- Frances Russell comments on the Canada which the Harper Cons are determined to destroy. But the more important point looks to me to be less any theory of constitutionalism than the desire to have governments be as ineffective as possible at all levels:
Harper, the man who co-authored the infamous 2000 Alberta firewall letter, abhors the 1982 Canadian Constitution and its Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He is a strict constitutional constructionist. He believes in the Canada of Confederation in 1867 when Ottawa managed defence, foreign affairs, fisheries, the currency and penitentiaries and the provinces looked after matters of a local nature.- If there's anything the Cons can abide less than public broadcasting, it's Rights and Democracy. Which is why the former is merely being cut, while the latter is meeting with a wrecking ball.
Unfortunately for Canadians, what were local matters 145 years ago now constitute government's biggest, most expensive and important programs -- health, education and social assistance. The notion that 10 provinces and three territories of vastly different size and wealth can be left to finance them on their own assisted by an equalization program whose future is now in doubt as it comes under increasing attack from the right, is simply a prescription for growing disparity -- and disunity.
It was all predictable. During his years with the libertarian National Citizens' Coalition, the prime minister seldom hid his disdain for Canada and Canadians. "Canada appears content to become a second-tier socialistic country, boasting ever more loudly about its economy and social services to mask its second-rate status," he told the National Post in December 2000. In 1997, he asked an American audience not to "feel particularly bad" for Canada's unemployed. "They don't feel bad about it themselves, as long as they're receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance."
Most ominously in light of Thursday's budget, he told an NCC audience in 1994 that: "Whether Canada ends up with one national government or two governments or 10 governments, the Canadian people will require less government no matter what the constitutional status or arrangement of any future country might be."
- Meanwhile, Andrew Coyne, Bruce Anderson and John Ibbitson tear into the Cons for their combination of deception and incompetence in continuing to push F-35s long after they should have been well aware their talking points were utterly nonsensical.
- Paul Wells comments on the hidden release of another report on Afghanistan as a symptom of all that's wrong with a government more focused on propagandizing than discussing what it's actually doing - and a media far too willing to play into that choice.
- Finally, Murray Mandryk notes that while the Cons can never expect the facts to be on their side, they can usually expect the Wall government to come to their rescue in the PR department.