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Home Policy Articles: Monetary & Capital Management: Government & Business Enterprises


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A Guide to the Enron Collapse

In A Guide to the Enron Collapse, Darren Puscas provides a condensed summary of the major events leading to Enron’s 2001 downfall. Puscas’s analysis includes potential trouble spots that should have been noticed before the collapse, a discussion of the role played by the broader economic crisis at the time, and an examination of Enron’s role in pushing negotiations to secure the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) at the World Trade Organization (WTO). Additionally, Puscas considers whether a similar incident could happen in Canada and proposes lessons that might be learned specifically by Ontario Hydro, in light of the Enron debacle. The analysis concludes with calls for a structural overhaul of the American and Canadian corporate system, changes Puscas believes will make corporate finance more transparent and prevent similar incidents in the future.

Changing the Nature of Governance to Create Value

In this commentary Allaire and Firsirotu discuss three different modes of corporate governance: fiduciary, shareholder rights, and value-creating. They argue that after a period of generally slack governance standards, there are undeniable intrinsic benefits to tightening up the fiduciary and monitoring role of boards of directors. They point out that fiduciary duty has come to define the new governance orthodoxy.

Do we still need to regulate telephone services?

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has ruled there is insufficient competition in the telecommunications industry. In December 2003 the CRTC proposed handicaps on the traditional telephone monopolies in order to allow new companies to enter the market.

Economic Freedom of North America, 2004 Annual Report

This Fraser Institute publication is the second edition of the annual report, Economic Freedom of North America.

EPCOR: A Study of Ownership, Accountability and the Public Interest

This report discusses the many characteristics of EPCOR that make it a company with many contradictions. Diana Gibson points to the fact that EPCOR is owned by the City of Edmonton, yet is not answerable to the public, and that it is not a private company yet it has stock on the Toronto Stock Exchange and operates in areas outside of Alberta (including the US). Gibson considers the unique positioning of EPCOR in light of accountability and public interest. In her opinion EPCOR's shortage in these areas is of immediate importance because the City of Edmonton is considering handing its drainage system over to EPCOR. Gibson suggests a number measures that could improve accountability.

EPCOR: A Study of Ownership, Accountability, and the Public Interest

As Diana Gibson explains, EPCOR was founded on Edmonton’s power and water utilities, yet operates in other provinces and in the US.

Exploring Canada’s Innovation Character: Benchmarking Against Global Best

In this report, the Conference Board of Canada presents a framework for understanding innovation, an evaluation of Canada’s innovation performance, and suggestions for future action that can be taken in this regard. An international comparison is used to assess Canada’s global standing in innovation.

Improving Canada's Business Environment and Competitiveness

This report follows a discussion of the Government of Canada (GoC) document Advantage Canada: Building a Strong Economy for Canadians, which accompanied the November 2006 fiscal update.

Making Health Spending Work

This article by Fred McMahon and Martin Zelder attempts to incorporate Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) into the current health care system so that “a publicly funded system that incorporates market dynamics” can be designed. In McMahon and Zelder’s plan, Medical Savings Accounts would be attributed to each Canadian citizen, who would then have the option of choosing between private and public providers of health care. The authors believe this option makes most sense considering that Canada ranks near the top of OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) member countries with respect to health spending, but places near the bottom in most categories pertaining to the quality of health care service delivery.

Private Delivery of Public Services: Public Private Partnerships and Contracting-Out

This paper examines two types of relationships that the private sector and government engage in: contracting-out and public-private partnerships (PPPs).

Private Means to Public Ends: The Future of Public-Private Partnerships

Finn Poschmann considers the delicate situation of private-public partnerships (PPPs) and how they can either work to enhance services to the public, or result in squandered resources.

Public Services and Community Crowns - It's the Saskatchewan Way!

Don Mitchell argues that Saskatchewan should possess a broad and responsive public service and progressive, creative, and innovative crown corporations. He notes that Saskatchewan has a century of experience in public service and public enterprise in education, health, social services, transportation, electrical and telephone utilities, insurance, mining, and forestry.

Saskatchewan Prosperity: Taking the Next Step

This article by Jason Clemens, Joel Emes and Nadeem Esmail examines the challenges faced by Saskatchewan, offering both short- and long-term policy recommendations. Their main short-term recommendations are to privatize government business enterprises (GBEs, which are akin to Crown Corporations), use the proceeds from these privatizations to reduce the debt, and then to use the accumulated savings to finance the lowering of business taxes. Among their longer-term recommendations: shrinking the size of Saskatchewan’s government, and the continuing privatization of government business enterprises.

Saskatchewan's Crown Corporations

Allan Evans looks at the number and type of crown corporations in Saskatchewan. He argues that if Saskatchewan chooses not to privatize it ought to open up these industries to competition.

Sobering Result: The Alberta Liquor Retailing Industry Ten Years after Privatization

In this report Greg Flanagan discusses the changes Alberta made to its liquor control, taxation and distribution policies in 1993/94. Flanagan explains that the changes have led to a lack of control, lower revenues from taxes and increased prices to the consumer. Furthermore, under the current system consumption limitation and education are not encouraged or enforced. Overall, the Alberta government has lost effective control of the liquor industry and will not be able to regain it without drastic changes to policy.

Sobering Result: The Alberta Liquor Retailing Industry Ten Years after Privatization

In this report, Greg Flanagan examines the impact of privatization on Alberta’s liquor retail industry.