Assets and Liabilities – June 19, 2013
With the imminent PST hike and the forced amalgamation of small municipalities dominating discussions about provincial politics, Manitoba Hydro has been pushed out of the limelight. That changed last week.
Natives Need Rights to Property – June 18, 2013
the vast majority of these communities aren’t rich enough to sustain the resource load that the new law will trigger — especially when it comes to housing. Overcrowding already is common on many reserves, with three or four generations living under the same tiny roof. And even if the money for new homes could somehow be found, the reserves’ Soviet-style collective property ownership structure does not allow for the implementation of normal Canadian family-law principles.
Canada’s Political Parties Stand for Nothing – June 6, 2013
Recent political events across Canada at both the federal and provincial levels have brought the issue of ideological politics, or in most cases the lack thereof, to the forefront of just how Canadians are being led.
Government Is Too Expensive – June 6, 2013
Is it really sustainable for your paycheque to go up by 2 per cent a year, but your hydro bill to go up by 4 per cent, your school taxes by 6 per cent, your property taxes by 3.5 per cent and the provincial sales tax to go up to 8 per cent? Obviously it isn’t sustainable, but that’s what’s going on; government is simply becoming way too expensive for many people.
How the Rob Ford Crack Scandal Could Save Toronto – June 6, 2013
Rob Ford may be the best thing to happen to Toronto in a long time. Alleged crack-smoking and ass-grabbing aside, the political meltdown of the embattled mayor of Canada's largest city may inadvertently help undo one of the most disastrous public policy decisions in Canadian history: the amalgamation of Toronto by former premier Mike Harris.
Kiwis Have Eye on Housing Affordability – June 4, 2013
If we are looking for pragmatic solutions to make our housing more affordable in Saskatchewan or Canada, we should take note of the latest changes in public policy in New Zealand.
There's More to New Neighbourhoods Than Houses – May 27, 2013
When setting in place a research agenda that seeks to examine both the costs and benefits of growth and development, it's important to keep property tax discussions and the related operating budget issues separate from capital budget matters and development costs.
A Hospital Case – May 23, 2013
SAINT GORAN’S hospital is one of the glories of the Swedish welfare state. It is also a laboratory for applying business principles to the public sector. The hospital is run by a private company, Capio, which in turn is run by a consortium of private-equity funds, including Nordic Capital and Apax Partners. The doctors and nurses are Capio employees, answerable to a boss and a board. Doctors talk enthusiastically about “the Toyota model of production” and “harnessing innovation” to cut costs.
To Eat or Heat? That’s the EU’s Question – May 16, 2013
For a growing number of Europeans, their continent’s global warming policies have forced them to decide whether to heat their homes or buy food. In short they must choose whether to “Heat or Eat,” which was the title of a talk by a British climate policy expert delivered in Calgary Tuesday.
B.C. Vote Shifted on One Word: Pipelines – May 15, 2013
The NDP looked way ahead before voters went to the polls in British Columbia. Then it all changed. Why? One word: “Pipelines.” Or more precisely, two: “Kinder Morgan.”
In Defense of Carbon Dioxide – May 9, 2013
Of all of the world's chemical compounds, none has a worse reputation than carbon dioxide. Thanks to the single-minded demonization of this natural and essential atmospheric gas by advocates of government control of energy production, the conventional wisdom about carbon dioxide is that it is a dangerous pollutant. That's simply not the case. Contrary to what some would have us believe, increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will benefit the increasing population on the planet by increasing agricultural productivity.
Drones Hit New Turf: U.S. Farmland – May 7, 2013
Farmers are starting to investigate the use of drones for a decidedly nonmilitary purpose: monitoring crops and spraying pesticides. As the spring growing season unfolds, universities already are working with agricultural groups to experiment with different types of unmanned aircraft outfitted with sensors and other technologies to measure and protect crop health.
What We Can Learn About Open Markets From Wine and Wheat – April 24, 2013
Canadian history is filled with tales of protected industries destined for oblivion because of free trade, foreign threats or lost subsidies. But the worst-case scenario rarely plays out as predicted. Consider two prominent examples from the past quarter-century: the advent of free trade for Ontario’s wine industry and the end of the subsidized freight rates for Western grain farmers. In both cases, disaster was predicted. Yet both sectors adapted and emerged stronger.
Recycling Is Garbage – April 21, 2013
Believing that there was no more room in landfills, Americans concluded that recycling was their only option. Their intentions were good and their conclusions seemed plausible. Recycling does sometimes makes sense -- for some materials in some places at some times. But the simplest and cheapest option is usually to bury garbage in an environmentally safe landfill. And since there's no shortage of landfill space (the crisis of 1987 was a false alarm), there's no reason to make recycling a legal or moral imperative. Mandatory recycling programs aren't good for posterity.
Carbon Tax...Are Republicans Really That Stupid? – April 17, 2013
As much as I admire former Secretary of State George Shultz, and because I do, I was totally flummoxed by a recent Wall Street Journal article he co-authored with economist Nobel laureate Gary Becker. Incredulously, the two senior fellows at Stanford University’s conservative Hoover Institution expressed support for a “revenue neutral” tax on carbon.
Let’s Worry About Skills, Not Outsourcing – April 15, 2013
If you landed back in Canada this week from outer space, or even southern Florida, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d hit a wormhole in time and that it was actually 1990. A debate is raging about whether business should outsource jobs if it makes the business more profitable. Wait, you might think, we settled this long ago. And except when it becomes campaign trail rhetoric in America, we understand that outsourcing is not a bad thing.
Climate Changing For Global Warming Journalists – April 15, 2013
The overwhelming consensus on global warming among journalists may be cracking. Last week, the world’s most prestigious newsmagazine – The Economist – backed away from its past alarmist position, saying that “If climate scientists were credit-rating agencies, climate sensitivity would be on negative watch.” The Economist now discounts the high-end estimates of warming coming from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as being unlikely if not far-fetched.
Cuba Without the Sunshine – April 15, 2013
Dawn is breaking in Puerto Argentino, the town its former inhabitants once knew as Port Stanley. At the tiny airport, a gigantic mural commemorates the soldiers from the mainland who lost their lives in the battle for the Malvinas, or the Falklands, as they used to be called.
Smart Messaging Needed to Avoid Pipeline Lobbying Failure – April 10, 2013
History is replete with tragic examples of those who collaborated with the enemy or sought to appease political correctness and wishful thinking for their own short term benefit. Nowhere is this more evident than in today’s climate change debate. Politicians from across the political spectrum, fossil fuel companies and academics who should know better, not only bow to the climate scare, but actively support it. They even use the unscientific, misnomer-riddled language of their opponents.
Climatologists are no Einsteins, says his Successor – April 10, 2013
Freeman Dyson is a physicist who has been teaching at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton since Albert Einstein was there. When Einstein died in 1955, there was an opening for the title of "most brilliant physicist on the planet." Dyson has filled it.