“More and more, I think, Atlantic Canada is an outdated concept. In fact, if we stay in our minds where we are in Atlantic Canada, we are going to continue on the road of kind of a genteel decline,” so explained AIMS president Brian Lee Crowley during a panel discussion on Atlantica at Halifax Port Days 2005.  

The Atlantica concept encompasses an economic region that includes, Atlantic Canada, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and the northern portion of New York state.

The Atlantica discussion was kicked off with remarks by Crowley. In an article in The Chronicle-Herald, reporter Tom Peters, wrote:

Brian Lee Crowley, president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, discussed Atlantica’s future in the global market and the importance of the Port of Halifax in that scheme. He said as a result of changes in technology and larger ships, world shipping patterns have changed.

“Almost the totality of Asian shipping to North America used to cross the Pacific to West Coast ports,” he said. “But increasingly, shipping destined for the East Coast and neighbouring destinations is borrowing the so-called Suez Express route. As a result, the East Coast has become the Pacific Rim.”

Halifax, with its deep natural harbour, is will suited to handle these massive container vessels. The port is also geographically a good fit for the American partner in Atlantica, especially areas that don’t feel connected to Boston or New York.

Mr. Crowley said it is important that Atlantic Canadians grasp the Atlantica idea.

He said Atlantic Canadian have to get their “heads around the notion that where we are is actually Atlantica,” where people in Maine are just as important to the region’s economic future as those in Ontario and upstate New York.

Mr. Crowley said capturing political attention and participating in the Atlantica concept will come if the region is successful in plugging into the global trade network. He said Halifax is the only place on the East Coast of North America to participate in this trade.

“It is not going to Montreal or Quebec City, so it is not something that will happen at the expense of somebody else,” he said.

The Atlantica concept also has strong political allies in the U.S., such as senator Hillary Clinton, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, and if these people see their future linked to this idea, he said, there is a change of getting some political attention in Canada.

The complete article can be accessed through thechronicleherald.ca