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Part One: Why Mike Harris should support equalization reform


Ontario Premier Mike Harris is exercised about inequities in the way Ottawa treats his province, and rightly so. But he should reserve his fire for the
federal government, and not shoot thoughtlessly at his potential allies in the battle for fairer federal-provincial arrangements. In this piece published in the National Post, AIMS President, Brian Lee Crowley, argues that Premier Harris should support equalization reform that ends asset seizure and rewards provinces for sound development of their resources. And the Atlantic Provinces need to come to the table, too, and support Ontario’s demands for equitable treatment of all Canadians by federal programs such as employment insurance. Neither side should allow Ottawa to engage in its old divide and rule tactics. For both Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces, the policy problem lies in Ottawa, and they should be making common cause in putting it right.

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Part Two: Is geography destiny for Atlantica?

A wedge of territory, which some are now calling Atlantica, has been outside the charmed circle of North American prosperity for years, but now
faces the end of an economic era and the opportunity to seize control again. This corner of North America encompasses not only Atlantic Canada,
but also embraces the sliver of the United States that reaches from Maine through New Hampshire and Vermont and into northern New York state. AIMS President, Brian Lee Crowley, suggests that continental free trade and globalization may put an end to the isolation of Atlantica. The east-west axis for development of North America is being supplemented by a drive to stitch back together the old north-south trade routes that had flourished across the continent before 1867. If Atlantica is to escape the role of geographic backwater to which the last century relegated us, a new  cross-border coalition must be built. Many American politicians, including both New York senators, have endorsed a call for Washington to examine the transport infrastructure in the corridor from Halifax through northern New England and New York. But Maritimers have to do their part too. A new destiny beckons, for those who know how to seize it.

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Part Three: Canada needs a for-profit model of port governance

“Vision and Balance”, the final report of the Canada Transportation Act Review, released July 18, has reaffirmed the conclusions contained in an AIMS paper released in June. That paper, entitled “Port-Ability: A Private Sector Strategy for the Port of Halifax”, concluded that only a  private-sector approach to port governance would allow Halifax to achieve its potential as a gateway to North America. This conclusion is mirrored in the findings of the CTA review panel that there is a need for a much greater role for the private sector. Both the CTA review and “Port-ability” point out that a for-profit model offers substantial benefits over public or not-for-profit models – greater efficiency, minimized costs, improved customer service.

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Part Four: Equalization penalizes success – AIMS in Maclean’s magazine

The July 9 edition of Maclean’s magazine includes a column by Mary Janigan that explores the negative impacts of equalization and looks for solutions. She finds them in two recently released papers by AIMS – “Equalization: Milestone or Millstone?” by Roland Martin and “Taking off the Shackles: Equalization and the Development of Nonrenewable Resources in Atlantic Canada” by Ken Boessenkool. Quoting both authors, Janigan looks at the positive impacts, for Ottawa and the provinces, of eliminating nonrenewable resource revenue from the equalization formula and allowing the provinces to keep that revenue to spur sustainable growth.

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Part Five: AIMS provides summer reading for BC MLAs

AIMS has supplied copies of “Road to Growth: How Lagging Economies Become Prosperous” to all members of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly. The groundbreaking book, released by AIMS in January 2000, lays out the very different experience of places as diverse as Ireland, Holland and Georgia in the US South, in turning their previously lagging economies into economic powerhouses. The BC division of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation thought the book’s message was so important that they wanted to ensure that all the members of the new legislature were given copies.

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