For the third time in six years, Atlantic Canada’s public policy think tank has been honoured by the international think tank community. At a ceremony last Wednesday evening in Philadelphia, AIMS was awarded one of the prestigious Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Awards for 2002 (Innovative Projects Category), for the Institute’s Equalization Initiative.

The Fisher Awards commemorate the life and work of Sir Antony Fisher, a founder of the prestigious Institute for Economic Affairs in London, England, by recognizing excellence in public policy think tank publications. The panel of judges for the Fisher Award includes a number of distinguished international economists and public policy figures, including Don Boudreaux, former head of the Foundation for Economic Education in New York, former New Zealand cabinet minister and High Commissioner to Canada, Maurice McTigue, Carl-Johan Westholm of the Mont Pelerin Society, Stockholm, Christian Watrin of the Hayek Institute, Cologne, Germany, and Alex Chafuen, President of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.

The Fisher Prize was awarded for two innovative aspects of the project. First, the broad range of means used to carry out the work (a major conference in Montreal, a dozen papers by some of Canada’s leading authorities, media work, prestigious international speakers, etc.), plus the collaborative nature of the initiative. In the words of the judges:

The institute [AIMS], along with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy (FCPP) and the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI), launched this broad-based initiative to illustrate the costs and consequences of “equalization” – a Canadian federal programme of income transfer from wealthy to poor provinces. In addition to the standard production of opinion-editorials, research papers, and media interviews, the institutes invited American Nobel Laureate James Buchanan to help elevate their efforts to a national level through a co-ordinated programme of lectures and interviews.

The release of these papers comes soon after the joint AIMS/FCPP/MEI Equalization Initiative won the prestigious Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Award for innovative think tank projects. Over 100 think tanks operating in more than 40 countries are eligible for this juried award.