Books by Mark
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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 describes how both premiers 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.
“Mark Milke is a gifted public policy analyst and over the years and has earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the best critics of how Canadian governments of all stripes over the past half century or more have generally failed to harness the enormous economic and human potential of a great country. Ralph vs. Rachel is a timely and well-researched reminder of how successful the Klein government’s policies were, how his Conservative successors failed to stay the course, and how in four short years Rachel Notley and her NDP government plunged Alberta back into a dreadful fiscal hole.”-Paul Stanway, C2C Journal
“I just finished reading your latest book Ralph vs. Rachel. I couldn't put the book down! A great read I would recommend to anyone interested in the facts! The results of the two premiers speak for themselves and "Ralph vs. Rachel" does a great job of illustrating this!”-Kai Nome on Linked In
“Well documented juxtaposition of two political personalities and ideologies by a savvy and knowledgeable Albertan. An easy, enlightening and timely read.”-Jesse on Amazon.com
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.