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  • Betting on Bitumen: Alberta's energy policies from Lougheed to Klein June 8, 2017
    The role of government in Alberta, both involvement and funding, has been critical in ensuring that more than narrow corporate interests were served in the development of the province’s bitumen resources.  A new report contrasts the approaches taken by two former premiers during the industry’s early development and rapid expansion periods.  The Lougheed government invested […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Canada-China FTA will leave workers worse off June 2, 2017
    Global Affairs Canada is currently consulting Canadians on a possible Canada-China free trade agreement. In CCPA’s submission to this process, CCPA senior researcher Scott Sinclair argues that an FTA based on Canada’s standard template would almost certainly reinforce rather than improve upon Canada’s imbalanced and deleterious trade with China. It can also be expected to […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Faulty assumptions about pipelines and tidewater access May 30, 2017
    The federal and Alberta governments and the oil industry argue that pipelines to tidewater will unlock new markets where Canadian oil can command a better price than in the US, where the majority of Canadian oil is currently exported. Both governments have approved Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project, but a new report finds that […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Weathering the storm: is this the end of CRA’s political activities audits? May 5, 2017
    Yesterday, following a panel’s recommendation to allow charities more freedom to speak out, the federal government decided to suspend the Canada Revenue Agency’s controversial political activities audit program. Indeed this is good news for Canadian charities. Everyone at the CCPA is proud of the role our organization has played in challenging these audits and in […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Unauthorized dams built in BC's northeast for energy companies' fracking May 3, 2017
    A subsidiary of Malaysian state-owned Petronas, the company behind a massive Liquefied Natural Gas plant proposal near Prince Rupert, has built at least 16 large unauthorized dams in northeast BC to trap water used for fracking operations, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has learned. Read the report.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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TILMA and Medicare

An editorial in today’s Calgary Herald begins with the usual praise for TILMA, but ends by suggesting a new interprovincial deal on healthcare:

Yet, for Ottawa to attempt to remedy matters by intruding itself into relations between the provinces would not only provoke reflexive opposition but, even if carried through by force majeure, be unlikely to work.

Certainly, the Canada Health Act has not led to congruency among provincial health programs: Treatments approved in some provinces are not available in others, for instance, a reality that mocks the portability requirement of the act.

. . .

However, when two provinces agree to harmonize their standards while upholding their jurisdiction, the constitutional arguments are satisfied: The rest of the country should applaud their initiative and, it is to be hoped, seek to emulate their example.

. . .

First commerce, then health?

It is always advisable to walk, before attempting to run.

However, by attempting to show how mutual advantage can arise from friendly agreement, Canada’s two western provinces may turn out to be on the leading edge of a more efficient federalism.

The two governments deserve every encouragement in negotiating an agreement.

What does the Herald have in mind? The Canadian Press recently reported:

Alberta is taking a “leadership role” that he expects other provinces will follow, says the premier.

The strategy includes buying drugs with neighbouring provinces “on a much larger scale” to reduce costs, and using new labour mobility agreements to recruit doctors and nurses from other provinces.

Provincial governments co-operating to maximize their market power in buying pharmaceuticals is an excellent idea. However, progressives were proposing this approach long before corporate Canada’s latest round of hyperventilation about supposed “internal trade barriers”.

More generally, I suspect that many Canadians would not welcome the healthcare policies that Alberta’s Conservatives and BC’s Liberals would likely champion. Indeed, “the Canada Health Act has not led to congruency among provincial health programs” largely because these two provincial governments have aggressively deviated from this Act.

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