Mark Milke
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Mark Milke is a Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute and its Director of Alberta Policy Studies. He has also published papers with the American Enterprise Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the Brussels-based Centre for European Studies.

Mark is also chairman of Canada’s Journal of Ideas—C2C Journal.ca, an occasional lecturer in Political Philosophy and International Relations at the University of Calgary and a weekend columnist for the Calgary Herald. He lives in Calgary, and his non-policy life includes an interest in architecture, history and Mark is a regular hiker, skier and runner.

Entries by Mark Milke

The Federal Government Doesn't Owe Ontario More Money

(10) Comments | Posted April 22, 2015 | 6:33 PM

In a year when two heavyweight provinces, Ontario and Alberta, which together constitute 55 per cent of Canada's GDP, are running substantial deficits, there are three ways to reduce the red ink.

Strategy one: cut (and reform) spending, something neither province has been serious about.

Strategy two:...

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Money Kept by Canadian Taxpayers Is Not a "Loss"

(18) Comments | Posted April 18, 2015 | 9:52 AM

With tax season at hand, here's a useful tip for any tax-weary Canadian. When some people refer to income or other money not taxed as a "loss" to government, remember that they may merely be using technical language. In contrast, others really do lament any reduction or "omission" in possible...

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Ontario and B.C. Treat Liquor Like We're in Prohibition-Era Canada

(23) Comments | Posted April 15, 2015 | 5:31 PM

If Canadians ever needed proof that narrow politicking interferes with sensible consumer choice, they need look no further than the byzantine "reforms" on the sale of beer, wine and spirits proposed by Ontario, and one restrictive "reform" recently enacted in British Columbia.

Some background: In Ontario, the provincial government-owned Liquor...

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Alberta's Missed Heritage Fund Opportunity

(1) Comments | Posted March 26, 2015 | 11:31 AM

Over the past decade, the province of Alberta treated boom-time resource revenues like a permanent state of affairs. That set the province up for fiscal failure, for multiple lost opportunities.

One high-profile example is the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund. The fund was enacted via legislation from the Alberta government...

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Calling the Fraser Institute "Anti-Tax" Is Overly Simplistic

(21) Comments | Posted March 19, 2015 | 12:36 PM

In a recent column about the upcoming Metro Vancouver transit plebiscite, Vancouver Sun columnist Daphne Bramham complained about business leaders who talked "way more about cutting taxes for poor beleaguered taxpayers for the past 30 years than they have about the valuable services tax money provides."

Bramham blamed...

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Property Rights on the Prairie

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2015 | 5:49 PM

Amid the current focus on provincial red ink, one issue has slipped off the public radar screen in Alberta: Property rights.

The lack of attention is understandable given the nearness of the provincial budget and the province's poor finances. But until recently, property rights, and more broadly, land-use issues (which...

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Why Ontario Should Stop Demanding Money From the Federal Government

(61) Comments | Posted February 27, 2015 | 5:42 PM

With the plunge in oil prices over the last six months (and already soft natural gas prices), it's not headline news to note that provinces heavily dependent on energy-related revenues are suffering.

The decline in the resource sector has also contributed to a decline in the value of the Canadian...

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Ralph Klein Saved Health Care and Education

(20) Comments | Posted February 20, 2015 | 2:26 PM

Alberta Premier Jim Prentice and Finance Minister Robin Campbell have made it clear the province will reduce government spending in its March budget. In response, many people have alluded to the 1990s when the Ralph Klein government also cut expenses to grapple with an ongoing, deep budget deficit.

...
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How Capitalism Saved the World

(7) Comments | Posted February 15, 2015 | 10:28 PM

In a recent column from a Toronto journalist on communism and capitalism, the writer made an astonishing claim: While "millions have been the tragic victims of communism," he wrote, "that number pales, surely, in comparison with the victims of capitalism."

Surely, it does not.

The columnist attempted to...

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Prentice is Wrong about Alberta's Single Tax

(3) Comments | Posted January 27, 2015 | 3:23 PM

After governments abandon fiscal prudence, they will soon search for any and all ways to tax people more.

This is the reality playing out in Alberta where Premier Jim Prentice has floated multiple tax increase trial balloons.

The premier, new to the office, is not responsible for jacking up program...

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Alberta Already Tried to Diversify Her Economy -- and Failed

(4) Comments | Posted January 15, 2015 | 1:00 PM

With the price of oil plunging to below $50 per barrel and the outlook for Alberta's economy and provincial budget revenues falling in tandem, an oft-heard piece of advice is being recycled: Alberta should diversify its economy.

The advice is well-intentioned. But local economies, like businesses, often make money selling...

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These Provinces Can Expect More Unemployment, Less Investment and Lower Income

(55) Comments | Posted December 25, 2014 | 8:41 AM

Canada's federal equalization program is motivated by good intentions. However, the program has unintended consequences, and creates perverse incentives that have allowed at least two "have-not" provinces to shun sensible economic opportunities -- and the subsequent jobs, incomes and government tax revenues.

Two examples: the ongoing ban on hydraulic...

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New Brunswick Ignores Neighbour's Energy Success

(25) Comments | Posted December 24, 2014 | 7:42 AM

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant seems poised to follow through on a campaign promise to institute a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. News reports suggest he'll implement that moratorium before Christmas. Quite a lump of coal for the people of his province in need of additional jobs and higher...

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The Real Reason Canadians Pay Higher Prices Than Americans For the Same Products

(16) Comments | Posted December 23, 2014 | 7:29 AM

Canadian shoppers have long suffered from higher prices on some consumer goods, relative to other countries, especially the United States. In an attempt to "remedy" the situation, the federal government recently introduced legislation -- dubbed the Price Transparency Act -- that will force retailers to explain...

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Ontario's Debt Situation Is About To Get a Whole Lot Worse

(48) Comments | Posted December 22, 2014 | 11:46 AM

When the federal government faced a growing debt problem in the late 1980s, then Opposition finance critic Paul Martin was initially skeptical about cutting spending. In 1989, he labelled mild government efforts to cut spending as "ideological." Six years later, as finance minister, Martin recognized that cascading debt...

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Why Western Canada Has More Money, Jobs and Security Than the East

(116) Comments | Posted December 14, 2014 | 11:14 PM

When Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced a budget update and a revised, lower forecast for provincial economic growth, it was yet another piece of evidence that Ontario's economy is sluggish. But Ontario's problems run deeper than just one fiscal update from one finance minister.

Ontario, and Quebec...

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Breaking Down Calgary's Property Tax Increases

(0) Comments | Posted December 10, 2014 | 5:23 PM

Once again, Calgary city council has raised property taxes beyond the rate of inflation. No surprise. Over the past seven years, only once, in 2007, has council approved a tax increase below Calgary's inflation rate.

For example, in 2010 and 2012, the tax hike was five times the rate of...

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What France Can Learn From Canada's Economy

(5) Comments | Posted December 10, 2014 | 11:23 AM

When French President Francois Hollande visited Canada recently, one hopes the Gallic leader looked around. If he did, he would have noticed a stark difference in the economic opportunities between the two countries with the advantages mostly on this side of the Atlantic.

Dissimilarities between the two economies can be...

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The New West: Money, Jobs and a Flood of Young Adults

(4) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 5:11 PM

Question: If you're young, or have very little education, where's the best place in the country to find a job, make a decent income and prosper?

Answer: Alberta, followed by Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

Most Canadians likely suspect that economic opportunities are increasingly available in Western Canada. But the...

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Increase Supply to Make Housing More Affordable

(1) Comments | Posted November 19, 2014 | 11:51 AM

When I first came to Alberta a quarter-century ago, vacancy rates in Calgary and Edmonton exceeded 10 per cent. In Edmonton, where I lived in 1988, landlords often gave one month free on an already cheap 12-month lease. Sometimes utilities and cable were included.

The rental deals...

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