Monday, September 05, 2011

Canada: A Maturing Federation

I am a Canadian Federalist. I believe the federal government should respect provincial jurisdictions. So does HM PM Harper. The dippers and grits are massive centralizers. Government at the local level understands the needs of people best and should be most responsive. Allowing provinces to try different things without federal interference in areas such as healthcare is a very good idea. It is what Our founding fathers ( and our founding Mother HLIM Queen Victoria) wanted.

We don’t have a comprehensive national strategy to fight global warming in part because this PM is skeptical of comprehensive national strategies. The same is true of social programs. Instead, the Harper government has concentrated on strengthening the things that Ottawa is expected to do on its own: national defence, foreign trade, the border.

There is one domestic area on which Conservatives do spend a lot of time: the economic union. The feds would like every province to harmonize its provincial sales tax with the GST. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has proposed a new national securities regulator. But in both cases, it is up to each province to opt in or opt out. (On the HST, British Columbia has managed to do both.)

Given these precedents, we can also expect Mr. Harper to be flexible on future health-care funding. There will be more money on the table – exactly how much over how many years is the question – but the Conservatives will likely eschew grand bargains. And if this premier or that wants to tinker with co-payments or parallel private care, the prime minister won’t rush to enforce the letter of the Canada Health Act.

1 comment:

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