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Lau - Union

A Union Cure Worse than the Income Inequality Disease?


A new report from a left wing think tank has found that income inequality goes up when unionization rates go down. The solution is obvious: more and bigger unions will make us all richer. Except they won’t, because high unionization rates also correspond with poor economic performance, including lower income growth for everybody. Besides, the primary beneficiaries of unionization in Canada today are public servants, who earn more, work less, and retire earlier on bigger pensions than their private sector counterparts. That’s where real income inequality lies, writes Matthew Lau, despite all the clamour for raising taxes on the “rich” and making corporations pay their “fair share.”

Link Byfield’s passing inspires a legacy fund to continue his work

Canada’s conservative tribe lost one of its chieftains January 24 when Link Byfield succumbed to cancer at 63. It’s been a tough few months for the Byfield clan. Link’s mother Virginia passed away last summer. His father Ted, 85, is soldiering on. He meets regularly ...

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In praise of examined lives

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”  - Socrates Whenever I meet a new or aspiring politician – and I meet a few of them as a journalist and speechwriter – one of the first questions I ask is, “Why are you running?” Many of them, I’m ...

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How love and Plato transformed my life

The train was gone! Thinking I had plenty of time, I had disembarked to buy a soft drink from a platform vendor. I waited in line, paid for my soda, turned around, and – my heart sank. The train that was to take Robin and me from Milan ...

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It began with a can of Gold Water

I see now that I never had a chance. Politics stalked me, even as a child. It sat in stacks in the den where, as kids, we played board games. Conservative icons like Frank Meyer, George Nash and Barry Goldwater stared down at us from ...

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Twenty years a fool: My long journey home from the left

I blame it on the dining room table. When my mother died, I couldn't get rid of it; no one in the family wanted a mid-Victorian mahogany table that could seat ten in considerable luxury. Bad karma I thought, remembering the spectacular arguments, wherein every ...

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Choosing sides in the clash of civilizations

On the morning of September 11, 2001, my phone in Ottawa rang at about 8:45. It was my new friend Janet Fiabane, who I'd met only a few weeks before at a party. She told me that a plane had just hit the World Trade ...

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A conservative bureaucrat is an oxymoron, until he’s not

After 36 years at Statistics Canada, I now work primarily for various think tanks, mostly on the conservative end of the political spectrum. I also write a bi-weekly column for the Financial Post op-ed page. Its editor asked one day how and why I had ...

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The Calgarian who loved Alberta so much he became a Liberal

In my limited experience, one’s political origins originate with the The Four Ps.  That is: the Place where one grows up; one’s Parents, or parental equivalents; the Politics of the era; and some memorable Personal event. The Four Ps explain, for the most part, why most of the people I grew up ...

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My head and heart, always in the Right place

I must have no heart, as I can safely say I have never been a socialist, or even had socialist leanings. The die was probably cast when I was about five years old, sitting on my father’s knee. My parents were new immigrants to Canada ...

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No political home but my own

I’ve been told that I belong to the boomer generation. I was born in post-war Germany. Frankfurt, to be precise – a city that had been bombed into ruins. Until I was six, I lived in ruins: houses with sections missing, rooms with no doors, ...

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The (short) political history of a Millennial

At 24, my political beliefs are a work in progress. I lean right on some issues, left on others, libertarian on most. Some of my peers – predominantly the leftists – are pretty opinionated, but most of them, I think, are politically unmotivated, and will ...

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A pox on all your political parties

Mine is a story of reluctant political apathy, of a drift away from commitment. I’m not quite at the point where I don’t know who the premier of my province is. I mean, I know her name. And that she’s a Liberal, used to be ...

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After Keynes & the NEP, I chose Rand and liberty

Looking back on my intellectual development, I am struck more and more by how much of it was influenced by mere birthdate. Maybe nine-tenths of what it would be useful to know about me is captured in the date “1971”. The people who grew up ...

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