Books by Mark
Ralph vs. Rachel: A tale of two Alberta premiers
Albertans elected two starkly unique premiers in the past 25 years. The first was Ralph Klein, a high-school dropout who, as premier, cut government spending, and taxes, and saw his popularity soar. Klein was a hard-drinking, reforming politician far more comfortable with blue-collar Albertans than bluebloods. He never lost an election and was known simply as “Ralph.”
Another premier, Rachel Notley, defied expectations and in 2015 broke up the 44-year Conservative government dynasty. Notley, presiding over Alberta’s first NDP government, soon wrenched the province in a radically new direction: with higher taxes, green- friendly policy, and activist government. The new premier entered office just as oil prices plunged, as did her chance at a balanced budget.
In Ralph vs. Rachel, Mark Milke dives in to the history of both premiers. He describes how both entered office in similar fiscal crises and what that meant for unemployment lines, careers, and Albertans. In a contrarian take, Milke argues that Notley was delivered a bad hand from the start and that Klein saved health care and education, protected the Heritage Fund, and rescued Canada’s unemployed from coast to coast—and few of Klein’s successes were due to luck.
“Dr. Milke points out that both the Klein and Notley governments faced the challenges of a weak energy sector and provincial finances crippled by years of deficit spending. Both faced the temptation to pursue interventionist policies in the energy sector, and both faced the challenge of inexorable growth in the health and educations sectors. Both even had a special interest in beer…. The NDP government needlessly interjected itself there; Klein (who always enjoyed a pint or two) simply privatized it.” Preston Manning, founder of the federal Reform Party and Canadian Alliance and former leader of the Official Opposition in the Parliament of Canada
“In this well-researched, entertaining read, Mark Milke takes readers on Alberta ’s sometimes bumpy journey over the last 30 years. After reading Ralph vs. Rachel, you may long for the days of balanced budgets, flat taxes, and, yes, even Ralph-bucks.” —Scott Hennig, Vice President, Canadian Taxpayers Federation
“While Mark Milke paints on the Alberta canvas, the landscape for his ideas—and the cogent explanation of them—is universal. Milke examines the ideas, slogans, and policies o f many who call themselves progressives. He deconstructs them t o help us understand why good intentions are never good enough.” —Charles Adler, Host of Corus Entertainment’s Charles Adler Tonight
Published by Thomas & Black. Ralph vs. Rachel: A tale of two premiers, will be available in bookstores in mid-November. You can pre-order from Indigo/Chapters here.
Tax Me I'm Canadian!
Tax Me I'm Canadian! is a national bestseller and has a number of unique themes: How many Canadian taxes were first implemented in the United States-the type and higher rates only later migrated north; why government spending is too often under the control of special interests and not the public interest; why it's a myth that income tax is illegal or unconstitutional; a look at the debate over taxes and civilization; and how Canadians can get a better bang for their taxpayer buck.
"It's Milke's tax history lesson that offers the most brilliant inspiration: Let's take back our heritage. Let's go back to our Canadian roots. No more 'American-style' taxes on everything that moves." Linda Leatherdale, Toronto Sun
Published by Thomas & Black. Available at your local bookstore or online.
In 1976, the Alberta government told an Edmonton farmer his private land was to be expropriated for a park. It offered him a pittance in compensation. Only in court, years later, did the province admit it actually wanted his land for a highway-which would have triggered much higher compensation.
Published in 2012, Stealth Confiscation details stories of infringed property rights. The book provides some remedies-a European approach to property where both expropriation and also "regulatory takings" (where a government devalues property through regulation) are both properly compensated for.
Published by the Fraser Institute. Available at your local bookstore or online for free .
A Nation of Serfs?
Imagine if a one-time IRA member had toasted the break-up of Great Britain only to later marry a British royal-and remain unapologetic. Something like this happened in Canada when a new Governor-General was appointed and her husband turned out to be a founder of the Front de libération du Québec-a 1970s-era terrorist, separatist cell that violently pursued Canada's break-up.
"Only in Canada" one might say.
This book examines Canada's too-forgiving political culture which leads to multiple absurdities that fray the national fabric.
Published in 2006 by Wiley & Sons. Out of print but you may be able to find a copy at www.abebooks.com.
Barbarians in the Garden City
This was my first book, published in 2001. Barbarians shot to the top of the bestseller list in British Columbia and hit #1, where it stayed for six months until the provincial election that year.
Over-budget fast ferries; a faked provincial budget known as the "fudge it" budget; tilted labour legislation and attempts by the provincial government to skirt the law. All that and much more are chronicled in this book.
In his book review, then-Vancouver Sun editorial page editor Trevor Lautens said Barbarians in the Garden City could have been "an exhaustive 26-volume chronicle of these abuses of power". He remarked my much shorter version was a "comprehensive solidly researched" book written with "style and wit".
Published by Thomas & Black. Out of print but you may be able to find a copy at www.abebooks.com.