MLI Newsletter
Vol. II, No. 11



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Save the date! The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is pleased to announce our second annual Flag Day Soir´┐Że on

February 15, 2011!


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In this Edition...
Next History Wars debate is this Friday! Get your tickets today!
Canadian agriculture and food: A growing hunger for change
Reduce crime: Reform Canada's DNA collection policy
No need for electoral reform
Trade dispute settlement: System stacked against Canadians
MLI in the media
Laura Dawson joins MLI as new Senior Fellow
Next History Wars debate is this Friday! Get your tickets today!

History Wars LogoOn November 11th, join us at the Bronson Centre in Ottawa starting at 6:30 PM to see historian Jack Granatstein and UBC professor Michael Byers debate the resolution: After Afghanistan the Canadian Forces should keep the peace rather than wage war. The debate will be moderated by Michael Bliss and a lively question and answer period will take place afterwards.

Get a sneak peek of what's to come by reading Granatstein's article on "What next for the Canadian Forces" in iPolitics and The Hill Times today, November 7th.

Tickets to this debate are $30 each. Click here for more information and to register to attend. We look forward to seeing you there!

History Wars is MLI's series of four provocative debates exploring some of the most compelling subjects in Canadian history.

Canadian agriculture and food: A growing hunger for change

More food will be eaten over the next half century than has been eaten by human beings since the dawn of history. In MLI's new study released on October 17th entitled, Canadian Agriculture and Food: A Growing Hunger for Change, authors Larry Martin and Kate Stiefelmeyer argue that Canada should be poised to capitalize on this opportunity to feed the world. They say, "We are uniquely positioned to benefit from the increasing demand for food due to our vast tracts of arable land, abundant water, infrastructure, and long experience in agriculture. However, despite these opportunities, Canadian agriculture is in serious decline." They outline a number of factors that contribute to Canada's poor performance.

Since its release, the study has received a great deal of media attention, including a Neil Reynolds column in The Globe and Mail which called the report "an excellent - even inspiring - piece of work." Other coverage included columns and op-eds that appeared in the Hill Times, the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Regina Leader-Post, Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal. Co-author Larry Martin also appeared on John Gormley Live in Saskatchewan, the Dave Rutherford Show in Alberta, and CJOB's Night Hawk with Geoff Currier in Manitoba.

Reduce crime: Reform Canada's DNA collection policy

According to MLI author and former Crown prosecutor Scott handcuffsNewark in the October 5th instalment of Straight Talk, the government's crime legislation neglects one of the single most effective reforms that Ottawa could enact to solve and reduce the most serious violent offences. It overlooks the opportunity to modernize laws regarding DNA forensic evidence. In this Straight Talk, Newark outlined several simple amendments that could be made to modernize the DNA database.

An op-ed based on this study appeared in newspapers across the country, while iPolitics published the entire Straight Talk issue and on October 21st, Edmonton Sun columnist Mindelle Jacobs wrote about Newark's proposal. Newark also appeared on the Dave Rutherford radio show in Alberta and on CBC radio's Blue Sky with Garth Materie in Saskatchewan to discuss his recommendations.

No need for electoral reform

Recent provincial elections in Ontario, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island resulted in gaps between the popular vote and seat counts, causing some to revisit the idea of proportional representation. According to author John Pepall in the study Laying the Ghost of Electoral Reform, these calls for electoral reform miss the point of voting. Voting is a procedure for making decisions. First-past-the-post delivered governments that are able to make decisions and if we don't like them, we can "throw the bums out".

Following the release of the study, an op-ed on the same topic was published on iPolitics and Huffington Post Canada. Pepall also appeared on The Rob Breakenridge Show (Alberta) and on John Gormley Live (Saskatchewan) to discuss why calls for electoral reform misunderstand the strengths of our first-past-the-post system and would damage rather than improve Canadian democracy.

Trade dispute settlement: System stacked against Canadians

The federal government is currently pursuing a major trade deal with Europe that, if left unchecked, would perpetuate a flaw in Canada's trade model: the lack of safeguards of independence in those chosen to adjudicate disputes under trade agreements (known as dispute settlement or investor-state arbitration). In this context, MLI released a Commentary on September 28th by Osgoode Law School professor Gus Van Harten who uses the person-to-government arbitration process under Canada's Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) to provide several recommendations to improve investor-state arbitration.

An op-ed by Van Harten based on his paper appeared in newspapers across Quebec and southern Ontario.

MLI in the media

WSJ 2MLI in the Wall Street Journal - again! On October 5th, the Wall Street Journal quoted MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley on the topic of Ontario's public finances ahead of the recent provincial election. He said, "Ontario has been adding debt faster than almost any other province in the country. Yet all the political parties have been making promises of new spending, and no one has in my view a credible plan for restoring public finances."

On September 24th, MLI Senior Fellow Laura Dawson discussed the Buy American provisions included in the American Jobs Act in the Toronto Star. She argued that the Buy American measures will not only hurt Canadian manufacturers and suppliers, but will hurt the economic competitiveness of both Canada and the U.S.

On September 28th, MLI Senior Fellow Benjamin Perrin's op-ed on the criminal justice reforms included in the Safe Streets and Communities Act appeared in the National Post.

In his October 8th for the Ottawa Citizen, MLI's Brian Lee Crowley discussed the trend in Ontario and other provinces to put parties of opposing stripes in power in Ottawa and Queen's Park and predicted stormy times ahead for federal-provincial relations.

In his column for the Ottawa Citizen published on October 22nd, Brian discussed how even with a majority, Quebec is a key challenge for Harper. Crowley's points were repeated in Chris Selley's Full Pundit feature in the National Post on October 24th. Click here for the full article.

Laura Dawson joins MLI as new Senior Fellow

We are delighted to welcome new Senior Fellow Laura Dawson to the MLI team!

Laura Dawson is the President of Dawson Strategic and provides advice to business on cross-border trade, market access and regulatory issues. Previously, she served as senior advisor on U.S.-Canada economic affairs at the United States Embassy in Ottawa and has been a senior associate at the Centre for Trade Policy and Law at Carleton University. As a specialist in U.S.-Canada economic relations, Dawson contributed to the launch of the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council, the Border Vision Strategy, and the bilateral Government Procurement Agreement. From September to December 2011, she is a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC researching policy options to rebuild North American competitiveness.

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute exists to make poor quality public policy unacceptable in Ottawa. We will achieve this goal by proposing thoughtful alternatives to Canadians and their political and opinion leaders through non-partisan and independent research and commentary. Visit us online at