• Join us in celebrating the appointments of Frank Atkins, Tom Flanagan, Wendell Cox, Patrick Moore, Barry Cooper. Funds Raised Will Support 10 Annual Graduate Student Scholarships. Click the image to register or RSVP to Samantha Leclerc by Email: samantha.leclerc@fcpp.org or Call (403-400-6862)


In September 2014, the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) released a policy paper that looked at the size and cost of Atlantic Canada’s public sector. AIMS researchers Ben Eisen and Shaun Fantauzzo examined Statistics Canada data to empirically assess the claim that Atlantic Canada’s public sector is unusually large compared with other regions of the country. After careful analysis, they discovered that public sector employment rates in the Atlantic region, relative to population, are higher than the rates in the rest of Canada.

Using the methodology of that policy paper, this study examines the size of the public sector...

Earlier this year, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies published a report I wrote that showed that the cost of public education in all Canadian provinces and territories has been increasing at rates far above the growth in the economy, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).1 Moreover, the study showed considerable variability across the provinces and territories. The rising cost of public education was highest in Newfoundland and Labrador at 111.1 per cent and lowest in British Columbia at 53.3 per cent. Manitoba was in the middle of the distribution for...

This analysis arrives at approximations of the value of SaskEnergy, a provincial Crown corporation owned by the government and thus the citizens and taxpayers, of the province of Saskatchewan. These valuation ranges could be useful in determining the future ownership or use of this asset. Every organization needs to review what it could or should do to serve its clients as well as review whether its present array of assets is appropriate for its strategy and future operations.

The best probable estimate of the total market capitalization, that is, the total value of the company were it to be traded...

Over the past two centuries, the world has become more urban, as people have moved to the cities to better their lives. Cities exist because, as large labour markets, they facilitate a higher standard of living for residents and reduce poverty. Governments place a high priority on these social goods. Achieving them requires that governments pursue policies that lead to higher household discretionary income (income after paying taxes and for necessities). Governments must also proactively avoid policies that reduce discretionary income. Regrettably, urban containment policy, the subject of this report, increases house prices relative to income, thereby reducing discretionary income...

This paper analyzes the fiscal condition of the four small, comparatively low-income Canadian provinces that rely on equalization payments as a source of revenue: Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Specifically, we examine recent trends in the size of equalization payments to these provinces. We find that since Ontario began receiving payments in 2009/10, those provinces have experienced a marked decline in their share of equalization payments. More importantly, equalization payments as a share of nominal provincial GDP in those four provinces have declined. Finally, we analyze the impact of declining equalization payments on provincial finances. We...


The governments of Ontario and Quebec recently announced their intention to enter into a cap and trade arrangement.  The goal here is to put a price on carbon dioxide.  The economic argument is pretty simple.  Markets are an efficient manner in which to allocate resources, and there is no market for carbon dioxide.  Because of this, there is no price for carbon dioxide, so it will be used inefficiently.  A cap and trade system is an attempt to create a market, which would create a price for carbon dioxide.  One way to look at this is that it essentially creates...

The recent announcement that the province of Ontario will join Quebec and California in a cap-and-trade scheme for “carbon emissions” is depressing in more ways than one. It will provide zero benefit for the environment and will only serve to depress the economy.

In all likelihood it will result in a further skewing of the already dysfunctional transfer payment system by requiring other provinces to buy carbon credits from Ontario and Quebec.

And let’s get the semantics right. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is not “carbon”. Carbon is commonly known as carbon black (soot), which can be a pollutant, graphite, as...

In Canada we need to place more emphasis on competitive forces, in order to create incentives for the creation of new companies with new products in new industries, encouraging companies with growth potential and thereby broadening Canada's economic base.  In any economy this activity must be accompanied by a vibrant, well-functioning financial sector. 

It is widely understood that an economy functions best when there are competitive forces.  The Federal Government is aware of this, but appears to be prepared to make a looming problem in the financial sector worse by creating a single securities regulator.  For years the government has...

Ontario's antiquated alcohol-distribution system has come under heavy scrutiny over the last few months. While alcohol policy change in Ontario has been glacial, the recent proposal to allow grocery stores to sell alcohol could be a step in the right direction.

The Ontario government initially planned to introduce LCBO kiosks in grocery stores, but put the plan on hold as they awaited advice from a review of the province's alcohol-distribution system. The fact the cash-strapped provincial government has instead decided to allow grocery stores themselves to sell alcohol is telling. Premier Kathleen Wynne has vowed to extract more revenue from...

When the slight global warming that occurred between 1970 and 2000 came to a virtual standstill, the doomsayers adopted “climate change” which apparently means that all extreme weather events are caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO²). Cold, hot, wet, dry, wind, snow, and large hailstones are attributed to humanity’s profligate use of fossil fuels.

But the pause in global warming kept on and became embarrassing around 2005. Something dire was needed to prop up the climate disruption narrative. “Ocean acidification” was invented to provide yet another apocalyptic scenario, only this one required no warming or severe weather, only...


Today the Frontier Centre for Public Policy released a new study documenting how high public sector employment rates in the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan have significant costs to the taxpayers of those provinces. Additional spending on the public sector wage bills due to a sub-national public sector size in excess of the national average cost both Manitoba and Saskatchewan $4.052 billion.

Findings include (all data is from 2013):

  • An analysis of Statistics Canada data from 2013 demonstrates that 18 per cent of all jobs at the national level are in the public sector, that is, government employees at
  • ...

A new study published by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy shows that per-pupil education costs are soaring in Manitoba. Taxpayers shoulder an ever-increasing burden, but there is little evidence that higher spending results in better educational outcomes. 

In “The Cost Disease Infects Manitoba Education,” Professor Rod Clifton examines expenditures on education in the province between 2002/03 and 2012/13, showing that while public school enrollment decreased by 3.5%, the number of educators increased by 5.8%.  More significantly, the expenditures increased by about 48.5% from slightly over $1.3 billion to more than $1.9 billion, when the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased...

Today the Frontier Centre for Public Policy released an independent valuation of SaskEnergy, Saskatchewan’s provincial Crown natural gas distributor. The report authored by financial analyst Ian Madsen estimated the potential market value at an average of $1.164 billion based on three key metrics.

Using established financial analysis methods, the valuation study analyzed several privately traded peer companies including two Canadian regional gas utilities and 11 regional US companies. The analysis found that the firm’s current potential public listing value could be between $818 million and $1.241 billion.

Madsen notes several potential benefits of privatization: “Proceeds from any SaskEnergy sale could...

The Frontier Centre for Public Policy has today released Housing Affordability and the Standard of Living in Toronto, 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 recommendations...

Today, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy (FCPP) and the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) released a new paper documenting a recent decline in equalization payments (relative to provincial GDP) to Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. In “Declining Equalization Payments and Fiscal Challenges in the ‘Have-not’ Provinces,” authors Ben Eisen, David Murrell, and Shaun Fantauzzo show that equalization payments as a share of provincial GDP have declined markedly in recent years in these four provinces, particularly since Ontario began receiving payments in 2009/10. 

Manitoba and the three Maritime Provinces are grouped together for analysis in...


The Frontier Centre for Public Policy is seeking an intern for January to April 2015.

Our internship program is designed to develop future researchers, writers, and policy leaders in Canada, and to provide highly motivated students with the opportunity to experience working in a think tank environment.

The internship is part-time (10-15 hours per week, with the hours usually chosen by the intern) and can be completed at the Centre's head office in Winnipeg, Manitoba, or remotely through e-mail and Skype. The intern is given a monthly stipend.

The intern's role will be primarily that of a research assistant. Tasks...

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...


Michael Zwaagstra, Research Fellow, FCPP

Research strongly supports the use of traditional methods including structured classrooms, direct instructions, guided practice and even rote memorization.

Education researcher Michael Zwaagstra is in Saskatchewan this week speaking on why what he calls “traditional” instruction of students is a good way to improve learning. What is traditional instruction?

Michael Zwaagstra, public high school teacher, education researcher, Frontier Centre research fellow and author


Education researcher Michael Zwaagstra is in Saskatchewan this week speaking on why what he calls “traditional” instruction of students is a good way to improve learning. What is traditional instruction? Michael Zwaagstra, public high school teacher, education researcher, Frontier Centre research fellow and author.

Teachers in many Canadian classrooms are being encouraged to de-emphasize factual knowledge, in favour of a more hands-on discovery approach with students.

But some basic facts will always be essential in making higher-level learning possible.

For example, it's difficult for students to understand the grievances of the Métis, without knowing the facts about Louis Riel.

A student who memorizes multiplication tables is more likely to succeed at algebra than one who uses a calculator to multiply 5 times 6.

Students who don't know the tables are more likely to become bogged down and confused by the steps that are needed...

Saskatchewan's Perry Bellegarde faces many challenges as the new National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

The organization is in crisis after Shawn Atleo resigned from the post before the end of his term.

A number of chiefs felt he acted too independently and was too cozy with the Harper government in Ottawa.

Bellegarde’s first challenge will be to convince the chiefs that he needs a degree of independence to be effective, and that cooperation with government can result in meaningful change.

If the national chief works closely with Ottawa, there may be movement on calls for a national...


In Canada, growth is moving west, but not all the way. The big growth now is in the Prairies between central Canada and British Columbia, the Canadian part of the Great Plains.

Yet you can’t talk about metropolitan Canada without first mentioning the Toronto region.

The Greater Golden Horseshoe continues to dominate Canada's population, according to the latest census metropolitan area estimates from Statistics Canada. Anchored by Toronto, the metropolitan areas of the Greater Golden Horseshoe (Hamilton, Kitchener, Oshawa, Brantford, Barrie, Peterborough St. Catherine's – Niagara and Guelph) now have a population of 8.7 million residents, 23.4% of the national...

Originally published for The Huffington Post.

The world is rapidly becoming urban. More than half the world’s 7-plus billion people live in urban areas (urban cores, suburbs and small towns). Nearly a quarter of the population lives in “cities” of a million or more. Eight percent reside in megacities — urban areas of at least 10 million. And that percentage rises with each new megacity.

What is a City?

Demographers use a slew of terms to reference cities and urban areas. Plainly speaking, urban areas are the continuously built up areas that would be seen in the outline of city...

Elliot Sims speech and Q&A at a Frontier Centre for Public Policy Breakfast entitled: Red Tape: Canada's Hidden Tax.

View the Power Point Presentation here: https://www.fcpp.org/posts/red-tape-canadas-hidden-tax-powerpoint-slides



Power Point presentation from Red Tape: Canada's Hidden Tax. A Breakfast on the Frontier event held in Winnipeg on January 20, 2015 with Elliot Sims.

Listen to his speech here: https://www.fcpp.org/posts/red-tape-canadas-hidden-tax-speech


View the entire Power Point Presentation here....

This article was written by Wendell Cox and originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Hong Kong, Sydney, Vancouver and the San Francisco Bay Area have the worst middle-income housing affordability in 9 nations, according to 11th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey. Median house prices in Hong Kong were 17 times the median household income, a measure called the "median multiple." Vancouver had a median multiple of 10.6, Sydney 9.8, while San Francisco and San Jose were each at 9.2. Other cities (metropolitan areas) with especially high median multiples included Melbourne (8.7), London (8.5), San Diego (8.3) Auckland (8.2),...