Mark Milke
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, 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

How Quebec Can Get its Mojo Back

(12) Comments | Posted April 16, 2014 | 8:00 AM

For decades, Quebec and its governments have been petulant and demanding. The tendency has been there since at least the first avowedly separatist Parti Quebecois government, elected in 1976. That habit continued regardless of the party in power, and of course, depending on the party, there was always the threat...

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Blame Government Employee Unions For Unreformed Government Spending

(0) Comments | Posted April 8, 2014 | 12:36 PM

If Canadians ever wonder why it is so difficult to reform government spending, there's a simple reason: government employee unions.

A good example (if one can call it that) is the issue of growing government sector pension costs and the outright resistance from the unions to address the problem.


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6 Things Joe Oliver Can Do to Leave a Positive Legacy

(2) Comments | Posted April 3, 2014 | 5:23 PM

No normal person pays close attention to who is "in" or "out" as finance minister, and that's a good thing. It means the politician in question has avoided messing up the lives of ordinary Canadians. Still, the finance minster's actions can and do matter, for better or worse.

Consider what...

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Oui, Quebec Is Subsidized By the Rest of Canada

(23) Comments | Posted March 24, 2014 | 5:31 PM

There is nothing like an election to bring out the optimistic side in people -- and some mythmaking. In Quebec, recent attention focused on Premier Pauline Marois and her musings that if her party wins the provincial election, and if separation one day occurs, that Quebec would keep...

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A $13 Billion Reason to Support the South Korean Free Trade Agreement

(21) Comments | Posted March 18, 2014 | 5:40 PM

If Canadians need a reason to support the just-announced free trade agreement with South Korea, here are a few hundred million: every year, Canadians pay hundreds of millions of dollars in hidden taxes on imported automobiles and auto-related products. At least some of those hidden taxes are in...

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Not Your Mother's Budget Surplus

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2014 | 4:06 PM

When apologists for the provincial government's new borrowing binge defend it on the grounds that private sector companies borrow money for capital expenses--so why not have the Alberta government do the same?-- their defence invariably contains a significant and faulty assumption: that political behaviour is the same as that of...

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Kicking Alberta's Unfunded Pension Liabilities Down the Road

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 4:49 PM

One theory about politics is that because politicians must get votes to stay in power -- that's their "currency" -- they are unlikely to act against their own self-interest. So politicians cater to the specific voters who put them in power in the first place.

Last year, when Finance Minister...

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Don't Let Mythical Thinking on Taxes Mess Up Alberta

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 4:31 PM

As Albertans approach another provincial budget, the usual fables about Alberta's finances often crop up. To inoculate ourselves in advance, let's ponder two myths.

Myth number one: "Alberta's wealth is a result of luck."

This tall tale assumes that the existence of natural resources automatically results in wealth creation, jobs,...

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Chrysler Bellies Back Up to the Corporate Welfare Trough

(6) Comments | Posted February 17, 2014 | 6:23 PM

Back in late 2011 after the Occupy Wall Street protests, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne gave a speech in Toronto to decry what he called "the most inane displays of greed." The reference was to behaviour he had observed while serving on various company boards over the years.


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Ontario's Beer Cartel Paints Alberta Liquor Privatization as the Bogeyman

(7) Comments | Posted February 17, 2014 | 5:31 PM

It's been two decades since the Alberta government exited the business of selling beer, wine and spirits to consumers. The privatization of all government liquor stores (completed in 1994) led to a dramatic expansion in the number of private sector liquor outlets in Alberta, vastly improved product selection,...

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

(9) Comments | Posted February 13, 2014 | 1:14 PM

As a publicity stunt, the recent New Democratic Party proposal to limit withdrawal fees at some automated teller machines (ATMs) at fifty cents worked well. But getting publicity for an idea, including a poor one, is one thing; getting attention to useful reforms that will greatly benefit consumers is quite...

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Government Unions and Pension Fantasies

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2014 | 4:20 PM

In Alberta, almost twice as many workers in the government sector possessed defined benefit pension plans in 2011 when compared with private sector employees. That might explain why so many government employees' unions, from the Alberta Union of Public Employees to the United Nurses of Alberta, vociferously oppose...

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Bombardier and Canada's Corporate Welfare Trap

(4) Comments | Posted February 2, 2014 | 11:55 PM

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.

Bombardier Inc., which recently announced it would...

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The Northern Gateway Pipeline Does Not Warrant Illegal Activism

(9) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 7:41 AM

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. Greenpeace spokesman Mike Hudema, for example, said his group will "do what it takes" to ensure the pipeline is never built...

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Why Canadian Travel Needs More Competition

(0) Comments | Posted January 22, 2014 | 7:19 AM

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. Across Canada, cities limit the number of taxi licences available. This, we are told, allows drivers to...

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The Rich Already Pay Enough

(10) Comments | Posted January 21, 2014 | 4:17 PM

About five years ago, I became acquainted with a retired fellow by the name of Jim Tocher. Then in his 80s, Mr. Tocher was a classic Canadian success story. Born in Golden, B.C., he spent his early years in Yoho National Park where his father worked...

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

(6) Comments | Posted January 21, 2014 | 6:57 AM

As anyone who has ever watched puppies tussle over a bone knows, nothing will lead to acrimony quicker than competition for an object everyone wants. Keep the puppy image in mind. Replace it with provincial governments, many of whom now have a stake in the federal transfer program, equalization.

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Pope Francis is Wrong About Capitalism

(26) Comments | Posted January 6, 2014 | 3:57 PM

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.

In Evangelii Gaudium, the Pontiff covers much ground. He urges deliberate,...

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Fracking Causes Gonorrhea (and Other Economic Myths)

(0) Comments | Posted December 31, 2013 | 11:32 AM

One benefit of column writing is the chance for feedback from readers, be they fans, critics or the merely curious. Responses arrive that reflect the rainbow of human emotion from cheery agreement, to annoyance, to the equivalent of typed-out road rage.

Much of what I (and my colleagues) do is...

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Taxpayers Have Been Overly Generous to First Nations

(21) Comments | Posted December 17, 2013 | 11:25 AM

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.

For instance, former Assembly of First Nations chief Phil Fontaine...

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