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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.

Controlling Soaring Public Sector Pension Costs: Lessons from the Saskatchewan NDP

Canadians routinely hear about alleged growing divides in Canadian society. But here is one rift that often goes unmentioned: the divide between the pension benefits of public sector employees and everyone else. Such inequality incurs real costs, where ordinary taxpayers pay ever more for above-market, guaranteed pension benefits that ever fewer in the private sector possess.
09/24/2013 05:43 EDT

Neil Young's Utopian Vision of Mother Earth

In the 20th century, much of the divide in politics and policy was over how best to create jobs, incomes and keep people from starving--how to create opportunity as part of the good life. Those on the "left" argued for state intervention and often outright state ownership; those on the "right" pointed to open markets and other elements of capitalism as the superior route to avoiding poorer populations.
09/17/2013 06:00 EDT
Flickr: andyrusch

Cut the Orwellian Apologies for Corporate Welfare

Bombardier is a fine Canadian-based company and one hopes it prospers in the years ahead and employs even more people -- but without taxpayer assistance. Governments should not pick winners and losers with taxpayer money or prop up industries with funds from other sectors, companies and individuals.
08/27/2013 07:52 EDT
CP

If You're a Consumer (and You Are) the Government's Ignoring You

Regrettably, when it comes to government policy, the interests of consumers are often neglected. If governments are interested in what's best for consumers, here's a simple suggestion: stop favouring existing producers and players, be they government-owned corporations or private sector corporations. If governments wish to actually favour the average consumer, they must abandon their habit of protecting existing cartels, producers and vested status quo interests, over the more invisible but most important interest: the consumer.
08/16/2013 12:15 EDT
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Think Globally, Not Locally

Plenty of people will shamelessly demand government spend lots of extra money to "buy local," even if the cost is millions or billions of dollars more. This is daft. The notion that jobs in Canada come at the cost of employment in Japan, India, China or Germany, or vice-versa, is profoundly mistaken. Jobs can be created in one's own country and abroad at the same time.
08/13/2013 12:15 EDT

Business Subsidies Don't Turn "Acorns" into "Oak Trees"

Recently, I asked Industry Canada for information on disbursements to businesses since the early 1960s. The result of that request revealed the hollowness of one claim often advanced in support of subsidies to business: that "acorns" will grow to "oak trees." Instead, what is evident from the data is that many "oak trees" never stop asking for handouts.
07/30/2013 05:40 EDT
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What Your Provinces Did While You Were Out Partying

Politicians are often derided because they treat the public with disdain, such as when governments try to bury bad news by releasing it when they hope no one pays attention -- say, at the end of a day close to the first long weekend of summer. This happened twice in just the past two weeks.
07/09/2013 05:29 EDT
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Canada Today: Not What the Founding Fathers Envisioned

Canada is a superb creation and initial credit for that must, obviously, go to Canada's founding fathers. How we came about is a fascinating tale of seemingly intractable regional disputes resolved, at least for a time, by new institutions and a new country. Thus, today, inter-provincial debates are similar to pre-1867 tussles where one province's citizens complain of how others are on the federal dole courtesy of tax dollars from the more prosperous regions. And all the provinces again regularly press the federal government for more money.
06/28/2013 05:36 EDT
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The Government Is Spending How Much on Corporate Welfare?

Canadians who don't regularly track how governments spend money might be surprised to find how myths crop up about government expenditures. Exhibit A is a new report that claims Canada needs even more "industrial policy," more colloquially known as corporate welfare. Governments are less eager to be frank about the cost of corporate welfare, including chronic government failure on collecting on past loans.
06/26/2013 08:52 EDT
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B.C.'s Archaeological Quirks Are Digs At Private Property Rights

The government has acted illegally. In British Columbia, the provincial branch of the government continually demands owners of property designated as archaeologically significant pay for archaeological work before any redevelopment can proceed. It's a government arm that deems archaeological finds as publicly significant and should not burden private property owners.
06/20/2013 12:33 EDT

Why Calgary's Property Taxes are Skyrocketing

If you live in Calgary and you check your property tax bill this month, rest assured you are not imagining things: property taxes really are on the rise and way above inflation. Some background: Calgary's property tax bill has two components, with the city's share at 56 per cent and the province's at 44 per cent.
06/07/2013 08:04 EDT
AP

The Taxpayer's Gift to Chrysler

Back in June 2009, the federal and Ontario governments decided to use massive amounts of taxpayer cash to rescue General Motors and Chrysler, two corporations deemed too big to fail. The cost to Canadians was US$13.7 billion: $10.8 billion to GM and $2.9 billion to Chrysler.
06/06/2013 05:14 EDT
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Christy Clark Should Consider What's Best for Canada, Not Just B.C.

When done right and accounting for the environment -- and it can be done right -- whether lumber, mined materials, or the export of oil and natural gas, Canada's greater prosperity is helped when politicians follow the advice of Canada's founding fathers and consider the greater prosperity of the entire country.
05/28/2013 07:58 EDT
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Think Canada Has the World's Best Health Care? Think Again

We would wager citizens of every country think health care could be improved. However, we would also bet a plane ticket to someone's favourite summer getaway that Canadians will find countries with universal health care, such as Australia, Japan, or favourite tourist destinations in Europe, have far better health care than we do. That's because their citizens and their governments have no hang-ups about the three boogeymen of upfront fees, "private" insurance, and private delivery. They are also nations with progressive, sensible health care practices that could help improve Canada's health care system.
05/22/2013 12:11 EDT

Save Alberta From The High-Taxers

Fact is, Alberta's red-ink budgets have much more to do with real per-capita program spending being near historic highs. This also explains why so many Albertans "hiss" at the notion of a sales tax. To understand why the spending side of the government ledger deserves more attention, consider some statistics about Alberta's program spending, ones that take into account Alberta's population growth and inflation rate.
05/15/2013 05:40 EDT

Companies Are Addicted to Crony Capitalism

If business leaders ever wonder why a chunk of the public disdains business and calls for higher corporate taxes or sector-specific increases (e.g. higher royalty rates for energy and mining, higher stumpage fees in forestry) or just increased business taxation in general, here's a clue: too many companies are addicted to corporate welfare, a.k.a: crony capitalism.
05/14/2013 05:25 EDT
AP Photo/David Duprey

Everything In Moderation -- Including Taxes

The response to such tax facts is usually this cliché: "Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society," this from the American Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., in a 1927 case. Right, but as a percentage of the economy, government spending was much lower in 1927 compared to 2013. One cannot endlessly extrapolate that "taxes are good for you." Not any more than it is useful to overdose on pharmaceutical drugs just because one pill helps kill some pain. Or to propose that because one glass of wine has healthful effects, then a dozen drinks must be even better.
05/01/2013 12:23 EDT