Too much power to the provinces


View Poll Results: Do you think the provinces have too much power?
Yes 7 58.33%
No 5 41.67%
Voters: 12. You may not vote on this poll

JonB2004
#1
Why does the federal government keep giving so much power to the provinces?

I think the provinces have too much power.


Give your opinion on this issue.
 
FiveParadox
Liberal
#2
I would agree with your assertion, JonB2004.

I think that the Provinces of Canada have come into too much power, through convention and disuse of the prerogatives of the Government of Canada; many of our Governments have given concessions upon concessions to the Provinces, and I think that in order to keep the union united and strong, we need to ensure that the Government of Canada speaks for the people of Canada, and that the Provinces exercise only those powers delegated to them — Canada was founded with the notion that the Government of Canada should have supremacy, in relation to its counterparts in right of the Provinces.

I think that a big part of this has been the deprecation of the authority of the Government of Canada to invoke a "veto", of sorts, on legislation from the Provinces which could be seen as damaging, or contrary to the interests of the union. A recent example of this situation could be the more recent promotion of the contentious "Third Way" suggestions by the Honourable Ralph Klein, M.L.A., the Member for Calgary—Elbow and the Premier of Alberta. In my opinion, our Government (and its counterparts in the House of Commons) acted as though there were nothing that could be done, other than to hope that the Government of Alberta had a change of heart (which, thank God, has happened). However, the Government of Canada should have had no reservations, in my opinion, in terms of threatening to invoke a veto through the House of Commons to prevent the enactment of such legislation that would be seen as contrary to the interests of the citizens of Canada. They have the right, as per the Constitution Act, 1867 to do so, and they shouldn't shy away from their authority when the situation would deem doing so to be appropriate.

Another change (however ineffective this change may have been in practice) which I think has given the Provinces too much power, has been the change of the offices of the Lieutenant Governors of the Provinces. At Confederation, these persons were representatives of the Government of Canada — however, through changes to convention, these persons have become representatives of Her Majesty the Queen of Canada themselves. This change — despite the change being of no effect to the day-to-day lives of citizens — has given the Provinces a courage to legislate contrary to the interests of Canada, moreso than they had ever had before. I think that the Lieutenant Governors should be just that — the lieutenants to the Governor General in each Province, ensuring that the interests of Canada are protected within the enactments of the Governments of the Provinces.

There's my opinion on the matter.
 
Hank C
#3
I think the exact opposite, the provinces should have more power. A less centralized government is better for Canada because this country is it soo large with a relatively small population. Thus smaller provinces fall victim to the masses in the larger provinces. Ex) gun laws which are logical for Toronto or Ontario by are silly for Saskatchewan or Alberta. More power to the provinces would ensure that all people of Canada are served better in our democracy
 
Jersay
#4
Decentralization in Canada is a bad idea.

Canada was created by the BNA to be a strong federation, centralized nation.

America was decentralized nation, had a civil war and now, is far more centralized than it would be in 1800.

Canada would not last with more decentralization.

However, it should be defined from the BNA or constitution what is provincial jobs and what are federal jobs.
 
jimmoyer
#5
Actually, this is a fascinating debate between
provinces and federal power.

I agree with both Hank C AND Jersay.

Rural society has a different way than urban society
and for this reason, provinces, like the states should
have some autonomy and equality.

But Canada remains stronger rather than divided.

And so you could accomplish both points of view
by giving the provinces equal representation in
the upper house, yet leave Ottowa in charge for
matters more common to all.

By the way, this is a never-ending debate in the
states where states do have equal representation
in the upper house.

But in the long run, I think this kind of system
of equal representation of the provinces in an upper
house will give parity to a rural outlook to an urban
outlook.
 
s_lone
#6
I don't mind having a relatively centralized Canada, but the issues have to be clear. The principles and spirit of the confederation must be respected and the provinces are in their full right to guard their rights and responsibilities. If you want things to change we have to renegociate the nature of our union. But right now, their is nothing abnormal about decentralization of a huge and diverse country like Canada.

We can be both centralized and decentralized. We need an intelligent and well defined balance of both.
 
Jay
#7
I thought we settled this in 1867.
 
s_lone
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by Jay

I thought we settled this in 1867.

Right. People should at least have a basic idea of how their country functions.
 
Jay
#9
So you agree with me?
 
s_lone
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by Jay

So you agree with me?

Well I agree with you in the sense that the country should respect its basic principles. Provinces should have full control over their own jurisdictions as established in the confederation. The federal government should not swell and take over these jurisdictions.
 
Jay
#11
That's how I feel, and I think we are way off course.
 
s_lone
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by Jay

That's how I feel, and I think we are way off course.

Being from Quebec, I agree with you. The seperatist threat would greatly be reduced if Ottawa truly backed away and took care of its own business. But I understand it's not as simple as that. Other people have a different vision of what this country should be but I just wish they had the courage to truly put the debate out in the open. The Constitutional debate will have to be reopened one day or another.
 
Jay
#13
I'm glad we agree here, because I meet very few people who do.

I blame Liberals and the like.

The whole separation issue would go away if the Liberal view of Federalism just went away IMO.
 
Hank C
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by s_lone

Quote: Originally Posted by Jay

That's how I feel, and I think we are way off course.

Being from Quebec, I agree with you. The seperatist threat would greatly be reduced if Ottawa truly backed away and took care of its own business. But I understand it's not as simple as that. Other people have a different vision of what this country should be but I just wish they had the courage to truly put the debate out in the open. The Constitutional debate will have to be reopened one day or another.

From Quebec to Alberta to Newfoundland, I think the country would be stronger and the threat of seperation less if the provinces were given more power. Equalization seems to be the cause of the problem as different deals are made with different provinces, and provinces want more and more for nothing. Its like an investment, would you take your money and invest in something with no prospects, then why would you do it with provinces.
 
Jay
#15
I'm all for helping other provinces that require some and Ontario should have a post where we discuss issues like this with the other provinces. We should decide how much goes to whom, when. We don't need the federal government doing it, and we should suspend all direct taxation out of Ontario to the feds. That would do it right there.
 
jimmoyer
#16
No one wants provinces to have equal representation
in an upper house ?
 
FiveParadox
Liberal
#17
I don't think that each Province of Canada should have the same number of representatives in the Senate; however, we could introduce a body, such as a Senate Committee on the Provinces' Interests, which would be comprised of one Senator from each Province (where possible, party representation would be approximated to represent that in the Senate). When the Senate receives legislation that concerns the Provinces, perhaps a convention could be carried, whereby after the report stage (from a legislative committee), such a piece of legislation would stand referred to that Committee of the Provinces' Interests, instead of going directly to third reading?
 
jimmoyer
#18
I don't see where your reasoning gives each province
equal parity. Perhaps you simply don't want
each province on an equal standing ?

The lower house can represent population.
Upper house the equality of each province.
 
Jay
#19
I don't think we need to amend the constitution over it.
 
FiveParadox
Liberal
#20
My suggestion (a committee of some sort to represent the interests of the provinces) would not require a change to the Constitution Act, 1867; on the other hand, changing the representation in the Upper House would (and would require the consent of at least seven legislatures, representing at least one-half of the population [excluding the territories] — which isn't going to happen, since the Provinces of Ontario and Québec are both given twenty-four Senators at the moment).
 
Hank C
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by jimmoyer

No one wants provinces to have equal representation
in an upper house ?

I would have absolutely no problem with equal representation in the senate....rep by pop would be better for the lower house though
 
Hank C
#22
I just cant understand why it would be soo unfair. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland have a combined population of what, barely over 2 million. Thats not even the population of Alberta, but they have 30 seats. Now combine Alberta and BC which together have a population between 7-8 million, yet we only have 12 seats???? Hell Newfoundland dosent even have half a million people yet they have as many seats as Alberta??? The way I see it the system is seriously flawed.

But having said that I will admit that since I have only been living in Canada for a few years, I am not well informed on why the senate is formed this way. Anyone care to explain it to me????
 
Jay
#23
This is a good read.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Senate
 
jimmoyer
#24
Informative link.

The mostly powerless Senate already gives equal
seats to each province. And Quebec and Ontario
have mostly opposed any plan to give the Senate
equal standing to the House of Commons.

Looks like Hank C's complaint is about unexplained
proportional population representation in the House
of Commons.

By why not give the Senate real power equal to
the House ?

Then provinces would have real equality at least
in the upper chamber.
 
FiveParadox
Liberal
#25
Provinces would not have "equality" in the Upper House, even if the powers of the Senate were exercised to their maximum extent (in theory, the Senate at the moment is more-or-less equal to the House of Commons — their powers are simply rarely exercised); the provinces do not have the same number of representatives in the Red Chamber, therefore they would not be "equal".
 
Hank C
#26
So basically what happend was that they decided to divide the country up into 4 regions (Ontario,Quebec,West,Maritimes) and give them equal senate seats, 24 each. So back then was it representative of the population, did Ontario and Quebec have equal population, did the Maritimes have equal population with the West? or was is flawed from the start? Was Newfoundland offered 6 senate seats as an incentive to join Canada?
 
FiveParadox
Liberal
#27
Hank C, when Confederation was created with the British North America Act in 1867, it was intended for the House of Commons to represent the population, and for the Senate to represent the regions of the nation (hence the "twenty-four Senators per region" strategy).
 
bluealberta
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by Jay

I'm glad we agree here, because I meet very few people who do.

I blame Liberals and the like.

The whole separation issue would go away if the Liberal view of Federalism just went away IMO.

Jay, you got my support as well. There are certain powers allocatted to the provinces, but over time, especially since 1968, the feds have intruded into these areas of jurisdiction. The provinces, in my opinion, know much better how to deal with their own citizens than a centralized government in Ottawa does. I fully support Harper in his efforts to get Ottawa out of the business of the provinces.
 
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