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Part One: The American idea and why it should be defended

In his regular biweekly column AIMS President, Brian Lee Crowley, responds to the terrorist attacks carried out in New York and Washington. In exploring what America and liberty mean to him personally, and to billions around the globe, Crowley seizes the challenge he places before us all to “stand up and say that what America represents shall never be defeated by hate and terror”.

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Part Two: Nobel laureate to address AIMS event in Montreal

James Buchanan, Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics (1986), will revisit the case for equalisation during a luncheon conference at the University Club in Montreal on October 25, 2001. This conference is being hosted by AIMS, the Montreal Economic Institute and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

These three private-sector think tanks together represent all of the equalisation receiving provinces, giving them a unique perspective on the impact of the present system on their regions and the country as a whole. Earlier in the day, private and public sector experts will take part in a roundtable seeking to answer two questions: “What’s wrong with equalisation?” and “How should equalisation be fixed?”

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Part Three: Reform or die – how to save public health care

On Tuesday, 25 September 2001, over 100 people attended a lunch with Johan Hjertqvist, one of the architects of health reform in Sweden. Johan provided an insightful discussion of the challenges and opportunities being discovered in Sweden as they move forward.

Hjertqvist’s view is that those who oppose healthcare reform are, in fact, those who pose the greatest danger to the continued survival of a strong public health care system. Reform must, however, be aimed at putting patients first. Sweden has introduced competition into the provision of healthcare services, healthcare guarantees (treatment within 90 days), mechanisms to inform consumers about waiting lists and health care quality via the internet, and rewards for workers throughout the system for productivity. By creating incentives for every participant in the health system, Sweden has improved patient care by harnessing individual and organisational self-interest to serve the common good.

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Part Four: Bastiat: The man who saw what wasn’t there

Consider the controversy that arose in Nova Scotia when the government decided to eliminate the toll on the Canso Causeway, thus ‘destroying’ a few jobs. If the critics are serious, they must admit that one toll booth will create a few jobs, but many toll booths would create even more. Perhaps we should authorise everyone to set up a toll booth on any road they please, and to live from the ‘job’ thus ‘created’.

Such would have been the thoughts of Frederic Bastiat, whose bicentennial is celebrated this year.

Bastiat was a brilliant French writer, polemicist and economist of the mid-nineteenth century who often challenged the well-intentioned actions of government by exploring their hidden consequences. Bastiat decried the state as “that fiction by which we all seek to live at one another’s expense.”

In a recent piece published in the Financial Post, AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley pays tribute to this pioneer of clear-thinking economics. Crowley demonstrates through straightforward examples how a Canadian Bastiat, making a living from exploding economic mythologies in simple but effective language, would never want for work.

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Part Five: Prominent Halifax innovator joins AIMS team

AIMS is pleased to announce that Dr. Michael MacDonald will be contributing to AIMS as a Senior Fellow. Dr. MacDonald has enjoyed great variety in his career as a university professor, a senior federal public servant, the President of a Canadian consulting group, and as the founder of a highly innovative pubic-private sector partnership for economic growth.

In his role as an AIMS Senior Fellow, Dr. MacDonald will take a lead role in both the Atlantica Project, developing models for cross-border co-operation between the Atlantic Provinces and the US Northeast, and the Cities Project, outlining how Canada’s cities will define our nation in the
21st century.

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Part Six: HRM needs a CAO

In his op-ed piece from the Chronicle Herald, AIMS’ newest Senior Fellow, Dr. Michael MacDonald discusses the critical need for professional management in today’s urban communities. Dr. MacDonald explores the myriad of complex issues facing municipal councils today and the increasingly critical role municipalities play as the drivers of growth. His conclusion is that a professional public service led by a talented and courageous CAO is absolutely critical to the long-term health of municipalities like Halifax.

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Part Seven: Debate on health care reform: no end in sight

In his regular Chronicle Herald column, AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley explores the reasons why the debate on healthcare will take on greater and greater importance in the coming years. Most people are aware that health costs are going up, but few realise that the rate of growth is about to accelerate massively. New technologies, the increased incidence of chronic and new illnesses, and the significant cost of system renewal will force giant leaps in health costs in coming years.

While starving funding for education and roads can provide some measure of short-term relief, the pressure is building. The tax system alone will not be able to handle these costs and a new balance of public and private expenditures will have to be found and the debate has barely even begun.

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