• All parents want their children to receive a great education. This desire is understandable because a solid education significantly improves a young person’s chances of success in life. In particular, literacy and numeracy have been and still are the foundational skills that will never become obsolete.

  • All parents want their children to receive a great education. This desire is understandable because a solid education significantly improves a young person’s chances of success in life. In particular, literacy and numeracy have been and still are the foundational skills that will never become obsolete.

  • The difficulty with the public discourse on drug policy is that it often ignores the tradeoffs inherent in regulating substances. For instance, legalizing marijuana would ease pressure on the criminal justice system.

  • Receive our weekly newsletters, and notification about upcoming events in your area, by subscribing today!

  • The Freedom Index a new report by the Frontier Centre on the state of various freedoms across the Canadian provinces. The Index assesses a large number of laws and measures, across fiscal, regulatory and personal freedom, in an attempt to measure how free each province is relative to the rest of the country.

  • The Frontier Centre for Public Policy is a non-profit research organization that works to support economic growth and an enhanced quality of life in Canada. The Frontier Centre is an educational charity devoted to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge and information. It is not affiliated with any political party and is strictly non-partisan.

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All parents want their children to receive a great education. This desire is understandable because a solid education significantly improves a young person’s chances of success in life. In particular, literacy and numeracy have been and still are the foundational skills that will never become obsolete. No one should ever graduate from high school without mastering these basic skills.

There are more than 170,000 K-12 students in public or fully funded separate (Roman Catholic) schools in Saskatchewan.1 The vast majority of Saskatchewan parents rely on public education to provide their children with the skills and knowledge that they will need in the future. In many cases, things...

All parents want their children to receive a great education. This desire is understandable because a solid education significantly improves a young person’s chances of success in life. In particular, literacy and numeracy have been and still are the foundational skills that will never become obsolete. No one should ever graduate from high school without mastering these basic skills.

There are more than 650,000 K-12 students in Alberta. Most attend public schools or fully funded separate (Roman Catholic) schools, while relatively few, approximately 5 per cent, are enrolled in private schools.1 This means that the vast majority of parents rely on the public education systems, non-denominational and...

A decision will shortly be made about whether to build the Keeyask and Conawapa hydroelectric dams and the associated Bipole III transmission line, which could cost Manitoba billions of dollars. This paper argues that, if approved, this will burden the next generation with debt and higher utility prices. The paper reviews the development of the Manitoba electricity sector as well as how the interaction of gas and power markets is changing decades-old realities. It includes examples from other jurisdictions where government involvement in electricity has led to unintended consequences, thus providing a cautionary tale. By showing historical electricity demand forecasts that vastly differed from reality, as well as...

"I think what everyone believes and agrees with, and to be frank myself, is that the current approach is not working, but it is not clear what we should do," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper after a 2012 meeting with leaders of governments from the Americas.1 The topic of discussion was the War on Drugs that has ravaged South America for decades. After offering that candid response, Harper was quick to distance himself from advocates of drug liberalization.

"There is a willingness to look at the various measures that can be taken to combat that phenomenon, but just in terms of simple answers like legalization or criminalization,...

The Frontier Centre for Public Policy is pleased to announce the launch of the Freedom Index a new report on the state of various freedoms across the Canadian provinces.

The Index assesses a large number of laws and measures, across fiscal, regulatory and personal freedom, in an attempt to measure how free each province is relative to the rest of the country.

While some level of government is required to protect people and property and to provide a social safety net, the Freedom Index is designed to show the degree to which each provincial government is involved in people’s day-to-day...

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This Halloween, children younger than 16 will not be allowed outside without an adult after 7:00pm in Bonnyville, Alberta. The Halloween curfew has been around for decades, but some parents requested that the curfew time be extended an hour, or maybe two. But the mayor decided against honouring the parents’ request.

For generations, numerous places in Canada have experimented with different versions of a youth curfew. They typically apply to those under the age of 16 or 18, start between 10:00pm to 12:00am, and are in effect year-round.

Often a curfew seems to be forgotten or is unenforced, such as...

Well that didn’t take long!

Ontario’s school boards, teachers’ unions and Ministry of Education recently began bargaining in an effort to reach agreements across the education sector. The previous agreements, imposed on the sector in 2012 by the McGuinty government’s Putting Students First Act, expired on Aug. 31, 2014. Within less than a month, one of the teachers’ unions representing the majority of Ontario’s public high school teachers, OSSTF, declared an impasse and now provincial bargaining in that sector has stalled.

This early sign of trouble has created angst among many in the sector as this current round of collective...

“Privatization is not inherently good or bad – the performance or effectiveness depends on implementation.” That isn’t the type of rhetoric one might expect to hear when describing something as polarizing as privatization, but it is one of the conclusions from the Urban Institute. Variants of that same phrase have been written by Leonard Gilroy of the Reason Foundation and Harvard privatization expert John Donahue. Despite the divide among politicians and activists, scholars who investigate the nuts and bolts of privatization recognize that, like any tool, privatization can make a mess if used for the wrong job. It can also...

With the recent implementation of the First Nations Financial Transparency Act (FNFTA), this may be an excellent opportunity to raise another issue of contention—that of First Nations taxation. If First Nations governments were to tax their reserve base and incorporate the revenues into their annual budget, band members could have a chance to experience measurable improvements in their quality of life and governance.

Over the past several years, First Nations have increasingly been afforded more opportunities to create their own independent on-reserve tax base. You can count among these opportunities real property taxation, various forms of sales and good taxes,...

Public transit is often assumed to come at the expense of good roads, and vice versa. There are certainly cases where roadway spending and public transit are at odds. For instance, when light rail or streetcar projects remove lanes of traffic, or when road design doesn’t accommodate buses. But in many other cases, roadway improvements and transit projects are symbiotic. After all, both cars and buses use the streets. Better road maintenance and design can give both transit riders and drivers faster and more pleasant commutes.

Often in debates over public transportation there is an assumption that transit benefits downtown...

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Saskatchewan parents who are frustrated with fuzzy math assignments, confusing report cards, and low academic standards are about to get some much-needed help. Today, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy has released A Parents’ Guide to Common Sense Education in Saskatchewan. This handbook, written by Frontier research fellow and classroom teacher Michael Zwaagstra, shines a light on the many education fads promoted by the Department of Education.

“Parents are tired of the endless stream of failed education fads that keep resurfacing in our schools,” explains Zwaagstra. This handbook shows parents that, contrary to what they hear from superintendents and curriculum...

Alberta parents who are frustrated with fuzzy math assignments, confusing report cards, and low academic standards are about to get much-needed help. Today, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy has released A Parents’ Guide to Common Sense Education in Alberta. This handbook, written by Frontier research fellow and classroom teacher Michael Zwaagstra, shines a light on the many problems with the Alberta government’s misguided “Inspiring Education” initiative.

“Parents are tired of the endless stream of failed education fads that keep resurfacing in our schools,” explains Zwaagstra. This handbook shows parents that, contrary to what they hear from ‘Inspiring Education’ advocates,...

Today the Frontier Centre fror Public Policy released its latest report, Pipe, Dam and Electricity Dreams: Burdening Manitoba’s Next Generation written by Andrew Pickford.

On June 20, 2014, the Public Utilities Board panel provides its report to the Manitoban Government on the proposed Keeyask and Conawapa dams and the associated Bipole III transmission line, a new interconnection with the Utility’s American utility customers and a refurbishment and expansion of its existing grid. The cumulative cost of these projects is in excess of $34-billion.  If approved, they will have profound implications for Manitoba and its public finances.

Investments by Crown corporations...

Today the Frontier Centre for Public Policy published A Blueprint for Reorienting Canadian Drug Policy, a new report by policy analyst Steve Lafleur and research intern Andrew Chai.

In the report, the authors assert that the War on Drugs, in its current manifestation, is not working. Although many politicians seem to recognize as much, the report notes that they have been hesitant to pursue meaningful change, partly because they are not sure what effects liberalization might have, and how to mitigate potential side effects.

“Many politicians are reluctant to take steps toward liberalizing drug policy, fearing that it would be...

A new Frontier Centre study supported the NDP Minister of Education’s decision to shut down the Council on Post-Secondary Education.

The NDP Minister of Education, James Allum, planned to fold the Council on Post Secondary Education into the Department of Education.  A new study by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy supported the Minister’s decision.  Unfortunately, the Minister backed down as universities and faculty unions mounted their attacks. Nevertheless, taxpayers and students have been shouldering an ever-increasing burden, but there is little evidence that higher spending at the University of Manitoba resulted in higher graduation rates for undergraduate students. 

In...

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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...

What does the federal government’s policy to enhance wireless competition look like the morning after the 700 MHz spectrum auction results were announced?  We have another player, Videotron, in BC and Alberta.  Videotron, Quebec’s largest cable company, has made a major play to compete in wireless in the west.  Everywhere else it is just about status quo.  Wind and Mobilicity remain as also ran acquisition targets that will eventually be consolidated with one of the larger players.

Rogers was the largest contributor to the total federal revenue take of $5.7 billion.  Telus and Bell, who share the same network,...

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It is estimated that as many as 300,000 young Canadians work as unpaid interns, and there are moves being made to regulate the practice as it affects university students.

An NDP Member of Parliament has introduced a private member's bill aimed at curbing abuses, and the University of Toronto’s Student Union wants to see all unpaid internships banned.

Many small businesses and non-profits simply can't afford to pay the interns, and they do provide students with valuable work experience.

Rather than forbidding unpaid internships, governments should push universities to develop reasonable policies to protect the students.

Students should be allowed...

Canadian air travellers have recently been hit with a $25 charge for checked baggage. WestJet moved first, and Air Canada followed suit just days later.

Airlines struggled when the recession hit in 2008, and some of them turned to baggage fees for relief.

But airlines in both Canada and the U.S. are once again profitable, and the baggage fees will only add to that profit. It could boost WestJet's revenues by more than $70 million over the next year, and by more than $40 million at Air Canada.

So far in Canada, travellers are complaining about the new fees, but...

The resignation earlier this year of Shawn Atleo as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations strongly confirmed the need for reform of this important organization.

Internal divisions are preventing the AFN from being as effective as it should be.

First Nations chiefs elect the National Chief, who is always supposed to take direction from them.

But to be truly effective, the National Chief needs the authority to set the agenda for the Assembly and to make deals with Ottawa on behalf of First Nations.

The National Chief should be a voice of conciliation as he or she approaches...

Beginning next year, Manitoba will begin enforcing a province-wide ban on most uses of synthetic weed killers and other commercial pesticides.

All private yards and most public green spaces, such as sports fields, will be affected by the ban.

More expensive, and generally less effective alternative pesticides will still be allowed.

The legislation will be very costly for municipalities. Steinbach currently spends about 16,000 dollars to eliminate weeds in public spaces.

Next year they expect that cost to jump to 200,000 dollars.

Many are questioning whether the health benefits will really be worth the extra cost.

They point out that...

The First Nations Financial Transparency Act, which was passed by parliament in 2013, helps band members take steps to improve the governance of their communities.

It requires the Chief and Council to post audited financial statements including their salaries and benefits on a public website and on the website of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.

In the past, band members often found that they did not have easy access to such information.

The posting of financial statements online ensures that band members can now access these documents quickly, and anonymously.

Transparency and accountability have been enshrined in the nine principles...

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Why are we last? It's a question many people are asking after test results showing Manitoba students are getting the lowest grades in the country in math, science and reading. Michael Zwaagstra is a high school teacher and policy researcher with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

Speaking points of presentation to the House of Commons Finance Committee by Frontier Centre President Peter Holle on September 29, 2014.

Three broader, longer term opportunities to keep the federal budget balanced while promoting better public policy that would benefit all Canadians:

1) Fix the mismatch between taxing power and federal government jurisdiction under the Canadian constitution

2) Reform Equalization

3) Core Public Sector Reform  

 

View entire file here....

Power Point presentation from Manitoba Hydro's Financial Quagmire. A Breakfast on the Frontier event held in Winnipeg on October 1, 2014 with Will Tishinski, retired VP, Manitoba Hydro.

Listen to his Speech here: https://www.fcpp.org/posts/manitoba-hydros-financial-quagmire-speech

View the entire Power Point Presentation here....

Will Tishinski speech and Q&A at a Frontier Centre for Public Policy Breakfast entitled: Manitoba Hydro's Financial Quagmire.

 

View the Power Point Presentation here: https://www.fcpp.org/posts/manitoba-hydros-financial-quagmire

Education researcher Michael Zwaagstra has a new handbook out from the Frontier Centre. Parents’ Guide to Common Sense Education in Saskatchewan covers issues ranging from standardized testing to report cards and teaching strategies. What issues are the most critical in education today?

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