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Part One: Ken Boessenkool on Equalization and Natural Resources

A new AIMS study by Ken Boessenkool, a senior policy analyst based in Calgary, outlines a win-win strategy to reduce the overall cost of equalization and put more money into the hands of the provinces in the long term. By removing nonrenewable resource revenues from the equalization clawback we could promote expanded provincial self-sufficiency, simplify the current formula, protect the federal treasury from the sometimes wild
variations in resource prices and implement a true national, 10-province standard.


Part Two: Roland Martin on Equalization: Milestone or Millstone?

A second major study released by AIMS this week finds that after 44 years and $180 billion [without adjusting for inflation] the Atlantic Provinces are not significantly ahead in their ability to be self-sufficient. Looking at equalization since its inception in 1957 you find that the four Atlantic provinces have barely improved their ability to cover their own spending needs from their own revenue sources compared to when the program was

Author Roland Martin, a former Deputy Minister of Finance for Newfoundland, suggests several possible equalization reforms which, either individually or in combination, would significantly improve the current system.


Part Three: Social Policy in the New Economy

The annual retreat of senior managers of the federal Department of Finance took place in Cornwall, Ontario, this year on the theme of Social Policy in the New Economy. AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley was a member of a panel of four policy thinkers from across the country who were asked to come and set the stage for the group’s deliberations. In his talk, he concentrated on the difference between the economic and cultural roots of poverty, and showed that we make a fundamental policy mistake when we treat “the poor” as an undifferentiated mass, and “poverty” as a simple lack of income.


Part Four: Hewers of wood, drawers of tainted water

In his column in the Halifax Herald on Canada’s drinking water problems, AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley asks: “Why have people not been charged the full cost of their water, including needed investment to keep the
infrastructure up to par? Because politicians get elected for making people feel good today, not for taking care of tomorrow. By under-investing in the water system, and undercharging for water, they please voters today. But the necessary investment and improvements cannot be put off indefinitely. Walkerton and North Battleford are only the most obvious manifestations of the insidious decline caused by a political system that allows politicians to reward voters today at the expense of voters tomorrow. “


Part Five: AIMS in Brazil on Globalization

AIMS’ President Brian Lee Crowley’s strongly worded defence of the principles and benefits of free trade in the Americas and globally has been reprinted in one of Brazil’s major daily newspapers. Zero Hora, the leading daily in the city of Porto Alegre, published Crowley’s article on 17 April, the eve of the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City. The piece was originally published as his regular column in the Halifax Herald, under the title “Growth, not Government, Best Friend of the Poor.” In it, Crowley argued vigorously that trade and growth are the true friends of the poor. Zero Hora published the piece (in Portuguese) under the headline “The Best Friend of the Poor”.


Part Six: Blatcherism and the future of ‘Left’ and ‘Right’

In a world in which a Labour Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is one of the strongest defenders of the legacy of Margaret Thatcher, what is the meaning of ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ in politics today? According to AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley, the victory of ‘Blatcherism’ shows that a new equilibrium has been reached in the political mainstream, and the old political divide is being fundamentally redefined.


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