Brian Lee Crowley

Audio

  • Cross Country Check Up on Northern Gateway July 30, 2014

    Earlier this year the proponents of the Northern Gateway pipeline, Enbridge,  received conditional approval from the federal government to proceed to the next stage with their project.

    Back in June I was invited to appear on CBC Radio One’s Cross Country Checkup, to discuss this pipeline proposal, whichwould cross northern British Columbia to bring oil sands production from Alberta to Asian markets. As I said then I am still optimistic that a pipeline proposal for transporting Canadian oil to world markets can gain the support of Aboriginal groups.

    Whether that pipeline is Northern Gateway or some other proposal isn’t the central issue; what’s important is that Canada develop a method for ensuring its oil production can reach world markets.

    “I believe it is possible to strike a deal that will be attractive to Aboriginal people but it’s not going to be easy and there’s going to be a heck of a lot of work ahead of us, whether it’s on the Enbridge project or another one”, he said.

    To listen to the interview, click here and skip forward to the 1:24:00 mark.

  • Tougher crime laws on Cross-Country Checkup November 5, 2011

    On November 5, 2011, CBC’s Rex Murphy invited Brian on his show, Cross Country Checkup, to discuss whether Canada needs tougher crime laws.

  • Post-election chat with Dave Dickson October 18, 2011

    On October 18, 2011, Dave Dickson invited Brian on his radio show to discuss what we can expect after the provincial elections across Canada. Brian’s post-election prediction? Stormy weather on the federal-provincial front. Dave Dickson’s show, Straight Talk, is on CFAX 1070 in Victoria.

  • Why McGuinty’s recent claim that the oil & gas industry is subsidized by Ottawa is false August 5, 2011

    In his regular column for the Ottawa Citizen, Brian Lee Crowley examines the claims made by Premier Dalton McGuinty that “the oilpatch is subsidized by Ottawa; that his own green energy initiatives are somehow equivalent to the oil industry, and that his energy efforts should be subsidized to the same extent.” An excerpt below:

    So the oilpatch isn’t subsidized, but it creates real economic value, whereas McGuinty’s renewable energy initiatives are a costly failure already sufficiently subsidized. And has the premier considered what will happen if Alberta follows his thinking to its logical conclusion and asks for subsidies equivalent to the Ontario auto bailout?

    Ottawa should ignore the premier’s pleas. As we know from long experience in other parts of the country, such transfers only relieve the recipients of the need to put their own house in order.

    Brian was also on the Roy Green Show and the Rutherford Show to discuss this topic (click on the links to learn more).

     

    Even Ontario is now prone to region envy

    By Brian Lee Crowley, The Ottawa Citizen, July 30, 2011

    Envy is the most corrupting of emotions. That is in part because it focuses on what others have that you do not, instead of on what you can do to improve your situation through your own efforts. Too often the logical conclusion of envy is a demand that government take what others have and give it to us, or that we be “compensated” because of some advantage enjoyed by someone else.

    We have been far too accommodating of envy, particularly between regions of Canada. Every region has some narrative that explains their failure to get ahead as the result of some conspiracy in favour of somebody else. The Prairies were done down by eastern bankers and railway interests. The Maritimes were robbed of their industry by tariff barriers put up to protect Upper Canadian manufacturers. French-Canadians were kept down by an English-speaking elite. Each part of the country has clung grimly to the grain of truth in these mythologies even long after they stopped helping to explain local differences in jobs and income.

    Ontario, as the heartland of the Canadian economy, was perhaps the only part of the country not prone to such convenient historical rationalizations for envy. But clearly the provincial government is hustling to catch up. Unfortunately, the story Premier Dalton McGuinty tells to justify his envious sallies against Alberta and the oilpatch are just as distorted and exaggerated as the other narratives from the national grievance industry.

    In his recent trip out west, the premier loudly made three complaints: that the oilpatch is subsidized by Ottawa; that his own green energy initiatives are somehow equivalent to the oil industry, and that his energy efforts should be subsidized to the same extent. Translation: Ottawa should stump up more cash for poor Ontario.

    Let’s examine these claims.

    The claim the oilpatch is subsidized seems to rely chiefly on a discredited report by an environmental NGO, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), which concluded that the Canadian oilpatch was getting nearly $3 billion in “subsidies” not available to other industries.

    In fact, most of the measures the IISD identified as subsidies are available to other industries or, in the case of expensing exploration costs and accelerated depreciation, were misinterpreted as subsidies. On the contrary, they are policies designed to create attractive conditions for investments that generate major benefits, including significant tax revenues. In 2009, the oil and gas industry nationally accounted for $6 billion in corporate income tax revenues alone.

    Jack Mintz of the University of Calgary, one of the country’s leading experts on business taxation, holds that “oil and gas investments … generally are not ‘subsidized’ but bear a higher fiscal burden than do other industries.”

    At least, though, the oilpatch produces real measurable economic strength for Canada, and for Ontario. According to the Canadian Energy Research Institute, Ontario will be second only to Alberta in the economic benefits it will enjoy acting as a supplier for new oilsands investments over the next 25 years. Those projects will contribute $63 billion to the Ontario economy and generate over 850,000 person years of work. That’s not counting spin offs from existing oilsands work or the conventional oil and gas sector.

    Let’s compare that to the premier’s “green energy” initiatives. Despite his brave rhetoric about green energy creating new jobs, you also have to take account of the job losses that occur as companies adjust to ruinously high electricity rates for example. We don’t yet have complete information on Ontario’s performance, but we do on Spain, which is a country that until recently tried to pursue policies very similar to Ontario’s. They had to stop because the damage those policies were doing to the economy was simply too great. The study that seems to have made the Spanish government reverse course found that for every “green job” created in renewable energy, 2.2 jobs were destroyed in the wider economy.

    Now we see why McGuinty needs that subsidy.

    Ottawa already gives lots of subsidies to the premier’s pet projects. It offered $500 million toward construction of a transmission line across northern Ontario to bring hydro power from Manitoba. Federal energy retrofit subsidies complement provincial ones. The federal ecoENERGY program is spending $1.4 billion to encourage the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources.

    So the oilpatch isn’t subsidized, but it creates real economic value, whereas McGuinty’s renewable energy initiatives are a costly failure already sufficiently subsidized. And has the premier considered what will happen if Alberta follows his thinking to its logical conclusion and asks for subsidies equivalent to the Ontario auto bailout?

    Ottawa should ignore the premier’s pleas. As we know from long experience in other parts of the country, such transfers only relieve the recipients of the need to put their own house in order.

    Brian Lee Crowley is the managing director of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, an independent non-partisan public policy think tank in Ottawa: www.macdonaldlaurier.ca.

    © Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

     

  • Budget priorities on The House June 11, 2011

    On June 11, 2011, CBC’s The House invited Brian to discuss the budget and the policy priorities the government should focus on over the next four year. Find out more here.

  • Open borders on the radio February 15, 2011

    I was on the Dave Rutherford show yesterday to discuss my latest commentary for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Trading in Superstitions. You can hear the interview here (set to and click on February 14, 11:00 AM). I was also on John Gormley Live earlier today. Listen to that clip below.

     
  • Remembrance Day on the radio November 11, 2010

    Brian took part in John Gormley’s annual Remembrance Day program. Listen to the interview here in hour #1 of the show (starting at approx 3:50 minute mark). 11 November 2010.

  • Brian on the Dave Rutherford show October 30, 2010

    Brian Lee Crowley was on the Dave Rutherford show on October 27, 2010, to discuss MLI’s latest study From Rehabilitation to Recruitment. You can hear the interview here (set to and click on October 27, 10:00 AM).

  • On the radio for the Canada Day long weekend July 3, 2010

    On Canada Day weekend, Brian Lee Crowley introduced more Canadians to The Canadian Century on one of Canada’s most popular weekly political radio shows… The House on CBC. In conversation with Rita Celli, Crowley provided an introduction to the Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s first book publication and a primer on why Wilfrid Laurier was just a 100 years ahead of his time when he said, “…it is Canada that shall fill the twentieth century.” You can hear the entire interview here (it starts at the 15:00 minute mark).

  • The Canadian Century on Foreign Policy magazine June 25, 2010

    At the request of the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine, the co-authors of The Canadian Century produced an article about what Americans might learn from Canada’s experience. That article has just been published and is available here. An audio version is also available. June 25, 2010.

Brian Lee Crowley
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