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MEI in the Media



Taxing Sugar Will Not Halt the Rise in Obesity
Viewpoint examining the numerous reasons to question the effectiveness of a soda tax
Earlier this year, the Quebec government formed a committee whose stated goal was to propose a soda tax, for the purpose of reducing the prevalence of obesity. Yet there are numerous reasons to question the effectiveness of this measure. Indeed, when a tax modifies the price of a good, there is no guarantee that the replacement product will be better for one’s health than the taxed product.
27 November 2018November 27, 2018

The Minimum Wage: Ontario Was Right to Cancel the Hike to $15
Viewpoint detailing some of the effects of the minimum wage increase in the province, including the loss of more than 56,000 jobs in under a year
Many politicians and interest groups advocate a rapid increase in the minimum wage in the name of social justice. Yet this ignores the results of past experiments. Ontario’s new Minister of Labour, Laurie Scott, pushed back by cancelling the increase to $15 planned for January 2019, and by stating that the minimum wage should be determined “by economics, not politics.” Subsequent increases will be set based on the annual change in the cost of living. This is a reasonable compromise, which will avoid further harming workers at the bottom of the ladder, and more specifically the young.
20 November 2018November 20, 2018

The Miracle of Supermarkets – The Perspective of the Austrian School of Economics
Research Paper explaining how, by transmitting knowledge throughout the food supply chain, middlemen contribute to better and more varied food, while lowering costs for consumers
Although we take supermarkets for granted, our access to such a quantity and variety of food products on demand and at any time of year is absolutely remarkable. This “miracle” is all the more impressive given that it is the result of spontaneous and voluntary collaboration between millions of people, most of whom will never meet. This paper will examine the historical evolution and the current operation of supermarkets and the numerous intermediaries that supply them, using the analytical framework of the Austrian School of Economics.
14 November 2018November 14, 2018

The First Entrepreneurs – Natural Resource Development and First Nations
Research Paper showing the support of many indigenous communities for resource development, and how this can be a path toward economic empowerment
The media often convey the impression that First Nations wish to earn a living from traditional activities alone and have little interest in the development of their communities. Yet while some oppose mining and forestry or the building of energy infrastructure, others favour such development and wish to take advantage of the resulting wealth and jobs. This paper focuses on cases where First Nations decided to become involved in the development of resources on their territory, and on the benefits they derived from this involvement.
6 November 2018November 6, 2018

What Are the Benefits of Economic Freedom?
Economic Note responding to some of the most common objections to a social and political system based on economic freedom
A useful and intuitive definition of “economic freedom” is the freedom (absence of coercion) to buy from, or sell to, a willing counterparty. A society based on economic freedom is a free-market society. But is economic freedom economically beneficial? Is it all about money? Is it moral? Aren’t there many exceptions where government intervention is warranted? This Economic Note addresses these questions.
25 October 2018October 25, 2018

Restoring Canadian Competitiveness by Reducing Corporate Taxes
Economic Note showing the need for and the benefits of a tax cut for Canadian businesses and workers
As the fall economic update approaches, the rumour is that Ottawa favours targeted measures to promote investment, rather than reducing the corporate income tax rate. This would be a mistake. The competitiveness of Canadian companies has been hurt by US tax cuts, and also by deregulation efforts south of the border. The federal government should use its update to lower corporate income taxes and restore the Canadian advantage; not acting would entail substantial costs not just for businesses, but for workers as well.
23 October 2018October 23, 2018

Twenty Years of Promoting Better Public Policies
Booklet published in the context of the MEI’s 20th anniversary celebration
This little booklet, published in the context of the MEI’s 20th anniversary celebration, presents a few highlights from our twenty years of activity. We hope that this brief retrospective will bring back fond memories to those who have known us for a long time, all while giving others a sense of the path we’ve travelled, our rich intellectual history, and our growth.
18 October 2018October 18, 2018

Energy Projects: Boosting Investment by Reducing Uncertainty
Economic Note proposing some solutions to the ineffectiveness of the governmental approval process for energy projects
In recent years, numerous national energy projects have been cancelled or substantially delayed in Canada due to the ineffectiveness of the governmental approval process. This situation is alarming, given the contribution of the energy sector to the Canadian economy, but also our loss of competitiveness relative to our main trading partner. Indeed, the United States has put in place a series of reforms aimed at reducing the regulatory burden for businesses, while here, we are heading in the opposite direction.
11 October 2018October 11, 2018

How Innovation Benefits Forests
Economic Note showing how technological change enables increased production while using fewer trees
The accumulation of knowledge and technological change have led to a significant shift in forestry practices. As a result, forestry is now a sustainable activity supporting the economy in many parts of Canada. Despite this reality, various popular myths lead people to believe that wood harvests need to be reduced to ensure forest survival. On the contrary, the potential of Canadian forests is in fact underutilized, presenting opportunities for hundreds of forest-dependent towns and regions across the country.
18 September 2018September 18, 2018

Entrepreneurship and Fiscal Policy – How Taxes Affect Entrepreneurial Activity
Research Paper examining how different fiscal measures influence the decision to start a business
Many try to divorce entrepreneurship from any fiscal questions, claiming that entrepreneurship is basically a passion, and that entrepreneurs start businesses out of love. Yet one of the fundamental aspects of economic analysis is that cost variations are a primary factor in accounting for human behaviour. This paper aims to provide a frank, open discussion of the fiscal measures that affect entrepreneurship.
13 September 2018September 13, 2018

Should the Government Pre-Fill Your Tax Return?
Economic Note describing the increased administrative costs and risk of errors involved in having the government pre-fill tax returns
The collection of income tax involves substantial administrative costs, especially in Quebec, which is the only province that requires a separate tax return. In 2011, these costs amounted to $627 million for Revenue Quebec and $4.6 billion for the Canada Revenue Agency. To simplify procedures, some propose that the government pre-fill tax returns instead of taxpayers, a system that is in place in several industrialized countries.
21 August 2018August 21, 2018

Higher Education: The True Cost of “Free” Tuition
Viewpoint showing that abolishing tuition and related costs for college and university would cost taxpayers over a billion dollars without improving graduation rates
The idea of making higher education “free” in Quebec is hardly new, but recently, some politicians have revived the debate by promising to implement such a policy if elected. While this idea may seem attractive at first glance, it would be costly for Quebec taxpayers, would not necessarily lead to more students graduating, and would also be unfair.
16 August 2018August 16, 2018

Canada’s Corporate Tax Cut Success: A Lesson for Americans
Economic Note describing how the bipartisan effort to reduce Canada’s corporate tax rate led to more business investment, more economic growth, and higher wages
In December 2017, President Donald Trump cut corporate tax rates from 35% to 21%, effective immediately. While certain critics quickly lamented this policy decision, the President is currently mulling a second round of tax cuts. In this context, the Canadian experience with corporate tax reduction provides a useful comparison.
14 August 2018August 14, 2018

Labour Shortage: The “Disappearance” of Quebec’s Youth
Viewpoint showing that in Quebec, the population below the age of 45 has declined by about 230,000 since 1981, while it has increased significantly in the rest of the country
The real or perceived shortage of labour is a theme that comes back again regularly in the news. This spring, the Quebec government published its labour strategy for 2018-2023, one of the objectives of which is simply to have enough workers. The document, however, had nothing to say about a major historical phenomenon, namely the “disappearance” of Quebec’s youth over the past three and a half decades.
26 July 2018July 26, 2018

Quebec Hospitals Require Entrepreneurship
Viewpoint showing that emergency room wait times are stagnating, and calling for pilot projects of privately managed hospitals within the public system
“Hospitals: Quebec brings order to emergency rooms — No patient will stay more than 48 hours,” ran a front-page headline in La Presse on March 11... 1980! Last year, the minister of health repeated this ultimatum. Waiting times at emergency rooms have been making news for a long time. Data released this past spring suggest that the situation has improved and that waiting times have declined, especially for patients on stretchers. What is actually going on?
12 July 2018July 12, 2018

Air Transport: High Taxes and Fees Penalize Travellers
Economic Note detailing the many taxes and fees that weigh on the Canadian air transport sector, and how reducing this burden would promote its growth
The Canadian air transport sector has experienced significant expansion in recent years. Nonetheless, a multitude of taxes and fees are restricting its potential for growth. Given that favourable conditions are dissipating, especially when it comes to low fuel prices, what can governments do to reduce the fees imposed on transporters, and ultimately on travellers?
21 June 2018June 21, 2018

The Carbon Market: Chasing Away Jobs and Capital without Reducing GHGs
Economic Note showing how imposing a price on carbon through cap-and-trade will have a negligible effect on GHG emissions, but a significant impact on the economy
A carbon market, like a carbon tax, aims to modify behaviours in order to reduce GHG emissions by setting a price for them. Although such mechanisms are regularly mentioned in the news, their economic consequences are less often discussed, to say nothing of their effectiveness. Does imposing a price on carbon always reduce emissions, or does it instead displace them, along with the accompanying economic activity? In the two scenarios examined here, the effect on GHG emissions would be negligible, but the economic impact would be significant.
13 June 2018June 13, 2018

The State of Competition in Canada’s Telecommunications Industry – 2018
Research Paper analyzing various aspects of the Canadian telecommunications industry related to competition
The criticism most often heard regarding the telecommunications industry in Canada, and especially wireless services, is that Canadians pay a lot more than people in other countries for lower quality services. It is this criticism that was used to justify the federal government’s and the CRTC’s numerous interventions over the past few years aimed at promoting more competition in the wireless sector. But does this criticism stand up under scrutiny?
8 May 2018May 8, 2018

Economic Freedom Promotes Freedom of the Press
Economic Note explaining how the more economically free a country is, the more press freedom exists there
The virtues of press freedom are widely recognized today. Economic freedom, another essential liberty, is for its part underappreciated. Yet it makes a substantial contribution to the improvement of human well-being, in addition to which it is a necessary condition for ensuring a certain degree of press freedom.
3 May 2018May 3, 2018

Relying on Entrepreneurs to House and Care for Our Seniors
Viewpoint showing how entrepreneurial dynamism meets the demand for care for the elderly while offering quality services
It seems that each week brings its share of bad news about the Quebec health care system, to the point that we forget that certain of its components work rather well. This is the case for senior housing and care, largely provided by the private sector.
26 April 2018April 26, 2018

Ontario vs. Quebec: Whose Public Finances Are Worse?
Viewpoint explaining how Ontario is tending toward the Quebec model with increasingly high levels of spending, taxation and indebtedness
For decades, Quebec has been known for its rotten public finances: recurrent deficits, lots of spending, and high taxes. But the provincial budgets tabled this spring by the governments of both Quebec and Ontario suggest that the latter province is now competing for the top prize in terms of financial recklessness.
24 April 2018April 24, 2018

Innovative Drugs: A Bureaucratic Obstacle Course
Viewpoint describing the burdensome regulatory process delaying the reimbursement of new drugs by Canada’s public plans
Innovative drugs help people enjoy longer, healthier, more productive lives. They also allow our health care systems to save money. However, the reimbursement of new drugs by Canada's public plans can face considerable delays due to a very burdensome regulatory process. Far from resolving this problem, a new reform will duplicate certain stages of this process and possibly lengthen it.
5 April 2018April 5, 2018

It’s Time to End Med School Quotas
Viewpoint explaining how government control over access to medical training hurts patients
Quebec’s Health Minister announced a reduction in the number of medical school admissions last year in order to keep doctors from ending up unemployed in the future. And yet, one in five Quebecers still does not have a family doctor, and proportionally, Quebec has fewer doctors than most industrialized countries. Is this government control over access to medical training the best way to meet Quebecers’ health care needs?
15 March 2018March 15, 2018

Maple Syrup: Quebec Is Hurting Its Producers and Encouraging Its Competitors
Viewpoint showing how the restrictive rules imposed on Quebec maple syrup producers have reduced their global market share
Each new sugaring-off season brings its share of controversies, with stories about seizures of syrup from producers making headlines. The rules that apply to Quebec maple syrup producers are indeed very restrictive, in addition to stimulating the growth of their competitors in neighbouring provinces and U.S. states.
8 March 2018March 8, 2018

Does Economic Growth Benefit the Poor?
Viewpoint explaining that contrary to popular belief, economic growth is the best way to reduce poverty
Is it true that economic growth only benefits a small, privileged elite? This seems to be the belief of certain groups that regularly denounce a “crisis of inequality” in many countries, including Canada. Yet this perspective, which considers wealth creation to be a zero-sum game in which the poorest are prisoners of their economic circumstances, is simply mistaken.
22 February 2018February 22, 2018

Health and Education: Spending Has Continued to Grow
Viewpoint showing that the problem with health care and education is not the lack of resources
In November 2017, Quebec announced a $1.1-billion personal income tax reduction. Some argued then that the reason the government could afford to reduce the tax burden was that it had reduced spending on health and education, and that these sectors had been starved by years of successive cuts. However, both health care spending and education spending have increased considerably in recent years.
7 February 2018February 7, 2018

Quebec Is Still a Corporate Subsidy Champion
Viewpoint examining the disproportionate use of subsidies by the Quebec government
Even though corporate subsidies have often been criticized for their undesirable economic effects and for discriminating in favour of certain sectors or companies, they continue to be very present in the Quebec economy. Quebec pays out twice as much in corporate subsidies as Ontario, proportional to the size of its economy. This policy does not make Quebecers richer.
18 January 2018January 18, 2018


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