Brian Lee Crowley

Globe and Mail columns

  • Duty to consult: What it is…and isn’t May 16, 2014

    In my column for the ROB’s (Globe and Mail) Economy Lab today I put under the microscope the Supreme Court of Canada’s doctrine of the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate Aboriginal people when their key interests are engaged, as in e.g. natural resource developments. As I see it, the doctrine leaves intact governments’ ability to act in the larger public interest, but they may only do so after good faith consultations with Aboriginal people. *Both* parties must come to the table and seek agreement in good faith. This means that neither Aboriginal communities nor governments are entitled to decide unilaterally whether adequate consultation has taken place.  Ultimately the courts will arbitrate. Thus this is neither a blank cheque to governments to carry on as before, nor a right of veto for Aboriginal people, but a call by the courts for constructive engagement. The balance is a fine one. Can we make it work?

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  • Social licence: 007 never had such a powerful licence to kill! May 2, 2014

    “Social licence” is a concept on everyone’s lips these days as we debate pipelines, dangerous rail cargoes, appropriate forestry policies, etc. But this benign sounding term conceals a multitude  of dangerous and arbitrary features. In the end, as I argue in my column for today’s ROB, it masks a unilateral requirement for a project’s opponents to give their blessing before a project can proceed, making it a licence for NIMBYists to kill things they don’t like, regardless of their net benefit to Canadians. This is unacceptable in a world where change always creates winners and losers and in a society governed by the rule of law.

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  • Don’t screw this up! April 18, 2014

    In my latest for the Globe’s ROB I explore the idea that what really makes Canada rich isn’t our natural resource endowment, but the nesting of that endowment within a far more important one. That more important one is our endowment of institutions and behaviours like the rule of law, enforcement of contract, non-corrupt judges and officials, stable, reasonable and predictable tax and regulatory burden and so forth. But there are always politicians who think the natural resource wealth is just there for the taking. Retribution is swift!

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  • Poor performance is feature, not bug, of Canadian healthcare April 4, 2014

    In my fortnightly column for the Globe’s Economy Lab (in the ROB) I take aim at those apostles of the status quo who claim there is nothing wrong with Canadian health care more money and “federal leadership” won’t fix. In fact more money only serves to mask the deep systemic dysfunction of medicare, caused principally by its addiction to a central planning mentality which ought to have died with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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  • Doomsaying math whizzes don’t understand capitalism March 21, 2014

    In my latest screed for the Globe’s ROB’s Economy Lab, I poke a little harmless fun at the mathematicians working on a NASA grant who allegedly have proved with a few equations the imminent collapse of civilisation as we have known it. Darn it, I wish someone had explained to me in school just how important math could be!

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  • How to avoid being conned by auto companies seeking subsidies March 7, 2014

    In my latest column for the Globe’s ROB I lay out the case why auto subsidies are almost never justified but, more importantly, why ensuring your economy is competitive is vastly more important than whether other jurisdictions are offering subsidies.

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  • Vikings fans! Ragnar is coming for the CRTC February 21, 2014

    What fun I had writing my latest column for the Globe’s ROB. Using the hit TV show Vikings as a parable for the conflict between blinkered tradition and technologically-driven innovation, I argued that the head of the CRTC is playing the role of the Vikings’ earl, with Ragnar using new technology to open up literally whole new worlds. Enjoy!

     
     

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  • More than education at stake in Ottawa-First Nations pact February 10, 2014

    In my latest column for the Globe’s ROB I make the case that the newly announced agreement between Ottawa and the First Nations over education could do more than advance the cause of Aboriginal education, as vital as that is. It could also be the key to strengthening the leadership of National Chief Shawn Atleo and the influence of the new generation of Aboriginal leaders looking to turn newly- recognised rights into genuine economic opportunities.

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  • Not everyone gets rich in a gold rush…. January 24, 2014

    Our universities’ and governments’ capacity for critical self-examination, never too well-developed at the best of times, appear to have been completely overwhelmed by the gold rush to attract foreign students and the cash they represent. At least that’s the case I make in my latest column in the Globe’s ROB…standards are being endangered in the mad rush to pump up the foreign student numbers, and the cost will be borne chiefly by Canadian students and taxpayers.

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  • NAFTA disappoints, but what to do? January 14, 2014

    In my latest screed for the ROB, I point out that for all its benefits, NAFTA is now showing its age. Twenty-five years after Canada and the US signed their bilateral FTA on which NAFTA was later based, attention in trade liberalisation and economic integration has shifted to other forums, such as Canada-EU and US-EU trade negotiations, or the TPP. Yet while new benefits won in such negotiations are also likely to benefit our NAFTA partners, other things are specific to the NAFTA relationship, like border management and regulatory mutual recognition. Despite that there seems little appetite on the part of the US to think North America, even though their economy is hurt by the many barriers that remain between our highly integrated economies.

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Brian Lee Crowley