Time to End the Tax-and-Incarcerate Approach to Tobacco – June 13, 2013
The federal government is considering mandatory minimum sentences for the sale of contraband tobacco in an attempt to crack down on black market activity. However, federal taxes are driving Canadians to the black market in the first place. Rather than ramping up policing efforts and costs, the government should reduce taxes to reduce demand for black market tobacco.
Manitoba Hydro's Halcyon Days are Gone – June 6, 2013
Policy Note by Graham Lane, former Chair of the Manitoba Public Utilities Board which observes that changed economic and technological circumstances make a massive expansion of new dam and transmission capacity by Manitoba Hydro too risky to proceed.
Don’t Transfer Airport Ownership Without Compensating Canadians – May 29, 2013
The Senate recently recommended that airport rents be phased out and ownership of Canada’s public airports be transferred to the non-profit corporations that now run them. Frontier’s Mary-Jane Bennett asserts that this is wrongheaded. Airports are publically owned and worth billions of dollars. They should not be transferred without fairly compensating Canadians.
Alberta’s Provincial Debt Funding … Replacing Cash Funding – May 27, 2013
The data on provincial debt indicates that Alberta has plenty of room to borrow more money. Alberta’s March 2011 net debt is in a negative position, indicating that its low level of debt is outweighed by its financial assets. But without better policies and practices, Alberta’s public debt can become an unruly beast.
Scrapping the Provincial Achievement Tests will Join Race to the Bottom – May 20, 2013
Alberta education minister Jeff Johnson recently announced plans to scrap the Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs) currently written by grade 3, 6 and 9 students. More “student-friendly” assessments will be written at the beginning of the year. This is a disappointing development, especially since Alberta has long been the top-performing province in the country.
Selinger's Broken Tax Promise is the Least of it – April 22, 2013
The Selinger government is amending provincial balanced budget legislation to enable its surprise PST increase. More troublingly, it is taking clear measures to exempt itself from the legislation in the event of foreseeable financial challenges the government refuses to prepare for.
Suggestions for the Next Liberal Platform – April 19, 2013
The Liberal Party of Canada has now chosen its leader. Now the tough job of putting together a platform to meet Canada’s economic challenges begins. This column suggests some policy measures that would help modernize Canada’s economy.
Secure Property Rights A Necessity – April 18, 2013
Manitoba has received a mixed grade on the Frontier Centre’s inaugural Canadian Property Rights Index, which measures property rights protections in all 10 provinces and three territories.
Ontario Opposition Parties Should Embrace Toll Roads – April 17, 2013
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynn recently floated the idea of tolling Toronto area highways to pay for the region’s ageing roads and bridges. Opposition parties argue that this is merely a tax grab. In reality, road tolls are the best way to fight traffic congestion, and are a fair way to pay for roads.
Manitoba’s Bad News Budget Ignores Grim Fiscal Realities – April 17, 2013
Manitoba is in a worrisome fiscal position. Unfortunately, the latest budget does nothing to fix the provinces long term challenges.
Content Should be King in Schools – April 11, 2013
Vacuous edu-babble needs to be stripped from curriculum guides and replaced with meaningful standards based on academic content.
Mandate Letters Will Increase Universities’ Troubles – April 11, 2013
Alberta’s Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk is correct in saying that universities need changing, but incorrect in wanting to be the one to direct such change. Such approach risks making universities weaker and more vulnerable to decay.
Can’t Afford to Squander Hydro – April 10, 2013
Opposition leader Brian Pallister deserves some credit for opposing an expensive Manitoba Hydro advertising campaign. Moreover, Manitoba should not squander its hydro resources on speculative projects.
Winnipeg’s Libertarian Socialist – April 6, 2013
Winnipeg’s most colourful community activist was not a predictable big government left winger.
The Future of E-Government in Saskatchewan – April 2, 2013
The strength of the Saskatchewan economy is exhilarating. Saskatchewan should take advantage of its relatively worriless situation and implement innovative measures to maintain long-term prosperity. One such measure is a world-class e-government. Saskatchewan placed tenth within Canada for the quality of e-government, outperforming only Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
The Manitoba Bullying Legislation is Going to be Expensive – March 26, 2013
Bill 18 is winding its way through the Manitoba legislature against considerable opposition from parents and schools. Nevertheless, the government is convinced they must have this new anti-bullying legislation. However, by examining what has happened in American universities when they enacted similar policies, we see that this could likely create a gold mine for lawyers, while not improving the situation for students.
Manitoba’s Bill 18 Fails the Test of Good Legislation – March 22, 2013
Bullying is deeply hurtful to students and destructive to the culture of schools. In the past, bullying was often dismissed as a minor issue, but today school officials and the general public take it much more seriously. Several provinces, including Manitoba, have decided to redress school bullying with legislation. But, to be effective, the legislation must satisfy two fundamental criteria: it must define bullying accurately, and it must respect existing rights and freedoms.
Seeking a Pragmatic Review of Saskatchewan’s Crown Corporations – March 21, 2013
Sheldon Schwartz, who has worked for the government of Saskatchewan, notes that it has been more than 15 years since the last review of Saskatchewan’s Crown corporations and five years since he first proposed one. The time for a new Crown Review has come.
GITaR, Gradual Income Tax Reduction – March 20, 2013
People falsely believe that cutting taxes prevents governments from having healthy revenue growth to do the things it alone can do. There is a way to lower the tax burden without reducing government services. This means is GITaR, Gradual Income Tax Reduction.
A Simple and Effective GST – March 14, 2013
In 1984, a reforming Labour Government came to power in New Zealand. One of their first acts was to announce their intention to introduce a goods and services tax. I was invited to chair the three person committee to seek submissions from the public on the proposed tax, and make recommendations to the government on its optimal design.