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Blue Blogging Soapbox
...rambling rants, thoughts and musings on mostly political topics - from your late night blogger.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Quid pro quo 
(en francais)

I've been trying to spend some time over the last while educating myself on the various opinions regarding the 'fiscal imbalance'. Navigating through the maze of equalization and trying to grasp the impact of a wide range of Federal-Provincial progams is enough to make someone reach for the extra-strength aspirin. One thing I noticed cropping up around the edges of my research was the effect of inter-provincial trade barriers on the ecomony and particularly on productivity.

The 1995 Agreement on Internal Trade was supposed to launch Canada on the path to removing internal barriers and help fashion the new 21st century economy. From what I can tell, subsequent reports have found that while many small issues have been resolved, there has been no real movement on the largest and most persistent barriers.

We rant and rave at the United States for Softwood lumber tariffs, all the while shoring up our own internal walls. One small example. In this post 9/11 world we still haven't managed to work out an agreement that would allow hundreds of doctors, nurses, engineers and other professionals to travel from one province or territory to another and provide assistance for an emergency.

I'll give the Premiers the benefit of the doubt and say that an imbalance does exist. Stephen Harper has acknowledged that there are issues to be discussed and has expressed his willingness to engage with the Provinces. My suggestion would be, in return for addressing issues of 'imbalance' between the Federal government and the Provinces, Harper should secure concrete commitments from the Premiers to finally resolve their own imbalances.

Just a thought from a little guy, early on a Saturday morning.

Obstacles to Free Trade in Canada: A Study on Internal Trade Barriers (pdf)

Obstacles to Free Trade in Canada: A Study on Internal Trade Barriers (html)

Paul Synnott at 7:35 a.m.    | en francais | Go to Top|

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