Monday, April 18, 2005

Liberal York, as usual

This was in Saturday's National Post:

TORONTO - Michael Ignatieff, the Harvard scholar touted by some Liberals as their leader-in-waiting, yesterday called for a royal commission on fiscal federalism, telling a gathering of legal scholars that Canada is entering a constitutional "perfect storm," the cost of which will be national unity.

Wearing a Liberal-red tie to give his luncheon address at York University, Professor Ignatieff said the commission should "think long and hard about how to renew our federation's finances in the 21st century."

He lumped the most immediate constitutional threat, Quebec separatism, together with all the other federal-provincial-municipal tensions: from equalization squabbles with Alberta and Ontario, to Atlantic disputes over natural resources and the pleadings of cash-strapped cities.

"You can all see the doomsday scenario coming up," he said in the politically charged speech. "If this is a systemic crisis, we need to take this out of the political arena and
think systemically."

All of these crises, he said, have undermined the traditional separation of politics and the law by linking a party's political fortunes to its constitutional stance. The parties, in turn, serve regional interests before national unity and behave like "professional election machines" rather than vehicles for ideas, he said.

"We do not want our constitutional law to become a plaything of political forces," he said, citing the case of Quebec nationalists, who inevitably exclude 40% of the province's immigrant or anglophone population from their visions of francophone
self-determination.

"We have a battle on our hands, not just in Quebec, but in the rest of the country," he said. "We need some agile constitutional thinking. We need to think some very big, basic thoughts that we haven't thought for a generation.


Here's the problem: Party politics are party politics, and Quebec nationalism has been holding Canada hostage for three decades, which is sickening and contrary to what Canadians believe in: multiculturalism, diversity etc. We do have a serious problem in that the federal government has too much cash and power, and they seem to enjoy wasting it rather than sending it back to the provinces for things like education and health care. How can one huge federal government have any concept of what an entire country needs, especially the size of ours? If our hospitals are crumbling, it's because the federal Liberals saw fit to emboss Quebec golf balls with logos instead of hiring more nurses.

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