Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Federalism Upside Down

Don Lenihan and Graham Fox argue this morning that, under the Harper government,  federalism has been turned upside down:

The federal government seems to have opted for a more transactional approach to governance, concentrating on issues like border security, crime and natural resources. The Harper government seems uncomfortable with complex processes and relationships, so its guiding principle is to keep things as simple as possible.

By contrast, the Council of the Federation (COF) is emerging as a new kind of collaborative forum. The provinces are using it to build and test the strategies and coalitions they think governments need to solve complex issues. Premiers Robert Ghiz and Brad Wall’s effort on health care and Alison Redford’s push for a national energy strategy are examples.

True to their fundamentalist roots, the Harperites believe that all problems should be simple and require simple solutions. Unfortunately, the world has always been more complex than their philosophy acknowledges. That leaves the provinces to deal with the big problems -- health care, the environment, equal access to government services.

The Harper Conservatives have always been content to deal with the world as they wish it would be. But the federal government will not be able to withdraw from tough decisions forever. The question is, how long will Canada have to live with Conservative Denial?

At some point, the federation will have to be placed right side up.


Anonymous said...

To be honest, I'm ok if the Premiers want to get together and do something on their own. It's better than Harper taking the lead, I'm sure of that.

e.a.f. said...

I don't believe anything will change any time soon. Harper isn't going to meet with the premiers. He won't be able to handle all the ideas, etc.

It may not even matter what he says or does. If the premiers keep meeting with each other the P.M. will simply become irrelevant to the premiers & their provinces.

As stevie slime seperates Ottawa from areas they took a lead role in, why stay in Canada. Some premiers may decide they can go it alone, especially if quebec decides to leave.

stevie slime has decided they want to get out of the pension game, hence the added years of working. He is reducing what is sent to the provinces for health care. Not everyone is comfortable with Vickie wanting to check in on us through the ceiling. Why stay as a country if it isn't the country we know. If we leave, then we won't even need to vote stevie outof office. He cn be the P.M. of nothing.

We know we hve a ton of waste coming from Japan but Ottawa has done nothing to plan for it. It is the canadian coast, but that seems to have slipped stevie slime's mind. he wants to clean up afghanistan but the B.C. coast not so much. He closed 2 communications centres & a coast guard base in one of the major ports in north america. If Canada, being ruled by Harper, doesn't want to carry out the duties normally carried out by a federal government then why have a federal government. Could B.C. have its own coast guard, yes. Of course we would have to look at a few other things but the RCMP aren't that popular anyhow.

we won't have to worry about a military invasion & we won't have to worry about any pipelines going through B.C. to China. Hey a really good idea to leave Canada, we won't be a colony of China.

We will save a fortune on military. Not that some of the provinces/countries won't have their own but we won't be drawn into every war the Americans go into. Save money & lives.

Owen Gray said...

For the sake of the federation, Anon, the premiers have to fill the vacuum which Harper has left at the centre. They understand the fundamental Metis character of Canada.

I doubt that Harper has even read John Ralston Saul's book, "A Fair Country."

Owen Gray said...

What you've outlined, e.a.f, is Canadians' oldest fear -- that the country will fall apart, when the centre does not hold.

It would be ironic if the prime minister, seeking to concentrate power in his hands, facilitated the break up of the country.