Ten days ago, The Globe and Mailâ€™s online edition included an excellent op-ed by Murray Dobbin debunking the notion that supposed inter-provincial trade barriers necessitate TILMA. Unfortunately, The Globe followed it with an editorial endorsing TILMA in Fridayâ€™s print edition:
How to bulldoze a wall
The Globe And Mail
Friday, January 18, 2008
The provinces do not have to rely solely on federal action to shield Canada from the worst of the Americansâ€™ deepening economic woes. Premiers have only to look in their own backyards, where barriers to interprovincial trade stubbornly persist despite decades of wishy-washy promises to curb them. Those barriers have shaved at least $3-billion a year from the gross domestic product – one-quarter of 1 per cent of the value of the entire economy. Thatâ€™s a huge penalty to pay for a host of petty protections.
Interprovincial hurdles are so extensive that, to the amazement of Ottawaâ€™s new competition policy review panel, the federal government does not even have an inventory. . . .
The difficulty that TILMA supporters have had in producing a list of alleged interprovincial barriers surely suggests a shortage of concrete examples. However, The Globe strangely tries to cast the nonexistence of such a list as evidence that many barriers must exist.
In the absence of a list, one wonders how anyone could have calculated that the unidentified barriers cost “at least $3-billion a year”. TILMA supporters used to claim that the deal would add $4.8 billion to BCâ€™s economy by citing a thoroughly discredited Conference Board study. The new strategy is apparently to keep repeating that removing all barriers would add $3 billion to Canadaâ€™s economy without specifically citing any study.
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