For more information on any of these topics, please visit our document library to search through our publications.

Part One: Media intensifies focus on AIMS urban affairs and local government initiatives
Irrational rationing – Wendell Cox on HRM Development Freeze

In the opinion of Urban development expert Wendell Cox, “the Halifax Regional Municipality freeze on new large-scale housing construction outside the serviced area could not be more inappropriate.” Cox, who was in Halifax in February to speak with developers, HRM officials and other interested parties says the proposed moratorium on development will hobble regional economic growth and the quality of life of households that do not yet own their own homes. In this opinion piece for the March 19 Chronicle-Herald, Cox says HRM appears to be “shooting itself in the foot.”

AIMS to use Greater Saint John as test case for urban reform

As part of its Urban Futures initiative, AIMS is studying how municipalities can become more efficient and provide better service. Using Saint John, New Brunswick as an illustration, AIMS will reflect on how small and medium size municipalities can improve the quality of services for residents and value for money for taxpayers.

Parable of the Noon Gun: What’s urban planning really for?

There’s a famous story about a factory where, every day, a gun was fired from the main administrative building signalling that it was time for lunch. A management consultant asked the man who fired the gun how he knew when it was actually noontime. He said that he was guided by the town clock, visible out his window at the town hall across the road. The consultant went across the road and asked the town manager how he knew his clock gave the right time. “It’s always right by the noon gun” was the reply. In other words, none of the so-called “experts” actually knew what time it was at all. But they were convinced that because they only listened to each other’s unfounded prejudices they must be right. This parable is strangely applicable to the HRM and their current campaign against so-called “urban sprawl”.

Part Two: Testing the testers; What educational establishment still won’t tell you
Charles Cirtwill asks: Are we getting results we should for our education dollar?

WITH the limited fanfare it deserves, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Education, Jamie Muir, released the third annual Minister’s Report to Parents in late February. The good news? We didn’t get any worse. Grade 12 students are still achieving in the mid-50s (out of 100) on their exams in English, chemistry and physics; and our 13- and 16-year-olds still rank below the national average for writing. Our kids in grades 3, 4 and 5 have improved a mere eight per cent from 42 to 50 in terms of average scores on math tests. And yet we are spending, according to the minister, almost $1,900 more per student this year than in 1997-98. That’s a lot of money just to prevent things from getting worse. In this item for the Halifax Chronicle Herald, Charles Cirtwill, the author of AIMS report card on Atlantic Canadian high schools asks if we are spending that extra money, where is it going and is it going to where it is needed? 

Part Three: Orimulsion revulsion: AIMS on NB Power’s Coleson Cove fiasco
The price New Brunswickers paid when the risk went wrong

Nothing sums up NB Power’s problems better than the Coleson Cove fiasco. In an effort to reduce its dependence on expensive fuel oil, the utility embarked on a $747-million conversion of Coleson Cove to burn Orimulsion. The vast bulk of the money has already been spent. There is just one tiny little catch. There is only one place you can buy Orimulsion: the state oil company of Venezuela. And while it has not always been the case, these days Venezuela is a synonym for “unstable banana republic.” The country teeters on the brink of civil unrest and authoritarian rule by a military strongman. Risky? You bet. Find out just how risky, and the pirce New Brunswickers paid when the risk went wrong.

Part Four: Where entrepreneurs rule-AIMS in Toronto Star
Does Atlantic Canada lack initiative? Not so.

When you gather up all the evidence, you can make a strong case for Atlantic Canadians being superior entrepreneurs. In this article in the March 17, 2004 Toronto Star, AIMS president Brian Lee Crowley says the success of Atlantic Canada entrepreneurs is particularly impressive because of special hurdles facing business in this region, not the least of which is government’s damaging efforts to “help”. According to many opinion leaders the image of Atlantic Canada as a region that lacks initiative is dead wrong.