Publications

Education: Controlling Spending While Improving Quality

When it comes to education, successive Quebec governments have rarely been shy to brag about their “investments.” Especially in recent years, education has often been one of the favourite themes of the various political parties. Knowing that this file represents the second largest item in the province’s budget, and that education spending is expected to keep growing, two questions arise: Is this growth sustainable, and is there a way to do things differently?

Emergency Rooms: Fewer Patients, Longer Waits

Earlier this year, the media reported that the situation in Quebec emergency rooms had improved in 2018-2019. Yet when we take a closer look at the Department of Health and Social Services data, we see that the opposite has happened, despite a reduction in the number of patient visits.

Canada Shows the Way on Stock Markets

Canada has avoided the great die-off of public companies afflicting American business especially since the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which imposed new, more restrictive accounting and financial transparency rules. But with trends reversing somewhat since 2012, much work remains to be done in Canada to promote access to investment opportunities for the middle class. This would not only further democratize wealth-building for regular Canadians, but also give start-ups even greater ability to raise funds to grow their business.

The Unintended Consequences of Municipal By-Laws

Montrealers may soon suffer the “unintended consequences” of two municipal policies likely to produce effects that are just the opposite of their stated purpose. This is in line with a dynamic that is well known to economists but often overlooked by politicians.

Carbon Taxes: Are the Policies of Ottawa and the Provinces Efficient?

Since the 1920s and the work of A.C. Pigou, economists have generally agreed that imposing a price on pollution emissions is the most efficient way to reduce those emissions while minimizing the drawbacks associated with interventions aiming to limit pollution. This way of doing things usually yields better results than regulation or other government interventions that do not rely on market mechanisms.

Consolidation in the Air Sector: Should We Be Worried?

With Air Canada seeking to acquire Air Transat, many public figures have made comments to the effect that this consolidation would lead to price increases. This argument is based on the premise that competition in a given market is determined by the size and the number of firms that are active in that market.

The Cumulative Impact of Harmful Policies – The Case of Oil and Gas in Alberta

According to the International Energy Agency, the global demand for hydrocarbons is expected to keep increasing at least until 2040. Yet in Canada, during the past year or so, an unusually large number of major events—essentially all negative—affected the oil and gas industry. The departure of international companies, pipeline project delays, and unprecedented discounts on Western Canadian Select (WCS) are just some of the signs that the country’s oil and gas sector is facing serious challenges.

For a Freer Press, Add Economic Freedom

The latest reports on freedom of the press are worrisome. This freedom has declined over the past decade, and 54 journalists were killed on the job in 2018 alone. Several factors explain the level of press freedom of a given country: the nature of the political system, its level of development, or the presence of armed conflicts on its territory, for example. Another important factor, too often ignored, is its degree of economic freedom.

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