There are lots of think tanks in Canada. Some are progressive, some are middle of the road, but the biggest and most influential are right-wing in their orientation. In the guise of research, the Harperist think tanks apply the beliefs of neoliberalism to "prove" that the free market is capable of solving humanity's problems and that Canadians should rely on the market -- and certainly not government -- to deal with issues ranging from poverty to environmental protection. Here's a list of some of the think tanks that promote a Harperist agenda with their activities.   



Canada's leading neoliberal think tanks and their major financial backers

Fraser Institute is Canada’s original neoliberal think tank, celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2014, with a budget of over $10 million. Its most successful strategy in the war of ideas is the annual index – tax freedom day, hospital waiting list, economic freedom of the world index, school report card. Repeat these frequently enough and they become part of the intellectual landscape. If you can measure it, it matters.

The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies is Canada’s first regional neo-liberal think tank, celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2014. Atlantic provinces business executives and conservative foundations set up this think tank to attack government and bring market alternatives to cities and provinces in that region of the country.

The Frontier Centre for Public Policy (15 years old in 2014) brings market alternatives to the Prairie provinces. It specializes in attacking municipal government policies and promoting market alternatives.

The Montreal Economic Institute (15 years old in 2014), funded by wealthy Quebec business executives, specializes in attacking Quebec’s social democratic tradition and promoting market alternatives.

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is based in Ottawa and was set up by conservative foundations and business executives to support the work of the Harper government to the extent that it promotes market-based policies.

The School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary doesn’t look like a neoliberal think tank because it is part of a major educational institution, but its research promotes market solutions, especially related to Alberta’s oil and gas industry.

Sustainable Prosperity, based in the Law Faculty at the University of Ottawa, is a single-issue think tank promoting market-based environmentalism, especially carbon taxes and the “ecosystem services” market.

The Aurea Foundation, whose financial resources derive from the fortune of gold mogul Peter Munk, is the leading funder of neoliberal think tanks in Canada, providing $2 million a year to these organizations.

The Galen Weston Foundation, whose fortune derives from Canada’s second wealthiest family, is a dedicated financial supporter of the Fraser Institute’s school programs, which undermine public education and promote choice and privatization in education.


North American Think Tanks*






Asia Pacific Foundation
Atlantic Institute for Market Studies
Canada West Foundation
Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI)
Canadian Labour and Business Centre
Canadian Institute of Advanced Research
Canadian Policy Research Networks
C.D. Howe Institute
Le Centre canadien d’étude et coopération internationale
Centre for Foreign Policy Studies
Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)
Centre for Trade Policy and Law
Centre for the Study of Living Standards
Centre on Governance
Chantier de l'économie sociale
The Commonwealth Centre for Electronic Governance (CCEG)
Conference Board of Canada
Couchiching Institute of Public Affairs
Fraser Institute
Frontier Centre For Public Policy
George Morris Centre
Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique
Institute for Citizen-Centred Service
Institute for Research on Public Policy
Institute for Canadian Values
Institute of Public Administration of Canada
Institute on Governance
Liu Centre for the Study of Global Issues
Mackenzie Institute
Montreal Economic Institute
North-South Institute
The Parliamentary Centre
Pearson-Shoyama Institute
Public Policy Forum
Unisféra International Centre

Acton Institute
American Enterprise Institute
Annenberg Public Policy Center
Aspen Institute
Cato Institute
Center for Democracy & Technology
Center for Economic and Policy Research
Center for Global Development
Center for Governmental Studies
Center for Strategic & International Studies
Discovery Institute
Economic Policy Institute
Employment Policies Institute
The European Institute
The Heritage Foundation
Hudson Institute
Internet Law and Policy Forum
Jamestown Foundation
Joan Shorenstein Center
The Loka Institute
The Manhattan Institute
The Milken Institute
The Morino Institute
The National Center for Public Policy
Open Society Institute (OSI)
Progressive Policy Institute
Remarque Institute
Transportation Research Board
World Resources Institute
Worldwatch Institute
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars


*courtesy Hillwatch.com


Some leading progressive think tanks


Caledon Institute of Social Policy

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

GPI Atlantic