MLI Newsletter
Vol. III, No. 2



Canadian Century cover w award


Now available in softcover through the MLI website. 

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In this Edition...
Thousands view new MLI video on fiscal reforms of 1990s
MLI author lauds success of east coast Aboriginal fishery
Why banning oil tankers on west coast is all pain for little gain
Stéphane Dion, Michael Wilson, headline Macdonald-Laurier Soirée
Leading experts offer solutions to aging, health care & public finance
Contradictory signals on foreign investment hurting Canada
Top economist documents high cost of low vehicle emissions
Highlights of MLI in the Media
Thousands view new MLI video on fiscal reforms of 1990s
 A short new video from MLI lays out in easily understandable terms and images what led Canada to the huge fiscal reforms of the 1990s. Narrated by MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley, the video not only explores the history of the reforms, but also the payoff they had for Canada, including one of the strongest economic performances of any major industrialized country, and a relatively shallow recession. The video, viewed by thousands on YouTube, also explains the fragility of the progress made and what needs to be done so that Canada continues to reap the rewards of reform for years to come.


View "Balancing the federal budget in one easy lesson" here.

MLI author lauds success of east coast Aboriginal fishery; Ottawa listens

MLI board member and author Jacquelyn Thayer Scott had a big impact on the recent federal budget. Her January paper on the Aboriginal fishery programme on the east coast documented an impressive case of an Aboriginal policy initiative that could be a model for involving First Nations in the management of Canada's natural resources on a businesslike basis. The programme in question was one of a number that had to be renewed in the recent federal budget. It was the only one that got renewal for a full five years - another example of MLI's impact on policy thinking in Ottawa.


Professor Scott's paper is here.


The paper attracted the attention of the Charlottetown Guardian.

Why banning oil tankers on west coast is all pain for little gain

Energy hungry Asian markets plus the growing global significance of Canada's oil resources have focused attention recently on the issue of how to get those resources to market. Most of the projects would require the construction of pipelines and terminals on the west coast, and significant oil tanker traffic. In response the issue of a potential ban of oil tankers has again been raised in BC. MLI has joined in this debate with a new publication comprising three papers: one on Canada's record in managing oil tanker traffic in sensitive marine environments, a second on the economic cost to the country of a ban, and a third on Canada's international maritime legal obligations and the practical difficulties around banning tankers. The overall conclusion? A tanker ban would be a costly and unnecessary response to a tiny risk we already manage very successfully.


Click here to read Making Oil and Water Mix.


Brian Lee Crowley and Jason Clemens published an op-ed on the papers in the Vancouver Sun and Calgary Herald and the National Post's Lorne Gunter wrote about the study. MLI was also interviewed on a number of shows across the country. Click here for more details.

St�phane Dion, Michael Wilson, headline Macdonald-Laurier Soir�e 2012

In what is already a fixture on the Ottawa social scene, MLI held its second annual Macdonald-Laurier Soire at the Chateau Laurier on Flag Day, February 15th. The Soir�e, which celebrates the best of the Canadians political tradition in a non-partisan way, saw two senior political figures take the stage under the honorary chairmanship of former Commons Speaker Peter Milliken. St�phane Dion and Michael Wilson both spoke about their favourite prime ministers while a big crowd enjoyed music, food and some of the capital's best networking.


A special thank you to our sponsors for their generous support: Certified General Accountants, Encana, Intuit, and IPEX.

Leading experts offer solutions to aging, health care and public finance nexus

MLI was proud to publish five leading Canadian thinkers on how to solve Canada's looming demographic deficit in a new collection. The authors, who included former Saskatchewan NDP Finance Minister Janice MacKinnon and economist William Watson of McGill University, responded to our paper by Chris Ragan of November 2011 paying out the huge hole being term in Canada's public finances by an aging population. The responses to the problems laid out by Ragan included reforms in the areas of health care, labour markets, productivity, taxation and more.


Click here to read Canada's Looming Fiscal Squeeze: Essays on Solutions.


Chris Ragan's original paper is available here.


Click here to read the Financial Post's collection of op-eds by the essays' authors.


Brian Lee Crowley and Jason Clemens talk about solutions to aging's fiscal consequences in the National Post. They focus on the need for health care reform in the Ottawa Citizen and Calgary Herald.
Contradictory signals on foreign investment hurting Canada

Political controversy continues to rage over foreign investment in Canada following Ottawa's refusal to agree to BNP Billiton's bid for Potash Corp, as well as the recent bid for Viterra and RIM's vulnerability to a foreign bidder. MLI Senior Fellow Laura Dawson tackles the issue with a Straight Talk interview where she argues, "Canada is currently losing its position as a beacon for foreign direct investment (FDI). For example, between 1995 and 2004, FDI was equal to about 15 percent of domestic business investment, but that has now fallen to about seven percent. Key to our long-term success is a predictable, stable environment for investment and business development that starts with neutral depoliticized foreign investment approval process."


Click here to read Laura Dawson's prescription for the foreign investment climate.


iPolitics reproduced Laura's comments in their entirety here.

Top economist documents high cost of low vehicle emissions

MLI asked one of the country's leading economists what the latest evidence says about how much gasoline prices would have to rise if we wanted to use prices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector in Canada. Professor Ross McKitrick wrote us a fascinating paper in which he showed that to reduce GHG emissions from motor vehicles by 30 percent in the short term it would require a gasoline tax of $2.30 per litre, which represents a carbon tax of $975 per tonne. This is totally disproportionate to the actual cost to Canadians of GHG emissions: most research indicates that cost to be around $25 per tonne. Even if you take a medium term approach, allowing people time to adjust their behaviour, it would still require a carbon tax on the order of $195 per tonne. As he so wisely observes, "bad policy ideas do not become good policy ideas just because they slightly reduce GHG emissions."


The High Cost of Low Emissions is available here.


Professor McKitrick's op-ed in the Financial Post is available here.

Highlights of MLI in the media
MLI's Brian Lee Crowley discusses trade with China in his Hill Times column.

MLI's work on corporate income taxes in Canada emphasized in The Daily Caller, a Washington-based news website.
Crowley discusses why we shouldn't care about how the EU will treat oil from Canada's oilsands in The Ottawa Citizen.


He also writes about the greater degree of freedom Canada now enjoys in its relationship with the U.S. in The Ottawa Citizen.


Finally, Crowley discusses fishery reform on the East Coast in The Hill Times.
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