Atlantic Canada missing out on potential oil and gas boom

Energy sector created more than 20,000 jobs and nearly $7 billion in GDP in 2017 alone

Atlantic Canada missing out on potential oil and gas boomBy Ven Venkatachalam and Lennie Kaplan Canadian Energy Centre Next year will mark 30 years of offshore oil and natural gas production in Atlantic Canada. In that time, Atlantic Canada has been the primary source of human capital for the oil and gas industry in other parts of Canada, while being a significant recipient of…

Why vaccine reluctance continues to make sense

The draconian lockdown policies of the Nova Scotia government have long since crossed into authoritarianism

Why vaccine reluctance continues to make senseIt’s a well-known saying and a generally accepted truth that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. There’s much less consensus, however, about what absolute power looks like. How do we know the difference between legitimate power and when a person or institution has too much and must be resisted? The draconian lockdown policies…

Covid’s cost in liberty lost

Nova Scotia’s authoritarian response to the pandemic

Covid’s cost in liberty lostBorn and raised in Halifax, I currently live in Munich, Germany. I have been monitoring the Nova Scotian response to the pandemic from abroad by reading the news and keeping in touch with family and friends. I write this article to lend some perspective on the pandemic through the lens of a Bluenoser living much…

Atlantic Canada won’t prosper until it kicks the equalization habit

Taxpayers from so-called have provinces can no longer afford to subsidize the Atlantic provinces

Atlantic Canada won’t prosper until it kicks the equalization habitFor many years, there has been debate about equalization and other transfer programs and their impact on Atlantic Canada and other regions. Much of this discussion has been technical and difficult to follow. The debate has also been misleading because it focused on equalization even though equalization is only about a quarter of the net…

Is Canada destined to fall into Greenland’s welfare trap?

If Canada continues to subsidize areas that aren’t economically viable, the standard of living in our country will continue to erode

Is Canada destined to fall into Greenland’s welfare trap?An unusual amount of international attention was given to the Greenland election earlier this month due to plans for a rare-earth mine. This vast country has a population of only 50,000 and is an autonomous territory of the kingdom of Denmark. Denmark transfers US$740 million to a year to help fund Greenland’s government. This huge…

Governments taking cautious approach to cannabis marketing

Marketing after legalization suggests most provinces are seeking to distance cannabis from existing alcohol and gaming brands

Governments taking cautious approach to cannabis marketingThe provinces have been largely ambivalent to the sale of cannabis and even appear to employ a “demarketing” strategy, according to a University of Alberta look at the branding behind legalization that also showed flexible public policy can be beneficial in times of uncertainty. “Our initial expectation was that governments would be competing fairly effectively…

Now is the time for Nova Scotia to rein in tax-supported spending

Needs to start to unwind emergency spending implemented early in the pandemic

Now is the time for Nova Scotia to rein in tax-supported spendingBy Alex Whalen and Jake Fuss The Fraser Institute Now that the dust has settled on the Nova Scotia Liberal leadership race, new Premier Iain Rankin and provincial Finance Minister Labi Kousoulis will turn their attention to the upcoming 2021-22 provincial budget. Nova Scotia already faces a projected $779-million budget deficit for 2020 and a…

New Nova Scotia premier must seize opportunity for economic change

Nova Scotia is envied for its commitment to the environment. But it must also more aggressively encourage resources and startups

New Nova Scotia premier must seize opportunity for economic changeThe Nova Scotia Liberal Party has chosen a new leader so it’s important to think about the policy priorities of the province’s new premier, Iain Rankin. Although an election doesn’t need to be held until spring 2022, Elections Nova Scotia is already preparing for one as early as April 1 of this year. The premier…

History shows a path to resolve lobster fisheries dispute

Non-Indigenous fishers in Atlantic region need not be worried that Indigenous rights will come at the expense of conservation

History shows a path to resolve lobster fisheries disputeA dispute in Ontario may help us understand ongoing tensions over the lobster fisheries on the East Coast and offer a solution. The war over Indigenous fishing rights has played out before in Canada. As we reflect on recent violence in Nova Scotia over the lobster fisheries, it’s important to know if there are any…

First Nations need safe drinking water now

The government should be bolder on reform commitments and less grandiose in its promises

First Nations need safe drinking water nowCanada and its Indigenous communities should finally commit this year to making the systemic reforms needed to ensure First Nations drinking water standards are the same as the rest of the country. For starters, Indigenous communities ought to experiment with more regional water authority agreements to deliver safe drinking water. In late 2020, Indigenous Services…

The horrible cost of constantly punting Indigenous claims to court

Governments have more resources and delays can drag on for years. Indigenous peoples pay heavily for the delays in resolving their claims

The horrible cost of constantly punting Indigenous claims to courtAt any given time, the government of Canada is dealing with hundreds of legal matters with Indigenous Canadians. This is inevitable given the complexity of Indigenous rights, the history of Canadian policy and patterns of government ‘lawlessness’ that left the country liable for the administrative misdeeds of the past 150-plus years. The number, diversity and…

Halifax-developed battery a game-changer for electric vehicles

We are beginning a serious transformation from fossil-fuel transportation to electric vehicles

Halifax-developed battery a game-changer for electric vehiclesCanadians generally have no idea that Tesla’s fancy battery technology has mostly been developed in Halifax. Dalhousie University has partnered with the American electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer and created what’s commonly referred to as the Tesla Dalhousie battery lab. The new 4680 dry-cell battery is going into Tesla vehicles sometime between February and April 2021.…

Charitable giving on the wane in Nova Scotia, across the country

Canadian charities are increasingly strapped for resources and face larger financial obstacles

Charitable giving on the wane in Nova Scotia, across the countryBy Alex Whalen and Jake Fuss The Fraser Institute This holiday season, many Nova Scotians will spend their time and money giving back to charitable causes. In fact, every year, tens of thousands of residents in the province donate to charities. However, according to a new study released by the Fraser Institute, both the percentage…

Freer cross-Canada trade will most benefit Atlantic provinces

A number of restrictions inhibit labour mobility, as well as the free trade of goods and services. And trade barriers add regulatory burdens on businesses

Freer cross-Canada trade will most benefit Atlantic provincesBy Ben Eisen and Alex Whalen The Fraser Institute When many people think about threats to free and open trade to Canada, they immediately consider the protectionist outlook of departing U.S. President Donald Trump. In 2020, another obstacle to the free movement of products and people across boundaries has been the COVID-19 pandemic. However, even…

Atlantic Canada facing a political vulnerability

Fiscal federalism, the lifeblood of the region's economy, faces increasing pressure for reform, especially in the post-COVID-19 world

Atlantic Canada facing a political vulnerabilityMassive government spending has landed the four Atlantic provinces at the bottom of economic freedom rankings among the 10 provinces and 50 U.S. states, according to the new Economic Freedom of North America report. Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island are tied at the bottom, just below Nova Scotia (58th) and New Brunswick (57th).…

How Atlantic Canada fortunes and oil and gas are intertwined

How Atlantic Canada fortunes and oil and gas are intertwinedBy Mark Milke and Ven Venkatachalam Canadian Energy Centre Atlantic Canada struggled to create good-paying jobs long before the COVID-19 pandemic. The multiple reasons include poor policy and high taxes on businesses and individuals. Poor policy reinforces other lousy policy, leading to a self-reinforcing downward economic spiral. For instance, previous governments formed policy forbidding fracking…

Nova Scotia government unwieldy, costly: study

With escalating spending and a shrinking private sector due to the pandemic, Nova Scotia’s large government is a growing concern

Nova Scotia government unwieldy, costly: studyBy Alex Whalen and Steve Globerman The Fraser Institute The COVID-19 outbreak and economic downturn have produced a dramatic increase in government spending across the country. The federal and provincial governments have rolled out a variety of programs aimed to support businesses and individuals through these tumultuous times, in addition to extra public health-related expenses.…

Fracking can lift the Maritimes out of economic doldrums

Fracking can lift the Maritimes out of economic doldrumsThe economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic should include Nova Scotia and New Brunswick lifting restrictions on natural gas fracking. Natural gas prices are low but that won’t last forever. Energy industry observers say the natural gas supply glut existed even well before the pandemic. However, the oversupply problems seem to be worse for American…

COVID crisis opportunity for trade reform in Atlantic Canada

Eliminating trade barriers can help accelerate the economic recovery

COVID crisis opportunity for trade reform in Atlantic CanadaBy Alex Whalen and Ben Eisen The Fraser Institute Earlier this summer, the four Atlantic provinces formed the “Atlantic Bubble” as the region works toward freer movement of people amid the COVID crisis. And clearly, the pandemic’s effect on the economy underscores the value of free movement of people and goods, which – on the…

Health-care roadblocks stymie patients

The N.S. Health Authority lets an inefficient telephone system act as an important barrier to timely care

Health-care roadblocks stymie patientsIf there’s any way to inconvenience patients and embrace antiquated methods, the Nova Scotia Health Authority will find it. Ask the sick patients who are trying to arrange appointments with specialists, or for imaging tests or for blood work. Most enterprises try to encourage and support increased consumer access to worthwhile services. Not the Nova…

Reduce income taxes to spur Nova Scotia’s recovery

Attempting to fight high deficits while maintaining high tax rates will reduce the province’s economic growth prospects

Reduce income taxes to spur Nova Scotia’s recoveryBy Alex Whalen and Tegan Hill The Fraser Institute Due largely to COVID-19, the big banks project negative growth for Nova Scotia’s economy in 2020, ranging from -5.5 per cent to -7.4 per cent. Without a strong rebound, such a steep recession could have a lasting impact on living standards in the province and Maritime…

Half measures won’t solve the problem with police

It’s time to reduce funding to police and reallocate those dollars to more proactive ways to reduce crime

Half measures won’t solve the problem with policeHere’s a couple of questions that might have seemed crazy to many people just a few short years ago but are gaining purchase today. Do we really need as much policing as we have? Or are the ever-growing police budgets actually inadvertently leading to greater violence? A lot of us have believed that police exist…

Nova Scotia government faces debt tidal wave

Rising government debt can dampen economic growth and divert billions of dollars away from important public priorities

Nova Scotia government faces debt tidal waveBy Jake Fuss and Alex Whalen The Fraser Institute Just three months ago, provincial Finance Minister Karen Casey released a budget projecting an operating surplus, which would have been the Nova Scotia’s fifth consecutive balanced budget. However, due to COVID-19, circumstances have changed dramatically and the province now expects to run a large deficit this…

Ottawa’s carbon tax hike out of step with global reality

Ottawa’s carbon tax hike out of step with global realityBy Aaron Wudrick and Franco Terrazzano Canadian Taxpayers Federation Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has chosen to make life more expensive for Canadians by increasing the federal carbon tax by 50 per cent amidst the COVID-19 economic and health crisis. Meanwhile, governments around the world are moving in the opposite direction because hiking taxes during a…

Municipalities, utilities on the front lines of extreme weather

Smart Energy Communities are not only more resilient, they also create new opportunities for local economic development, lower energy costs and a cleaner environment

Municipalities, utilities on the front lines of extreme weatherBy Aida Nciri and Eddie Oldfield QUEST Canadian municipalities and energy utilities are on the front lines of the impacts of climate change. A recent report by the Insurance Bureau of Canada highlights the financial costs of climate change, with insured damage for severe weather events reaching $1.3 billion in 2019. Of the top 10…

The amazing wild horses of Sable Island

As we approached the island, our anticipation rose and ebbed as we watched the weather. We weren’t sure if, after travelling so far, we could even land

The amazing wild horses of Sable IslandAs a guide, I often get to travel to exciting destinations. For example, I recently participated in an adventure to the Canadian Maritime provinces that took me to Sable Island. I’ve felt the urge, almost the need, to visit this magical place for most of my adult life. I’m not sure really why since it’s…

Consumer trust in agriculture is waning

Organized, well-funded groups condemning farming practices on social media are winning the consumer trust battle

Consumer trust in agriculture is waningThe public uses social media every day to express concerns about farming practices. And it’s getting worse. Farmers are criticized for a variety of reasons – for example their environmental stewardship and their ethical behaviour in how they treat livestock. In survey after survey, Canadians generally say they trust farmers, regardless of headlines, social media…

Municipalities must take the lead in getting the lead out

The astonishing levels of lead in Canada’s drinking water requires action. That means taking simple measures at the local level, aided by federal incentives

Municipalities must take the lead in getting the lead outBy Paz Gómez Research Associate Frontier Centre for Public Policy Canadians have been exposed to a silent health hazard for more than 40 years: high levels of lead in tap water. Although a clear case of municipal mismanagement, Toronto shows the issue can be handled at the local level with minimal federal oversight – given…

Rethink restrictions on private health insurance

Rethink restrictions on private health insuranceIn its sole reliance on government providing first-dollar coverage of medically necessary services, Canada’s health-care system is unique among high-income countries with universal health care. It also offers inferior service as a result. Virtually all high-income countries – including Australia, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands – allow residents to use private insurance to pay for…

Trudeau tax relief plan will do little for economic growth

Trudeau tax relief plan will do little for economic growthBy Jake Fuss and Finn Poschmann The Fraser Institute According to a Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) report released this week, the federal government’s plan to increase the basic personal income tax deduction will cost nearly $7 billion annually when fully implemented. This is not only higher than what the Liberals anticipated during last fall’s election…