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Part One: How We Can Earn Oil & Gas Benefits — or Destroy Them

Competition or protection? Although oil and gas production off the East Coast is booming, Atlantic Canadians fear that our resource will be sold off and we will have far too little to show for it. Dr. Thomas Tucker, AIMS Fellow in Natural Resource Policy, emphasizes how government policy designed to ensure this region gets its “fair share” of economic activity generated by the offshore, often has the opposite effect. The debate about how to maximize our O&G related activity really comes down to a basic question: Should we be given a major share of economic benefits that the oil and gas industry can produce without earning them? The way we answer that question will shape the oil and gas industry on the East Coast for years to come, and Tucker’s article invites us to choose wisely, understanding the long term nature of the O&G industry, and the proper benchmarks for measuring this region’s success in getting maximum benefit from our resources.

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Part Two: Commons Committee seeks AIMS’ views on Equalization

On May 8, 2002, the prestigious Commons Finance Committee organized a special roundtable on Equalization. AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley, was one of three nationally-recognized authorities invited to spend an afternoon with the Committee to discuss the workings of this huge but arcane programme. In his formal remarks to the MPs, Crowley argued that after nearly half a century and over $180 billion, equalization has become a major obstacle to our country’s goal of closing the economic disparity gap between the developed and less-developed provinces. Citing examples such as Newfoundland’s handling of Voisey’s Bay and Nova Scotia’s handling of potential offshore gas revenues, Crowley argues that equalization not only subsidizes poor economic policy and democratic irresponsibility in equalization-receiving provinces, but also taxes productive economic activity in the least developed parts of the country.

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Part Three: What Stephen Harper got wrong – and right

In his regular column, AIMS’ President Brian Lee Crowley writes: the recent comments by Alliance Leader Stephen Harper about the culture of defeatism in Atlantic Canada, and the response to those comments by East Coast politicians and others, were entertaining theatre. But like most plays based on a true story, the facts often get bent to serve a good story line. So while Mr. Harper actually had a substantive point that he overplayed, his opponents were also wrong in their rush to absolve Atlantic Canadians of any responsibility for their state.

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Part Four: America: fair-weather free trader

In his regular column, AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley discusses the heavy toll the United States’ recent protectionist stance is having on freer trade and the prosperity it brings. Dr. Crowley emphasizes that no one has benefited more from freer trade than the United States, however with the recent signing of the protectionist Farm Bill, the abuse of anti-dumping rules, new tariffs on imported steel, lumber, and textiles, and the failure to grant Trade Promotion Authority to the president, the US is destroying its credibility with the friends of free trade around the world and endangering the foundation of global prosperity.

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Part Five: National Healthcare Leadership Conference: AIMS debates multi-tier healthcare

Brian Lee Crowley, President of AIMS, gave a talk at the National Healthcare Leadership Conference in Halifax on May 27, 2002. Dr. Crowley was a member of the five-person panel discussing “two-tier health care,” in Canada. Below is a quote from Dr. Crowley’s concluding remarks:

In sum, much of our debate about multiple tiers is ideological, and has little to do with the quality of care delivered within the public system. We cling to a system that outlaws private spending on publicly-insured services, usually on the basis that parallel systems of care rob the public system of resources, while both objective and subjective international rankings show that multiple tiers of access are fully compatible with high quality public systems and high levels of care overall and high levels of patient satisfaction. Finally, the small steps that are being taken within Canada toward more private provision of care within the publicly-funded system are logical extensions of medicare and the evidence from other countries is that such use of private facilities can introduce efficiencies and is certainly compatible with a dynamic and high quality health care system in which no one is denied needed medical care on the basis of ability to pay.

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Part Six: User Fees for Health Care in Sweden

In this commentary, AIMS’ sixth on Swedish Health Care in Transition, author Johan Hjertqvist discusses the utility and effects of user fees in the Swedish health care system. The investigation explores several different aspects of health care including: general practitioners, dental services, elderly care and pharmaceuticals. Hjertqvist demonstrates how a co-payment system – whereby the public pays for a small percentage of the care they receive – has become instrumental in ensuring better health care in Sweden and not, as many Canadians fear, created a two-tier system.

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Part Seven: Operating in the Dark – AGAIN and AGAIN

This article features Dr. David Zitner, AIMS’ Fellow in Health Care Policy, criticizing BC Premier Gordon Campbell for joining the ranks of other Canadian politicians who are blindly implementing major health care policy without the right information or concrete direction. Drawing from the influential AIMS’ report, Public Health, State Secret, Dr. Zitner stresses that experts, decision makers, and the general public lack crucial information about access to and the actual result of care in this country. This absence of vital information stems from the Canadian government’s monopolistic control over our health care.

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