Donald Savoie’s new book is being written about alot considering I can’t get it at the local Chapters. However, I ordered it online and should have it in a week or so.
Here’s the TJ’s take on it:
Maritime ‘glory days’ within reach, says professor
March 25, 2006
Donald Savoie says economy could make great gains if Harper Tories embrace radical changes
By Rob Linke
Transfer thousands of civil servants, including senior policy-makers, out of Ottawa-Hull to the Maritimes – and pay them less than they’d earn in Ottawa.
Fold the economic development agencies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island into one.
Tighten eligibility for employment insurance even if it means “closing some villages” as people leave unsustainable rural areas.
While Liberal governments have been more supportive of transfer payments over the years, Mr. Savoie’s book says transfers aren’t the answer to the region’s lagging economic performance. Rather, they amount to “guilt money sent to us while they get on with what they think is the real policy of supporting wealth creation in Ontario and Quebec.
“When you create 42 Crown corporations, and every single one of them is totally earmarked for Ontario and Quebec, well, I’d give up on transfer payments if we could get national policies to create wealth in Atlantic Canada as easily as it does in Ontario and Quebec.
“There are more federal civil servants in Ottawa-Hull than residents in either Moncton or Saint John, and their numbers are growing in the capital while declining in the regions.
Mr. Savoie also argues that market forces hold more promise for the region than either transfer payments or an activist federal government. He sees great opportunity in reduced trade barriers and in forging greater links with New England.
He approvingly quotes the like-minded Frank McKenna, who said, “If you piddle around with taxes one or two points, just keep your money because it won’t make a difference. If you are going to be a bear on this, be a grizzly. You have to go after the people around the world who will pay attention to this kind of incentive.”
I’ll have more to say about Donald’s book after I read it. I am uncomfortable relying on a TJ jounalist to make up my mind. But I will say that I have said, and will continue to say, that he and McKenna are 100% right about cutting taxes. These little piddly (great word) tax cuts that the Lord government put in place did nothing but reduce the government’s revenue by a few million dollars. It made for great PR but I see ziltch in the data to suggest there were any new investments or job creation as a result.