Canada: constitutional confusion

Where you live in the country and where your personal politics reside has a lot to do with how supportive one might be of our current federal government.

But, it would be very difficult to take issue with the success of the economy or the levels of support, both fiscally and spiritually, the Liberals have provided to business and industry. Even the current SNC Lavalin scandal is related to swaying government support for a business.

On the policy side, if you personally support petroleum production in Canada, it is hard to argue with buying a pipeline and expanding it to ensure exports, while waiting out court orders and regulatory impositions that no government could ignore.

Those actions speak to a federalist nature that most western farmers should have because it supports constitutionally granted access to the ocean. It’s a little reminder to British Columbia that, constitutionally speaking, it doesn’t own that.

When it comes to carbon pricing or taxation, B.C. and Alberta made choices to structure their own and, like it or not, made better programs for industry and primary agricultural producers than the mandatory federal plan delivers.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba could have done likewise, with their own versions. Choosing as a province to fight something that is within the constitutional control of the federal government wastes taxpayer money on lawyers. It’s pandering to conservative-voter bases at taxpayers’ expense. In the meantime, it shoves farmers into a one-size-fits-all, federally programed carbon-fee structure. Provincial politicians should grandstand on their own time and their own dime.

Equalization payments are another area where we in the West have selective memories. Saskatchewan and Manitoba have been recipients, with the latter still deriving about 12 percent of its current revenues from all Canadians through the federal treasury. And, by the way, “have” provinces don’t really pay; it’s based on all taxation in all provinces.

Railing against a federal Liberal government and prime minister from Quebec is good sport, but let’s not squander our tax money on lawyers for partisan piddling and our time and prairie reputations pretending that our attitudes or antagonisms are in defence of democracy.

It’s a small, but good country; let’s not waste it.

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