The year 2016 promises to be an exciting time here at AIMS. We have had a busy month of January with significant exposure across media throughout the region and in some national outlets on a few of our research and opinion pieces. We continue to promote greater accountability to equalization and to show evidence that Energy East can be completed in benefit of both economy and environment. Our commentaries on the budget debates in Newfoundland and Labrador and in New Brunswick continue to be among the few voices calling for prudence and balance. Our promotion of more openness to innovation and more accountability on healthcare is also getting attention. Our awareness programme at SpendingProblem.ca has brought a good deal of attention to issues of public spending, and to the above-average civil service numbers in the Atlantic region.
There is reason to be concerned about the fiscal position of our regional governments as headwinds of economic uncertainty continue to blow and batter resource sectors. We intend to keep watch on developments and to continue to promote the message of efficiency, greater productivity, and responsible spending inside long term strategies for regional growth.
February is shaping up to be even better than January at AIMS. We’ve expanded our team and set forth on several exciting initiatives. We are excited about new additions to the research team, which we will announce in the coming days.
Marco Navarro-Génie, PhD
AIMS Senior Fellow David McKinnon and President Marco Navarro-Genie: “Atlantic Canada must be told ‘no’, or it will continue to decline.” The piece makes the case to the rest of Canada to end its enabling of Atlantic dependency, particularly as concerns EI benefits that compete with employment as a source of income for many Atlantic Canadians, and redundant subsidies. This arrangement, they argue, has distorted the seriousness of the region’s fiscal malaise, and untenably inflated the share of the public sector in the Atlantic provincial economies.
In “Citizen participation could break impasse between doctors, government,” AIMS associate David Zitner argues that attempts to better fund health services, such as doctor’s fees, might not be as unpopular as imagined, especially if taxpayer funds are going to harmful and wasteful care. He writes, “It is considered crass to speak about health care and money in the same breath. However, how care is organized in Nova Scotia is problematic, leading to excessive costs for medical and non-medical health services.”
In “Healthcare experiment gets bad reviews,” Zitner follows up on the “medical home project,” which he describes as a failed American experiment being tried in Nova Scotia without proper research or scientific basis. The initiative aims to tie patients with a specific “medical home,” discouraging them from using health services anywhere else. Peer-reviewed studies suggest this to be a bad idea, which makes one wonder why Nova Scotian authorities are so eager to “experiment” with it here. AIMS in the News
Some people are adamant in promoting the notion that Atlantic Canadian provinces have a revenue problem, suggesting that more tax revenue needs to be levied from the regions citizens and businesses or that more subsidies need to come from the rest of the country. AIMS begs to differ. Marco Navarro-Genie responded in a radio interview with the Rick Howe Show, and later penned a blog post debunking the distinction between excessive expenditure and insufficient state revenues. Unless we recognize that we are spending far beyond our means, our spending will continue to raise as will the demands for more money to support government, government programs, and more public service.
While addressing the issue of excessive spending as a whole, the websitewww.spendingproblem.ca focuses on the specific problem of the above-average number of public service jobs, as well as the cost of keeping them in the current state. The website includes AIMS’s policy paper on the size and cost of Canada’s public sector, as well as links to our radio clip about the region’s spending problem. Please visit the SpendingProblem.ca and consider signing our petition or contributing to our efforts to raise awareness about public spending.
Contribute to AIMS
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.
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