Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute


The Fraser Institute is a libertarian think tank based in Vancouver, British Columbia. They describe themselves as a “independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with active research ties with similar independent organizations in more than 80 countries around the world.” [1]

The institute's mandate is to measure and study “the impact of markets and government interventions on the welfare of individuals.” They offer a range of programs and initiatives, workshops and seminars, as well as “dynamic events” featuring “internationally acclaimed economists and influential policy figures, such as Margaret Thatcher, Danish environmentalist Bjørn Lomborg, and Milton Friedman.” [2]

Stance on Climate Change

“The actual climate change in many locations has been relatively small and within the range of known natural variability. There is no compelling evidence that dangerous or unprecedented changes are underway.” [3]

A Fraser Institute paper (PDF) authored by climate change skeptic Ross McKitrick suggests that “there has been no statistically significant temperature change for the past 15 to 20 years.” [4]

There is speculation that the Fraser Institute may have influenced the Canadian Conservative Party's climate change policies:

“Multiple generations of Fraser Institute staffers and donors and board members have had links to the federal Conservative Party,” says Rick Smith, executive director of the Broadbent Institute, a liberal think tank. “There's no doubt that the Fraser Institute's aggressive denial of climate change, you can see resonating in Harper government policy.”  [5]


The Vancouver Observer has been able to confirm through U.S. tax records that the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation has donated $625,500 to the Fraser Institute since 2007. [6]

In 2012, Alexis Stoymenoff of The Vancouver Observer later reported that the Fraser Institute had received $500 from the Koch Brothers within a four year periodShe wrote: 

According to U.S. tax documents, The Fraser Institute received $150,000 from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation in 2008, $175,500 in 2009, and another $150,000 in 2010. The grants were purportedly for “research support” and “educational programs.” [7]

The following is a breakdown of the Fraser Institute's funding, using data available in the Conservative Transparency Database:  [8]

Blair Foundation $11,000
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $758,721
Chase Foundation of Virginia $179,061
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $30,000
Exxon Mobil $120,000
John M. Olin Foundation $10,000
John Templeton Foundation* $500,000
Pierre F. and Enid Goodrich Foundation $210,000
Sarah Scaife Foundation $225,000
Searle Freedom Trust $400,000
The Carthage Foundation $50,000
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $95,080
Grand Total $2,588,862

*Data from in the original conservative transparency database, archived in 2011.  [9]

Koch Funding

Greenpeace investigations originally found that the Fraser Institute received $373,721 from Koch foundations between 2005 and 2009. Most recent totals from Conservative Transparency come up with a total of $788,721 in Koch funding. [10

Aurea Foundation Funding

DeSmogBlog notes that the Fraser Institute has been consistently funded the Aurea Foundation. Aurea was founded by Peter Munk, the head of Barrick Gold, and is a major funder of a small but influential network of free-market think tanks in Canada, including (but not limited to): The Fraser Institute, the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, the Frontier Center for Public Policy, the Montreal Economic Institute and the MacDonald Laurier Institute. [39]
Publicly available data from the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) shows that the Fraser Institute received more than $1.6 million from the Aurea Foundation since 2006:
Year Donation Source
2014 $260,000 (PDF)
2013 $260,000 (PDF)
2012 $125,000 (PDF)
2011 $433,330 (PDF)
2010 $50,000 (PDF)
2009 $160,000 (PDF)
2008 $100,000 (PDF)
2007 $250,000 (PDF)
Total $1,638,330  

Key People

Senior Fellows

As of July, 2015, Fraser Institute Senior Fellows included the following: [11]

  • Michael Walker — Executive Director of the Fraser Institute from its inception in 1974 until September 2005.  
  • Vicki Alger — Director of the Women for School Choice Project at the Independent Women’s Forum
  • Derek J. Allison 
  • Gerry Angevine —  Senior Fellow in the Fraser Institute’s Centre for Energy and Natural Resource Studies. 
  • Sonia Arrison
  • Professor Eugene Beaulieu
  • Dr. Brett Belchetz
  • Nicholas Bloom
  • Lynn Bosetti
  • Donald Boudreaux — Professor of Economics and former Economics Department Chair at George Mason University
  • Martin Collacott
  • Livio Di Matteo
  • John Dobra — Founding Director of the Natural Resource Industry Institute
  • Alan Dowd — Senior Editor of Fraser Insight, Past director of Hudson Institute’s corporate headquarters
  • Stephen T. Easton
  • Joel Emes
  • Nadeem Esmail
  • Tawni Ferrarini
  • Tom Flanagan
  • Jonathan Fortier — Was a  Fellow with Liberty Fund for three years and was Senior Director of Academic Initiatives at the Institute for Humane Studies
  • Glenn Fox
  • Todd Gabel
  • Steven Globerman
  • Wilf Gobert
  • John R. Graham — Also Senior Fellow of the National Center for Policy Analysis and an Adjunct Scholar of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy
  • Herbert Grubel
  • James D. Gwartney —  Directs the Stavros Center for the Advancement of Free Enterprise and Economic Education
  • Csaba Hajdu — Principal of Paprika Consulting Inc., which provides economic research and statistical services primarily for the forestry industry in Western Canada.
  • Joshua C. Hall
  • Michael Harris
  • David R. Henderson —  Research fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University
  • Steven Horwitz
  • Jerry Jordan
  • Lynne Kiesling
  • Stephen Kirchner — Research fellow at Australia's Centre for Independent Studies
  • Rainer Knopff
  • Marc Law
  • Robert A. Lawson — Served as president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education and is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society
  • Danny Le Roy
  • Kristina Lybecker
  • Preston Manning — Member of the Canadian Parliament from 1993 to 2001
  • Ross McKitrick
  • Jean-Luc Migué
  • Lydia Miljan
  • Alexander Moens
  • Robert P. Murphy
  • Robert Ouellet
  • Filip Palda
  • Sandra Peart — Past visiting scholar at the Center for Study of Public Choice at George Mason University
  • Nigel Rawson
  • Chris Sarlo
  • David Schmidtz
  • Pierre Simard
  • Aeon J. Skoble
  • Cornelis “Kees” van Kooten
  • Joel Wood
  • Moin Yahya
  • Paul Zak

Senior Research Staff

As of July, 2015, Senior Research Staff included the following: [12]

  • Niels Veldhuis — President
  • Jason Clemens — Executive Vice President
  • Peter Cowley — Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Director of School Performance Studies
  • Ravina Bains — Associate Director, Aboriginal Policy Studies
  • Bacchus Barua — Senior Economist, Health Policy Studies
  • Ben Eisen — Senior Policy Analyst
  • Kenneth P. Green — Senior Director, Centre for Natural Resources
  • Charles Lammam — Director, Fiscal Studies
  • Fred McMahon — Resident Fellow, Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom
  • Deani A. Neven Van Pelt — Director, Barbara Mitchell Centre for Improvement in Education
  • Milagros Palacios — Senior Research Economist, Fiscal Studies

Board of Directors

As of July, 2015, the Fraser Institute's Board of Directors included the following: [13]

  • Peter Brown — Chairman
  • Mark W. Mitchell — Vice Chairman
  • Rod Senft — Vice Chairman
  • Salem Ben Nasser Al Ismaily
  • Gordon E. Arnell
  • Kathy Assayag
  • Joni Avram
  • Ryan Beedie
  • Edward Belzberg
  • Brad Bennett
  • Joseph C. Canavan
  • Alex A. Chafuen
  • Derwood S. Chase, Jr.
  • Tracie Crook
  • James W. Davidson
  • W. Robert Farquharson
  • Dave Filmon
  • Greg C. Fleck
  • Shaun Francis
  • Ned Goodman
  • Peter Grosskopf
  • John A. Hagg
  • Claudia Hepburn
  • Paul Hill
  • Stephen A. Hynes
  • Charles A. Jeannes
  • C. Kent Jespersen
  • Andrew Judson
  • Hassan Khosrowshahi
  • Craig Langdon
  • Pierre H. Lessard
  • Brandt Louie
  • David R. Mackenzie
  • James L. McGovern
  • Tracey McVicar
  • George Melville
  • Gwyn Morgan
  • Eleanor Nicholls
  • John O'Neill
  • Sue Paish
  • Herbert C. Pinder, Jr.
  • Ron Poelzer
  • H. Sanford Riley
  • Frank Rochon
  • William W. Siebens
  • Anna Stylianides
  • Arni C. Thorsteinson
  • Jonathan Wener
  • Michael A. Walker — Honourary Board Member
  • T. Patrick Boyle — Founder and Honourary Chairman for Life

Past Staff

  • Michael Walker, President, Fraser Institute Foundation, and Senior Fellow.
  • Kenneth Green — Past Chief Scientist (2002 - 2005) and previous head of Fraser Institute's “Environmental Literacy Council.” [14], [15] Also Past “Co-ordinating editor” of the Fraser Forum. [16]
  • Willie Soon Contributing author. [17] Past member of Fraser institute’s “CANSTAT” advisory board from 2002 to at least 2005. [18]
  • Barry Cooper  Past Director, Alberta Policy Research Centre, and past Senior Fellow.  [15
  • Dennis T. Avery Contributor.

The Fraser Institute has ties a wide range of high-profile climate change skeptics and proponents of the oil and gas industries. For example, as reported in the Vancouver ObseverBeth Hong. [19]

Ezra Levant, a Sun media columnist and author of Ethical Oil, came to intern at the Fraser Institute after a fellowship with the Koch Foundation. Kathryn Marshall, political commentator and former Ethical Oil spokesperson, was a development associate at the Fraser Institute. Wildrose leader Danielle Smith took on an internship with the Fraser Institute during her twenties that 'imbued her with a passion for Ayn Rand and charter schools', according to a Walrus article. She became an intern with the encouragement of Tom Flanagan, a Fraser Institute senior fellow and Stephen Harper mentor. Vancouver Sun editorial pages editor and columnist Fazil Milhar is the former regulatory studies director at the Fraser Institute.”

Past Directors

In a 2010 investigation, DeSmogBlog found that 9 of the Fraser Institute's 47 directors could be clearly linked to the oil, gas, and coal industries: [20]

William (Bill) Siebens founded Siebens Oil and Gas Ltd in the 1950s and is still at it.  His lifetime of extracting fossil fuels earned him a spot in the Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame. [21]

Roger Phillips sits on the board of directors of Imperial Oil, Canada’s largest oil company.  Imperial is 70% owned by ExxonMobil and has a 25% stake in Syncrude Canada, the largest producer of oil from tar sands. [22], [23]

John Dielwart is a founding member and past President and CEO (until Jan 1, 2014) of Arc Energy Trusts, one of Canada’s largest conventional oil and gas royalty trusts. He is currently Vice-Chairman of ARC Financial Corp. [24]

Paul Hill is the Chairman, President and CEO of the Hill Companies.  According to his bio, he is a past director of Canada Trust, North Canadian Oils Ltd.,, US Forest Industries, the Canadian Forces Liaison Committee and the Asia Pacific Foundation to name a few. He is a member of the World Presidents and Chief Executives Organizations. [25]

Gwyn Morgan is the former director, President and CEO of EnCana Corporation, one of North America’s largest natural gas producers. Morgan has been described as one of the most powerful men in the oil patch and spent his lifetime building an oil empire in Alberta. [26]

Herbert Pinder has been a director of ARC Resources since 2006 and also serves as director for “a number of private energy companies,” according to his ARC Energy Trusts bio. [27]

Also on Fraser’s board are Charles Barlow of gas exploration company Barlow Brothers Ltd;  R. Jack Pirie who is associated with private oil company Sabre Energy Ltd.; and John Hagg, CEO of tar sands extractor Northstar Energy (later merged with Devon Energy Corporation).


July 5, 2015

Kenneth Green, the Fraser Institute's Senior Director for the Centre for Natural Resources, weighed in on Pope Francis's Encyclical on the Environment in an opinion article for The Province

According to Green, “while the encyclical might discuss a lot of environmental issues, it doesn’t offer much in the way of factual support.” Making the argument that capitalism has improved environmental protection, he continues that “if [Pope Francis] really wants the people of Earth to breathe clean air, drink clean water, protect critical ecosystems, and protect endangered species he could have given them much better advice, including advocating for ever-greater levels of democracy and economic freedom.” [28]

April 25, 2015

Kenneth Green and Taylor Jackson, Senior Director and Policy Analyst, respectively, at the Fraser Institute wrote an opinion piece for The Vancouver Sun titled “Renewables: All pain, little gain.”

They make the case that renewable energy, including hydroelectric sources, should be avoided because they could lead to higher prices. They cite research by economist Ross McKitrick to support their views. [29]

The Vancouver Sun published responses to the piece in an article titled “Renewable energy has a bright future.” It included a response by Merran Smith, Executive Director of Clean Energy Canada, who concluded that “Kenneth Green and Taylor Jackson must have turned over more than a few rocks in their effort to argue that renewable energy is driving up electricity prices because a growing mountain of evidence points to the contrary.” [30]

April 23, 2015

Writing for the “full comment” section of the National Post, the Fraser Institute's Kenneth Green suggests that while Canada will likely miss its Copenhagen emissions targets set in 2009, this might not necessarily be a significant problem. According to Green, “this is less about Canada being an environmental laggard, and more a problem with agreeing to politically derived targets you have no idea how to hit.[31]

He goes on to highlight the “good news” in that GDP increase has increased by 71%, making for a “great trend in emissions intensity.” By “letting markets do what they do best,” as opposed to focusing on emissions standards, Green says that emissions will decline on their own due to technological growth.

April, 2015

The Fraser Institute's Senior Director for the Centre for Natural Resources, Kenneth Green, spoke to The Vancouver Sun about how there is a supposed “18-year temperature pause.” [32]

According to Green, the IPCC process is “corrupted,” and that mainstream climate scientists have become “activists.” Green comments that since 1979, global temperatures have “no significant trend” and there has been a “pause” in the temperature record. He continues to state arguments commonly used by skeptics including that “the climate has always changed,” that “the [temperature] models, themselves, are wrong.” 

Green says that he is not a “denier” of the science behind climate change, and that “we are probably causing a mild warming,” however not enough to cause concern. 

October 30, 2014

The Fraser Institute released a report by Ross McKitrick and Tom Adams, titled “What Goes Up,” which recommends that the government look at a moratorium and new wind and solar power facilities as well as re-open four coal burning power plants to curb increases in electricity prices. See the whole report here (PDF).

The Toronto Sun reports how the provincial government did not heed the Fraser Institute's report and continues to pursue wind and solar energy projects. [33]

February 5, 2008

The Fraser Institute hosted Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist on a cross-country speaking tour. [34]

October 16, 2008

The Fraser Institute hosted (PDF) Ezra Levant, since author of the controversial book Ethical Oil, in Calgary as part of its “Behind the Spin” speaker series. [35]

February 5, 2007

The Fraser Institute released their Independent Summary For Policymakers (ISPM) report shortly after the official Independent Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) released their own Summary for Policy Makers which was part of their Fourth Assessment Report on Climate Change (AR4). [36]

The current version of the ISPM report, revised in March, 2007, is available on the Fraser Institute Website. The original version, with additional notes and critiques by RealClimate, can be viewed here (PDF).

The Center for Media and Democracy's SourceWatch also documents a list of the errors and discrepancies in the Fraser Institute's original report.

The following were contributors or editors to the report:

Writing Team

January 1, 2003

The Fraser Institute published an issue of the Fraser Forum devoted to “The Politics, Science, and Economics of Kyoto” (PDF). Authors who contributed to this issue included prominent climate change deniers Sallie Baliunas, Barry Cooper, Kenneth Green, Ross McKitrick, and Willie Soon.

According to the editor, “The issue also explains, in as clear and non-technical a language as possible, the scientific reasons why the Kyoto Protocol is unsound.”

Although the issue focuses on Kyoto, Sallie Balliunas and Willie Soon also co-published an an article skeptical of man-made climate change titled “The Varying Sun & Climate Change.” [37]

Fraser Institute Location

The Fraser Institute is headquarted in Vancouver, BC, and maintains offices in Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal. Their main contact address is below: [38]

Vancouver Office
4th Floor, 1770 Burrard Street,
Vancouver BC 
Canada V6J 3G7
Tel: (604) 688-0221
Fax: (604) 688-8539

Related Organizations


  1. Who We Are,” Fraser Institute. Archived August 13, 2015.

  2. What We Do,” Fraser Institute. Archived August 13, 2015.

  3. Independent Summary for Policymakers IPCC Fourth Assessment Report” (PDF), The Fraser Institute, February 5, 2007. Republished with annotations by RealClimate. Archived December 29, 2010.

  4. Ross Mckittrick. “ClimatePolicy Implications of the Hiatus in Global Warming” (PDF) Fraser Institute, October, 2014. 

  5. Bruce Livesey. “How Canada made the Koch brothers rich,“ National Observer, May 5, 2015. Archived August 13, 2015.

  6. Koch foundation donated again to Fraser Institute in 2011, U.S. tax records show,” Vancouver Observer, October 31, 2013. Archived August 13, 2015.

  7. Alexis Stoymenoff. “’Charitable’ Fraser Institute accepted $500k in foreign funding from Koch oil billionaires,” Vancouver Observer, April 25, 2012. Archived January 3, 2013.

  8. Fraser Institute,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed August, 2015.

  9. Fraser Institute,” Conservative Transperancy. Archived October 4, 2011. 

  10. Fraser Institute - Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group,” Greenpeace. Archived August 27, 2011.

  11. Who We Are: Staff,” Fraser Institute. Archived August 13, 2015. 

  12. Who We Are: Staff: Senior Research Staff,” Fraser Institute. Archived July 27, 2015. 

  13. Who We Are: Board of Directors,” Fraser Institute. Archived July 27, 2015.

  14. Climate-change 'skeptics' hopeful Harper accepts their view,” Canwest News Service, October 16, 2006. Archived August 13, 2015.

  15. Senior Research Staff,” The Fraser Institute. Archived March 10, 2004.

  16. Fraser Forum, January 2003 (PDF).

  17. Research & News: Willie Soon,” Fraser Institute. Accessed December, 2011.

  18. CASE STUDY: Dr. Willie Soon, a Career Fueled by Big Oil and Coal,” Greenpeace.

  19. Dramatic turnaround from leading climate change skeptic blows open debate,” Vancouver Observer, August 10, 2012. Archived August 13, 2015.

  20. Brendan DeMelle. “Squadron of Oil Industry Executives on Fraser Institute Board,” DeSmogBlog, April 19, 2010.

  21. Bill Siebens,” Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame. Archived August 13, 2015.

  22. Exxon Looking To Maintain, Not Increase, Imperial Ownership Percentage,” Seeking Alpha, May 24, 2007. Archived August 13, 2015. 

  23. Syncrude Athabasca Oil Sands Mine, Alberta, Canada,” Archived August 13, 2015.

  24. Board Committees,” ARC Resources LTD. Archived August 13, 2015.

  25. Executive,” The Hill Companies. Archived August 13, 2015.

  26. Morgan, Gwynn (Profile),” Maclean's Magazine. Archived September 26, 2008.

  27. Board Committees,” ARC Resources LTD. Archived August 13, 2015.

  28. Kenneth Green: Pope wrong to link capitalism to pollution,” The Province, July 5, 2015. Archived August 13, 2015.

  29. Kenneth P. Green and Taylor Jackson. “Opinion: Renewables: All pain, little gain,” The Vancouver Sun, April 25, 2015. Archived August 13, 2015. 

  30. Saturday, May 2: Renewable energy has a bright future,” The Vancouver Sun, May 1, 2015. Archived August 13, 2015.

  31. Kenneth P. Green. “Kenneth P. Green: Canada is prosperous… and relatively green,” National Post, April 23, 2015. Archived August 13, 2015.

  32. Video: Skeptical of climate change computer models,” The Vancouver Sun, April 22, 2015. 

  33. Antonella Artuso. “Energy minister won't heed Fraser Institute report,” Toronto Sun, October 30, 2014. 

  34. Up Front: A skeptic's view on climate change,” The Fraser Institute, February 5, 2008. Archived July 22, 2015.

  35. “Ezra Levant speaks freely” (PDF), The Fraser Forum, November 3, 2008.

  36. Independent summary of UN climate change report to be released in London on Monday, February 5,” The Fraser Institute, January 30, 2007. Archived March 23, 2007.

  37. Fraser Forum, January 2003 Issue (PDF). The Fraser Institute.

  38. “Contact Us,” Fraser Institute. Archived July 7, 2015.

  39. Kevin Grandia. “Andrew Coyne's Connections to Free Market Think Tanks; Disclosure Lacking,” DeSmogBlog, October 12, 2012.

Other Resources