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Innis Lecture: Canadian policies for broad-based prosperity


  • Daniel Trefler


Canadian policy makers operate in the fog of myth, a myth that has been repeated so often it is mistaken for truth. According to this myth there is only one path to prosperity, and if we are to successfully travel this path, first charted by Americans, then we must abandon our most disadvantaged. We must sacrifice our core Canadian values of community and caring on the altar of competitiveness. Yet the facts of the last three decades scream out against this myth. Over that time Canada's per capita GDP fell by almost 20% relative to the United States. And this sacrifice of prosperity did not make us a more caring society. Instead, it depleted our fiscal resources by a staggering $68 billion per year and left us without the wherewithal to take care of our most disadvantaged. In this paper I debunk the myth that there is a trade-off between a prosperous society and a caring society. In place of the myth I offer up a cohesive picture of what ails Canada and how we can cure it.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Trefler, 2008. "Innis Lecture: Canadian policies for broad-based prosperity," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1156-1184, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:41:y:2008:i:4:p:1156-1184

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