MLI’s Brian Lee Crowley says success of One Nation, One National Economy strategy will depend on government’s willingness to get tough with provinces

OTTAWA, Aug. 20, 2014 – Macdonald-Laurier Institute Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley today applauded the government for taking a first step towards knocking down barriers to provincial trade with the release of its One Canada, One National Economy strategy.

However he warns that the proposal will be ineffective if the government doesn’t back it up by getting tough with the provinces.

The government’s plan, released on Wednesday, calls for making changes to the document that governs trade within Canada.

It wants to either reform the 1994 Agreement on Internal Trade so it liberates the flow of goods and services or scrap the agreement altogether and replace it with a more effective document.

“Canadians should be encouraged that Ottawa is taking hold of the internal trade issue in a way they have not done for 20 years”, says Crowley. “In a country that wants to increase opportunities for and raise the incomes of its citizens, these barriers matter enormously”.

All of these efforts won’t matter, however, unless the federal government is willing to adopt measures that would compel the provinces to lower barriers.

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute has for a long time called on the federal government to create a charter of economic rights that the courts would use to force the premiers into action.

“What remains to be seen is if the Government of Canada is only going to talk, or if it is going to use its legitimate existing powers under the Constitution to push the internal free trade agenda forward”, says Crowley.

A paper Crowley co-authored, titled “Citizen of One, Citizen of the Whole”, explained why a charter of economic rights is the best way to deal with the interprovincial trade issue.

Crowley also wrote an op-ed for the Globe earlier this year explaining why the provincial efforts to lower barriers will continue to flounder without leadership from the federal government.

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Brian Lee Crowley is the managing director of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and the author of several books, including the Canadian Century and Fearful Symmetry: the fall and rise of Canada’s founding values.

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is the only non-partisan, independent national public policy think tank in Ottawa focusing on the full range of issues that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

For more information, please contact Mark Brownlee, communications manager, at 613-482-8327 x. 105 or email at mark.brownlee@macdonaldlaurier.ca. On Twitter @MLInstitute

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