International recognition for Institute’s innovative collaborative
“Equalization Initiative”

[HALIFAX] — 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.

According to AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley, “While AIMS, as the lead institute and the one that got the Equalization Initiative off the ground, was the official recipient of this award, the magnificent collaboration of our partners, the Frontier Centre and the Montreal Economic Institute, was essential in getting and sustaining the significant national attention that this project received. They are every bit as much recipients of this award as AIMS. Together, the three institutes represent all of the equalization-receiving provinces, contributing greatly to the credibility of the argument that equalization poses significant obstacles to the economic progress of the less well-off provinces within Canada. The three institutes also wish to thank the Donner Canadian Foundation and the John Dobson Foundation for their support of this project.”

The head of the FCPP, based in Winnipeg, is Peter Holle, while Michel Kelly-Gagnon heads the MEI. Both were on the platform in Philadelphia for the award ceremony.

Well over 100 institutes operating in over 40 countries are eligible for the Fisher Award. This year fifteen institutes in as many countries were nominated for Awards. Topics addressed included corruption, education, environmentalism, health care, morality and freedom, urban sprawl, and welfare and poverty. The winner of the Award in the Innovative Projects Category receives a cheque for US$2,000.

This Fisher Award is AIMS’ third in its 8 years of existence; the other two were for its first book (Looking the Gift Horse in the Mouth:The Impact of Federal Spending on Atlantic Canada, by Fred McMahon) and Operating in the Dark: The Gathering Crisis in Canada’s Public Health Care System, by David Zitner, Nancy Faraday-Smith and Brian Lee Crowley. Only a handful of institutes worldwide have achieved this distinction, including the Independent Institute in California and the John Locke Institute in Virginia.


For further information, please contact Brian Lee Crowley, President of AIMS, (902) 499-1998