Geir Haarde, Prime Minister of Iceland, gave the John Kenneth Galbraith Lecture in public policy at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland on April 15th. His outline of how Iceland went from poverty to prosperity in less than two generations is an inspiration to the ambitions of small nations. In Newfoundland, the “Iceland Model” is a Holy Grail for politicians but they have a mental block when it comes to the reality that Newfoundland does not have control over certain economic policy that Iceland, as sovereign state, has and can make “top-level” policy to direct their economy. Fisheries management is only one example. While on the surface, Newfoundland and Iceland may appear to have a lot in common, in reality, they are two different planets. The nationalist minded in Newfoundland eye Iceland doe-eyed as the future Newfoundland never had. Of course, that's assuming Newfoundland politicians were altruistic and smart enough to make intelligent decisions. If Iceland is a success story and Newfoundland is not, then I guess the evidence is that they were not. This is the subject of my column in this weeks Sunday edition of the Halifax Chronicle Herald.
Photo by Greg Locke © 2008