insight & evidence

AuthorPolicy Wonks

The Policy Wonks are Dr. Peter Nicholson, Jeff Larsen, and Bernie Miller.

Social Innovation: Organizations and the Ongoing 21st-Century Transformation of Society


by Bernie Miller In May of 1994, Peter Drucker wrote a broad-ranging article for the Atlantic Monthly which he called The Age of Social Transformation weaving together observations which, 26 years later, seem remarkably prescient. One passage is worthy of special note: “The twenty-first century will surely be one of continuing social, economic and political turmoil and challenge, at least in its...

Observations On The 2024 World Happiness Report


By Peter Nicholson This note summarizes and comments on key findings of the 2024 World Happiness Report (WHR), the latest in a series of annual publications that explore the nature and implications of a particular concept of “happiness” in a cross-nation comparative context. There should be much greater awareness of this exceptionally rich body of work and of its implications for public policy...

Is The Federal Public Service Too Big?


An analysis of public service employment trends: 2010-23 By Peter Nicholson Since Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister in 2015 almost 100 thousand (net) new employees have been added to the federal public service, an increase of nearly 40% in eight years. The growth in 2023 alone numbered some 21,000 or 6.3%.[1] The significant increase has begun to attract media attention, notably a recent...

Canada’s Economy In A Long-Term Global Context


By Peter Nicholson Canada’s economy has a growth problem, and the country is finally starting to notice. As Andrew Coyne recently pointed out, Canada is no longer one of the richest countries on earth. Emphasis was added by the Bank of Canada’s senior deputy governor, Carolyn Rogers, who stated in a March 26th speech that Canada’s continuing stagnant productivity growth has become an...

House Of Commons Committee Consideration Of Bill C-49


By Dr. Peter Nicholson – Opening Statement 5 February 2024 Let me begin by thanking the Committee for providing this forum to address the potential for massive offshore renewable energy development off our Atlantic coast, a scale of opportunity that has been greatly underestimated. Realization of the opportunity will depend on many factors, but one essential precondition is an appropriate...

What Motivates Trump’s Base?


By Peter Nicholson George Monbiot, writing in the Guardian, argues for a broader and deeper analysis of the Trump phenomenon, positing that Trump voters possess an “extrinsic” value set, while Biden voters are more likely to express “intrinsic” values.[1] Monbiot is right that Trump represents the epitome of extrinsic values and thus may be powerfully attractive to those of a similar values...

Catching the Wind


How Atlantic Canada Can Become an Energy Superpower By Peter Nicholson for public policy forum INTRODUCTION Less than 200 kilometres off the coast of Nova Scotia lies the fabled Sable Island, known to generations of seafarers as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, a testament to the countless ships that foundered on its shallow, sandy reefs. Famous for its unique herd of feral horses that have...

The Perils of Forced Growth:


Lessons for Canada from Nova Scotia’s Experience by Bernie Miller Introduction: Volkswagen and Canada’s Ambition for Leadership in the Green Economy Imagine it is late 2027 and the Volkswagen plant in St. Thomas, Ontario, funded with a $16B federal subsidy, is ready to go into production. There is a grand ceremony. Dr. Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG addresses...

Economic Policy and Well Being


By Bernie Miller Economics and public policy have lacked a unifying, people focused objective. Committing to an overriding objective of promoting opportunities for the well-being of all citizens could be our best economic development policy. This paper is intended to assimilate and generate knowledge about new ways of approaching the question of how to achieve inclusive economic growth and...

One Size Fits One:


Place Based Economic Policy By Bernie Miller Developing economic policy for a region has traditionally tended to follow political, jurisdictional boundaries. Therefore, there was always a Nova Scotia economic development policy – one size fits all. If positive GDP growth were achieved overall, it would be deemed a success. More frequently, if it resulted in low overall growth, a failure. To the...

insight & evidence