20 February 2007

When minds are closed

They miss an interesting study that suggests one way to improve Canada's global competitiveness.

Of course, those same closed minds leap at trivial issues and petty jealousies hold them back from thinking new thoughts.

On the trivial issues front, look around for a long list of who funded the study and who worked on it. Yep. It's a conspiracy to get at our vital bodily fluids.

Petty jealousies? Plenty of those too. How ironic that St. John's Mayor Andy Wells greets the idea of Halifax being a major hub city with the same derision people in Mount Pearl reserve for his pet idea of annexing their city to his own fiefdom.

That's just like shipping government jobs out of a capital city to the hinterland. Wells opposed it when it means moving taxpayers from his city to the various bits of Newfoundland and Labrador devoid of public servants. Wells is in favour of the big waste of money - of course - when the jobs are flowing from Ottawa into his tax base.


Wells derides Halifax as an oil centre yet misses the fact that St. John's is rapidly losing its status as an oil and gas centre largely because of the policies he advocates.

Anyway, go against the grain. Keep your mind open. Read the Conference Board of Canada's study on major cities.

You'll be rewarded with sensible observations like this one:
The Balkanization of our Economic Space

Every volume of this report emphasizes the adverse consequences to Canadians of chopping up our national economic space. The non-tariff barriers to interprovincial
trade, mobility and investment are at times so severe that they inhibit the kinds of east–west connections that characterize our deep connections outside Canada. People cannot move easily to work, some industries cannot recruit easily, students face difficulties in transferring credits from one post-secondary institution to another, and supply chains across provincial borders can face obstacles that global supply chains have eliminated. In an age of global mobility, it simply makes no sense to add degrees of difficulty to the movement of people, goods and services from one province to another.