Canada's next Prime Minister must act quickly to
halt Canada's relative decline in affluence and our 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
released today at a news conference in Toronto. This document is
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 the 'Mandate for
Leadership' are based on best practices from around the world and
on solid empirical research. We strongly urge our incoming Prime
Minister to adopt these policies."
"What the Fraser Institute is offering us here," says Michel
Kelly-Gagnon, executive director of the Montreal Economic
Institute, "is based on sound economics and real scholarship. I
think anybody interested in solutions for improving Canada's
economic growth and social progress should read this document
carefully. It should henceforth serve as a reference document
when discussing the various challenges facing this country."
"This Mandate for Leadership offers policy prescriptions based on
the best practices and principles available," says Peter Holle,
president of the Winnipeg-based Frontier Centre. "The formula for
prosperity is universal: empowerment of the individual, the
family, and the community. A better, more prosperous nation
awaits its application."
* 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 among the OECD's most costly (on an
age adjusted basis and excluding the U.S.) 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
The SolutionsMandate for Leadership
provides specific policy prescriptions to improve the daily lives
of Canadians and to boost Canada's status in the world. Each set
of prescriptions is followed by background material, including
references to detailed research conducted by The Fraser
Institute, other research institutes, universities, and other
Some of the key recommendations in critical policy areas include:
Reduce taxation to increase Canada's international
competitiveness and tax smarter by eliminating or reducing
particularly destructive taxes. For example, accelerating the
current five-year plan to eliminate the Corporate Capital Tax.
Increase flexibility in the labour market by, for example,
introducing worker choice legislation for those covered by
federal labour laws.
Replace equalization payments with tax points to encourage
provinces to reduce taxes, leading to increased economic growth.
Harmonize rules and regulations that limit internal trade and
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 ensure
that trade and people can continue to move across the border
easily, while keeping it closed to terrorists and other security
The Bank of Canada and Exchange Rate:
Create a currency union modeled after the European Monetary Union
in agreement with the United States and Mexico.
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.
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.
Repeal or change the Canada Health Act to remove limits on
provincial autonomy over health care, as recognized by the
Restructure aboriginal policy to empower the individual, not band
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:
Ensure 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.
Reform Parliament by, among other things, allowing more free
votes and increasing the power and independence of committees.
Assert Parliamentary supremacy and the rule of law in place of