While Canada continues to negotiate free trade agreements with numerous countries, the provinces continue to maintain obstacles to trade within our own borders. The Montreal Economic Institute and the CCF have listed the provinces from best to worst in a ranking of their openness to internal trade.
Canada was founded as a nation in part to eliminate the troublesome trade barriers that existed in preConfederation British North America. For example, in the Province of Canada, George Brown, a reform-minded politician from Canada West (now Ontario), remarked how a trip to Nova Scotia or New Brunswick was like going to a foreign country, where a “customs officer meets you at the frontier, arrests your progress, and levies his imposts on your effects.”
Despite the successful formation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867 out of disparate, divided provinces in British North America, and despite a constitutional clause that specifically endorsed unrestricted free trade among Canadians, the early desire of Brown, and also of Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir George-Étienne Cartier, and many others, remains unrealized 152 years after Confederation.
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