MLI Newsletter
Vol. IV, No. 9
Nov. 22, 2013





MLI's next Great Canadian Debate

- Mark your calenders -

Nov. 26th,







Northern Light: Lessons for America from Canada's Fiscal Fix


The Canadian Century 



Fearful Symmetry   






  Sven Otto Littorin



Former Swedish Minister of Employment, Sven Otto Littorin on the "Swedish Model" for reform of the modern welfare state and what lessons Canada can learn about employment and healthcare





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In this edition...
MLI celebrates the 25th anniversary of the free-trade election in Calgary
Crowley in the Herald: Saluting the watershed 1988 free-trade election
Next debate on Nov. 26: "The right to strike has no place in the public sector"
Brian Lee Crowley lays out his vision for Senate reform
Crowley in the Citizen: The fantasy of a Senate of angels
New MLI paper: A European flavour for medicare
New edition of Inside Policy: Who polices the police?
MLI is hiring: Marketing and events manager
Other MLI opinion articles and columns
MLI celebrates 25th anniversary of the free-trade election with gala in Calgary


On November 21, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute hosted a gala dinner in Calgary in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the election that sealed the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement. The evening featured a panel hosted by Calgary Herald Editorial Pages Editor Licia Corbella in discussion with Derek Burney, former Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and, via videolink, James Baker III, former US Secretary of State and Chief of Staff to President George Bush. The two key negotiators looked back at the tense negotiations leading to the Canada-US free-trade agreement, and reflected on the legacy of prosperity and co-operation it brought to our two nations. To watch video of the discussion click here.





Crowley in the Herald: Saluting the watershed 1988 free-trade election
Writing in the Calgary Herald, MLI managing director Brian Lee Crowley reflects on the difficult fight to complete the Canada-U.S. free-trade agreement that culminated with the 1988 free-trade election. While most Canadians today understand how important free-trade is to our economy, "it was not always so", writes Crowley. We forget that in 1988 it was "a close run thing".
Next debate on Nov. 26: "The right to strike has no place in the public sector"


The second debate in MLI's Great Canadian Debates series takes place on Nov. 26 at the Canadian War Museum. The debate will feature economist Jim Stanford and professor Tom Flanagan on the resolution: "The right to strike has no place in the public sector". This event is certain to generate great interest in Ottawa. For tickets click here.




Click here to purchase tickets to the
next Great Canadian Debate

Brian Lee Crowley lays out his vision
for Senate reform 

What should we do about our misbehaving senators? What we should not do is make rash decisions or promote flawed plans for Senate reform to address the misdeeds of a few who have brought the institution into disrepute with the current spending scandal.

Rather, as MLI director Brian Lee Crowley writes in a new paper titled Beyond scandal and patronage: A rationale and a strategy for serious Senate reform, the real issue is that Canada's Senate is terribly ineffective in playing its crucial role within our larger constitutional edifice.

"Discussions around the Senate focus entirely too much on the peccadilloes of current senators whose shenanigans, however risible, should not blind us to the vital work the Senate can and indeed must do for Canadians", writes Crowley. His paper lays out in detail why Canada needs a Senate, why reform is necessary, and how it can be accomplished. See Postmedia's article about Crowley's paper, which appeared in major dailies across the country, here.





Crowley in the Citizen: The fantasy of a Senate of angels

Writing in the Ottawa Citizen and Calgary Herald, MLI managing director Brian Lee Crowley takes issue with the notion that the Senate would be fine if we could somehow refine the appointments process to ensure only great senators are appointed. "The reality is that no matter how senators are chosen, be it appointment, election or lottery, the resulting body will be composed of fallible human beings", writes Crowley.  


New MLI paper: A European flavour for medicare


A new MLI paper titled A European flavour for medicare: Learning from experiments in Switzerland and Sweden, reveals that Canadians' cherished medical system is nowhere among the leaders in terms of health outcomes for the money spent.

While there is a tendency in Canada to compare our system with our southern neighbour, the United States, it is in Europe that we will find nations which achieve a better balance in health care delivery. This paper compares Canada's health care system with those of Sweden and Switzerland, two countries firmly in the middle of the spectrum of public/private involvement which rank high internationally in delivering results. It also includes a compelling example of how Britain's Labour Party sold the British people on much-needed reforms to that country's socialized medical system.


New edition of Inside Policy:
Who polices the police?

The November issue of Inside Policy, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute's national magazine, examines some of Canada's more intriguing and challenging public policy issues.

This month's edition features a cover story by Guy Giorno, former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Giorno, a lawyer with expertise in accountability and ethics, notes that while on paper the government is committed to compliance with Access to Information laws, the real values of an organization are demonstrated by its conduct, rather than its written policies. Giorno wonders why public servants who preside over organizations that fail to comply with the Access to Information Act don't seem to face any career consequences. Giorno relates his own frustrations trying to access information from the RCMP.

In other articles, Stanley Hartt takes a look at recent takeover bids in key sectors as he examines the intersection of national security interests and foreign investment, and Tom Axworthy examines four contending visions of the north: military frontier, treasure trove, wilderness and homeland, noting that only the fourth was conceived by northerners themselves.




MLI is hiring: Marketing and events manager


The Marketing and Events Manager plays a vital role at MLI, responsible for sales and marketing support of MLI fundraising and sponsorship activities, organizing and co-ordinating the slate of events that MLI produces, and having experience including website, social media and database management. This role provides key support to the executive team in delivering on MLI's vision as the nation's indispensable source of thoughtful research and commentary on where the national interest lies in every area of policy falling under Ottawa's jurisdiction. Click here for the full job posting.




Other MLI opinion articles and columns


MLI's Cross in the Post: Canadian economy is predisposed to grow


Writing in the Financial Post, MLI senior fellow Philip Cross explains why the naysayers keep getting it wrong on economic growth. For example, losses in employment in Canada since 2009 have been temporary blips, but "Did people learn not to overreact to one month's data? Of course not", writes Cross. In the U.S., many feared economic disaster would result from budget cuts but while "government stimulus was withdrawn in line with the CBO estimates, the fiscal drag was offset by increased consumer spending on housing and autos, leaving overall growth unaffected", Cross points out.


Crowley in the Globe: The slippery slope of 'sharing the benefits'


In the Globe and Mail, MLI managing director Brian Lee Crowley writes that everyone seems to want a piece of the oil sands, with one think tank arguing that it's unfair that Alberta wants to send its oil through Ontario, generating profits while Ontario faces the risks. But "pipeline companies have to pay for the land, labour and capital used in building and maintaining pipelines", writes Crowley. "And where will a lot of that money be spent? In Ontario."


Crowley and Wilner in FrontLine: Ballistic Missile Defence an idea whose time has come


Writing in FrontLine Defence magazine, MLI managing director Brian Lee Crowley and senior fellow Alex Wilner write that 10 years after Canada rejected a U.S. offer to co-operate on North American Ballistic Missile Defence, "we are about to discover whether emotion will finally yield to reason on the issue." Indeed, they argue, "in the intervening decade, much has changed regarding the politics, the threats and the technology such that BMD is today a far more compelling choice for Canada." 


Nazareth in the Globe: Canada's job recovery tilts toward low earners


Writing in the Globe's Economy Lab blog, MLI senior fellow Linda Nazareth looks at the numbers on where Canada's job growth is coming from, finding the strongest growth in the bottom quartile of earners. "Four years after the recession, the Canadian job market is still a kind of work in progress," writes Nazareth. 


Milliken in iPolitics: Who should have the right to strike?


Writing in iPolitics, former House speaker Peter Milliken sets up the Nov. 26 MLI debate on the resolution: "The right to strike has no place in the public sector", which will take place at the Canadian War Museum. "The federal Conservative government has indicated that it would like to intervene when federal workers negotiate with Crown Corporations and government departments to make sure that negotiated settlements are not too far out of line with those in the broader economy", notes Milliken, making the latest edition of the Great Canadian Debates particularly timely. Moderated by Milliken, economist Jim Stanford will argue against the resolution and professor Tom Flanagan will argue in favour.


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The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is the only non-partisan, independent national public policy think tank in Ottawa focusing on the full range of issues that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government. It initiates and conducts research identifying current and emerging economic and public policy issues facing Canadians.

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