The Macdonald-Laurier Institute: 5 Years of True North in Canadian Public Policy

A dynamic society like Canada can only remain at the forefront of nations by adapting successfully to a rapidly changing world. New circumstances require fresh thinking and that’s why thought leadership is essential to Canadian democracy. Governments, opinion leaders and the general public need to be kept abreast of the very best public policy ideas if Canada is to enjoy continued freedom, prosperity and influence in the 21st century. Nowhere is this more true than in Ottawa, where most of the policy decisions affecting all Canadians are made in areas such as trade, defence, international relations, Aboriginal policy, health care finance, economic policy, national infrastructure, federal provincial relations and much much more.

For the past five years, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute has fulfilled this role by providing thoughtful, practical, independent and non-partisan commentary and recommendations on national issues from many of the country’s finest minds.

Starting in 2010 MLI’s work has ranged from the sustainability of health care to Aboriginal involvement in the natural resource economy and the barriers to trade between Canadians. This has demonstrably influenced decisions in Ottawa and farther afield, earned it the spotlight in media outlets across the country and caught the attention of five present and former Canadian prime ministers and several international leaders. The quality of our work has been repeatedly recognised through international awards such as the Templeton and Sir Antony Fisher prizes and being ranked one of the top three new think tanks in the world by the University of Pennsylvania.

Join us in 2015 as we celebrate our successes from the past five years and look forward to a future of making Canada even better.

Policy successes

Aboriginal Canada and the Natural Resource Economy

The Canadian Century project: Why balanced budgets matter

Social licence and Canadian democracy

Medicare's Midlife Crisis: Fixing Canadian health care for the 21st century

Internal trade: Making good on the promise of Confederation

Quotations

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  • Jeffrey Simpson at the Great Canadian Debates
  • The MLI Soiree
  • Peter Milliken and Brian Lee Crowley
  • Jason Kenney and Elizabeth May
  • Tom Flanagan and Jim Stanford
  • The MLI Soiree
  • Peter Milliken, Joe Clark, Jean Chretien and Brian Lee Crowley
  • The MLI book, The Canadian Century
  • Paul Martin at the launch of The Canadian Century

Keep up with our 5th anniversary activities by following us on our social media pages


What People Are Saying About Us


"In five short years, the institute has established itself as a steady source of high-quality research and thoughtful policy analysis here in our nation’s capital. Inspired by Canada’s deep-rooted intellectual tradition of ordered liberty – as exemplified by Macdonald and Laurier – the institute is making unique contributions to federal public policy and discourse. Please accept my best wishes for a memorable anniversary celebration and continued success".

–The Right Honourable Stephen Harper


"The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is an important source of fact and opinion for so many, including me. Everything they tackle is accomplished in great depth and furthers the public policy debate in Canada. Happy Anniversary, this is but the beginning".

–The Right Honourable Paul Martin


"In five short years the Macdonald-Laurier Institute has become one of Canada's most thoughtful and influential public policy platforms. MLI deals with important issues in a rigorous way that connects with both expert and popular audiences, while being rooted in the tradition of ordered liberty that was the bipartisan vision of Canada's founding fathers".

Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence and Minister for Multiculturalism


"MLI pulls no punches. Its hard hitting and well researched articles are required reading in the corridors of power. We need more voices speaking 'truth to power'".

Frank McKenna, deputy chairman of TD Bank, former New Brunswick Premier and Canadian ambassador to the United States


"The American president Woodrow Wilson once observed that 'one cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty counsels. The thing to do is to supply light and not heat'. Since 2010, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute under the estimable leadership of Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley has followed that wise prescription, providing policy analysis and commentary that is consistently rigorous and incisive and not infrequently provocative. The Institute purports to be non-partisan, but this is not entirely correct. During its brief existence, it has demonstrated a bias toward challenging the verities that dominate political and economic discourse in this country. This is partisan activity of the best kind, and may it continue for many years to come.".

Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan


"I'm pleased to commend the Macdonald-Laurier Institute for its contribution to public discourse, especially the organized debates in Toronto and Ottawa that have brought together interesting debaters (he said, having been one of them!) on important subjects and found large audiences".

Jeffrey Simpson, columnist with the Globe and Mail


"Intelligent and informed debate contributes to a stronger, healthier and more competitive Canadian society. In five short years the Macdonald-Laurier Institute has emerged as a significant and respected voice in the shaping of public policy. On a wide range of issues important to our country's future, Brian Lee Crowley and his team are making a difference".

John Manley, President and CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives


"The Macdonald-Laurier Institute has ably promoted the long-overdue devolution of federal powers to the North both through its high standards of research and well-written reports".

Tom Axworthy, President and CEO of the Gordon Foundation


"I cannot think of a new think tank in Canada that made such an immediate, positive impact on public life as MLI. Brian was everywhere, it seemed, and he was willing to be unconventional. For a time, he even let Michael Bliss and I run The Great Canadian Debates in Ottawa, and that took some daring. It worked, sort of, but that he was willing to try greatly impressed me. Canada needs more daring and unconventional institutions—like MLI".

Jack Granatstein, Canadian military historian


"In its mere five years of existence, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, under the erudite Brian Lee Crowley’s vibrant leadership, has, through its various publications and public events, forged a reputation for brilliance and originality in areas of vital concern to Canadians: from all aspects of the economy to health care reform, aboriginal affairs, justice, and national security. The MLI provides the kind of evidence-based, analytic excellence that conservative journalists rely on to better understand the political, cultural and economic traditions that have formed, and the trends that continue to shape, Canada’s unique national estate".

Barbara Kay, National Post columnist


"At the age of 5, Mozart composed his first minuet. At 5, John Stuart Mill already spoke Greek. The MLI hasn't been quite that precocious but not since the Fraser Institute exploded onto the Canadian scene in the mid-1970s has a think tank had a more impressive or impactful debut in this country's policy deliberations".

William Watson, economics professor at McGill University


"The Macdonald-Laurier Institute has breathed life into Canada's public policy debate. It brings together the voices and insights that frame the complexities and challenges facing Canada in the 21st century.

"The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is where the key policy issues facing Canada are discussed and debated. It's the place where the views, opinions and analysis that reflect the nation are heard, bringing clarity, understanding and appreciation of the challenges at the core of public life in Canada".

Dale Eisler, Senior Policy Fellow at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy


"All the world's experts in sorcery, witchcraft, and the forbidden arts should be commanded to descend on MLI to discover once and for all the root causes for how MLI can possibly create so much more intriguing, insightful, and inspiring product than countless organizations many, many times its size".

Conrad Winn, Professor of Political Science at Carleton University and founder of COMPAS Research


"In a world of information overload, it's a welcome pleasure to have the sharp, incisive and readable policy reports from the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. These highly-relevant and intensely practical pieces are a must for anyone interested in both the Canadian scene and in global issues of the day. The Institute's website and its newly-released policy documents should be on everyone's computer desktop".

Lawrence Herman, lawyer and one of Canada's leading experts on international trade


"In five short years, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute has become one of North America's leading think tanks, contributing opinion pieces on a wide range of public policy issues that are stimulating and often refreshingly bold. They not only challenge conventional wisdom but offer innovative and compelling prescriptions on how Canada's national interest could be better served. Bravo".

Derek Burney, Senior Strategic Advisor at Norton Rose Fulbright and former Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney


"MLI continues to be the instigator of important conversations that bring needed attention to the issues that matter to Canada and our future. Their thought leadership, based on rigorous and intelligence argument, infused often fresh perspectives on long standing matters, is an important driver for framing and solving policy challenges and opportunities vital to the future prosperity of business and our nation as a whole".

Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO, Business Council of British Columbia