In June, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute released a study paper, Citizen of One, Citizen of the Whole. We pointed out that domestic trade barriers were costly to individual Canadians, business and government and we called for an enforceable Economic Charter of Rights. Today, in a Globe and Mail piece titled The Trade Walls that Divide Us, Barrie McKenna writes,
"All levels of government are guilty, and all of us pay the price. A recent back-of-the-envelope calculation by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute puts the tally of internal trade barriers at 0.5 per cent of GDP, or $8-billion a year. Getting rid of them would put nearly $1,000 into the pockets of a family of four."
McKenna also points out that the issues raised in Citizen of One are gaining traction in our business community:
"And after years of waiting on the sidelines, the business community appears to be getting agitated again about internal trade. A broad coalition of groups that includes CGAs, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters is pushing for federal "open trade" legislation, a permanent trade tribunal with teeth, and implementation of all those past rulings that provinces have ignored.
That's a good start."
We at MLI agree.
But, it is just a start, as McKenna concludes, "A federal government that stands up and demands one country free of petty and costly internal walls would be even better." Or, as we put it in Citizen of One, "The federal government has the duty and the power to undo this harm."
Posted by George Young