MLI Newsletter
Vol. V, No. 7
June 13, 2014






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


The Canadian Century 



Fearful Symmetry   






Stay in the know






In this edition...
Digital economy: MLI report shows less regulation the best approach to digital privacy
Size of government: New MLI study of regulation finds government controls nearly two-thirds of the Canadian economy
Inside policy: MLI's magazine cover story gives Flaherty credit for insulating Canada from the global recession
MLI news: The Macdonald-Laurier Institute launches a new website
Justice: Why the government got it right with new prostitution legislation. Benjamin Perrin in the Post
Trade: The federal government needs to get tough with the provinces on interprovincial trade, Crowley writes in the Globe
Economy: Canada needs a robust temporary foreign worker program, Nazareth writes in iPolitics
Energy: Why natural resources are more valuable to the economy than manufacturing. Crowley in Alberta Oil Magazine
Other MLI news

MLI Report: Less regulation the best approach to digital privacy

With the appointment of a new Canadian privacy commissioner, new digital privacy legislation, and a new federal digital-economy strategy for Canada, privacy issues are at the forefront of the policy debate. And who could be against stronger protections for something as important as privacy in this digital age?

Well, what many fail to consider is that data protection regimes in Canada and abroad have been adopted in haste compared to other legal regimes for information such as copyright and trademark law, which is bound to have unintended consequences. A new report from the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, titled "Finding the Balance on Digital Privacy: Toward a New Canadian Model for Data Protection in the 21st Century",  finds that Canada's laws governing Internet privacy are overbroad, and often in conflict with other rights and principles such as free expression, competition and economic growth.

The report's author, Solveig Singleton, a U.S.-based lawyer who has done extensive research on technology law and policy, urges the federal government to resist calls for a comprehensive approach to digital privacy and instead adopt a less stringent regime for the sharing of people's personal data.

The report received coverage from several media outlets, including Canadian Business, CTV's Power Play with Don Newman, Ottawa talk radio stations CFRA and 1310 News.


The Macdonald-Laurier Institute has revealed for the first time the true size of government in Canada, with two studies finding that government controls nearly two-thirds of the economy, significantly higher than traditional measures suggest.

The second report, by MLI Senior Fellow Philip Cross, titled "Estimating the True Size of Government: Adjusting for regulation", was released in June. It calculates that 10.5 percent of the Canadian economy is subject to regulatory control.

This builds on an MLI report from earlier this year, authored by former StatsCan chief statistician Munir Sheikh, that shows adding tax expenditures - measures that allow people to pay less in taxes if they adopt certain behaviours - to spending grows the size of government by 10.1 percent of GDP.

Several outlets, including the Vancouver Sun and talk radio stations CJOB in Winnipeg and CFRA in Ottawa, covered the report. The study appeared, in its entirety, on the website the Manzella Report.

Cross authored a column on the subject, which appeared in the Globe and Mail.


In the cover story of the latest edition of Inside Policy, the magazine of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Stanley Hartt argues the late Jim Flaherty deserves credit for shielding Canada from the financial crisis in 2008.

James Anderson, Managing Editor of Inside Policy, writes that the federal finance minister maintained "a steady hand and pragmatic approach as he sought to keep Canada insulated from the worst effects of the Global Financial Crisis".

The issue of Inside Policy also includes an excellent selection of articles on a broad range of public policy challenges:

Good public policy now looks better than ever.

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Canada's only truly national public policy think tank based in Ottawa, has launched a new website. The totally redesigned page is designed to further engage opinion leaders, policy makers and the public in boosting MLI's goal: making poor quality public policy unacceptable.

The new website is optimized to give visitors easy access to MLI's high-quality, independent policy work, which ranges in diversity from natural resources to health care. It provides quick, easy access to the latest MLI news and media coverage, making it easier than ever to keep up with the activities of a Canadian leader in public policy.

To view the new site, go to

Writing in the National Post, MLI Senior Fellow Benjamin Perrin lauds the federal government for taking the right approach with its new prostitution legislation. He says the general thrust of the newly-proposed law, which places heavy penalties on johns, pimps and traffickers, will help achieve what should be the government's goal: getting prostitutes into another line of work. Now, says Perrin, it's up to the provinces and territories to work with the federal government on a national strategy for helping prostitutes move in that direction.

Perrin, who has done extensive research on trafficking and previously worked in the Prime Minister's Office, was also quoted in the Globe and Mail's coverage of the newly-proposed legislation.

Writing in the Globe and Mail, MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley calls on the federal government to take the lead in knocking down barriers to interprovincial trade by creating a charter of economic rights that courts will enforce. He lauds the goal of federal Industry Minister James Moore, who has recently expressed a willingness to reduce those barriers, but says the status quo will reign if the feds don't get tough with their provincial counterparts.

Writing for iPolitics, MLI Senior Fellow in economics Linda Nazareth argues that the temporary foreign worker program has an important role to play in generating economic growth. Nazareth, the subject of a recent Straight Talk Q&A on the subject, says that in many cases businesses are turning to the TFW program to fill labour needs where domestic workers are unavailable. Denying access to those workers only hurts the economy, she argues, since businesses need to find the right people to help them grow.

Nazareth appeared on Ottawa talk radio station 1310 News to discuss TFWs. The Q&A also appeared in its entirety on the website New Canadian Media.

Writing in Alberta Oil Magazine, MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley makes the case for why developing natural resources creates more value for the Canadian economy than manufacturing.

He argues that many products generate wealth during the design and distribution, rather than production, stages of the development process, which should raise natural resources like bitumen or copper to a prominent place of importance for the economy.

This, he says, runs "contrary to the widespread assumptions of economic nationalists who belittle the hewing of wood and the drawing of water as beneath the aspirations of serious nations, who should pursue manufacturing and other forms of processing at all costs".

Macquarie Equities Resarch, a global provider of investment information, also cited one of Crowley's columns on natural resources in a research note.

Other MLI news

Crowley in the Globe: Canada dithers on natural resource opportunities at its own peril 


Writing for the Globe and Mail, MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley warns that Canada will miss out on potentially lucrative development projects if it continues to dither on natural resource opportunities.

"It is opportunity's evanescence that we Canadians too often ignore at our peril, thinking that we have world enough and time to hear every voice, weigh every objection and consider every alternative to pipelines, port construction and mine developments", Crowley writes.

Inside Policy: Analysis fails to reveal major inequality problem in Canada


The rhetoric emerging from the United States in recent years would have you believe that inequality is spinning out of control. But do the numbers back up the claim that the federal government needs to intervene to level the playing field?

In the latest issue of Inside Policy, the magazine of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Carleton University Sprott School of Business professors Ian Lee and Vijay Jog argue that isn't necessary.

Lee and Jog's analysis of incomes shows that Canadians' earnings have spiked significantly in recent years, making it the country with the largest middle-class income in the world.


Crowley in Postmedia papers: 'Right to be forgotten' no victory for humanity 


Writing in Postmedia papers, MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley argues that a court decision forcing Google to suppress certain links in Internet searches leaves the historical record vulnerable to damage. Crowley says the "right to be forgotten", as the case is now known, gives too much power to those seeking to erase history.

The column appeared in the Ottawa Citizen, the Edmonton Journal, the Vancouver Sun, the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, the Montreal Gazette, Vancouver's The Province, the Regina Leader-Post and the Calgary Herald.


Newman appears on APTN to discuss duty to consult



Appearing on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, the author of a recently released MLI report on governments' duty to consult with Aboriginals says the constitutional doctrine presents opportunities for a new era of cooperation on natural resource projects.

University of Saskatchewan professor Dwight Newman made the comments while speaking to APTN's Nation to Nation about his paper, titled "The Rule and Role of Law: The duty to consult, Aboriginal communities and the Canadian natural resource sector".

Newman told host Nigel Newlove that, while the duty to consult presents an opportunity, misinterpretations from Aboriginal groups and politicians have the potential to cause problems.

"There are a lot of misunderstandings about just what the law says right now, and I think there are misunderstandings on all sides of that", Newman said.

To watch the full interview, click here.

The Yukon News also covered Newman's report on the duty to consult.


Crowley in Postmedia papers: Courage of D-Day provides lessons for today


Writing in Postmedia papers, MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley draws lessons from the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Europe for the West's ongoing disputes with Russia.

He says the June 6, 1944 attacks that helped liberate Europe from the grip of the Nazis, and the subsequent challenge by the Soviet Union, remind us of the moral courage that's needed to defend the West's interests in the future.

"Russia is once again posing to the West the issue of the sacrifices we can and should be prepared to make to protect fundamental values like freedom, democracy and the rule of law", he writes.

The column appeared in the Ottawa Citizenthe Calgary Herald, Vancouver's The Province, the Vancouver Sun, the Saskatoon Star Phoenix and the Edmonton Journal.


Leuprecht quoted in the Telegraph-Journal on police overtime costs


The author of an MLI study on the cost of policing was quoted in the Telegraph-Journal on the rising costs of overtime for police in Saint John, N.B. Christian Leuprecht, the author of "The Blue Line or the Bottom Line of Police Services in Canada? Arresting runaway costs", told the newspaper that many services are hesitant to pare back on overtime because they often treat it as a salary entitlement for police officers. The Telegraph-Journal reported that the overtime costs for Saint John's police force came in $420,000 over the $255,000 budget. Leuprecht, however, says that well-managed forces shouldn't need to go that far over budget.

To read the article, click here for page one and here for page two.

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