Introduction to FCPP
The Frontier Centre for Public Policy is an independent, western Canada based public policy "think tank" with offices in Winnipeg, Regina and Calgary. Our mission is to develop and popularize policy choices that will help Canada's prairie region live up to its vast but unrealized economic potential.
Presently there are 11 project areas organized under 3 broad policy themes at the Frontier Centre, each described briefly below.
1. HIGH PERFORMANCE GOVERNMENT – Focus on outcomes, competitive neutrality and separation between elected officials and operations:
· LOCAL GOVERNMENT FRONTIERS: Explores the financial and service performance of Canadian cities based on the principles of transparency (measuring delivery costs and results), neutrality (objectively considering all delivery alternatives) and separation (focusing elected officials on policy making, separated from operations). The Local Government Performance Index compares Canadian cities across various financial and performance benchmarks.
· CENTRE FOR TRANSFORMATIONAL EQUALIZATION: Examines politically saleable alternatives to the present equalization system which keeps recipient provinces dependent on subsidies and blunts their incentives to create innovative economies.
2. SOCIAL POLICY RENEWAL – Bringing a consumer and effectiveness focus to social policy:
· ABORIGINAL FRONTIERS: Searches for ways to empower native Canadians by bringing them into the economic mainstream, restoring property and commercial rights and devising a non-coercive framework for self-government. Frontier’s fifth “Aboriginal Governance Index” ranking the quality of governance on Prairie First Nations was released in 2012.
· EDUCATION FRONTIERS: Studies consumer-centered schooling models that offer choice, with decentralized school governance systems and merit pay for teachers. Our school report card project provides independent rankings of the quality of Manitoba and Saskatchewan schools.
· HEALTHCARE FRONTIERS: Examines successful models of healthcare delivery in other countries that could restore and improve the quality and effectiveness of our own system. In partnership with a Swedish think tank, we have produced healthcare consumer indexes comparing Canada to 32 European countries, and provincial health systems on patient responsiveness.
· HOUSING FRONTIERS: Looks at land use regulation, housing affordability and protecting property rights in Canada. It explores alternatives to public housing, the problems with rent control, promoting private ownership and exposing the real costs of densification and “smart growth” policies. It releases a housing affordability index each year which compares house price affordability across Canada, the United States, Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.
· ANTI-POVERTY PROJECT: Examines welfare reform - particularly non-government approaches to welfare. It also focuses on alleviating policies that unintentionally and disproportionately harm low-income or poor people like occupational regulation, price controls, taxi regulation and marketing boards that artificially raise the price of food staples.
3. THE OPEN ECONOMY – Pro-actively dealing with open borders and technological change:
· SMART GREEN FRONTIERS: Explores how to solve environmental problems without reducing human freedom. Communicates that environmental indicators are improving in general; challenges climate change orthodoxy; is developing a “smart green” branding methodology to encourage scientifically rigorous and market-oriented environmental policy.
· THE RURAL RENAISSANCE PROJECT: Broadens the debate about rural revival by examining all aspects of the rural economy and using regulatory reform, technology and environmental policy as growth levers to expand opportunities for rural communities to add value to a resource-based economy.
• INFOCOMM FRONTIERS: Explores policies impacting information and communications technologies - telecommunications, internet, satellites, mobile/smartphones, cable TV, radio and TV broadcasting, computers and the applications they make possible
• WATER FRONTIERS: Examines topics of bulk water exports, innovative funding models to support clean water supply and other water related topics.
Frontier also moves the public dialogue forward through an extensive and creative communications and events program:
· FRONTIER CENTRE WEBSITE – One of Canada’s most heavily travelled and technically sophisticated think tank internet sites.
· RADIO COMMENTARY – Two-minute weekly policy commentary broadcasts on 17 stations in the 3 Prairie Provinces.
· LUNCH ON THE FRONTIER: Our distinguished speaker series focuses on cutting-edge economic and social policy issues by bringing the world’s foremost experts to the Prairies to share their experience.
· BREAKFAST ON THE FRONTIER: Our breakfast speaker series profiles local policy figures and their ideas.
· MEETING FOR POLICY EXPERTS: Longer seminars and lectures by academics and policy innovators.
· STUDENT SCHOLARSHIP/INTERN PROGRAMS: Our intern programs give university students a taste of hands-on policy. Support for students to attend Frontier events to gain exposure to new public policy ideas..