Saturday, November 10, 2007

Consitutionality

Okay, so there are people upset with me suggesting that Harper should bail out Canada's struggling cities. They argue it is unconstitutional. First of all, you can read the constitution in a lot of ways. For instance section 92.10 c states that local works and undertakings are a provincial responsibility EXCEPT :
"(c) Such Works as, although wholly situate within the Province, are before or after their Execution declared by the Parliament of Canada to be for the general Advantage of Canada or for the Advantage of Two or more of the Provinces."

To me this is a fairly broad exception and could certainly be applied to a whole host of things in Canada's cities. I could argue that ensuring the security of the Toronto Stock Exchange is in the "general advantage of Canada" and therefore the feds should pay part of the cost of the Toronto Police Force. I could argue that investments in public transit which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions are in the "general advantage of Canada" and therefore deserve federal funding. Hell, why not throw in literacy (public libraries) and public health (recreational facilities, garbage collection)? The Canadian economy needs healthy educated workers.

Even if you don't want to get picky, there's are a lot of things that fall under federal jurisdiction, particularly in the GTA. "Naturalization and Aliens" falls under section 91. Money for ESL programs, please and thank you. The feds have a responsibility in our cities. The provinces don't mind the intrusion. In fact Dalton McGuinty is begging for it. The constitution was framed by men like John A. Macdonald who that the provinces would wither and die within a few decades. We can certainly afford to cross some lines in light of modern circumstances.

4 comments:

Andy said...

But remember that the BNA Act section you're referring to isn't only about who pays for these things, but (rather) is stating who has jurisdiction and control over them. So what you're saying is essentially that you want to give Stephen Harper control over virtually everything that happens in the entire country, right down to garbage collection.

I'm delighted to hear that you repose such trust in our dear leader -- may I be the first to urge you to cross the blog floor (so to speak) to the blue side where it is clear that you belong anyway.

aginsberg said...

I don't think I'd be welcome on the other side of the aisle. I'm far too progressive. I'm not sure being pro-choice, anti-death penalty (anywhere in the world), pro-universal child care, for saving the planet now (if opposed to Kyoto) and pro-gay marriage would synch well with Canada's New Tories. Like many good Liberals, I am socially progressive and economically conservative. Governing is about balance, not ideological grand schemes be they socialist or neo-liberal.

On to the more substantive side of things, we have a model for the federal government to fund things it isn't really responsible for. It's called health care. I would have no objection to the feds taking the lead in paying for new public transit in our cities in the same manner as they pay for doctors and nurses. As Gerard Kennedy says, the feds need to be funding programs to help new immigrants. Even Mr. Harper kind of agrees on that point. As for garbage, I was using hyperbole to demonstrate that the constitution is not as rigid as some people may think.

Andy said...

Well we could start you off in the Red Tory area, while you completed your training.

Andy said...

Surely the feds are funding all sorts of programs to help new immigrants, and they are also funding the Vaughan subway line.

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