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Brian Lee Crowley and Sean Speer launch the first in a series of papers aimed at helping the newly-elected government achieve its ambitious agenda

OTTAWA, Dec. 3, 2015 – The new Liberal government has put the Canadian middle class at the centre of its agenda. This should be lauded. Canada is stronger when incomes are broadly growing. But how best can the federal government help middle-income earners?

That’s where the Macdonald-Laurier Institute comes in.

Sean SpeerMLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley and newly-appointed Senior Fellow Sean Speer today kick off a series of commentary papers titled “From A Mandate For Change To A Plan To Govern”. Publishing weekly from the Throne Speech to the first budget next spring, the series is designed to offer practical policy recommendations that help the newly-elected government follow through on its election promises.

In a column introducing the series, Crowley and Speer observe that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has drawn inspiration from Sir Wilfrid Laurier: “Mr. Trudeau wisely emulated Laurier’s positivity in the recent election campaign,” they write, but there are further lessons for the new government from Laurier, who famously proclaimed the 20th Century would be “filled by Canada”.

Brian Lee Crowley“This week’s Speech from the Throne will be the first chance for Canadians to see how the new government will translate its mandate for change into a plan to govern”, write Crowley and Speer. “Mr. Trudeau’s goal should be to prove Laurier’s prognostication accurate for the twenty-first century”.  

To read the full commentary, click here.

In the first paper, Crowley and Speer lay out the scope of the issues facing middle-income Canadians and then offer policy ideas for how the government can best help them.

Among their recommendations:

  1. Don’t rely too heavily on comparisons with the United States: The Canadian middle class is doing far better than its neighbours to the south. Policy options aimed at Canada’s middle class need to be tailored to our needs.
  2. Acknowledge the progress that has already been made in social mobility: Canadians’ ability to increase their earnings over time – and not stay stuck in one income bracket – should not be discounted.
  3. Bolster inclusive growth that includes all income brackets: Encouraging social mobility and opportunity should be the priority. Canada already has many programs in place aimed at redistributing income between high- and low-income earners.

With this in mind, Crowley and Speer say there are several ways to help the middle class that should accord with the government’s policies. These include: policies to make homeownership more affordable, bolstering policies that reward work and discourage dependence on the state, and embracing free trade both within Canada and internationally, including ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

MLI’s “From A Mandate To Change To A Plan To Govern” series will continue over the coming weeks with recommendations on the key priorities for the new government, including: immigration and refugee policy, national security and Aboriginal policy.


Brian Lee Crowley is the Managing Director of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.

Sean Speer is a Senior Fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. He previously served in different roles for the federal government including as senior economic advisor to the Prime Minister and director of policy to the Minister of Finance.

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is the only non-partisan, independent national public policy think tank in Ottawa focusing on the full range of issues that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Join us in 2015 as we celebrate our 5th anniversary.

For more information, please contact Mark Brownlee, communications manager, at 613-482-8327 x105 or email at mark.brownlee@macdonaldlaurier.ca.

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