Stephen Harper is so far from the Canadian mainstream, that no matter how far he is personally capable of moving to the center of Canada’s political spectrum, he himself could probably never move far enough to satisfy the majority of Canada’s two most populated provinces. And that’s too bad.
As a resident and tax payer of Ontario, I would imagine that I should really consider supporting Harper and the Canadian Alliance, since he wants Canada to get out of the business of supporting the provinces and many of Canada’s social programs.
To me, this could mean substantially less transfer payments and welfare to the HAVE NOT provinces. And as an Ontarian, it probably would probably mean paying much less in taxes. This prospect should make me happy. But; it does not.
Canada is not a world-beater. But; nonetheless, we have a pretty good country, mostly because of Ottawa’s social programs. Take this influence away from the provinces, and you will eliminating much of what makes living within Canada worthwhile.
One would think, as Harper does, that the Quebec government would welcome his ideas for decentralizing Canada, since it would give “Distinctland” a much greater grip on controlling the “sovereignty” of its “nation”. But; Harper, I believe, is in for a rather rude awakening.
Quebecers love their transfer payments, the grants and all the other federal perks they receive en masse. Even, and especially the Separatist Nationalists. Harper is misreading Quebec when he thinks Quebec wants to be free from Ottawa’s largesse. What Quebec wants to be free from, is Ottawa. Not the money.
Quebec has perfected the “knife at the federal throat” approach, in order to squeeze for themselves as much federal money as is possible, by threatening to leave the country, if they don’t get; as former Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau once said: “our share of the BOOTY”. Does anyone really believe that Quebec wants to change this?
If Harper thinks he is going to win Québécois support by turning off the federal money tap, he’s got another think coming. The same can also be said for the Maritimes, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Most remarkably, Canada’s largest province, Ontario, which seems to have the most to gain from cutting off the rest of Canada, seems to be the least interested in doing so. Even though the tax savings potential for Ontario tax-payers could be huge.
A real country is more than just about the cost of doing business. It is about national integration and pan national standards. All of which demands sacrifices and concessions from the HAVE provinces, in order to maintain balance and stability for the HAVE NOT provinces.
Without a strong central government, Canada would collapse upon its own distorted distribution of wealth, leaving extreme poverty throughout much of the country. And no matter how great a diminished federal government might appear to be to Albertans and British Columbians, it would be a reality that would destroy Canada.
I agree wholeheartedly, that Ottawa, as well as all the provincial and municipal governments should get out of our face, and operate with a great deal more honesty, efficiency and transparency. But; that does not mean killing much of the country to do it.
The way Canada governs itself needs fundamental changes. But; not by gutting the developed principles of Confederation. What Canada needs, is a far more responsible system of Parliament, where elected members answer more to the people than to their party whips.
We have to get rid of the preponderance of government, and eliminate irrelevant institutions such as the Senate as it currently exists. Canada can cut much of its red tape and civil service bureaucracy, and many of its costly and intrusive ministerial portfolios, enabling Canada to pay off its debt, while maintaining high standards for social programs without harming the social fundamentals of the country.
Canada should also close the door completely to corporate welfare. Something Stephen Harper espouses as do most Canadians. There is much of Stephen Harper’s ideas with which I agree. But; throwing out the baby with the dirty bath-water is not one of them.
I sincerely hope that Harper has the stuff to recognize that Canada is not a country that should be divided along regional borders and wealth. If he can move more towards recreating the political system, rather than our federal/provincial relationships, perhaps I could find myself supporting him.
God knows, I will not support the Liberals or Conservatives under Joe Clark. And as far as supporting the NDP; everyone needs a good laugh.