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Michel Kelly-Gagnon


Post Lac-Megantic Let's Talk Fact, Not Fantasy

The fact that the Lac Megantic rail tragedy hit so close to home should motivate us that much more to find solutions to keep such things from happening again. What's really inappropriate is pushing fantasies -- such as "freeing ourselves from our dependence on oil" -- when we're faced with a very real problem. In the short- and medium-term, oil will continue to be a part of our lives. All methods of transporting oil will remain relevant and necessary for some time yet. Pipelines, though, have the advantage of being by far the safest method of transportation.
07/12/2013 08:15 EDT

Why Public Health Activists Want to Hide Inconvenient Truths

After studying about three million cases, the authors of a new study found that for people who are older than 60, having a body-mass index (BMI) that ranks you as overweight may reduce your mortality risk. And while obese people had a greater mortality risk over all, those at the lowest level of obesity were not more likely to die during a given period than people of normal weight. The reception to this data has not been kind.
06/14/2013 12:34 EDT

Environmentalists Are Green Drama Queens

Environmentalists have been making a lot of "game over" predictions over the years. Fortunately for us -- and for the fortune tellers themselves, even if it has meant a loss of credibility -- none of them has become reality. Fifty years from now, human ingenuity will have translated into technological advances that are inconceivable today. So, let's stay positive instead of falling prey to the exaggerated nonsense of fear-mongers. We'll have a much better chance to find realistic solutions to the world's problems.
05/08/2013 12:12 EDT

On the Mortgage Debate, Mulcair KO'd Flaherty

The federal minister of Finances, Mr. Jim Flaherty, made public comments and exerted pressures for Manulife Bank to withdraw its offer for a five-year-fixed mortgage rate of 2.89 per cent. NPD leader Thomas Mulcair accused Mr. Flaherty of using his position of power inappropriately. I couldn't have said it better myself.
03/21/2013 12:25 EDT

New Prescription Drugs Are Worth the Cost

We cannot deny the fact that the costs of prescription drugs have been increasing at a considerable rate over the last few decades. While total healthcare spending per capita has almost tripled during this period, per capita expenditures on prescription drugs have increased six-fold. But should this trend be a source of concern?
01/29/2013 12:25 EST

The Human Right That Canadian Unions Ignore

Following the approval of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW), the union is about to merge with Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) and will form the largest private sector union in Canada. Unfortunately, unions have set compulsory membership in various collective agreement and dues are mandatory in Canada even when unions use them for political or ideological purposes. Individual workers should also be able to choose to associate or not. It's a basic right.
10/18/2012 12:21 EDT
Rick Steves

Canada Should Consider Healthcare the Swiss Way

In Switzerland, the way the health care system is organized has evolved in the opposite direction of Canada's, where the trend has rather been toward ever more centralized regulation and public financing. When all is said and done, the Swiss experience shows once again that the private sector can contribute constructively and efficiently to the provision of services within a public health care system without threatening the goals of fair and universal access to care.
09/19/2012 12:17 EDT

How Do Governments "Create" Money?

How do governments "create" money? That is the very relevant question a Sun reader asked me after reading one of my columns. Well, physical cash is only a tiny portion of existing money. Most of it nowadays simply exists as digits in computers. Granted, monetary economics is one of the most boring and technical topics in the field of economics. But given what is at stake in this risky experiment, we all have an interest in better understanding what is going on.
08/07/2012 05:33 EDT

Let's Hammer It Into their Sick(le) Heads: Soviet Imagery Isn't Cool

I saw two young men wearing red t-shirts with the letters "CCCP" emblazoned in yellow across their chests. They thought it was cool. The scope of the Soviet regime's atrocities should be widely known among both young and old. The fact that it is not widely known is a sad indictment of our educational systems.
06/08/2012 12:04 EDT

Communist Cuba's Collapse (Really, Are You Surprised?)

Canadians love going to Cuba for vacation. Sadly, few of those tourists ever leave their vacation compounds. If they did, they would see a massive transformation taking place in this island nation, which many once hailed as a budding socialist paradise.
04/12/2012 03:27 EDT

Hey Journalists! Where's the Dirt on Non-Profits?

There is a fairly widespread mentality in journalistic circles that goes something like this: Anything that is funded by, or associated with, the for-profit world of private industry is to be greeted with the utmost scepticism and should prima facie be considered false, unless proven otherwise.
03/16/2012 01:44 EDT
Associated Press

Ironically the Nanny State Most Hurts the Young

Most people tend to dislike taxes, but most people also want the benefits of government largess without having to foot the bill. In essence, they want something for nothing. But since the world doesn't work that way, politicians have to find ways to seem to be meeting this irrational desire.
03/02/2012 04:20 EST

Should We Double Pension Plan Benefits?

Canadians have too much debt and don't make enough money to save for their retirement? No problem. If we only forced everyone to save more -- poof! -- the problem would disappear and pensioners would get government cheques twice as generous.
12/28/2011 07:20 EST
AFP/Getty Images

When the Occupiers Got Occupied

Only a clear definition and enforcement of private property can prevent this war of all against all. But of course, a group of activists who believe in private property would never have defined their whole movement as based on the "occupation" of land belonging to others.
11/29/2011 09:06 EST

Should We Trust the Government to Protect Our Online Privacy?

Free markets provide their own checks and balances, especially when hundreds of potential competitors are lurking. Any private supplier can only use or request information from his customers up to the point where the marginal benefit for him stops outweighing the cost of bad publicity and the loss of unhappy customers.
10/29/2011 08:27 EDT

Will a Junk Food Tax Work in Canada?

Obesity has become a "collective" issue that presumably concerns us all. Just last week, a coalition of health and education experts repeated their call for the Quebec government to introduce a sugar tax on soft drinks and so-called "energy drinks."
09/12/2011 12:36 EDT

Three U.S. Debt Crisis Myths

Myth #1: Right-wing extremists forced President Obama's hand in order to impose huge spending cuts. In truth, the "cuts" in question are really a "reduction in the rate of spending growth."
08/18/2011 09:00 EDT
AP File

A (Friendly) Memo to a Greek Protester

The popular discontent of the last few months is certainly understandable. What is less understandable is what seems to be a widespread belief among Greeks that the citizens are neither responsible nor have any obligation to bear the consequences for their government's overspending.
08/02/2011 02:49 EDT

Why I Love "Big Oil"

The idea of big oil companies as evil wrong-doers is pretty widespread and, yet, completely wrong. In fact, producing oil is not just about pumping, drilling and selling, it is one of the most amazing ventures that mankind has undertaken in contemporary history.
07/11/2011 08:53 EDT