Five years of good fiscal management and budgetary discipline in most of Atlantic Canada has slightly reduced the time the region’s people and governments will have to spend in “Debtors’ Prison”. This progress, however, is precarious. Shocks, in the form of higher interest rates, a fall in the value of the Canadian dollar, or an economic downturn could easily end up stretching out the time of Atlantic Canadians who are imprisoned by the excesses of earlier governments.

“Debtors’ Prison” is the term the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies has chosen to describe the trap into which the region’s governments have fallen by accumulating far more debt than the economies of the four provinces can reasonably bear.

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