Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Headwaiter To The Provinces

Back in 2008, Lawrence Martin wrote that Stephen Harper had truly become headwaiter to the provinces.  The phrase, originally coined by Pierre Trudeau to mock Joe Clark and the Conservative vision of the country, was Stephen Harper's prime directive. Martin wrote:

The firewall guy has curbed the federal spending power, he's corrected the so-called fiscal imbalance in favour of the provinces, he's doled out new powers to Quebec and now, if we are to believe Mr.[Lawrence] Cannon, more autonomy is on the way for one and all.

Mr. Harper has always favoured a crisp reading of the Constitution. He has always been - and now it really shows - a philosophical devolutionist.

His nation-of-duchies approach will drive Canadian traditionalists bananas. They will see it not as nation building, but nation scattering.

The Revolutionaries of the  Right have been devoted to devolution for a long time. The late Eugene Forsey  understood their game plan. He  called them "province worshippers:"

“… (T)he voice of the province-worshipper is loud in the land … If the province-worshippers have their way, there will be no real Canada, just a boneless wonder. The province worshippers are reactionaries. They would turn back the clock 100 years or more. They would make us again a group of colonies, American colonies this time, with a life poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

And they have been accomplishing their objectives. We are well on our way to becoming a boneless wonder. Frances Russell writes that, after dismantling medicare and pensions, the Right's next target is equalization:

Needless to say, equalization doesn’t sit well with the Canadian Right. Both it and the federal spending power are burrs under the Right’s saddle because they believe it — and the spending power — are largely responsible for the postwar expansion of the Canadian state.

In the end, that's what the Harperites want to do -- kill the Canadian state.


Lorne said...

I remember many years ago, Owen, when Pierre Trudeau, of whom I was not a big fan, asked the question, "Who will speak for Canada?" in defense of a strong central government.

I guess the respnse the right-wing has is, 'What Canada?'

Owen Gray said...

Precisely, Lorne. And what today's Conservatives forget is that it wasn't just Trudeau who believed in a strong central government. So did John A. Macdonald.

After all, Macdonald had seen what Jefferson Davis had done to the union south of the border.

Anonymous said...

Indeed what Canada? However, provinces are content to stay in Harper's Canada, and be sold down the road to Communist China.

Harper is no Conservative, never was. He was Policy Chief of his, Northern Foundation Party of 1989. That exactly how far back, Harper's destruction of Canada surfaced. 24 years ago.

Canadians are very well known for, sleeping through absolutely everything. Harper counts on our stupidity.

No-one could even wake-up to, CSIS warning of Communist China's huge inroads into Canada. BC saw the danger because...Harper's favorite henchman Gordon Campbell, sold BC out to Red China long ago. No-one listened to nor supported, the BC people. BC citizens knew, China owned our mines and mine jobs. Campbell had China send their people to school, to learn 100 English words so, China could take those jobs. No-one listened. Now there are nine new mines and mine expansions, coming into Northern BC. Who gets those jobs? BC and Canadian miners, or $800 per month Chinese miners?

Same at the tar sands. $800 per month Chinese oil workers.

Harper is planning Communist China, in the rich resources of the High Arctic. Wonder who gets those jobs?

Too damned late to wake-up now.

Owen Gray said...

I admit that things are pretty grim. Anon. But I keep hoping that Canadians will get tired of being played for chumps.

Dana said...

It only matters how tired we are in mid 2015.

The voters of Canada have already demonstrated their stupidity and their apathy.

I actually saw people calling for an election in late 2011 - and apparently believing that all they had to do was call loudly enough. Complete ignorance of how our system works in majority scenarios.

At this point I want to see some kind of evidence that Canada and Canadians are worth bothering about.

Owen Gray said...

It's depressing to see how little Canadians understand about how their system of government works, Dana. During the last election Harper's bloviating about "separatist coalitions" was a case in point.

Even though he had suggested the same kind of arrangement to bring down the Martin government, a lot of Canadians bought his flapdoodle.