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Part One: Quebec, Atlantic Canada and equalization

Quebec Premier Bernard Landry complained recently that Quebec is getting a raw deal from confederation, and used a new $1.5-billion equalization payment as proof. AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley and Michel Kelly-Gagnon, Executive Director of the Institut economique de Montreal, agree with Premier Landry that Quebeckers are getting a raw deal, but not about the reasons why. In fact, in this op-ed piece, published in both the Globe and Mail and Le Devoir, they argue that Ottawa’s transfers such as equalization obscure for the province’s citizens the damage caused by the provincial government’s ill-advised economic policies. They also show how Ottawa’s attempts to buy the political loyalty of Quebeckers have caused significant “collateral damage” to Atlantic Canada.

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Part Two: Donner Prize: “Retreat from Growth” nominated

The Donner Canadian Foundation has released the shortlist for the Donner Prize, “the award for best book on Canadian Public Policy”, and the only award of its kind in Canada. This year the list includes Retreat from Growth: Atlantic Canada and the Negative Sum Economy, by former AIMS Senior Policy Analyst Fred McMahon. There are six other books on the Donner Prize shortlist this year, including some of the biggest titles and best known authors in public policy in Canada today. Other topics covered include aboriginal policy, the Conservative transition in Ontario, the judiciary and the Charter, and trucking deregulation.

Retreat from Growth is the companion volume to Road to Growth, also by Fred McMahon. Last month AIMS announced that that book had been shortlisted as well, for the Sir Antony Fisher Memorial Award, an international award given to recognise excellence in think tank publications. AIMS has won the Fisher Award twice in recent years.

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Part Three: Peter Fenwick on the Newfoundland budget

According to former AIMS Communications Director, Peter Fenwick, Newfoundland and Labrador, like all Canadian provinces, is in danger of hitting the healthcare wall, the point where insatiable demands of the healthcare system smack into the limited resources of the province. On March 22, in its latest budget, the province hit the wall, but through some rapid juggling of numbers, it claims to have balanced its budget.

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Part Four: Betting on human ingenuity

The pessimists among us argue that humanity is on a collision course with ecological and economic disaster because the globe’s natural resources cannot support this many people consuming at our present levels. Yet such claims have been made in the past, and consistently proven to be wrong. That’s because the pessimists misunderstand what natural resources are, and they don’t assign any value to the most important natural resource of all: human ingenuity.

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Part Five: National Post op-ed: AIMS on business subsidies

Following the Institute’s March publication of Prof. David Murrell’s paper on business subsidies in Atlantic Canada, the National Post invited Professor Murrell and AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley to contribute an op-ed piece on the topic. In the article, the authors explain that, far from being undersubsidized relative to the national average as some had claimed, Atlantic business overall still is more dependent on subsidies than business in the country as a whole. Moreover, they argue that business subsidies are a rough measure of the lack of competitiveness of local business, and governments and businesses in the region should be working to bring them down in favour of more sensible policies like better infrastructure and education and lower taxes.

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Part Six: AIMS in France: Lectures on local government and federalism and the New Economy

The Summer University at Aix-en-Provence invited AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley to give a series of lectures at their 2000 session, organised around the theme of subsidiarity. Both lectures have now been translated and are available for the first time in English.

In his first lecture, “The Coming Revolution in Local Government”, he describes the forces that are shaping governments generally, and how they can be used to understand the changes sweeping the world of local or municipal government.

In the second lecture “Federalism and the New Economy: Sovereignty as a moving target”, Crowley argues that federalism as traditionally practised is based on an outdated view of the economy. In the future, power will be less devolved to different levels of government and instead be far more widely dispersed within civil society. He also draws on Canadian examples to illustrate how federalism can be manipulated by well-organised minorities to win significant benefits at the expense of the majority. It can, in short, be a rent-seeker’s paradise.

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Part Seven: AIMS seeks Summer Intern

AIMS is seeking a student for a Summer Internship from May to August inclusive. For details of the requirements and how to apply, please consult the website at: www.aims.ca/Main/jobs.htm
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