Saturday, August 11, 2007

Up Is Down

It is almost funny when you think about. The federal government arguing for limiting the federal role, the provinces arguing for the federal role. Up is down:

Canadian premiers foreshadowed a coming clash with Prime Minister Stephen Harper Friday over his pledge to diminish Ottawa's role in creating national social programs, warning that poorer Canadians could suffer.

"I'm a bit concerned about it. Are we talking about preventing the federal government from at some point in the future setting up social programs like daycare or pharmacare? Because I don't support that," Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said as the premiers wrapped up their annual meeting.

"I'm a proud Ontarian. Proud to lead this province. But I'm a proud Canadian first."

Manitoba Premier Gary Doer said he doesn't believe in duplication of spending, "but I also believe in the role of the national government to have the ability to redistribute opportunities and equity for regions in Canada that need it."

In the natural order, it is the job of the federal government to act as a check on ever demanding, power hungry provinces. However, when you have a Prime Minister who shows a distaste for the relevance of his own organ, the balance is lost. It is remarkable that it is left to the Premiers, who are generally narrow in their concerns, to argue the case for cohesion and national presence. The fact that the conversation has taken this form, should be considered a disgrace, because it demonstrates the lack of a real Prime Minister of Canada, who can speak above the regional noise.

UPDATE Woman At Mile 0, on the same topic.


Anonymous said...

Up is down unless your Quebec. It's really amazing how much damage a government can do to a country (when they really try) in just a short amount of time.

Steve V said...

And, you can't really blame Charest, because Harper is the one that has created all the expectations. A lot of damage, and still "new" :)

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I am too against the idea of further decentralization. I think we are already too decentralized as it is. That being said living in Ontario, growing up in British Columbia, and having family in Alberta, I am able to see all sides of the issue.

I think the biggest problem that has led to people pushing for greater decentralization is all too often politicians go after a certain region to gain votes in another. If politicians started doing what was best for all of Canada instead of pitting region against region, I think there would be less support for further decentralization.

Steve V said...


I agree, it is the job of the government to convey the impression that they work equally for all Canadians, as opposed to the regional pandering in search of votes. This circumstance might wane naturally, as seat allocation starts to change the electoral math.