Celebrating 5 Years of SecondStreet.org!

5 Year Anniversary 2

Five years ago, today we launched SecondStreet.org.

Our founders, Troy Lanigan, and Mark Milke, envisioned creating a new, unique think tank in Canada – one that would give everyday Canadians an opportunity to share how government policies affect their lives – for better or for worse. 

While statistics and numbers are often forgotten, powerful stories and narratives “stick” with audiences. Wherever possible, our new think tank would connect Canadians’ stories with our own unique research and the findings of peer organizations.

Half a year prior to launching SecondStreet.org, I was hired to help bring their vision to reality.

Since launching, SecondStreet.org has tended to approached public policy issues from a free market perspective. We’ve shown how markets can often improve the services that Canadians expect from government. 

For example, Canadians love the idea of universal health care. The problem with the current system, of course, is that far too many patients are being forced to wait long periods for surgery and other necessary medical treatments. Some are even dying.

One solution that respects the desire for universal coverage, while unlocking the benefits that markets present, is to hire private clinics to provide surgery to patients in the public system. We’re seeing this more and more in Canada as governments grapple with long wait times. (See this blog post to learn how this method has helped improve results in both Ontario and Saskatchewan). 

This is how we’ve approached public policy research and stories over the past five years as we’ve tackled everything from health care and natural resource development to education reform and red tape reduction. 

As we look back on the last five years, here are a few highlights of what we’ve accomplished:

  • Over 50 personal stories featuring Canadians from coast to coast: From B.C. patient Joan Hama describing her near death experience in the health care system to Nova Scotia nurse Christina Sanford explaining why she pursued back surgery in Mexico, Canadians have shared many compelling experiences.
  • 42 unique research papers: We’ve examined a wide range of issues – from education reform and documenting what it’s like to live under socialism to our ground-breaking research on patients dying on waiting lists. Each brief includes practical – and often test – policy solutions for politicians to consider.
  • 14 million people: Our social media channels have reached Canadians more than 14 million times. If you include radio, television and newspaper coverage of our work, this number would rise by millions more. In fact, we now have our own national TV show – On Second Street.
  • Contributing to policy changes: Many policy solutions that SecondStreet.org has put forward have been implemented by governments. From governments reducing wait times in the public system by partnering with private clinics to improving parental rights and cutting red tape. We’re pleased to be a growing part of the public policy landscape in the country.

On behalf of our CEO and my colleagues at SecondStreet.org, I would like to extend a big “thank you!” to everyone who has shared our research, subscribed to our emails, followed us on social media or donated over the past five years.

And an equally large “thank you” to those across Canada who have invited us into their homes and businesses to share their experience with government policies. 

In the months and years ahead, we’re going to continue to share even more stories and constructive policy solutions. We hope you’ll continue that journey with us.


Colin Craig,

President – SecondStreet.org

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