Alex Massie

Three Cheers for Canada

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And for Honduras too. Ottawa and Tegucicalpa are considering founding a Charter City in Honduras. As Paul Romer - the NYU professor at the head of the Charter City movement - explained in the Globe and Mail yesterday:

Honduran congressional support for the RED reflects a clear understanding of the challenges the country faces. Inefficient rules are the major obstacle to peace, growth and development. These rules are difficult to change, especially in a society that suffers from fear and mistrust. Building a new city on an undeveloped site, free of vested interests, with trusted third parties, is one way to fast-track reforms that might otherwise take decades to achieve.

[...] The world does not need more aid [...] it needs more Canada – more of the norms and know-how that lead to the rule of law, true inclusion and real opportunity for all. Because only people who want to live under the RED’s new system of rules would choose to move there, Canada’s presence would not only be welcome but legitimate.

By working together, Canada and Honduras can do what traditional aid can’t: offer people a chance to live and work in a safe and well-run city, one that provides economic opportunities for Canadians and Hondurans alike, and one that has the potential to inspire reform in the rest of Honduras and throughout the region.

This is a fine start and this venture deserves support. Canada should sign-up for this. One would like to think that the FCO and Department for International Aid might be similarly imaginative and look to how the Charter City movement could be used to aid the poorest parts of the world.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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