The Beacon

As we approach the end of the year, and as we go off to our celebration of family and friends this Christmas, let’s keep in mind the work that Nova Scotia has started attempting to reset its economic path, which has now presented a concrete plan: We Choose Now. Take the time to read the plan and discuss with your peers at work, your family and friends around the tables of celebrations this season. It is important that we know what is in the plan so that we can think about ways in which we can each help.People elsewhere in Atlantic Canada would also benefit from having a hard look at the proposed plan of action considering that many of the demographic and economic obstacles in front of Nova Scotia are similar to those in the rest of the region.

Just this week members of the Nova Scotia Teacher’s Union (NSTU) rejected a tentative deal with the Nova Scotia government that would have ushered a new era of fiscal accountability. Following suit, the Nova Scotia General Employees Union (NSGEU) deferred a scheduled tentative contract vote after learning of the NSTU’s rejection.

The Nova Scotia government has put much of its political stock in reforming the collective bargaining process with the hope of establishing wage patterns in line with the province’s dire fiscal reality. As this issue emerges over the coming weeks, it would be wise to adhere to the cautionary tale of “never biting the hand that feeds you.”

Marco Navarro-Genie
President and CEO

Hydraulic Fracturing as Green Technology:  The case for sustainable prosperity

The current environment on hydraulic fracking in New Brunswick is simultaneously stagnant and controversial. . But it need not be either.

AIMS jumped into the discussion by inviting a renowned hydraulic fracturing expert, Michael Binnion, to speak in Moncton, New Brunswick, on October 30. The event was marginally protested by the Council of Canadians and other groups. Binnion’s message to the crowd of 50 was clear: hydraulic fracturing is an economically viable and safe environmental practice.

Binnion called attention to some of the recent environmental technologies that have revolutionized shale gas exploration, giving pause for thought about how Atlantic Canadian governments could safely balance environment with robust energy development. The benefits are numerous. As AIMS’ board member Todd MacDonald recently pointed out in a Chronicle Herald story, electricity rates have dropped dramatically in the United States as a result of shale gas exploration. Yet, in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, government policies banning fracking have driven up power rates. By importing shale gas from the U.S, these governments are effectively sending money to the U.S while raising our bills even higher.


Atlantic Canada and the U.S. Electricity Market: Projects and Perspectives

In his report, Atlantic Canada and the U.S. Electricity Market: Projects and Perspectives, commissioned by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS), Gordon L. Weil provides a catalog of current proposals for new transmission links between Atlantic Canada and New England. It notes that many projects have failed in the past, because of a lack of sufficient certainty about sales opportunities in the U.S. You can read the report here.



AIMS in the News

A Reset is Needed in Atlantic Canada
14-Nov-2015, Chronicle Herald
David MacKinnon

Radio Canada Interview with Marco Navarro-Genie (en Francais)
Marco Navarro-Genie


Economic Development and the Culture of Nova Scotia
A town hall symposium sponsored by The Chester St. Margaret’s PC Association
Expert Panelists included: Jordi Morgan, Canadian Federation of Business and Marco Navarro-Genie, Atlantic Institute for Market Studies

Upcoming Public Forums:

Winter: Health Forums on Social Determinants of Health

Spring: Health Forums on The Important Ideas in Clinical Medicine

Recent AIMS Radio Project Spots

New Economy
The development of the internet has challenged our traditional ways of thinking about many things, among which are wealth, value and entrepreneurship.

Today, adventurous entrepreneurs are unlocking value from unused portions of their households or unused times for their vehicles. Naturally, we are referring to Ebay, Uber, AirBnb.

They have taken chunks in market share from old flea markets, unlocking billions in value from which millions have benefitted.

This is the price of progress.  Automobiles put horse carriages, stables, and most hay producers out of business.
In Atlantic Canada as elsewhere, those who adapt to change innovate and move ahead.

The Internet does offer the potential to unlock wealth where we least suspect it and to make an entrepreneur out of every one.

National childcare
Quebec’s $7 per day rate structure is often touted as a model for Canada because it supposedly makes childcare affordable for Quebecers.

In reality, it masks the costs with subsidy and defers the costs onto others.

Childcare operators can survive on $7 per day because they receive as much as five times that amount in subsidies directly from the provincial government.

Those funds come from the taxes of those same parents using daycare today or from taxing tomorrow the children receiving the service, raising greater ethical questions.

Fixing undergraduate education
Canadian universities should publish data that enable the public to evaluate institutional outcomes performance effectively.
Our universities may be failing undergraduate students all across the country.

At research-oriented universities, between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of first-year students fail to proceed to second year, and fewer than 60 per cent graduate within six years.

Systematic disclosure of the number and percentage of students who graduate within fixed periods of time is needed. Better data that can be compared would enable the public to make better post-secondary educational decisions.

Supporting our Partners

The Institute for Liberal Studies (ILS) is making plans for Freedom Week 2016 and hopes to reach more students than ever. To learn more about Freedom Week, please download the ILS report here.

Support AIMS

AIMS is a distinctive Atlantic Canadian voice on public policy regionally, nationally and internationally. We set the benchmark on public policy by drawing together the freshest most forward looking thinking available from some of the world’s foremost experts and applying that thinking to the challenges we face. Our work aims at making sure we all have sound retirement prospects, good quality education for our kids, and access to high quality and sustainable health care.  We help people to understand what governments do well and what they do badly, how to make taxes fair and comprehensible, and how to build our economy so that opportunities are maximized for everyone.

Your donation now will help us build a stronger legacy and make a difference in the lives of Atlantic Canadians. To donate please visit us at