Part One: What the east coast has to teach the west coast about offshore oil and gas
AIMS President appears before panel studying BC offshore oil and gas exploration and development moratorium

There is a major public debate underway on Canada’s west coast about the advisability of lifting the longstanding moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration and development there. In March 2003, the Government of Canada announced the creation of a Public Review Panel to conduct public hearings in B.C. communities to provide interested parties with the opportunity to express their views on matters relevant to the moratorium. These matters include science, the environment, protected areas, and socio-economic issues.

Given AIMS’ extensive experience in offshore oil and gas public policy in Canada’s east coast, AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley was invited to come and brief the Panel on the relevance of the east coast offshore experience to the BC offshore moratorium. In the conclusion to his presentation, Crowley noted that, “Much of my presentation has been about the key problem of managing expectations — the expectations of a public that has wildly exaggerated fears about the risks the industry represents, and equally exaggerated hopes about its economic impact and the speed at which it will be felt, and the wildly exaggerated expectations of governments about the easy money they hope oil and gas will add to their coffers.”

Read his advice about how to manage those expectations, and a host of other oil and gas related issues at the Panel hearings in Victoria on 14 May 2004.

Part Two: Atlantic Canada’s dole rots the soul – AIMS in National Post

A cardinal rule of economics says if you subsidize something, you’ll get more of it. An election-bound federal government recently announced they were adding a further $300-million of your tax dollars to subsidize seasonal work with Employment Insurance. What can we expect as a result? More such work will be created at a time when growing numbers of full-time, full-year jobs cannot be filled in Atlantic Canada. In this column for the National Post, AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley unpacks the perversity of EI and the damaging consequences it has had on many years of efforts to close the growth gap with the rest of the country.

Part Three: EI and Seasonal Workers: Another tragedy of everyday life

American playwright Eugene O’Neil is best known for poignant tragedies of everyday life in first half of the 20th century America. Many years later, O’Neil’s words resonate as another modern day tragedy plays out in Atlantic Canada. Recently New Brunswick MP Dominic Leblanc announced on behalf of the election-bound federal government that seasonal workers would be rewarded even more richly for not working. As Brian Lee Crowley writes in his regular column for the Halifax Chronicle Herald and Moncton Times and Transcript, who knew that O’Neil could be talking about Employment Insurance policy when he wrote “There is no present or future – only the past happening over and over again”? Yet ironically there is no reason for this particular past to repeat itself; reform to exactly this kind of perverse welfare-trap has been a highly successful policy for governments of many political stripes, including on the left. Bill Clinton ended “welfare as we have known it”. Tony Blair’s UK Labour government and Sweden’s Social Democrats, all push people vigorously off the dole and back into the workforce at the earliest opportunity.

Part Four: More response to AIMS’ paper You Can Get There From Here

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. Read the response from the Liberal Party of Canada.  We will continue to post responses as they come in over the course of the election campaign.

Part Five: Gouvernement minoritaire: Où est l’intérêt public? – AIMS dans La Presse

Les gouvernements minoritaires sont le rêve de ceux qui mangent de la politique et c’est pourquoi les intellectuels qui s’écoutent parler les adorent. Mais ils confondent leur propre plaisir avec l’intérêt public. Lorsque vous êtes le premier ministre d’un gouvernement majoritaire, chaque décision que vous prenez vous définit et définit votre gouvernement en opposition aux autres partis. Vous faites vos choix et votre réputation se bâtit en conséquence. L’opposition vous critique en raison de ces choix. Elle devient connue pour les solutions de rechange qu’elle propose. Mais les gouvernements minoritaires sont toujours en train de négocier avec les autres partis en vue du prochain vote au parlement. Le maquignonnage en coulisses prospère. Les partis d’opposition obligent le gouvernement à renoncer à certaines de ses priorités au profit des leurs. Ceux qui se réjouissent à la perspective d’un gouvernement minoritaire à Ottawa devraient faire bien attention à leurs souhaits.