Part One:  Atlantica: Moncton’s New Neighbourhood in the Global Economy. AIMS addresses Greater Moncton Chamber’s AGM

In his keynote talk to the AGM of the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce, AIMS president Brian Lee Crowley laid out a new conceptual framework for thinking about the International Northeast Economic Region, or Atlantica.

Atlantica is at the intersection of three powerful trade relationships, NAFTA, EU-NAFTA and the so-called Suez Express route from Asia. Atlantica’s continental neighbourhood is also now dominated by three increasingly coherent and powerful economic regions with well-defined and consciously pursued economic interests: the Quebec City to Windsor Corridor, the New Atlantic Triangle and Appalachia. For the International Northeast to flourish amidst these powerful dynamics, three imperatives beckon to the region: a transport intensive economy; continental integration; and coordinated efforts focusing on regional coherence building.

In this talk on May 5, 2004, Crowley asks “Where are we in the middle of all this?” and maps out the benefits of the conscious pursuit of regional coherence within Atlantica.


Part Two: Five Big Ideas: AIMS’ Roadmap for Atlantic Prosperity
     AIMS seeks to inspire federal party leaders to rethink policy for Atlantic Canada

With a federal election looming, Atlantic Canada’s public policy think tank is inviting the leaders of all the federal parties to respond to its non-partisan home-grown policy roadmap for Atlantic Canadian prosperity entitled, You Can Get There From Here: How Ottawa can put Atlantic Canada on the road to prosperity. Based on the Institute’s extensive body of research on the impact of federal policies on the region, You Can Get There From Here is an invitation to all federal political parties to re-examine their past policies and declare how they intend to bring Atlantic Canada back into the nation’s economic mainstream. This document was also sent to all Members of Parliament in the Atlantic region and AIMS will post those responses on this website.

Read the response from Rex Barnes, Member of Parliament, Gander — Grand Falls 


Part Three: First Nation Innovation – AIMS on native healthcare initiative

 a) AIMS in the National Post

Canada’s first aboriginal-run MRI clinic is scheduled to open on Muskeg Lake Cree Nation land, in east Saskatoon, in the spring of 2005. Clinics on reserves are not subject to provincial legislation, and First Nations are carefully examining the unique legal status this confers. This may create an opportunity for a tectonic policy shift in Canadian medicare as First Nations open a crack in the crust of the public sector healthcare monopoly. In this commentary for the National Post, AIMS president Brian Lee Crowley says we may be witnessing the birth of a parallel system that will not only provide superior healthcare choices to Canadians, but may indeed ensure the sustainability of the public system.

 b) AIMS dans La Presse

La première clinique d’imagerie par résonance magnétique (IRM) dirigée par des autochtones doit ouvrir ses portes sur le territoire de la nation crie de Muskeg Lake, à l’est de Saskatoon, au printemps 2005. Cette occasion convient parfaitement aux entrepreneurs d’un bout à l’autre du pays qui cherchent à trouver une faille dans le régime d’assurance-maladie qui permettra l’émergence d’une solution de rechange sous forme d’un secteur privé de soins de santé. Dans sa chronique régulière dans La Presse, le plus grand quotidien de langue française de l’Amérique du Nord, le président de AIMS, Brian Lee Crowley observe que,
«Seule la venue d’une véritable concurrence, par laquelle les patients auront vraiment le choix de l’endroit où ils pourront bénéficier de soins de santé et par qui ils seront dispensés, est capable de sauver le système public.»


Part Four:  AIMS’ Equalization Initiative continues to inspire discussion

a) The Provincial Welfare Trap Revisited 

In 2002, AIMS, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy (FCPP) and the Montreal Economic Institute collaborated on AIMS’ major “Equalization Initiative”, designed to draw the attention of Canadians to the inequities, inefficiencies and perverse incentives contained within our country’s equalization program. AIMS won the Sir Antony Fisher Memorial Award for our Equalization Initiative, and we are pleased to see that the ideas we helped to champion continue to reverberate with Canadians. Peter Holle, the head of the FCPP, recently pursued these ideas in a series for the National Post, which AIMS is delighted to reproduce on its website, a wonderful example of the cross-fertilization which is more and more characterizing the think tank movement in this country.

b) Equalization Can Be Reformed: The constitution is no excuse

Equalization’s intention is to ensure that Canadians, wherever they live, have access to reasonable levels of public services, like health care and schools and roads, without having to endure ruinous levels of taxation to pay for them. But the unintended consequence of these transfers from Ottawa is that equalization catches recipient provinces in a welfare trap where growth is penalized and dependence rewarded. Those who support it say equalization is constitutionally entrenched, so live with it. But, what does the constitution really say and does it stand in the way of meaningful reform? In his regular column in the Chronicle Herald and Times & Transcript, Brian Lee Crowley points out that, based on history, present practice, and the weak language entrenching equalization, it is hard to see why the constitution should be a serious bar to a cleverly designed equalization reform.


Part Five: When are user fees justified?
Increases to user fees by governments for their services are coming under scrutiny. There are good arguments in favour of user fees, but are these fees accurately reflecting the value of the services provided or are they simply another cash grab by government that cannot rein in its spending? In his weekly column in the Chronicle Herald and Times and Transcript, AIMS president Brian Lee Crowley examines user fees and why the people who pay them should demand transparency and accountability in the fee-setting process.


Part Six: “Lead or be squeezed” – AIMS author Gordon Weil to NB Power

NB Power must accelerate its restructuring or risk becoming a victim of regional power integration according to Gordon Weil, author of the AIMS paper The Atlantica Power Market: A plan for joint action. In addition to writing the paper, Mr. Weil, a U.S. energy consultant, has participated in several AIMS events focusing on regional integration. In an interview with the Moncton Times and Transcript’s Daniel McHardie that reflected the themes he has developed in his work for AIMS, Mr. Weil says, “N.B. Power has been very averse to becoming involved on the U.S. side of the border for fear of U.S. regulation. In effect they are now getting the effects of U.S. regulation without having a role to play.” He added however that NB Power could start reversing the negative impact on its revenue by positioning itself as a larger player in the regional transmission system.