$1.25-million project tackles clubroot resistance in canola

Researchers and agriculture company battle the crop-damaging disease and train new scientists

$1.25-million project tackles clubroot resistance in canolaA $1.25-million research project is tackling clubroot resistance in canola to help battle new strains of the crop-damaging pathogen. Funded by agriculture company BASF, University of Alberta plant scientists Stephen Strelkov and Sheau-Fang Hwang will work to identify new sources of pathogen resistance that can be bred into canola seeds. New strains of clubroot, a soil-borne disease that attacks the…

The case for selling Manitoba Crown corporations

Crowns are a huge hidden burden on taxpayers

The case for selling Manitoba Crown corporationsThis is far from the best time for most Manitobans. Covid-19 has poisoned the prairie province’s economy, the finances of the government, education, healthcare, small businesses and more. The reigning party is on the ropes in a difficult environment that favours an even bigger spending opposition to win the next election. That, though, would exacerbate…

Food supply chain resilience put to the test by B.C. floods

Supply chains in Western Canada have always been vulnerable and that’s not going to change anytime soon

Food supply chain resilience put to the test by B.C. floodsImages from British Columbia over the past week have been heartbreaking: human casualties, dairy cows barely breathing above water before being pulled to safety, the loss of livestock across the Fraser Valley. Just devastating. And the flow of goods on rail and roads is severely compromised. Many now claim that flash floods and atmospheric rivers…

Manitoba’s economic growth depends on U.S. trade

But U.S. protectionism is still a threat

Manitoba’s economic growth depends on U.S. tradeTrade is essential for Manitoba’s economy. International exports and imports represented 46.4 per cent of its gross domestic product in 2018. With a significant goods-related industry estimated at 26.9 per cent of GDP in 2019, Manitoba needs strong trading partners to help develop its economy. In 2019, 30.6 per cent of its exports were resource-based…

What does the Trudeau win mean for Western Canadians?

More of the same

What does the Trudeau win mean for Western Canadians?What does another Trudeau win mean for Western Canadians? After all, the actual composition of the House of Commons changed little, and once again, the Liberals will need the support of either the NDP or the Bloc Quebecois to pass legislation. So, for the most part, we can expect a continuation of some programs, including…

Manitoba must do more to encourage mining

Simply possessing the mineral and metal deposits isn’t enough

Manitoba must do more to encourage miningThe Manitoba mining industry received some good news recently, but the province still needs to reform its mining policies for the sector to thrive. Despite some progress over the years, the province continues to have a hostile climate for investment: this needs to change. Vale Ltd. recently announced a $150-million investment to extend nickel mining…

Can Pallister pull a miracle out of his hat?

Or is his time as premier of Manitoba coming to an end?

Can Pallister pull a miracle out of his hat?Brian Pallister likely knows that his time as premier of Manitoba is coming to an end, even though he leads a solid majority government. Fortunately for Pallister, his party and Manitoba, if he retires soon to open the door for a new Progressive Conservative leader, he could be remembered for making Crown corporations and the…

Manitoba unprepared for coming fiscal, political storms

Manitoba’s provincial government depends on long-calcified federal transfer programs to fund 37% of its budget

Manitoba unprepared for coming fiscal, political stormsAround 1915, Winnipeg was frequently described as a second Chicago, a serious transportation hub with a bustling private economy. In 1921, it was the third-largest city in Canada. In the 1960s, Winnipeg was Western Canada’s corporate headquarters city. Today, Winnipeg is Canada’s ninth-largest city, known more in the United States, if not by most Canadians,…

Manitoba politics are invasive and expensive

The province isn't in much better financial shape than Newfoundland and Labrador

Manitoba politics are invasive and expensiveThe scourge of COVID-19 is slowly being beaten back but Manitoba’s economy was in trouble before COVID-19 and the last 15 months have weakened it even more. Before COVID-19, the province’s economic weakness could be attributed to its big-spending governments. The Liberal federal government, the Progressive Conservative provincial government and Winnipeg’s municipal government continue to…

Prairie provinces debt levels a ticking time bomb

An economic burden for future generations

Prairie provinces debt levels a ticking time bombThe debt in Canada’s Prairie provinces has grown colossally during the COVID-19 pandemic, just as debt has in the rest of Canada and around the world. At the end of 2020, Alberta’s debt was estimated at $98 billion, Manitoba’s was $28.6 billion and Saskatchewan’s was $15 billion. These debts are an economic burden for the taxpayers…

Why private operation of public parks makes sense

Partnerships with private operators bring significant efficiencies and revenue sources for the public

Why private operation of public parks makes senseManitobans shouldn’t be afraid of the government partnering with the private sector to run public services such as provincial parks. Research shows these partnership agreements with private operators are quite common, are often well run, and bring significant efficiencies and revenue sources for the public. In 2020, the provincial government passed a law allowing companies…

Prairie provinces must put an end to rising debt

The current turmoil could weaken budgetary discipline, leading governments into long-term spending and increased debt

Prairie provinces must put an end to rising debtAt the end of 2020, Alberta’s debt was estimated at $98 billion, Manitoba’s was $28.6 billion and Saskatchewan’s stood at $15 billion. These debts are lower than Quebec’s ($220 billion) and Ontario’s ($448.9 billion), but there are concerns about their sustainability. Indeed, they’re a long-term burden for the governments, the taxpayers and the economy. Debt growth…

Plenty of blame to share in Manitoba Hydro debacle

After two decades of political and managerial incompetence, Manitoba is on track to lose the province’s best economic advantage

Plenty of blame to share in Manitoba Hydro debacleFormer Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall’s report on the Keeyask dam and Bipole III transmission line expansion is a damning verdict on Manitoba Hydro’s past boards and executives, and various Manitoba governments. While Wall’s public criticism concentrates on the NDP, there’s much room for the current Progressive Conservative government to share the blame. Premiers former and…

Manitoba government too involved in insurance business

Unsurprisingly, as a government car insurance monopoly, MPI’s history is marked by politics

Manitoba government too involved in insurance businessManitoba Public Insurance (MPI) is in updating its computer programs and associated practices. Through an estimated multimillion-dollar effort, MPI plans to provide its customers with online services. With MPI’s long-needed revamped technology, licensed drivers and vehicle owners will be able to select insurance options and pay MPI bills without even conversing with a broker. Yet…

Manitoba poised to become a lithium-exporting powerhouse

Manitoba can quarterback an economic resurgence in Western Canada, with a focus on electric vehicles

Manitoba poised to become a lithium-exporting powerhouseThe slogan on licence plates reads, “Friendly Manitoba” but it might need to be changed to “Powerhouse Manitoba” over the next decade! Manitoba has a combination of the Hudson Bay seaport in Churchill giving access to an Atlantic Ocean channel, world-class nickel deposits, and a rail line allowing other precious metals such as lithium and…

A lost economic opportunity in northern B.C.

Windy Craggy is a perfect example of how misguided environmental activism is fuelling northern alienation

A lost economic opportunity in northern B.C.A World Heritage Site designation continues to prevent development of one of the largest cobalt and copper deposits in North America. That lack of development is denying opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. And it serves as an example of how environmental activism is fuelling northern alienation. Windy Craggy is in northwestern British Columbia, about…

Despite the alarmism, Covid-19 is not the Black Death

Instead of focusing on a problem concentrated in our long-term care facilities, politicians have closed vast swaths of our economy

Despite the alarmism, Covid-19 is not the Black DeathDespite the relentless media drum-banging around the alarmist COVID-19 narrative, this virus is not the Black Death. Official numbers have the Canadian death count so far just over 14,000, bad for sure, but not hugely off the yearly flu toll in Canada that kills 6,500 to 8,000 people.  The average age of those people who…

Northern Manitoba alienation must be addressed

Pushing for redrawn borders may force the province to address the unique economic and infrastructure needs of the region

Northern Manitoba alienation must be addressedManitoba Premier Brian Pallister recently threw cold water on the notion of Western Canada separation, saying good relationships aren’t built on threats to leave. But Pallister has similar issues on his own doorstep: Northern Manitoba alienation is real and the government must take it seriously. Last year, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy initiated a landmark…

Take the jolt out of Manitoba’s excess power generation

Manitoba Hydro should look for ways to increase domestic demand by displacing non-renewable energy consumption

Take the jolt out of Manitoba’s excess power generationThe world’s economy continues to grow every year by between two and four per cent. From when civilization began 5,000 years ago, the production of energy remains an important factor to continued growth. In these environmentally conscious times, efforts are intensifying to reduce energy consumption and switch to renewable resources. Manitoba is in a very…

Cold, wet weather stings Prairies’ honey production

Fell by 35 per cent in Alberta, 1.9 per cent in Manitoba and by 1.4 per cent in Saskatchewan

Cold, wet weather stings Prairies’ honey productionA cold, wet spring and summer on the Prairies took a devastating toll on honey production this year in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Statistics Canada reports. Production in Alberta, the largest honey-producing province in Canada, fell by 35 per cent to 25.1 million pounds, which was the lowest level since 2000, according to the federal…

Global technology leader Cisco investing $15 million in Western Canada

Funding and testing innovations in areas such as the oil and gas sector, health-care digitization and environmental protection

Global technology leader Cisco investing $15 million in Western CanadaGlobal technology leader Cisco is investing $15 million to enhance its Western Canadian presence. “Getting the most out of the digital world of tomorrow means investing and preparing for it today,” said Rola Dagher, president of Cisco Canada, in making the announcement on Wednesday in Calgary. “The commitments announced today build on our strong track…

Canadian Pacific moving more grain

Railway plans to spend more than $1.55 billion in capital investments in 2018

Canadian Pacific moving more grainCanadian Pacific railway announced on Monday that it moved 25.8 million tonnes of Western Canadian grain and grain products, soybeans and other non-regulated principal field crops during the 2017-2018 crop year, up one per cent over the 2016-2017 crop-year and one per cent above its three-year average. It also said that September 2017 was CP's…