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The Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) is a right-leaning public policy think tank located in Ottawa, Canada. The Managing Director of MLI is Brian Lee Crowley who was also the founding President of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS), a think tank based in Atlantic Canada.
Founded and financed by large corporations in 2010, the group is named after two of Canada’s earliest and most recognizable political leaders: Sir John A. Macdonald was Canada’s first prime minister, famous for his subsidized rail program and high manufacturing tariffs. Sir Wilfrid Laurier was the country’s first French-Canadian prime minister. MLI has nominal political independence  and is a Canada Revenue Agency-registered charity for educational purposes. Its official mandate is "to make poor quality public policy unacceptable in Ottawa", and to promote a Freemarket Conservativism similar to that of the American Legislative Exchange Council.
The institute provides detailed information with respect to its research independence, which includes both internal controls (through a board of directors that determines and approves themes, and a research advisory board that selects external review) and external peer review of research efforts. The institute derives its undisclosed financial support from individual, corporate and private foundation funding sources. Its stated focus is on reducing the federal government's role in society and advocating for greater private corporate development.
- 1 Publishing
- 2 Impact
- 3 Organisation
- 4 Books and publications
- 5 Controversy
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Since opening its doors in March 2010, MLI has produced papers dealing with crime statistics, aboriginal post-secondary education, inter-provincial trade, and prison radicalization. In addition, study series have been initiated in the areas of Canada’s founding ideas and the creation of a national security strategy for Canada such as the series on Aboriginal Canada and the Natural Resource Economy Series.The institute also published a policy paper reviewing mortgage insurance in Canada. (See list of publications below.)
The organisation also publishes irregular shorter papers that they refer to as Commentaries. These cover diverse topics and to date include: AbitibiBowater, Democracy and the Public Interest, Prison Radicalization, Keeping the US-Canada Border Open, Canadian Manufacturing, Corporate Income Taxes, Honouring Sacrifice, MLI Report Card on the Government Response to Human Smuggling, The Western Alliance: A Moral Superpower or Nothing, The International Court of Justice advisory Opinion on Kosovo’s Declaration of Independence: What does it mean for Quebec’s Sovereigntist Movement?, Seniors, Population Ageing and the Future of Canada, Why is Good Policy Toxic Politics?, Why Aiding Pakistan Matters, and The ‘Sun Sea’ Tamil Mass Refugee Claim: An Opportunity for Needed Reforms.
MLI also published its first book in May 2010. Titled The Canadian Century: Moving out of America’s Shadow, the book has met with considerable critical acclaim. It appeared on the best-seller lists of the Montreal Gazette and was cited as one of the year’s best political books by The Hill Times. The Globe and Mail reviewer, Neil Reynolds, called it a "visionary work".
The Macdonald-Laurier Institute has generated substantial media coverage of its publications, public policy ideas and opinions during its time in operation. Contributors and staff have appeared in national and regional news media comment on a variety of national issues. The Institute maintains a list of media information on its web site. Of note are Op-Eds that have appeared in Canada’s national newspapers, the Globe and Mail and National Post, as well as in the Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald, Windsor Star, Moncton Times-Transcript, Halifax Chronicle-Herald and more. The Institute has also been highlighted in Foreign Policy magazine, the Wall Street Journal and The Economist in its first year.
Board of directors
- Rob Wildeboer, Chair
- Brian Lee Crowley, Managing Director
- Lincoln Caylor, Secretary
- Les Kom, Treasurer
- John Beck, Director
- Erin Chutter, Director
- Navjeet (Bob) Dhillon, Director
- J. Wayne Gudbranson, Director
- Martin MacKinnon, Director
- Peter John Nicholson, Director
- Rick Peterson, Director
- Jacquelyn Thayer Scott, Director
- Keith Gillam, Director
- Stanley Hartt, Director
Advisory Council 2013
- Purdy Crawford Former CEO, Imasco, Counsel at Osler Hoskins
- Jim Dinning Former Treasurer of Alberta
- Don Drummond Economics Advisor to the TD Bank, Matthews Fellow in Global Policy and Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University
- Brian Flemming International lawyer, writer and policy advisor
- Robert Fulford OC, Former editor of Saturday Night magazine, columnist with the National Post, Toronto,
- Calvin Helin Aboriginal author and entrepreneur, Vancouver
- Hon. Jim Peterson Former federal cabinet minister, Partner at Fasken Martineau, Toronto
- Maurice B. Tobin The Tobin Foundation, Washington DC
Research advisory board
- Janet Ajzenstat
- Brian Ferguson
- Jack Granatstein
- Patrick James
- Rainer Knopff
- Larry Martin
- Christopher Sands
- William Watson
Books and publications
- The Canadian Century: Moving Out of America's Shadow, by Brian Lee Crowley, Jason Clemens and Neils Veldhuis, May 2010.
- Fearful Symmetry: The Fall and Rise of Canada’s Founding Values, by Brian Lee Crowley.
- The Economic Dependency Trap: Breaking Free To Self-Reliance, by MLI Advisory Council member Calvin Helin.
- The Way Out: New thinking about Aboriginal engagement and energy infrastructure to the West Coast, by Brian Lee Crowley and Ken Coates, 30 May 2013
- Why Canadian crime statistics don't add up: Not the whole truth, by Scott Newark, February 9, 2011.
- From Rehabilitation to Recruitment, by Alex Wilner, October 18, 2010.
- Citizen of One, Citizen of the Whole: How Ottawa can strengthen our nation by eliminating provincial trade barriers with a charter of economic rights, by Brian Lee Crowley, Robert Knox and John Robson, June 21, 2010.
- Free to Learn: Giving Aboriginal Youth Control over Their Post-Secondary Education, by Calvin Helin and Dave Snow, March 15, 2010.
National security strategy
- To Stand On Guard, by Paul H. Chapin, November 29, 2010.
- Pills, Patents & Profits, by Brian Ferguson, March 25, 2011.
Canada's founding ideas
- Confederation and Individual Liberty, by Janet Ajzenstat, November 10, 2010.
- Mortgage Insurance in Canada, by Jane Londerville, November 18, 2010.
The Institute professes to be strictly non-partisan and points to its name as a prime indicator of this intent. However, as a think tank directed by high-profile businesspeople with an emphasis on lowering business taxes, reducing government spending , privatizing the healthcare system  and "working toward a common security perimeter with the United States" the institute's sympathies are on the right wing of the political spectrum. There are direct links between the founding of the institute and Jim Flaherty, the Conservative finance minister . The founder of the institute (Brian Lee Crowley) has been a close advisor of Flaherty as well. In addition, some of the institute's report writers have strong conservative views. Moreover, links between Brian Lee Crowley and the right-wing Galen Institute  and intellectual debts to free market economists such as Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises  mark clearly its neoliberal position.
- National Policy
- See MLI web site http://www.macdonaldlaurier.ca/about/welcome-to-mli/
- See Canada Revenue Agency web site and search for Macdonald-Laurier institute
- See MLI web site www.macdonaldlaurier.ca/support-mli/
- See MLI web site www.macdonaldlaurier.ca/about/research-independence/
- See MLI web site www.macdonaldlaurier.ca/support-mli/
- Crowley, Brian Lee; Coates, Ken (30 May 2013) (PDF). The Way Out: New thinking about Aboriginal engagement and energy infrastructure to the West Coast (Report). Aboriginal Canada and the Natural Resource Economy Series. Macdonald-Laurier Institute. http://www.macdonaldlaurier.ca/files/pdf/2013.05.30-MLI-3NorthernGateway-WebReady-vFinal.pdf.
- All documents available in the MLI web site “Library” www.macdonaldlaurier.ca/mli-library/
- See cached version of June 19, 2010 Montreal Gazette
- See The Hill Times, November 22, 2010.
- See The Globe and Mail, May 24, 2010, Neil Reynolds, "By restoring Laurier’s lost tenets, this century could be ours."
- See “Media” on MLI web site www.macdonaldlaurier.ca/category/library/media/
- See Foreign Policy magazine, June 25, 2010, “The Canadian Century”, Crowley, Clemens, and Veldhuis
- See Wall Street Journal, December 1, 2010, “Emerging from the Shadow”, Phred Dvorak
- From the MLI web site www.macdonaldlaurier.ca/about/who-is-involved