for economic freedom
Updates from the Prairie Centre Policy Institute from Regina, Saskatchewan.
Hot off the press!
Don Baron's Jailhouse Justice and
web posted November 24, 2003
Three Independent Think Tanks Offer New Prime Minister Constructive Ideas to Boost Canada's Prosperity
By Peter Holle
Canada's next Prime Minister must act quickly to halt Canada's relative decline in affluence and place in the world say three independent Canadian public policy think tanks. The Fraser Institute, supported by the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, has prepared a comprehensive set of policies, Mandate for Leadership for the New Prime Minister, designed to reverse the national decline and restore Canada's status as one of the world's leading nations.
"No matter what indicator you look at -- relative affluence, competitiveness, contribution to peacekeeping, relations with our friends, the UN Development Index, or even the health care we provide our citizens -- Canada has failed to keep pace with the rest of the world," says Fred McMahon, Senior Analyst at The Fraser Institute. "The policies outlined in "Mandate for Leadership" are based on best practices from around the world and on solid empirical research and we strongly urge our incoming Prime Minister to adopt these policies."
· Canada has fallen from having the 3rd highest per capita income in the OECD in 1970 to the 17th highest in 2002.
· Canada's Medicare system is the world's most costly on an age adjusted basis and yet has one of the worst records in the developed world for waiting times and availability of new technology.
· Canada's military and its equipment continue to deteriorate.
· Canadian leaders brag about our commitment to peacekeeping, yet Canada ranked 34th in the world in its contribution to peacekeeping missions in 2002.
· Inflammatory comments about the US by members of the government have damaged relations with our most important ally and trading partner.
Mandate for Leadership provides specific policy prescriptions to improve the everyday life of Canadians and boost Canada's status in the world. "I think anybody interested in solutions for improving Canada's economic growth and social progress should read this document carefully, says Michel Kelly-Gagnon, MEI Executive Director. It should henceforth serve as a reference document when discussing the various challenges facing this country."
Some of the key recommendations in critical policy areas include:
Taxation: Reduce taxation to increase Canada's international competitiveness and tax smarter by eliminating or reducing particularly destructive taxes by, for example, accelerating the current five-year plan to eliminate the Corporate Capital Tax.
Labour: Increase flexibility in the labour market by, for example, introducing worker choice legislation for those covered by federal labour laws.
Internal Trade: Harmonize rules and regulations that limit internal trade to create a Canadian common market.
International Trade and Foreign Aid: Remove Canadian regulations that restrict free trade (unilaterally if necessary), such as the Wheat Board.
Security and Trade: Develop policies in cooperation with the United States to assure that trade and people can continue to move across the border easily, while it is closed to terrorists and other security threats.
The Bank of Canada and Exchange Rate: Create a currency union modeled after the European Monetary Union through agreement with the United States and Mexico.
Regulation: Establish a committee to identify regulations that are obsolete or in conflict with other regulations and repeal them; have 10-year sunset clause for new regulations.
Environment: Withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol and focus on real environmental issues facing Canadians, such as air pollution, water supply problems, water pollution problems, fishery depletion, forest overgrowth, and wildlife management.
Health Policy: Repeal or change the Canada Health Act to remove limits on provincial autonomy over health care, as recognized by the constitution.
Aboriginal Policies: Restructure aboriginal policy to empower the individual, not band elites.
Defence: Replace outmoded policy based on the 1994 White Paper and determine the appropriate capabilities for conventional wars, fighting terrorism, and peacekeeping missions.
Immigration and Refugee Policy: Assure that real Canadian labour market needs are met by basing acceptance into Canada on the existence of a job offer, similar to the NAFTA work permits.
Governance: Reform Parliament by, among other things, allowing more free votes and increasing the power and independence of committees.
This Mandate for Leadership offers policy prescriptions based on the best practice and principles available. The formula for prosperity is universal: empowerment of the individual, the family and the community. A better, more prosperous nation awaits its application.
Peter Holle is President of the Winnipeg based Frontier Centre for Public Policy is an independent public policy think tank based in Winnipeg. The complete publication is available in PDF format on their Web site at www.fcpp.org.
web posted November 17, 2003
Ten Elements of Clear Thinking About Economic Progress and the Role of Government
In their book What Everyone Should Know About Economics and Prosperity, economists James Gwartney and Richard Stroup introduce the reader to basic economic principles that reflect simple common sense. In the aftermath of the Saskatchewan provincial election, I thought it appropriate to review their ten elements of clear thinking about the government's role in the economy.
1. The role of government is to protect the rights of individuals (life, liberty, and property) and supply goods and services that cannot be provided through markets.
2. Government is not a corrective device. While people tend to think that government can solve all their problems, it can't. Government is merely a method of social organization through which individuals collectively make choices and carry out activities. The fact is, governments do not always make decisions that are in the public's best interest.
3. The real cost of government is: a) the decline in private sector output that results from the government's use of resources; b) the cost of collecting taxes; and, c) the unrealized gains from exchanges squeezed out by government. The cost of any product or service is what we have to give up in order to produce it. Government is no exception.
4. Unless restrained, special interest groups will use the democratic political process to fleece taxpayers. Unfortunately, democratically elected officials often gain support by favouring special interest groups at the expense of the general public.
5. Unless restrained, legislators will run budget deficits that are often harmful to the economy. Debt is a politically attractive alternative to taxation because it pushes the cost of government on to future generations.
6. When government attempts to help some people at the expense of others, resources will move away from production and toward plunder and economic progress will be retarded. We prosper by producing a good or service and exchanging it for income. But some people can also prosper by "plundering" what others have produced. This not only fails to generate additional income -- one person's gain is another person's loss -- but it also consumes resources and thereby, reduces the wealth of the society.
7. The cost of government income transfers will be far greater than the net gain to the intended beneficiaries. When the war on poverty was declared in the mid-1960s, it was widely believed that poverty could be eliminated if people would share a little more of their income with the less fortunate members of society. They did, and forty years later we still have poverty, hunger and homelessness.
8. Government central planning of an economy merely substitutes politics for markets, which will waste resources and retard economic progress. There is every reason to believe that investors risking their own money will make better investment choices than central planners playing with the money of taxpayers.
9. Competition is just as important in government as in markets. Competition among government units and between government enterprises and private organizations will help assure that government is a servant of the people. Competition in the private sector provides consumers with protection against high prices, shoddy merchandise, poor service, and/or rude behavior. Unfortunately, the importance of competition is not so widely recognized in the public sector.
10. Constitutional rules that bring the political process and sound economics into harmony will promote economic progress. Both history and economic theory indicate that democratic elections alone cannot establish an environment conducive to economic progress.
James D. Gwartney is professor of economics and policy sciences at Florida
State University. He is an expert on such economic issues as taxation, labor
policy, and the economic analysis of government. Richard L. Stroup is professor
of economics at Montana State University. He is an expert on privatization,
the environment, and Superfund.
The CFEN and CFFJ need your help! The battle against the Canada Wheat Board can only continue with your support.
Write the following and demand free market rights for Western Canadian farmers!
© 2003, Enter Stage Right and/or its creators. All rights reserved.