Midsummer for the last three years has been the time for our summer BBQ. This is a time in which we express one more thank-you to friends and supporters. We dedicate the BBQ to the memory of Milton Friedman, a giant of the 20th Century movement for liberty and markets. Friedman’s 104th birthday was celebrated around the world the previous week with the help of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.Friedman’s work is all the more important in a world of decaying educational outcomes, greater economic uncertainty, a widening trend to resist open trade, and renewed clamour for more state subsidies and spending.
Blessed with near-perfect weather, many joined us for conversation and fellowship, along with good food and some cheer. It was an enjoyable time. Thanks to all those in attendance and to the Staff at AIMS for another well-organized event.
This week we also say thank you and farewell to our summer interns, Leo Plumer from Newfoundland and Labrador and Ryan Scarth from Western Australia. Leo came to us through ILS and Ryan was our Mannkal Scholar. They brought a lively spirit to the office and helped us accomplish a good deal. Thank you both. Below we feature examples of their work at AIMS.
A reminder that you can donate to the Institute through our online portal. Please visitwww.aims.ca/donate.
New Brunswick’s Treasury Board Minister Roger Melanson says that AIMS is wrong about his province’s spending problem. In a July 26 interview with CBC Radio in Moncton, he said that New Brunswick’s economic problems arise from neglect by the federal government. Contrary to a recent column in the Telegraph-Journal by AIMS’s VP of Research John Williamson, Melanson also trumpeted his government’s plan for fiscal recovery. Through a mix of tax hikes and spending cuts, he claims that New Brunswick can balance its books by 2020.
The facts tell a different story. The federal government has actually increased transfers in recent years. (NB receives $2.74-billion in total transfers for 2016; in 2010 it received $2.49-billion.) Compared with 2010, New Brunswick spends 11 percent more money, even though it has the same number of people. To suggest the problem is one of revenue – given the stagnation in population growth and the existing high tax burden – is absurd. There aren’t more revenue streams available under the current regime.
If New Brunswick simply reduced its growth in spending, its books could be at surplus long before 2020. Instead, ever-increasing spending growth is taken as a given, making a catch-up very difficult indeed.
Halifax’s bus network is slow and unreliable. This fact is apparent to anyone who contends with peak-hour commutes in the city. But there are limits to what can be done by reforming the bus system in its current form. Congestion plagues buses, and unless the “spine” of the transit system is moved out of traditional street lanes, little can be done to resolve chronic travel inefficiencies.
After commissioning a feasibility study last year, Halifax council labelled the idea of a light commuter rail network unviable. Now, VIA Rail has submitted a pre-proposal based on the original feasibility study which is likely to offer savings. Regardless, the proposal’s shortcomings are clear: with only 11 stops over 30 kilometres between Beaver Bank and Downtown Halifax, the system would require alternate transit methods to and from the stations. This would increase commute times via transfers, with more costly average trips than those currently offered by buses or cars.
In contrast, a Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT) would improve many of the same issues as a commuter rail, at less cost. BRT adapts many similar principles to those of a tramway, and could be integrated as a sub-system of the existing Halifax Transit network. A BRT system would dedicate bus lanes in the centre of roadways on the busiest routes, eliminating the hindrance of traffic on the road and curbside. This independence would give buses the flexibility to easily filter in and out of their lanes, permitting them to reach destinations quickly.
AIMS Vice President of Research John Williamson appeared on CBC Radio to discuss government spending in New Brunswick. He argued that the recent HST increase is supporting spending, not deficit control.
The annual AIMS Chairman’s dinner will take place on Oct. 27 at the Halifax World Trade Convention Centre.
We have confirmed Gary Doer, former Premier of Manitoba and former Canadian Ambassador to the United States, as a keynote speaker.
Mr. Doer will speak about the implications of the United States presidential election for Canada. This will be a timely subject, as the election will occur less than a fortnight after his address.
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Friends of AIMS Luncheon
AIMS is proud to welcome Dr. Lawrence Schembri, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, for a discussion about Canadian exports and the economy. Dr. Schembri’s presentation will be followed by a question and answer session.
Professor Irvin Studin will join us in the Maritimes in November to speak about population growth and demography in Canada. His thesis, that Canadian policy should aim to grow the population to 100 million by the end of this century, represents a significant departure from the country’s present demographic (and strategic) philosophy.
As an important voice in advocating fiscal prudence and market solutions, AIMS is a vital institution for Atlantic Canada. The political and economic issues facing the region cannot be resolved by a further regime of dependence on the rest of Canada, or by levying a harsher tax burden upon Atlantic citizens and businesses. Going forward, bringing public expenditure within the bounds of our means is the only way to ensure that the pillars of government in our region – healthcare, education, and public services – remain viable.
Your charitable contribution now will help us build a stronger legacy and make a difference in the lives of Atlantic Canadians. To contribute, please click here.