10 April 2007

Change versus more of the same

While former Liberal cabinet minister Walter Noel does his part to support the victim mythology of Newfoundland nationalism, perhaps he should consider a new approach to economic development and Newfoundland and Labrador's economic place in the world.

Noel's problem appears to be with Newfoundland and Labrador's balance of trade.

He identifies the solution to a general economic problem as being more federal transfer payments. Right problem. Wrong solution.

All that Noel succeeds in doing is demonstrating how the current administration and the one Noel served in are fundamentally the same. Heck, the current administration offers the same answers that have never worked for administration after administration since Confederation.

Like that's worked.

The idea outlined in this op-ed piece from the Toronto Star is increased inter-provincial free trade. In other words, open up the opportunities for Newfoundland and Labrador companies to do business in the rest of Canada. Rather than building barriers, Newfoundland and Labrador needs to open the doors.
Since Confederation, Canadians have been hampered by an inter-provincial distrust of the power of free markets to produce economic and social benefits.

As a result, federalism has evolved into an inefficient system of provincial and municipal enclaves of economic autonomy. Provincial economic independence has created an interprovincial trading system that hampers productivity through barriers that curb the flow of goods and services.

These have impeded Canada's evolution from a middle to a modern power.

Canada cannot hope to compete globally when we have the kind of barriers to internal trade we have now.
There's a similar idea in this study by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

More of the same won't work.

It's time for Newfoundland and Labrador to change.