to take advantage of unique experiences. In theory, most of the types of activities tourists seek out can be replicated most anywhere, but people are willing to pay a large premium and go out of their way to see a show on Broadway, or eat a Philly cheese steak in Philadelphia. These unique experiences don’t merely appeal to tourists. They are part of what keep people coming Downtown after hours, rather than staying in the suburbs. Having a glass of wine or coffee at a patio on a cobblestone sidewalk can be a much more...

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.


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...


Alberta parents who are frustrated with fuzzy math assignments, confusing report cards, and low academic standards are about to get much-needed help. Today, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy has released A Parents’ Guide to Common Sense Education in Alberta. This handbook, written by Frontier research fellow and classroom teacher Michael Zwaagstra, shines a light on the many problems with the Alberta government’s misguided “Inspiring Education” initiative.

“Parents are tired of the endless stream of failed education fads that keep resurfacing in our schools,” explains Zwaagstra. This handbook shows parents that, contrary to what they hear from ‘Inspiring Education’ advocates,...

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. 



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,...


When it comes to climate change, politicians and activists often point to climate models in support of their preferred approach to the issue, such as those who favour carbon taxes.

Climate models are a virtual version of our planet, using powerful computers to project future climate trends.

The models use data and physical principles to represent various components, such as the oceans, land surfaces, atmosphere, and cloud movements.

However, there is growing scepticism about the overall reliability of some of the data, such as temperature records, on which these climate models rely.

There are also differing views on the understanding...

As classes resume at Canada's universities, students are paying mandatory fees of as much as 200 dollars each to student unions.

These organizations do several things for students.

They administer health and dental plans, fund a variety of activities including sports teams, and they advocate on behalf of the students to the university administration and government on matters like tuition fees.

But quite often student unions are dominated by political activists rather than acting as representatives of the whole student body on a university campus.

They fund political causes not every student agrees with and often focus their efforts on...

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...


Education researcher Michael Zwaagstra has a new handbook coming out next month from the Frontier Centre. Parents’ guide to Common Sense Education in Saskatchewan covers issues ranging from standardized testing to report cards and teaching strategies. (CJME)

Michael Zwaagstra discusses the B.C. teachers union strike on CBC's The Current. Should the make up of classes be part of teachers' contract talks?

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!...