The 2013 Fraser Institute Essay Contest ($1,000 Grand Prize)



Showcase your ideas on public policy and the role of markets by entering our essay competition. Each year the Institute holds a competition for students, designed to encourage and develop student writers.

  • $2,250 in cash prizes awarded each year.
  • Special category for high school students only.
  • Winning essays may be published in Fraser Institute journals.


1st Prize: $1,000
2nd Prize: $750
High school category: $500

Topic: “Is the “War on Drugs” working or is it time for drug policy reform?”

The so-called “War on Drugs” has cost taxpayers an astronomical amount of money. Yet many would argue that problems associated with illegal drugs and the drug trade are growing. From increased gang violence in Canada to the thousands of people murdered by drug cartels in South America, we must ask ourselves: when are the financial and human costs too high?

When the government’s solution is to spend more money on tougher prison sentencing and more policing, the risks associated with the drug trade rise, which causes the price of illegal substances to increase, and makes the drug trade even more lucrative. It is an unwinnable war and many people argue that it is time for drug policy reform.

If drugs could be legally purchased, would drug use increase? Would increased tax revenue offset the associated health care costs and enable more help for those facing addiction? What would the prison population in Canada and the United States look like if possession wasn’t a crime? From a personal freedom standpoint, should adults be able to do what they want with their own bodies as long as they do not harm others?

Some countries, such as the Netherlands and Portugal, are already experimenting with different policy models, and recent marijuana legalization in some U.S. states shows that policy reform is happening. What approach should Canada, and other countries, be taking towards the illegal drug trade?

Your essay should use historical perspective, empirical evidence, and economic analysis to examine these or other questions regarding drug policy reform.


Sponsored by the Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation

Application Rules:

  1. The contest is open to Canadian and foreign students. A student is defined as someone who attends school in the 2012/2013 school year or is enrolled to attend in 2013/2014.
  2. Submissions will be considered from secondary and post-secondary (undergraduate and graduate) students in all disciplines. High school students will be considered in a separate category, with a cash prize of $500. High school submissions will not be excluded from winning the $750 and $1,000 post-secondary prizes.
  3. Entry must include a typed essay of 1,000-1,500 words, and a cover sheet including the student’s name, mailing address, phone number, e-mail address. High school students should include school and grade. Post-secondary students should include school, major, and year of graduation.
  4. Entries will be accepted in English and French.
  5. Entries must include references cited from academic sources. Any academically acceptable referencing style may be used.
  6. Please note that if you are planning to include a graph in your essay, you must send it to us in an Excel file with the underlying data in order that we can recreate it in house. If you want to include a previously published graph for which you do not have the underlying data, you must cite its source appropriately to prove that you have permission to reuse it.
  7. Entries must be submitted online or by mail.
  8. Entries may only be submitted once. Further submissions with revisions will not be accepted.
  9. Failure to follow these rules may lead to disqualification from the contest.
  10. Entries will be judged on originality, clear expression of ideas, and understanding of competitive markets.
  11. All entries become of the property of the Fraser Institute. In addition to receiving cash prizes, winners may be published in Canadian Student Review once they have gone through the peer review process.
  12. The deadline is 5:00 pm (PST) on May 31st, 2013.

Enter the Essay Contest

For more information call: 1-800-665-3558, ext. 533 or email [email protected]



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Ce site utilise Akismet pour réduire les indésirables. En savoir plus sur comment les données de vos commentaires sont utilisées.