Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Restoring Federalism

I do not like the 1982 constitution. The charter of rights and freedoms has made things worse not better.It has given enormous power to unelected judges and in many ways has allowed the nanny state ever more power. The rise of separatism is a direct result of trudeau's self serving folly.
Restoring the Fedralism imagined by our founding documents, is a good idea. This should keep trudeau spinning in his grave ever faster.

Even before 1982, Ottawa had been spending money in areas of provincial jurisdiction and justifying its activity on the basis of the spending power. This power is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. It rests on legal sophistry first advanced by Frank Scott of McGill University that the federal government is a legal person called "the Crown in right of Canada" who can make gifts to citizens or to the provinces, with or without attached strings.

The practical outcome of the embedded state and the use of the spending power was called executive federalism. It was institutionalized in first ministers' conferences that brought together elected political executives, but also on occasion lobby groups such as the Assembly of First Na tions. There was seldom any input from either citizens or regular legislators. The chief consequence was that the lines of federal and provincial jurisdiction and responsibility were blurred beyond discernment. Occasionally, as with such egregiously ill-considered proposals as the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords, there was sufficient opposition from legislators and citizens to check the executive.

Here is a statistic: both Pierre Trudeau and Brian Mulroney on average held well over one such meeting a year. Stephen Harper has called one meeting in five years.

Harper has made it clear on several occasions that individuals, not governments, are chiefly responsible for how we lead our lives. From child-care policy, property rights for status Indians or ending taxpayer support for political parties, the Harper government has pursued a strategic objective to dis-embed the federal state from the lives of citizens. This is why the Canadian Wheat Board is going the way of the long-gun registry.

Less remarked upon is the effort of the government to dismantle executive federalism. In the closing weeks of 2011, two events helped push the country in the direction of what might be called classical federalism, the federalism described in sections 91 and 92 of the old British North America Act, now called the Constitution Act (1867).

First was the Dec. 19 announcement by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to the provincial and territorial ministers that health-care transfers would level off over the next few years. This was a unilateral and final decision. More important, Flaherty said there would be no restrictions on how the provinces spent the money. Health-care delivery was a provincial responsibility, period. So ended half a century of coercion by Ottawa in the name of spurious national standards.


Roy Elsworth said...

and yet we can't even take a look at the charter or rites and freedom
I remember a certain reformer named Ted White saying we have to take another look at the charter of rites and freedom and maybe modernize it. you think that went over well. liberals pointed and said Hidden Agenda Hidden Agenda
and Were racist and the media played rite along. personally I agree with you.

Sean M said...

This is a great piece Dr. Roy. There is no doubt in my mind that "Pierre's Charter" imprisons the country into an ideological straightjacket, and anyone who disagrees, or raises concerns over "Pierre's Charter" is immediately branded a radical. The imposition of "Pierre's Charter" was one of the many un-democratic, authoritarian pieces of legislation that warped lunatic Turdo ever imposed. "Pierre's Charter" has turned our judicial system of Common law into a basket case, and essentially over rides the Magna Carta, from which the BNA Act was born. Canadians were never allowed to vote on "Pierre's Charter" and were largely kept in the dark to it's sweeping distortions of history and it's autocratic usurping of the powers entrusted within the House of Commons, and handed to unelected "judges'. "Pierre's Charter" is a diseased, seriously flawed document, imposed by a diseased minded, seriously flawed man-child.

I Support Lord Black