In Brief: At the invitation of Harvard University, AIMS president Brian Lee Crowley presented the Canada Seminar in November 2005 and used the opportunity to examine existing federal public policy. He suggests Atlantic Canada has not caught up with the rest of Canada, not because of a lack of money, but because of the massive amounts of money thrown at it by Ottawa. In this Commentary, based on his Canada Seminar to Harvard University, Crowley explains how “bad politics and good intentions destroyed the Atlantic Canadian economy and what that tells us about Canada and its future”.
If money was the solution to the economic woes of a region, then Atlantic Canada would be flourishing. It isn’t, despite the millions and millions of dollars Ottawa has thrown east. In this Commentary, based on his Canada Seminar to Harvard University, AIMS president Brian Lee Crowley puts it in perspective.
He says Atlantic Canada has not caught up with the rest of Canada, not because of a lack of money, but because of the massive amounts of money thrown at it by Ottawa.
Crowley suggests that there is an irony behind massive federal spending in Atlantic Canada: it isn’t even aimed at the region. The economic disruption Ottawa’s economic development and other regional policies has caused here has merely been collateral damage. The real purpose of these programmes is that Ottawa is trying to buy the loyalty of Quebeckers.
“And since Ottawa finds it difficult to own up to the fact that much of its policy is driven by a fear of Quebec separation and an unwillingness to confront the nationalist movement directly, a great deal of policy is packaged as pursuing other goals than national unity. But their true intentions are always revealed by their unwillingness to subject their policies to rational tests of effectiveness and efficiency. Just one example will have to suffice: when Ontario recently started to make a fuss about the amount of money being extracted from their economy each year by Ottawa for redistribution to other jurisdictions, a federal minister was sent to make a speech that did not address Ottawa’s case for such redistributive efforts, but berated Ontario for asking the question, thereby threatening, in some unspecified way, the integrity of the country. It was apparently “unCanadian” to ask if transfer payments were a good thing. They are, from Ottawa’s point of view, self-evidently good and asking for proof of this proposition is to prove that you do not have the faith.”
AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley presented the Harvard Canada Seminar at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs on Monday, November 14, 2005. The Harvard Canada Seminar attracts Canadians and Americans, including faculty, visiting scholars, and students. Other speakers for the Canada Seminar have included the Honourable Ralph Klein, Premier of Alberta; the Honourable Paul Okalik, Premier of Nunavut; Mme. Justice R.S. Abella, Supreme Court of Canada; Lt. General Romeo Dallaire; Jeffrey Simpson, columnist and author; and Ken Dryden, former president of the Toronto Maple Leafs.