I just wanted to follow up quickly on one more point relating to my previous mini-rant.
These guys at AIMS and Fraser, et. al. are now constantly talking about how we need workers to move from areas where there are no jobs (i.e. here) to areas where there are lots of jobs (i.e. Alberta, Ontario when there is no recession, etc.). When I quiz them (as I have) up on this they will say that it is only natural. Canada is one big happy country and people should move freely around from places where there is limited or no work to places where there is lots of work. Government, they say, shouldn’t try and impede this free flow of labour in any way.
When I respond by saying how come the same principle doesn’t apply to tax revenue, natural resources royalty revenue, investment, etc. they response is someone different. In that case, we are told, provinces need to jealously guard their revenue/royalties, etc. from those pikers down in the Maritimes.
This doesn’t make sense to me. Policies and efforts that lead to even faster depopulation in this region will only exacerbate the need for more Equalization and transfer payments. Shouldn’t these think tanks be advocating for a beefed up Equalization program to offset?
No, this isn’t about one big happy family at all. This is is about emptying out our population and cutting off any efforts to transfer wealth from strong economies within the country.
It’s a bit hard edged but maybe that’s what happens when economists get to run the place.
If AIMS issued a 10 point policy paper tomorrow that advocated everything they stand for (cutting equalization and EI, forced migration of those from weak economies to strong ones, etc.) but also turned their intellectual horsepower towards a serious economic development solution in the weaker economies, we would have the basis for a serious conversation. As it is right now, to misquote Captain Renault in Casablanca “the conversation is a trifle onesided”.