[HALIFAX] —  The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS), released today “Rags to Riches” the paper it was invited to submit to the TD Forum on Canada’s Standard of Living. This paper draws together in one place many of the themes that AIMS has put forward on social and economic policy, especially with respect to closing the gap between richer and less-developed provinces: tax and equalization reform, addressing labour shortages rather than unemployment, removing the incentives to dependence for business and individuals, allowing market incentives to improve management of resources like fish and natural gas, reducing regulation, and using federal transfers to support genuine investment, not consumption.

Arguing that closing the productivity gap between the less-developed provinces and the rest of Canada would result in a significant improvement in the nation’s standard of living, Dr. Crowley goes on to show how current federal and provincial policies have kept this natural convergence from occurring. “If we had done nothing”, says Crowley, “market forces would have naturally pressed the less-developed provinces to improve their productivity over time and close the gap with the other provinces. Instead, federal and provincial policies have hindered this natural convergence and been a primary cause of the continued relative decline in our national standard of living.”

Don Drummond, Senior Vice President & Chief Economist TD Bank Financial Group, had this to say about this newest AIMS paper:

Brian’s work usually involves a BIG IDEA, one that is challenging, radical and on first read, seemingly impractical. This paper is no exception. He suggests that some of the money saved from ending the programs that have failed in the past should be channeled toward lower federal taxes in the Atlantic region. As a former Associate Deputy Minister of Finance Canada, I instinctively rattled off many reasons why Brian should be given an offside penalty. But I’ve come back to the idea several times. If the current approach isn’t working, why not think outside of the box? That, after all, was the kind of thinking we were hoping to elicit with the TD Forum.

The goal of the TD Forum was to develop concrete actions that Canada can take to achieve a standard of living that is higher than that of the United States. The solutions generated will be presented to the federal government’s Innovation Summit in November. The TD Bank Financial Group, in collaboration with the Conference Board of Canada, sponsored a call for papers to provide practical suggestions on how Canada can exceed the US standard of living within 15 years. They invited some of Canada’s leaders from all sectors of our country to debate and discuss this challenge at The TD Forum on Canada’s Standard of Living held in Ottawa on October 8, 2002. The event was moderated by former Ontario Premier Bob Rae.


For further information, contact:
Brian Lee Crowley, President, AIMS, 902-499-1998