Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Our federal system of government

Joe Hueglin wrote:



Stephen Harper, Leader of the new Conservative Party of Canada, Prime Minister of Canada has been given the following attributes,
"Stephen Harper’s a hard-ass because he has his views, he has his principles, he has his visions and he’s prepared to stand by it and not be bowed and intimidated by people,” Emerson said."

Stephen Harper has stated "
In our federal system of government, the provinces are supposed to be autonomous in their areas of jurisdiction, and that is a principle that guides all Conservatives,"

The following are alterations to be made in reshaping national/provincial relationships implementing the principle of provincial autonomy "all Conservatives accept" ,"
Essential elements of the new Conservative approach include scrupulous respect for provincial jurisdictions, restricting federal spending intrusions into areas of provincial competence, settling the fiscal imbalance between federal and provincial governments, and giving provinces a voice in international forums that deal with matters of provincial concern."

Stephen Harper's areas of "provincial competence", the "areas of jurisdiction" in which each province is autonomous, into which the national government cannot intrude have not been defined in the present but have been in the past.

Given his nature as described by Emerson his "views" and "visions" will not have altered. What were called in 1995
New Confederation proposals " are the same only they are now being presented as Open Federalism.

On 19 January 2006 "
Harper said it's time for the federal government to "get on" with running its own levels of jurisdiction properly. He said Ottawa should be focusing on issues like international treaties, foreign aid, national defence and the economic union. . . .I'm not advocating any kind of radical devolution"

What is radical and reasonable differs for each of us.

Following are Stephen Harper's views on what constitute provincial jurisdictions as stated on 14 October 1995

To me they constitute a radical alteration in the ways of life of our nation .

An article yesterday stated "
you either like his government or you're part of the problem. And if you don't like the way things are, you can either "get used to it," or just try to challenge him."

Please accept this as a challenge. Decide whether you accept the reshaping of our Canada through Open Federalism being implemented or not - and, should you not whether you are prepared to "get used to it".

Joe Hueglin

October 14, 1995

Reform presents New Confederation proposals

OTTAWA - Reform Party Leader Preston Manning and unity critic Stephen Harper today presented Reform's New Confederation proposals, a package of 20 measures to modernize and .decentralize Canada.

"Our proposals would permit future governments to respond more effectively to the needs of ordinary Canadians by reducing Ottawa's centralizing powers, which are historically a frustration to those both inside and outside Quebec," said Manning.

Among the 20 proposals, Reform would guarantee provincial control over natural resources, language and culture. Reform would also change the federal role in regards to provincially administered social services such as welfare, education and health care. Reform would foster, cooperative agreements rather than impose unilateral standards by threatening to withhold federal funding.

' "We propose measures which will assert the autonomy of all provinces and the power of the people well into the future," said Harper. "Canadians have long been concerned about concentrating too much power in the hands. of the federal executive and cabinet. Canadians are demanding a new and more accountable system of government."

Each of the 20 changes proposed by the Reform party could be accomplished without comprehensive federal-provincial negotiations of the sort that led to the failed Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords, In all cases, Reform's New Confederation proposals simply require a federal government that is willing to act.

"Canadians want change, not more constitutional wrangling " said Harper. Reform's proposals can be accomplished without re-opening old constitutional wounds ".

Reforms proposals would retain key federal powers to maintain a common economic space, eliminate internal trade barriers, create and coordinate important areas of economic regulations and represent Canada effectively in international trader negotiations, defence and foreign affairs.

Canadians told us they want Canada to be a balanced and equal federation in which Ottawa plays a cooperative rather than domineering role" added Harper. This is what we propose. There will be no special status, formally or informally, for Quebec or any other province.

Reforms New Confederation proposals include:

Natural Resources
Guarantee exclusive provincial control,

Manpower Training
Guarantee exclusive provincial control.

Social Services
Change the role of the federal government to foster cooperative Interprovincial agreements
rather than imposing unilateral standards by withholding transfer payments.

Replace the Official Languages Act with a new law, the Regional Bilingualism Act, that would
recognize the demographic and linguistic realities of Canada and the practices of provincia1

Make provincial governments the primary providers and guardians of cultural services and
primary regulators of cultural industries.

Municipal Affairs
Strengthen the role of municipal governments in the delivery of essential services.

Guaranteed exclusive provincial control.

Guarantee exclusive provincial control.

Sports and Recreation
Guaranteed exclusive provincial control,

Spending Power
Forbid new Federal spending programs in provincial jurisdictions.

Transfers to the Provinces
Replace federal cash block grants with tax point grants.

Charter Challenges
End the Court Challenges program and tax-funded court challenges of provincial legislation.

Disallowance, Reserve and Declaratory Powers
Remain dormant under a Reform government.


House of Cornmons .
Permit greater freedom for individual MPs; wider use of referenda, citizens initiatives
and recall.

Senate of Canada
All future appointments to the Senate would be made by means of elections on the model of the
1989 Alberta Senate selection process,

Supreme Court and Judiciary
Future appointments to the Supreme Court of Canada would be made by the provincial
legislatures; all appointments reviewed by elected Senate.

Bank of Canada
Future board appointments made by provincial Legislatures. Ottawa would continue to select.
the Governor of the Bank.

Lieutenant Governors
Appointed by provincial legislatures.

Tax, Debt and Expenditure Limitation
Unilaterally amend the Constitution to forbid deficit spending or rapid spending increases,
except when authorized by a national referendum.

Constitutional Referendums
Introduce a motion in the House of Commons that all future constitutional amendments must
be approved by majorities in all regions of Canada through a referendum.

For further information please contact: Larry Welsh (613) 492-2815
Line Maheux (613) 943-0030