Canada’s Free-Market Example for the SEC
Op-ed by Peter St. Onge, Senior Fellow at the MEI, and John Hartsel, Director of Research & Portfolio Manager at Donald Smith & Co., published on May 17 in The Wall Street Journal.
Research Paper on the justifications for preserving a government monopoly on liquor sales in Quebec and the economic consequences of this policy
While in the 1920s the Quebec government clearly had the most liberal and least detrimental policy in North America for controlling the sale of liquor, in 2005 it is among the most restrictive. The time has come to discuss the various ways of privatizing the SAQ and liberalizing liquor sales, turning a page that goes back to the era of prohibition.
Le Point de l’IEDM (in French) on the advantages of subcontracting school maintenance services
Pendant que les concierges de la plupart des écoles primaires et secondaires amorcent un mouvement de grève, d'autres travailleurs affectés à l'entretien ménager des écoles publiques continuent d'être prêts à rentrer au boulot. Il s'agit des travailleurs autonomes et du personnel des firmes spécialisées qui effectuent l'entretien ménager en sous-traitance pour certaines commissions scolaires. De fait, les syndicats souhaitent restreindre le droit des commissions scolaires de recourir à la sous-traitance pour l'entretien ménager et ainsi rétablir le monopole syndical sur cette fonction.
Le Point de l’IEDM (in French) on the Quebec governments’ accounting contortions.
Confrontés au casse-tête budgétaire, les gouvernements successifs ont régulièrement eu recours à des contorsions comptables, à la fois dans leurs budgets et leurs états financiers. Pour son budget 2005-2006, le gouvernement Charest s’est donné un défi houdiniesque: remplir sa promesse de réduire les impôts, tout en accroissant les dépenses en santé et en respectant la contrainte du déficit zéro. Ce sommaire des principales contorsions aidera les analystes à vérifier, à l’occasion de la présentation du budget Audet, dans quelle mesure l’actuel gouvernement a renoncé à de telles pratiques.
Le gouvernement entreprend cette semaine une consultation sur la politique énergétique. Au coeur du débat, l'analyse des coûts de production et des prix de vente de l'électricité permet d'apercevoir certains résultats pervers de la politique actuelle. Ainsi 1) l'interfinancement nuit aux économies d'énergie par les consommateurs résidentiels et
2) l'exportation d'électricité est de loin plus payante que d'en vendre à des alumineries à un tarif basé sur le coût moyen.
Economic Note on public-private partnerships in transit systems
It is difficult to envisage a reform of public transit in Quebec without the spectre of privatization brandished. Over the last 15 years, however, public authorities in many metropolitan areas the world have established alternative strategies for developing and managing urban transport necessarily resorting to privatization. Their success has provided for a renewal of public transit.
Economic Note on the tarification of public services
Without fanfare, the Quebec government recently took a sharp turn towards implementing user fees for public services. Beginning with its first budget in June 2003, the government stopped reimbursing parents for fees required by elementary and secondary schools. Then it announced an increase in contributions to the drug insurance plan and lifted the freeze on electricity rate increases. In November it announced an increase in fees at childcare centres and allowed public transit corporations to hike fares. This is just the beginning.
Economic Note (in French) on the evolution of the Welfare State in Quebec
The history of public finance in Quebec since the 1960s can be summed up as follows: rapid spending growth and accumulated deficits until the mid-1990s, followed by a few years of budget cuts and elimination of the deficit, and then a resumption of spending growth right up to now. Contrary to what some people suggest, the Quebec government has not undergone a drastic slimming down in the last few years. Spending growth has continued since 1997.
Despite strong local opposition, the government of Quebec has forged ahead with its ambitious project of municipal reorganization. This means that beginning January 1st, 2002, the 28 municipalities on the island of Montreal will be amalgamated into a single city divided into 27 boroughs; elsewhere in the province, dozens of other municipalities have also been forced to merge. However, the debate over the merits of this reorganization is set to continue.
Economic Note on the growth of Canadian government
This Economic Note examines the growth of Canadian government over the last few decades and provide some empirical estimates of the cost of this government expansion on the lives of Canadians generally and Quebecers in particular. Like many medicines, a small dose of government may lead to a healthy and vigorous society, but it can be a dangerous poison if taken in too large a dose.
Economic Note (in French) on the economical straightening of Ireland
Since 1987, Ireland has unquestionably become the star of the international economic world. That was the year an administration devoted to lower taxes and responsible management of public finances came to power. It was also the year a sort of social consensus developed in favour of moderation in labour costs. John Bruton, Leader of the Opposition in Dublin, played a pivotal role in this epic turnaround.
Étatisme et déclin du Québec (Statism and the Decline of Quebec) is an incisive analysis of the Quiet Revolution, the pivot around which the accepted interpretation of Quebec history has gravitated. Before that came a period called la grande noirceur (the great darkness), which gave way to a liberating modernity and triumphal progress. Observation of the facts leads us to paint a very different picture, however. If the Quiet Revolution indicated a turning-point in our economic and social evolution, it was a turn for the worse that marked the beginning of an ever wider gap between Quebec’s growth rate and the rates for Ontario, Canada and the United States.