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Mark Milke

Independent Analyst

Mark Milke, an independent analyst, is a long-time contributor to the Institute. He has authored four books on Canadian politics and policy and dozens of studies on topics such as property rights, public sector pensions, corporate welfare, competition policy, aboriginal matters and taxes. Mr. Milke is a former Fraser Institute senior fellow, the former research director for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and former B.C. and Alberta director with the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation. His work has been published widely in Canada since 1997 and in addition to the Fraser Institute, his papers have also been published in the United States by the American Enterprise Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation and in Europe by the Brussels-based Centre for European Studies.

Mr. Milke’s opinion columns appear regularly in the Calgary Herald as well as the National Post, Globe and Mail, Reader’s Digest, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Province, and Victoria Times Colonist. Mr. Milke has a Master’s degree from the University of Alberta where his M.A. thesis analyzed human rights in East Asia; he also has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Calgary where his doctoral dissertation analyzed the rhetoric of Canadian-American relations. Mr. Milke is chairman of the editorial board of Canada’s Journal of Ideas C2C Journal, president of Civitas, and a past lecturer in Political Philosophy and International Relations at the University of Calgary.
Hybrid Images via Getty Images

The NDP's ATM Fee Proposal is Little More Than a Publicity Stunt

It is easy to bash banks (the NDP obsession), or telecommunications and internet service providers (the Tory preoccupation) but some competition already exists in both those sectors though more is preferable to less. In contrast, both parties miss obvious policy areas that could save consumers a small fortune -- but where prices are currently jacked up in favour of existing producers.
02/13/2014 05:17 EST

Government Unions and Pension Fantasies

The government/private sector pension disparity is a problem. Defined benefit pensions promise enrollees guaranteed benefits at a certain retirement age. But when existing contributions and the returns hoped for do not materialize, taxpayers without such guarantees must bail out government plans because of the promised benefits.
02/12/2014 05:21 EST
Bombardier

Bombardier and Canada's Corporate Welfare Trap

In the land of government plenty -- that vast landscape populated with the tax dollars of Canadians -- there is no shortage of politicians willing to hand out and defend subsidies to business and no dearth of corporations willing to take the cash.
02/03/2014 12:55 EST
ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Northern Gateway Pipeline Does Not Warrant Illegal Activism

Activists in British Columbia have responded to the National Energy Board's approval of the Northern Gateway oil pipeline with threats of illegal activism reminiscent of the 1990s. Civil disobedience has an honourable history; the question is whether a particular group on a particular matter is justified in such actions. Where people's rights are systematically violated, where they are denied recourse to the courts, or to their elected representatives, the case for civil disobedience is clear. But the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal does not represent such a violation.
01/27/2014 08:32 EST
CP File

Why Canadian Travel Needs More Competition

For those returning home after the holidays, here's a question you might have pondered: Why does it cost so much to travel? Answer: government policy. Consider two examples, starting first with taxi fares. That's one example of how governments artificially inflate travel costs. Here's another: airline fares.
01/22/2014 07:51 EST

Ontario's "Have Not" Status Creates a Divided Canada

Equalization is the federal government program ostensibly designed to help provinces provide roughly equal government services. Last year, Ottawa transferred $15.4 billion in equalization payments to six "poor" provinces, known as "have-nots." Ontario's entry into the equalization program back in 2009/10 -- think of a big sumo wrestler at a soup kitchen--resulted in a massive shift in dependency in Canada, and that portends future divisive debates. Now, 24.7 million people, or 71 per cent of the population live in a province that receives an equalization cheque from the federal government. This is a problem.
01/21/2014 07:57 EST
Ivan Bliznetsov via Getty Images

The Rich Already Pay Enough

Recent headlines say that some Canadian executives earn in a few days or weeks what the rest of us might earn in a year or longer. In assessing those stories, it is critical to remember one fact: risk-taking and entrepreneurs are not a burden but a key part of a civilized, opportunity-based, and prosperous country.
01/21/2014 05:17 EST
Franco Origlia via Getty Images

Pope Francis is Wrong About Capitalism

Any time of year is a good time to discuss poverty but the subject has obvious resonance at Christmas. Thus, unsurprisingly, Pope Francis recently wrote about the necessity of compassion for those on the margins. However, the Pope's letter also took capitalism in general to task -- troubling because the relationship between wealth creation and the alleviation of (some) poverty is often misunderstood. The Pontiff's critique will not necessarily correct this confusion. The Pope's letter is a broad-brush critique but thoughtful readers should pause, ponder and then object.
01/06/2014 05:13 EST
AP

Fracking Causes Gonorrhea (and Other Economic Myths)

My colleague Kenneth Green and I wrote about how by approving fracking for oil and gas, some provinces might generate extra dollars for their provincial coffers. And the response from someone at the Halifax chapter of the Sierra Club? That fracking has caused "a 62 per cent increase in sexually transmitted infections."
12/31/2013 12:32 EST
Danita Delimont via Getty Images

Taxpayers Have Been Generous to First Nations

Canada's taxpayers have been increasingly generous to Aboriginal Canadians over the decades, but that reality is not often the narrative one hears from selected First Nations leaders. Instead, the oft-stated opinion is that taxpayers should ante up ever more. A quick look at the numbers shows us why that view will always be tragically misinformed.
12/17/2013 12:21 EST

Muddled Medical Thinking and a Meddlesome Alberta Doctor

One irony of Canadian life is that the most economically free province in the country, Alberta, often has government policy that is the most hostile to private health care. Another irony, this time right across Canada, is that one can spend any amount of money on a basic necessity of life such as food.
12/03/2013 04:00 EST
Shutterstock/Getty

The Canada and Hong Kong Advantage: The Rule of Law

One critical difference between a well-functioning city-state on the periphery of East Asia -- or a country like Canada -- and China, is the degree to which rules are predictable and enforced. Obvious or not, those tempted to bend or break the rules should recall such distinctions, as should the rest of us.
12/02/2013 05:30 EST

Government Budgets: About 4 Years Behind the Private Sector

The government sector in Alberta is unhappy and they want Premier Alison Redford and her colleagues to know it. Universities are advertising against provincial reductions in their funding; government unions are activating their members about proposed pension changes, reforms that would make them more akin to the private sector and less like a taxpayer-funded entitlement.
11/25/2013 12:03 EST
AP

Equalization: A Lousy Deal for Ontario and the West

The contrast between the highway in New Brunswick and British Columbia is symbolic of how the federal equalization program allows recipient provinces to provide above-average benefits at the expense of taxpayers elsewhere, even to "over-equalize" in some cases.
11/16/2013 06:25 EST

Alberta Blows Through Two-Thirds of its Financial Assets

If there was ever a place that was the "anti-Greece" when it comes to public finances, it must be Alberta. Compare Alberta to many places around the world, be it European fiscal disasters, or even nearer to home, and in most decades, Alberta shines in comparison.
10/31/2013 05:53 EDT
CP

Help Poor Provinces: Allow Fracking

The recent native protests in New Brunswick against proposed hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") are not only devoid of facts but harm the potential for prosperity and lower personal taxes. Add in the anti-fracking frothing in neighbouring Nova Scotia, and also in Quebec, and it adds up to ill-advised provincial policies, this despite the safety of fracking.
10/26/2013 06:59 EDT
AP

Here's a Consumer Angle: Dump Triple-Digit Sales Taxes on Food

In the recent throne speech, the federal government announced a variety of initiatives but the one that drew much attention was its ostensible consumer-friendly tack. To help consumers, especially those with the lowest incomes, the federal government doesn't need to micro-manage airline tickets. It could instead focus on the big picture.
10/24/2013 12:16 EDT
CP

How Not To Reform Government Pensions

Whether one-time bailouts or multiple hikes in pension contribution rates, tax dollars are still used to top up public sector plans, and this is because plan members are guaranteed a certain level of benefits in retirement. And that's the real problem: taxpayers, most of whom do not have a registered defined benefit plan, end up paying for pension promises to government employees' unions.
10/07/2013 07:59 EDT

Alberta Moving the Right Way on Pension Reform

Such reforms and others are long overdue and the finance minister and his colleagues should be commended for starting to tackle the difficult issue of public sector pension reform. They still have a long way to go though.
10/03/2013 04:45 EDT