Macdonald-Laurier Institute

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The Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) is a non-partisan think tank located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The Managing Director of MLI is Brian Lee Crowley who founded the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS), which is located in Atlantic Canada.

Founded in 2010, the institute is named after two of Canada’s earliest and most recognizable political leaders: Sir John A. Macdonald was Canada’s first prime minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier was the country’s first French-Canadian prime minister.[1] MLI is as a registered charity with the Canada Revenue Agency.

The institute has a board of directors and an internal advisory board that select themes and submit its research for external review. The institute derives its financial support from corporate and individual donors, as well as and private foundation[2] funding sources.[3]


Since opening its doors in March 2010, MLI has produced papers offering a non-partisan perspective on 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.[4] 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 provide commentaries on a range of topics including 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.[5]

MLI also published its first book in May 2010. Titled The Canadian Century: Moving out of America’s Shadow, the book appeared on the best-seller lists of the Montreal Gazette.


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.[6] 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,[7] the Wall Street Journal[8] and The Economist in its first year.


Board of directors[edit]

Advisory Council 2013[edit]

Research advisory board[edit]

MLI fellows[edit]

Books and publications[edit]


  • 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.

Study papers[edit]

National security strategy[edit]

  • To Stand On Guard, by Paul H. Chapin, November 29, 2010.

Pharmaceutical series[edit]

  • Pills, Patents & Profits, by Brian Ferguson, March 25, 2011.

Canada's founding ideas[edit]

  • Confederation and Individual Liberty, by Janet Ajzenstat, November 10, 2010.

Policy briefings[edit]

  • 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 [1], privatizing the healthcare system [2] and "working toward a common security perimeter with the United States"[3] 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 former Conservative finance minister [4]. The founder of the institute (Brian Lee Crowley) has been a close advisor of Flaherty as well.[5] In addition, some of the institute's report writers have strong conservative views.[6] Moreover, links between Brian Lee Crowley and the right-wing Galen Institute [7] and intellectual debts to free market economists such as Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises [8] mark clearly its neoliberal position.


  1. ^ See MLI web site
  2. ^[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ See MLI web site
  4. ^ a b c Crowley, Brian Lee; Coates, Ken (30 May 2013). The Way Out: New thinking about Aboriginal engagement and energy infrastructure to the West Coast (PDF) (Report). Aboriginal Canada and the Natural Resource Economy Series. Macdonald-Laurier Institute. 
  5. ^ All documents available in the MLI web site “Library”
  6. ^ See “Media” on MLI web site
  7. ^ See Foreign Policy magazine, June 25, 2010, “The Canadian Century”, Crowley, Clemens, and Veldhuis
  8. ^ See Wall Street Journal, December 1, 2010, “Emerging from the Shadow”, Phred Dvorak
  9. ^ From the MLI web site

External links[edit]