Embracing the unfamiliar down home

The East Coast isn’t quaint, slow, lazy or anything else others in the rest of Canada might assume. But it does tend to defy expectations

Embracing the unfamiliar down homeIf you live in one of Canada’s muscular metropolises, you might think about the Atlantic provinces once, maybe twice, a year. And when you do, you might be tempted to dismiss them as welfare states – unlike, say, Calgary. After all, most people “down home” draw unemployment at least half the year. They’re just as…

Dancing in the dark – in the midst of a hurricane

In Atlantic Canada, the moment you think you have everything nailed down, a Category 2 storm decides to pop in

Dancing in the dark – in the midst of a hurricaneA word to the wise: A daily five-km fast walk and a nightly 15-minute endurance routine on a floor mat doesn’t prepare a 50-something body for a sudden dismount from a handstand – especially if said body lands on its tippy toes, like Baryshnikov on a really, really bad morning. “Crunch!” was the sound heard…

Federal student job program puts Alberta at the back of the class

Study finds no link between the circumstances in the local economy, student unemployment and the level of subsidies handed out. So is it all political?

Federal student job program puts Alberta at the back of the classThose who argue that the Canadian federation exhibits plenty of fiscal and program biases against Prairie Canadians will see further evidence in a recent study from the Halifax-based Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS). The study, Rethinking Student Job Subsidies, authored by David Murrell and Alan Chan, is subtitled The Case for Regional Equity in…

Don’t fear the reaper: Recession

What’s a recession going to do to the East Coast? Reap what’s left in our mattresses and sock drawers?

Don’t fear the reaper: RecessionOh, Recession. So there you are. For months, you’ve been rattling about my back door knocking over rubbish bins like a starving raccoon at night. The sun’s up now. No need to be coy. “The escalating trade war between the U.S. and China is nudging the world economy toward its first recession in a decade…

Tolls the fairest way to fund P.E.I.’s Confederation Bridge

The bridge is a prime example of a private-public partnership gone right. Shifting the burden to taxpayers and non-users is simply unfair

Tolls the fairest way to fund P.E.I.’s Confederation BridgeThe recent campaign to remove tolls on the Confederation Bridge is a popular policy topic where rhetoric has become misguided. Prince Edward Island Sen. Percy Downe has pushed to remove the toll from the bridge, while P.E.I. Premier Dennis King has pledged to work on lowering the toll on the island’s primary connection to the…

Innovation is a lot like life, with all its ups and downs

Despite government hyperbole, small businesses know that innovation is difficult, costly and sometimes reveals unfortunate truths

Innovation is a lot like life, with all its ups and downsA handy term that invokes sweet dreams of big scores for small businesses everywhere is ‘innovation.’ Government officials, burdened with the otherwise boring work of economic development, are obsessed with it. Its mere mention, they think, virtually guarantees a contact high. Hey folks, their websites screech, roll up and read all about our “Superclusters Initiative,”…

Into the great wide open: Nova Scotia’s space ambitions

A planned spaceport on the East Coast would launch eight satellite-carrying rockets annually by 2022

Into the great wide open: Nova Scotia’s space ambitionsOn some glittering summer’s day, this decade or maybe next, you might find me rusticating on the back deck of my ancestral home overlooking Nova Scotia’s great, grumbling Chedabucto Bay – as deep and dangerous as the firmament itself. There, I will hoist a late-afternoon drink, cast my eyes toward the town of Canso and…

When did green become the new orange in Canadian politics?

So, Green Party, you want to build a kinder, gentler corner of the world? How? What, exactly, do you have in mind?

When did green become the new orange in Canadian politics?It wasn’t too long ago the only viable alternative to the Grit and Tory machines in Atlantic Canada was the New Democratic Party. You remember them? They used to come knocking round your front door every election cycle – their game faces plastered on with the permanent ink of utter conviction – offering voters newer,…

Equalization inequalities must be addressed

Encouraging short-term stability at the expense of economic performance and fairness is folly when alternatives are available

Equalization inequalities must be addressedIn recent years, equalization and other regional subsidies have captured the attention of many Albertans. Much useful research has been done at the University of Calgary and by the former Wildrose Party. There has been extensive comment in Alberta’s media on Canada’s fiscal arrangements, including equalization. Issues connected with regional subsidies are important to all…

Time to rethink the federal transfers system

Atlantic Canada enjoys a level of public spending that far outreaches that of the provinces that contribute most to equalization payments

Time to rethink the federal transfers systemIt is time for a fundamental course change by Atlantic Canadians with respect to equalization and other regional subsidies. I recently made a presentation to independent senators in Ottawa on this subject in which I said that Canada’s regional subsidies were ineffective. We've had a half-century of remarkably large subsidies to Quebec and Atlantic Canada,…
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