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MEI in the Media



Viewpoint – The Comeau Case: The End of Provincial Trade Barriers?
Viewpoint explaining the impact of interprovincial protectionism and how a Supreme Court liquor law challenge could bring it to and end
The Canadian federation was founded in 1867 in part to ensure a common, unified market across the country. This ideal is enshrined in Section 121 of the Constitution. Yet while substantial trade does take place between the provinces, the dream of a truly unified market remains elusive. An important case about to be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada, though, may help bring down the barriers the provinces have erected to restrict trade over the years.
5 December 2017December 5, 2017

Viewpoint – Access to Medication: Preserving a Fragile Balance
Viewpoint showing how reducing the maximum prices of new drugs could make them less accessible to Canadians
While Health Canada is preparing to completely change the way maximum prices for new drugs are established, it seems that little attention is being paid to the impact of this kind of public policy on the availability of new drugs. Yet similar policies are responsible for quite unenviable situations in certain countries.
15 November 2017November 15, 2017

Wireless Services: Should Regulation Favour Resellers?
Economic Note explaining how requiring providers to share their network with resellers could jeopardize investments in infrastructure
The Canadian government and the CRTC have adopted various policies over the past decade aimed at increasing the number of players in the wireless sector. Although such policies have had several negative consequences, there is today a well-established fourth wireless provider, owning its own infrastructure, in almost all regions of the country. Ottawa now wants to push this interventionist logic even further by favouring resellers (called Mobile Virtual Network Operators, or MVNOs, in telecom jargon). Would such a policy bring more competition to the telecommunications industry and the intended benefits to consumers?
9 November 2017November 9, 2017

The Capital Gains Tax: It Should Be Reduced, Not Increased
Economic Note describing the harmful effects of the capital gains tax and showing how some countries have reduced or abolished it
The federal government still has not made its intentions clear regarding the possibility of increasing the inclusion rate of the capital gains tax from 50% to 75%. Since this kind of tax entails detrimental effects, a change of policy should go in the exact opposite direction, as some other countries have done, and either substantially reduce the capital gains tax or simply abolish it.
2 November 2017November 2, 2017

Canada’s Oil and Gas Sector at Risk? How Excessive Taxes and Regulations Undermine Our Competitiveness
Research Paper analyzing Canada’s position relative to the U.S. in the oil and gas sector, in order to assess the dangers that could emerge in terms of competitiveness
Canada’s oil and natural gas sector is currently going through hard times. Donald Trump, meanwhile, has repeatedly promised to improve the business environment in the United States by reducing the tax and regulatory burden, especially as it affects this sector. As Canada’s competitiveness in oil and gas development depends almost entirely on its position relative to that of its powerful neighbour, it is important to understand what is going on right now in the United States and the effects of U.S. policy on our economy.
19 October 2017October 19, 2017

Saint Göran: A Competitive Hospital in a Universal System
Economic Note showing how to reduce emergency room wait times with the help of private providers, in a system that remains open to all
Quebec’s Health Minister recently gave an ultimatum to the province’s hospitals such that emergency room stays could no longer exceed 24 hours. While our health system has failed for years to significantly reduce wait times, the performance of a Swedish hospital (the Saint Göran, a Stockholm hospital funded by the government and run by Capio, a private multinational company) should inspire decision-makers within our health care system.
17 October 2017October 17, 2017

Viewpoint – To Stay Competitive, Canada Needs a Low, Proportional Corporate Tax Rate
Viewpoint proposing a flat corporate tax rate of 10.5% in order to maintain Canada’s fiscal competitiveness
U.S. President Donald Trump has just reiterated his intention to reduce the top federal corporate tax rate, aiming to lower it from 35% down to 20%. Such an abrupt reduction, or even a more modest one, would have serious consequences for the Canadian economy. Ottawa therefore has an interest in reforming its own corporate tax system without delay and in introducing proportional taxation based on the 10.5% rate that currently applies to small businesses, so that one single federal rate remains for all Canadian businesses.
27 September 2017September 27, 2017

How to Foster Entrepreneurship in Canada: The Teachings of the Austrian School of Economics
Research Paper explaining what we can learn about entrepreneurship and wealth creation from the Austrian theory
Everyone claims to favour entrepreneurship, but politicians routinely propose various programs to help entrepreneurs, when they should instead concentrate on getting rid of policies that discourage them. Indeed, the empirical literature shows that interventionist policies are detrimental to entrepreneurship. The Austrian School of Economics has much to teach us about the kinds of policies that truly encourage entrepreneurship and wealth creation, and thus how to improve public policies in Canada.
19 September 2017September 19, 2017

Education in Quebec: Where Does the Money Go?
Economic Note showing that substantial spending increases per student have not had a significant impact on academic success
This spring, the Quebec government announced additional spending on education. These new expenditures are on top of the substantial increases seen over the past ten years. Is this viable over the long term? Have students benefited from this augmented spending? And are there other solutions that would give taxpayers more for their money?
30 August 2017August 30, 2017

Viewpoint – Does Agricultural Prosperity Require Supply Management?
Viewpoint showing how the vast majority of Canadian farmers succeed on the world market, without benefiting from protectionist measures
In order to justify the continued existence of supply management, producers’ associations state that they could not actually compete on the American market, and that without this system, they would even lose their shares of the domestic market. This Viewpoint aims to show that on the contrary, it is possible for Canadian farmers to be successful on the world market, without benefiting from such protectionist measures.
17 August 2017August 17, 2017

Viewpoint – Avoiding the Aeronautics Subsidy Race Canada Is Sure to Lose
Viewpoint proposing a new agreement between aircraft manufacturing countries to circumscribe state aid to the aeronautic sector
While all countries subsidize their aircraft industries at different levels, the Canadian sector has been making headlines recently. The massive help Bombardier has received sets a precedent, which other countries could exploit to justify heavily assisting their aerospace industries too, potentially creating a beggar-thy-neighbour dynamic. The scenario of a subsidy race in the aerospace industries of all countries is now a real possibility, unless there is a credible signal that such government intervention will be limited in the future.
3 August 2017August 3, 2017

Viewpoint – Electric Vehicle Sales Quotas: A Tax in Disguise
Viewpoint showing how the requirement to sell more electric and hybrid vehicles will raise the prices of conventional vehicles
The Quebec government has set itself the ambitious task of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 37.5% below their 1990 levels by 2030. In order to reach this target, important policy efforts have been devoted to the transportation sector, which accounts for 43% of total emissions. At the forefront of such efforts are electric vehicle subsidies. But starting with their 2018 models, carmakers will now also be faced with electric and hybrid vehicle sales quotas. This is a tax in all but name, which will disproportionately increase prices of conventional vehicles.
25 July 2017July 25, 2017

Viewpoint – Centralized Health Care: A Recipe That’s Doomed to Fail
Viewpoint explaining why it is impossible for bureaucrats at the head of a vast and complex organization to control everything in an efficient manner
For thirty years, the Quebec health care system has experienced multiple systemic problems, especially in terms of long emergency room wait times, and long delays for surgeries as well. Not only has the Health Department been unable to plan the long-term development of the system in such a way as to put an end to these problems once and for all; it also seems unable to allocate resources efficiently when the unexpected occurs. What is so different about the health care sector? And what can be done about it?
13 July 2017July 13, 2017

Are Electric Vehicle Subsidies Efficient?
Economic Note assessing the cost and the efficiency of Quebec and Ontario programs aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by subsidizing electric cars

Ontario and Quebec have set ambitious targets aimed at reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs), respectively 37% and 37.5% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The transportation sector is crucial for achieving these ambitious targets, since it represents over a third of the emissions of each province. These have therefore decided to implement, among other things, subsidies to electric vehicles. But is this injection of public funds the best use of our money?

22 June 2017June 22, 2017

Viewpoint – Health Care in Sweden: Decentralized, Autonomous, Competitive, and Universal
Viewpoint describing how Sweden, with private clinics and hospitals seamlessly integrated into a public system, provides better access to care

The Quebec government wants to centralize the health care system even more with Bill 130, giving the Health Minister more power over administrators and over the management and operation of hospitals. The government would be better off following the example of Sweden, which has successfully moved in the opposite direction, in addition to benefiting from the contribution of the private sector.

15 June 2017June 15, 2017

Viewpoint – Housing Prices: Before Taxing Foreign Buyers, Scrap Rent Control
Viewpoint explaining how housing policies such as rent control have more impact on the real estate market than foreign buyers

The government of Ontario has recently announced new policies intended to cool off its real estate market, imposing a 15% tax on foreign home buyers like the one enacted in 2016 in British Columbia, and also extending its rent control regulations. In Montreal, the opposition is asking the City to follow the example set by these two provinces. Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitão has said he is not interested in interfering with the market, and with good reason: This is precisely the kind of policy that contributes to the problem.

6 June 2017June 6, 2017

Viewpoint – Ending Supply Management with a Quota Buyback
Viewpoint proposing to give farmers $13 billion to buy back production quotas and abolish supply management

Since the 1970s, farms in the dairy, poultry, and egg sectors have been subject to supply management, a system which combines production quotas, price controls, and import barriers to increase the prices of goods produced by these farms. The negative effects of this system for consumers have been studied in depth, and there is now a broad consensus regarding their existence and amplitude. The question of compensating farmers in order to abolish this regime remains an open one.

1 June 2017June 1, 2017

The State of Competition in Canada’s Telecommunications Industry – 2017
Research Paper analyzing various aspects of the Canadian telecommunications industry related to competition

The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), which will soon revolutionize every aspect of our economy and our lives, will force Ottawa to reconsider its telecommunications priorities and policies, argues the 2017 edition of The State of Competition in Canada’s Telecommunications Industry, published by the MEI.

4 May 2017May 4, 2017

Viewpoint – How to Liberalize the Alcohol Market in Quebec
Viewpoint proposing to allow small retailers to import and sell wine freely, without going through the SAQ

The Quebec government is currently studying various ways of ending the SAQ’s monopoly. The Crown corporation has indeed been the target of multiple criticisms over the years, as much for the prices of its products as for its management and efficiency. Another, less frequently heard but nonetheless important criticism is the lack of space the public monopoly leaves for small entrepreneurs. This latter concern should guide the government in its reflections on the liberalization of the alcohol market.

27 April 2017April 27, 2017

Viewpoint – How Much Has Bixi Cost Montrealers?
Viewpoint detailing what the Bixi bike-sharing system will have cost Montreal taxpayers over its first decade

The Bixi bike-sharing system will soon start its ninth season. Since its creation in the spring of 2009, Bixi has survived thanks to public funds. What does the bill add up to for Montreal taxpayers? If the goal was to promote the use of bicycles and active transportation, could the funds allocated to this service have been better spent?

12 April 2017April 12, 2017

Viewpoint – The 2017 Budget: Quebec Must Keep Its Promise to Reduce Taxes
Viewpoint comparing the numerous taxes and contributions that have gone up in Quebec in recent years with the short list of reductions

In the coming days, the Quebec government will unveil its 2017-2018 budget plan. For the 2016 fiscal year, it has so far accumulated a budget surplus of $2.3 billion. One of the Liberal Party’s electoral promises was to allocate half of surpluses to tax reductions. This would be most welcome, since as shown in this Viewpoint, taxes and contributions to the public treasury have been on the rise since the beginning of the decade.

27 March 2017March 27, 2017

Trading Supply Management for Softwood Lumber?
Economic Note explaining the benefits of exempting Canadian softwood lumber from tariffs and opening up the agricultural sectors under supply management to American producers

During the American election campaign, Donald Trump criticized the North American Free Trade Agreement on several occasions, going so far as to call it “a disaster,” and he clearly stated his intention to renegotiate it. Although the new president is wrong to target it as the source of the economic ills afflicting his country, it is true that NAFTA could be improved.

23 March 2017March 23, 2017

The Three Pitfalls of Social Licence
Economic Note exploring how the lack of a clear, agreed-upon definition of social licence is a threat to economic development projects and to the rule of law

The criterion of social licence is a part of every debate surrounding economic development projects, especially when these include impacts on local communities or on the environment. And yet, this new concept is poorly understood, and mentioned nowhere in the law. Certain controversial projects, like pipelines or uranium mines, illustrate the potential pitfalls of social licence and remind us that the demands of some players frequently go beyond this framework.

1 March 2017March 1, 2017

Viewpoint – Why Ottawa Should Respect Provincial Jurisdiction over Health Care
Viewpoint showing how a decentralization of health care decisions would increase the opportunities for experiments and discoveries of best practices and ways of delivering services

Since last fall, the Canadian health care system has once again become a source of bickering. The federal government, which is a significant funder of the provinces’ health programs, wants to limit the rate of increase of its transfers and force provinces to spend on specific areas like mental health and home care. The territories and certain provinces have bowed to pressure from Ottawa, but four of the five most populous provinces are still refusing the federal offer. While it is political in nature, economic analysis of this conflict can provide some useful insights.

21 February 2017February 21, 2017

Viewpoint – Should Small Business Investments Be Permitted in a TFSA?
Viewpoint describing how a small change to income tax rules could both expand the savings options of Canadians and improve access to private funding for small businesses

Created in 2009, Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) provide a flexible savings option. But TFSA rules forget about small businesses, shows an MEI Viewpoint published today suggesting that the category of qualified investments be expanded. Large corporations are already well-served by various investment vehicles; it is now time to think of small companies as well. Tax-Free Savings Accounts are the perfect tool for this.

9 February 2017February 9, 2017

How Should Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Be Defined?
Economic Note explaining how, when properly understood, these two concepts can complement the profit motive and benefit society as a whole

Corporate social responsibility and sustainability are two widely used concepts. Corporate and government actions are partly judged according to them. Activists, politicians, and corporate leaders use them. But what exactly do they mean? Are they compatible with efficient management in a free society? To what extent are they even useful? This Economic Note will shed some light on these questions.

26 January 2017January 26, 2017

Viewpoint – Is President Trump a Threat to Canada’s Auto Industry?
Viewpoint showing that it is not in the economic interest of the United States to jeopardize the integration of the North American automotive industry

Donald Trump’s recent statements regarding the investments of auto industry giants and vehicle imports from Mexico have created significant uncertainty in Canada. His threat to impose tariffs at the U.S.-Mexico border to protect the American auto industry raises the possibility that Canada might also be affected by such a measure. If this were to happen, the economic consequences could be very harmful for both Americans and Canadians, since after half a century of trade liberalization, the two countries’ automotive industries are now completely integrated.

12 January 2017January 12, 2017


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