Alberta most economically free province, says Fraser Institute report

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The right-wing Fraser Institute think tank is out with the 11th edition of its annual report on the economic freedom of various North American political jurisdictions.

All American states and Canadian provinces are rated on a ten point scale at two levels: sub-national and all-government.

The sub-national index captures the impact of restrictions by state or provincial governments, as well as local governments, but the all-government index includes restrictions by the federal government, and facilitates comparison of jurisdictions in different countries.

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The Institute also notes that after a strenuous research effort in Mexico overcame a lack of data and data incompatibility it was included for the second consecutive year in the integrated index, rather than rated separately from the American states and Canadian provinces.

Now speaking of the Canadian provinces, in the world-adjusted all-government index, Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan were the top three jurisdictions. On the aforementioned 10 point scale, they scored 8.1, 7.9, and 7.8, respectively.

By comparison, the lowest-ranked Canadian provinces are Quebec and Prince Edward Island at 7.4 — tied for 57th with New York.

It’s important to note measuring economic freedom deals with the extent to which jurisdictional policies are supportive of it. In other words, the ability of individual residents to act in an economic sphere free of undue restrictions.

However, it’s also important to note that the most recent data available for these measurements is most often at least two years behind the reporting period, and therefore — using 2013 data — the Alberta score in the 2015 report may be significantly skewed.

That’s because the newly elected NDP government has announced a slew of policy and regulatory changes which, according to the Institute, have collectively made Albertans much less economically free. It says that in turn raises the possibility, that when those changes are integrated into future rankings, Alberta’s standing could be profoundly impacted.

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