• Surviving Sustainability is a comprehensive new series of papers of the Frontier Center for Public Policy, and an area of research that is only sporadically treated in public policy analysis. This oversight means that a substantial negative impact on our economic health and civic well-being has been obscured.

  • The challenge of getting modern telecommunications infrastructure to rural and remote regions is global. Many countries have programs to address this challenge. There is a World Rural Telecoms Congress and an association in the United States, NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association.

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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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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Surviving Sustainability is a comprehensive new series of papers of the Frontier Center for Public Policy, and an area of research that is only sporadically treated in public policy analysis. This oversight means that a substantial negative impact on our economic health and civic well-being has been obscured.

When looking at the power and actions of the environmental movement, most analysts concentrate on climate change and energy issues. However, the movement reaches farther, and it has rearranged, with little notice, almost everything dealing with the physical elements of modern life: resource use, land use, development, building, endangered species protection, regulations with regard to air, food and water. Few...

The challenge of getting modern telecommunications infrastructure to rural and remote regions is global. Many countries have programs to address this challenge. There is a World Rural Telecoms Congress and an association in the United States, NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association. In April, Canada’s federal government announced a $305-million funding program to bring 5 Mbps download speeds to more Canadian households in rural and remote Canada. This clear opportunity requires political mobilization and direction to develop new business models that will take advantage of the technical opportunities now possible. This mobilization should be directed toward enabling municipal governments, band councils and co-operative enterprises to build their own last mile broadband telecom...

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...

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Now that municipal election season is over in Manitoba and Ontario, city councillors are transitioning into the ordinary business of governing. One of the first tasks will be hiring office staff. Some councillors will be tempted to hire as little staff as possible to signal that they are serious about saving scarce public funds. That would be a mistake. No large corporation would scrimp on basic research and administration. Neither should governments. City Councillors should focus on representing their constituents rather than trying to run entire offices on their own. Having healthy civic institutions can be expensive, but they are...

The results of Manitoba students on the latest Pan-Canadian Assessment Program (PCAP) tests are, to say the least, very disappointing.  Over the last fifteen years, the reading, math, and science scores have declined from near the Canadian average to the bottom of the pack even though Manitoba spends more per K-12 student than every other province except Alberta.

The current government has been in power since 1999. It should be ashamed of these results. So should educational leaders who have supported this government’s education agenda.

However, it didn’t take long for the government’s supporters to offer excuses. Predictably, Manitoba Teachers’...

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...

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The Frontier Centre for Public Policy released a report today focusing on how to improve and expand telecommunications technology in rural and remote Saskatchewan. The report offers a model based on best practices from rural communities around the world.
Frontier Centre research fellow Roland Renner examines the challenges associated with providing reliable internet service to remote communities. Since it is often very expensive, telecommunications companies are typically reluctant to expand and modernize infrastructure far from urban centers.

As the world becomes more connected by the Internet, rural and remote communities will require improved telecom services in order to fully...

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...

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The Frontier Centre for Public Policy is seeking an intern for January to April 2015.

Our internship program is designed to develop future researchers, writers, and policy leaders in Canada, and to provide highly motivated students with the opportunity to experience working in a think tank environment.

The internship is part-time (10-15 hours per week, with the hours usually chosen by the intern) and can be completed at the Centre's head office in Winnipeg, Manitoba, or remotely through e-mail and Skype. The intern is given a monthly stipend.

The intern's role will be primarily that of a research assistant. Tasks...

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...

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In local government, the assumption is often made that a good road system means that public transit must suffer, and vice versa.

Sometime roadways and transit are at odds, when light rail or streetcar projects remove lanes of traffic, or when road design does not accommodate the needs of buses.

But both needs can be accommodated at the same time.

Since buses share the road with private vehicles, minimizing the conflict between the two is in everyone's interest.

Adding dedicated bus lanes can greatly reduce the number of cars that might otherwise have to fight with the bus to get...

Over the decades, many communities in Canada have experimented with different versions of a curfew for children and adolescents.

Most often, anyone under the age of 16 or 18 must be off the street by a specific time, such as 10pm.

The aim is to reduce vandalism and other crimes that are often committed by teenagers, but most evidence suggests that they have not been effective in preventing crime.

Sometimes crime does drop during curfew hours, but at the same time, crime will perhaps increase outside the boundaries of the curfew, or during non-curfew hours.

Another problem is that youth...

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...

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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....

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

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.

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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