Media Release
Date February 24, 2004
For Immediate release

AIMS National and International Profile Continues to Build

Framing the Debate on Healthcare, Education and Canada – US Relations

Whether it was the national coverage of our groundbreaking Definitely NOT the Romanow Report on health care, or White House policy advisor and speechwriter David Frum’s characterization of AIMS as “the Special Forces of the think tank movement”, or our fourth Sir Antony Fisher Memorial Award for think tank excellence, or Opposition Leader Stephen Harper’s comment that, “dollar for dollar, AIMS is the best think tank in Canada”, or the invitation from Charles Baillie at TD Canada Trust to write the paper on the future of regional development policy for the TD Canada Trust Forum on Canada’s Standard of Living, or the invitation to address an international audience in New Zealand on who should own the seas — 2003 was a banner year for recognition of the influence of AIMS and the contribution that we make to the regional, national and international policy debate. That is the message of AIMS’ 2002-03 Annual Report released today.

While federal health care commissioner Roy Romanow was traveling the country with his message that there was nothing wrong with medicare that more money wouldn’t fix, the AIMS health care team, consisting of Dr. David Zitner, Professor Brian Ferguson, Brett Skinner and Brian Lee Crowley, were producing a major report and commissioning a dozen background papers that presented a much more faithful portrait of our health care system. Contrary to Mr. Romanow, we saw a system shot through with major design flaws and wrestling, with indifferent success, to come to terms with major change. AIMS shaped the debate with Definitely NOT the Romanow Report and for its efforts the Institute won its fourth Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Award. Awarded by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in Washington D.C., the Fisher Prizes are the Academy Awards of the international think tank community. Over 100 think tanks in scores of countries are eligible.

Education was the focus of another major policy initiative brought to fruition in 2003 was the first ever Report Card on Atlantic Canadian High Schools. Greeted with consternation by the education establishment and rapturous applause by parents, students, editorialists and others concerned by this region’s poor performance on national and international test scores, the Report Card gathered all the objective and publicly available information about school performance and used it to rank every high school in the region. Within a month of its publication, every province in the region had announced new performance standards for their schools. The next report card is due in February 2004. In conjunction with this initiative AIMS and the Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education brought Angus McBeath, the Superintendent of the top-ranked Edmonton public schools, to Atlantic Canada to tell us how his schools achieved their great success.

Atlantica and Canada-US Relations was given a high priority by AIMS again in 2003. “Atlantica” is natural economic region that we believe straddles the Canada –US border in this part of the world. In June, the White House came to AIMS in an afternoon speech by one of the leading political commentators of his generation. Well-known speech writer and author David Frum captivated an AIMS audience with an illuminating discussion on Canada US-relations. In September AIMS also hosted the first ever Maine-Maritimes Business Summit to encouraging business leaders on both sides of the border to take the lead on improving bi-national regional relations. In October, former Ontario premier Mike Harris provided his view on these issues in his speech at an AIMS luncheon entitle Unleashing Canada.

Aquaculture, Fisheries and Ocean Management is another preoccupation of the Institute. In June, prominent West Coast fisheries analyst Laura Jones came to give us a spellbinding preview to a key group of policymakers and industry leaders of her forthcoming book about property rights in B.C. fisheries, entitled Custodians, Not Miners. AIMS also released the next in its series of Aquaculture Papers. “Fencing the Last Frontier”, by UPEI economist Robin Neill, lays out the case for a major shift in aquaculture policy in Canada. The paper was released by AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley in conjunction with his keynote speech at a major international conference at the New Zealand parliament on “The Foreshore, Law and Politics”.

AIMS’ efforts to reach national and international audiences expand in 2003. Alongside commentaries in regional dailies the Chronicle Herald, Charlottetown Guardian, Moncton Times & Transcript and St. John’s Telegram, AIMS was regularly cited in the Globe and Mail, National Post and La Presse; AIMS appeared in Canadian newspapers over 300 times. We also provided context to complex public policy issues to national radio and TV media including: CTV, Global Television, CBC Radio and CBC Television and many other local and regional broadcast outlets. Coverage for AIMS was not limited to Canadian media as sought out the work of AIMS for informed commentary on economic and social policies being debated both here in Canada and abroad.

Community leaders also continue to demonstrate their support for AIMS by stepping forward to join the Institute’s Board. We would like to welcome David McD. Mann, President and Chief Executive Officer of Emera Inc. who is replacing Gerald L. Pond, following his two year term as AIMS Chairman. AIMS also welcomes former Alberta Treasurer and executive vice-president of TransAlta Corporation Jim Dinning; Chairman & CEO, Minas Basin Pulp & Power Ltd., George Bishop; and President and Chairman, Bonaventure Fisheries and President and CEO of Newfound Genomics, Siobhan Coady to the board.

On staff, AIMS welcomes two new people: From the Conference Board of Canada, Don McIver, Director of Research and from the House of Commons, Jordi Morgan, Director of Communications and Development. AIMS looks forward to continued growth in 2004. We would like to thank all of our donors and other supporters for their help over the past year. Through their generosity, AIMS’ will continue to expand its role as the voice for sound, thoughtful public policy ideas on Canada’s east coast.

Further details on the activities of the Atlantic institute for Market Studies in 2003 are outlined in AIMS Annual Report. 

For more information, please contact:
Jordi Morgan, Director of Communications and Development,
AIMS: 902 446 3532