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Fighting western alienation

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Dr. Jack M. Mintz, President and ceo of the Toronto-based C.D. Howe Institute spoke on the issues of Western Canadian alienation and the need for federal policies that promote economic growth on a national scale for the Canadian Club of Calgary, Tue, Jan 13.

"As long as public policies are designed to buy votes in certain regions rather than to promote efficiency and effectiveness, we can count on a continuation of the political warfare among provinces and regions that threatens the very fabric of our nation," said Dr. Mintz.

As the first of two "fronts" in fighting regional alienation, Dr. Mintz advocates the use of federal spending on programs to enhance productivity in every region of Canada. According to Dr. Mintz, Western alienation stems largely from economic policy that benefits certain regions at the expense of others, and results in a lack of efficiency and productivity-growth on the whole.

"All regions have a stake in creating a larger economic pie and, if that were to happen, Western alienation and regionalism in general would be substantively eased," stated Dr. Mintz.

The second "front" involves enhancing trade opportunities for every region in Canada. A vocal supporter of free trade, Dr. Mintz warned against protectionism, and emphsized the need for Ottawa to further strengthen relations with the United States, "our most important trading partner."

"Through cooperative efforts, each region of Canada, with the strong involvement of Ottawa, can generate overall economic prosperity by enlarging the national pie rather than crumbling it," urged Dr. Mintz.

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