Crowley to Ottawa: Tear Down These Walls Ottawa has the duty, power and responsibility to remove trade barriers between Canadians
June 15, 2011 – Ottawa – An aging population, an increasingly competitive world and a serious problem with productivity growth: these are the chief economic challenges that face Canada. Yet barriers to trade and movement within Canada, policies that make it harder to confront these challenges, continue to be tolerated by our national government.
The Fathers of Confederation wanted an open Canada with no barriers between the provinces and between Canadians. The reality, however, is much different. Provincially-dominated attempts at solving these problems, such as the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) and the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA), while modest steps in the right direction, all fall well short of the goal of creating a barrier-free Canada according to Brian Lee Crowley, MLI’s Managing Director in Freeing Canadians to Move and Trade, a Commentary released by the Institute today.
Several studies, including MLI’s Citizen of One, Citizen of the Whole, written by Crowley, John Robson and Robert Knox and released in June of last year, have confirmed the real economic costs of trade barriers to average Canadians in the form of less employment opportunities, lower investment, and lower rates of economic growth.
According to Crowley in today’s Commentary, Canadians cannot look to the provinces to remove the barriers the provinces have themselves created. The logic of federalism and the plan of Canada’s founders was to use the power of the federal government to create a barrier-free national economy. This goal has never been more important, as population change and differing levels of economic growth create a pressing need to allow workers to relocate easily and with a minimum of red tape, to places where their skills and talents are in the greatest demand.
Crowley says, “It only awaits a government with the nerve to tackle parochial interests in the name of the national good.”
MLI also released today a major paper by noted legal expert Ian Blue on a related topic, Free Trade within Canada: Say Goodbye to Gold Seal. In this latest paper, Blue argues that a single wrong-headed legal decision from Canada’s distant past has obscured and virtually destroyed our Constitution’s strong guarantees of free trade within the country.