Part One: New thinking key to Newfoundland prosperity

Newfoundland & Labrador’s Royal Commission on Renewing and Strengthening our Place in Canada is popularly known as the Blame Canada Commission. In this column AIMS President, Brian Lee Crowley, outlines how Ottawa could significantly address the areas where it does, in fact, bear an important share of the blame for Newfoundland’s woes.

Consider the potential benefits of:

· Ending the absurd situation where Quebec enjoys a stranglehold over the development of Newfoundland’s hydroelectric resources;
· Making the fishermen, not the government, the owners of the fish stocks;
· Reshaping transfers to people and governments to remove all the ways in which they reward underdevelopment, seasonal work and dependence. This means a serious rethinking of equalization, employment insurance, ACOA and all the rest.
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Part Two: Canada’s modern taxes: Thank the USA!

In this excerpt from Mark Milke’s new book, Tax Me I’m Canadian – Your Money and How Politicians Spend It, the idea that low taxes and a competitive edge are inherently American while the continual creation of new taxes or increases of existing taxes are purely Canadian obsessions is turned on its ear. As Milke points out: “For our earliest founders and Finance ministers, attracting immigrants and investment to Canada through the promotion of a low-tax regime was the stated goal for at least the first 50 years of our country’s existence. The Dominion’s leading politicians trumpeted Canada’s lower taxes compared to the tax-happy Americans…”

Contrary to what many tax advocates argue, cutting taxes and promoting immigration and investment isn’t about copying the pro-business agenda from the United States it is about getting rid of the American influence that has taken us so far from our own roots and left us uncompetitive in the global marketplace.

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Part Three: There is no conflict between environmental sustainability and economic growth

To continue to progress, humanity needs more economic growth, not less, and needs it to occur in ways that allow us to husband our resources, preserving their value for not only ourselves but future generations. Where hunger continues to be a problem, for example, it is due almost exclusively to two factors. One is politics and poor quality institutions that prevent investment in land, and the second is standards of living too low to allow access to the very latest in modern technology.

However, as AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley told the annual meeting of the Nova Scotia Forest Products Association and wrote in his recent article from La Presse, there are very specific circumstances and institutions that are necessary for this creative mixing of human intelligence and natural capital to take place as quickly and on as broad a scale as is needed. Economic growth, within a system of property rights that ensures that people have incentives to preserve the value of resources, but are also forced to pay the true costs of their own activities, has not been the scourge of mankind. Instead of being the source of environmental degradation, it is the system that has generated the wealth that has allowed our planet to support far more human life than would have been thought possible even a century ago, while improving the standard of living of virtually every one of those ever more numerous people.

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Part Four: Australia looks to AIMS for analysis of Equalization

Late last year the final report of the Independent Review of Commonwealth–State Funding was released in Australia. This review, sponsored by three state governments in Australia, was designed to review the current system of federal-state transfers in terms of economic efficiency, equity, and simplicity and transparency. In searching for analysis of comparative models of fiscal equalization between federal and state governments in a federation, the review commissioners looked to AIMS and our award winning equalization initiative. Specifically, they cited “Equalization Revisited” by Nobel Laureate James Buchanan, as it was presented during an event in Montreal that AIMS co-sponsored with the Montreal Economic Institute and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy in Winnipeg.

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Part Five: Like Alaska, Nova Scotia hopes for a natural gas fortune

In its ongoing exploration of the similarities between the challenges Alaska faces and those here in Nova Scotia, the Anchorage Daily News (ADN) has again turned to AIMS for a clear perspective on the hurdles facing both economies. In this article, AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley, tells the ADN in an interview that the key challenge for Nova Scotia is creating something lasting from whatever natural gas is found. That means parlaying it perhaps into an oil-field services industry that can compete for work around the globe.

As in Alaska, however, parochial demands threaten to gum up the works. For instance, some Nova Scotians demand that cheap gas be reserved for local homeowners and industries before any is exported, preferably at high prices. If government makes rules to appease those voices, it could repel an industry taking enormous risks.

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Part Six: AIMS seeks:

Senior Communications Officer (part time)

The Senior Communications Officer is a member of the executive team and holds lead responsibility for the strategy, planning and execution of the communications function for the Institute. The position reports directly to the President, and is located at the Institute’s head office in Halifax.

The successful candidate will be a university graduate in a relevant discipline, and have several years experience in a marketing/communications role within a fast paced, high-energy environment.

The successful candidate will demonstrate a strong ability to analyse and explain complex issues clearly, and an understanding of the role of public policy think tanks in Canadian society, including their status as registered charities for educational purposes. The Senior Communications Officer may be called upon to represent the Institute in public, whether through speaking invitations, conference presentations or media interviews. Experience in the not-for-profit sector, including in foundation and corporate fundraising and donor relations would be a definite asset.

AIMS seeks Director of Research

AIMS is seeking a Director of Research to work from the Institute’s head office in Halifax.

The Director of Research must have an excellent policy mind, a gift for written and oral communications and a drive to improve the quality of public policy in Atlantic Canada and the country generally. As a member of the executive team, the successful candidate will play a leading role in defining and carrying out the research, publication, education, conference, media and other activities of one of the country’s most successful public policy think tanks.

The position is full time. Salary is negotiable. Applications will be accepted until the post is filled. While AIMS appreciates all expressions of interest, only candidates who are to be interviewed will be contacted. For details on how to apply, please go to www.aims.ca/Main/jobs.htm

AIMS seeks summer intern

AIMS expects to offer a four-month internship beginning in May, 2003, subject to foundation funding being made available. Internships are intended to introduce bright and innovative final-year undergraduate or graduate students to the policy making process, involve them in the important questions and issues of the day, and to give them a chance to make a tangible and worthwhile contribution to the work of the Institute. Applications are welcome from a wide range of disciplines including economics, public policy, commerce and business administration, law, history, political science, etc.

Internships can vary depending on the policy area upon which the intern wishes to focus. Part of the internship application process will involve candidates presenting a detailed proposal for a major project to be carried out over the course of the internship. The major project should be in an area related to AIMS’ broad research interests and should culminate not only in the production of a publication quality research report and associated op-ed pieces but should also be directed towards laying the foundation for an expanded application to funders for follow-up work in the subject area.

In general, applicants should possess strong writing abilities, a talent for research and excellent communication skills. During the internship program, participants will participate in regular discussions on policy issues that are designed to augment their day-to-day activities. In order to further enrich the internship experience, program participants are invited and encouraged to attend all AIMS activities whether in their policy area or not.

The deadline for receipt of applications is Friday, 29 March 2003.
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