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Simple answers to Complex Questions and Complex Answers to Simple Questions. In real life, I'm a Greater-Toronto (Canada) Realtor with RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd, Brokerage. I first joined RE/MAX in 1983 and was first Registered to Trade in Real Estate in Ontario in 1974. Formerly known as "Two-Finger Ramblings of a Forensic Acuitant turned Community Synthesizer"

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Solution to "Corrupt" Gov't system - Back to the Future

Dear Ms Francis,
I agree with your analysis in "Canada doesn't have to be a corrupt duchy" -below - the political system must be re-formed. But contrary to your assertion that our "governance system has never been revamped since 1867, nor was it properly conceived", may I submit the following.

Canada's central government was extremely well-devised based on the traditions and practises established/ proved/disproved and adapted from, English & Great British parliaments, the governance system of the Iroquois Confederacy, the U.S's Articles of Confederation 1776 and the current US Constitution 1783.
But our system was fundamentally transformed by two very small events:
1) Order in Council #1940-1121 (see Evolution of functions of the Clerk of the Privy Council ) when Wm. L. Mackenzie King merged the PMO with the Privy Council. This was revenge for the GG's refusal to grant King the dissolution he sought in 1926.

2) Transformation of the Treasury Board into a de facto "committee of Cabinet" vs. a de jure Committee of the Privy Council with the Financial Administration Act of 1951 -(see The Treasury Board and its Secretariat )


To understand the significance of these actions requires an appreciation of the 4 levels of checks and balances created in the original 1867 system.

The House was the bottom rung elected by the "great unwashed" as a continuation of the "responsible government" system, to counter balance this "democratic element" (in light of 13 colonies experience), an Upper house was instituted with a property ownership & net worth qualification (the only Cdn office to have this)
NB I can send you quotes from the time that confirm the elite's intention to set a ~"bulwark against the caprices of the mob".

Further the Governor General was established (with all the powers of a pre-1867 colonial governor see BNA Act S12 vs. S13's "GovGen-in-Council"- scroll to Documents). This individual, a British Imperial appointee could decide as "an individual" whether to grant, withhold or reserve Royal Assent.

The GG was assisted by his/her own 'honour guard' of advisors -the Privy Council- that did include people from the Cabinet of the Lower House, but could/was be comprised of any/many independent persons. (This group took in place of the Executive Councils of colonial times)
Within the Privy Council was the Treasury Board (again with representatives from within & without the Cabinet) that set the estimates and ULTIMATELY was responsible for expenditures from the Monarch's Treasury.

Finally, all Bills from Canada could be Disallowed by the "Monarch-in-Council" in Great Britain any time within the next two years S57). Similarly provincial bills could be Disallowed within one yr by the "Governor General-in-Council" (s90).

So, originally the Brits did NOT trust the "democratic element" in Canada (or in any colony) and layered 3 checks on top of it. (NB this set up was proposed BY the Canadians - J.A MacD et al)

To summarize, Mackenzie King's cunning non-constitutional move in 1940 allowed the PMO to usurp the power of the Privy Council to independently advise the GG (& his subsequent "patriotic" quest to have the GG "Canadian-born" was simply another shrewd tactic to totally control the appointment process).

As for the Senate, a seasonal-adjustment for inflation to the $4,000 net worth qualification along with a formal re-statement of its primary purpose as House of the Propertied Class i.e. those who'd have to pay for any scheme cooked up 'down below' (it's worth noting here too that we had no "Lords" in 1867).

The Financial Administration Act legalized Cabinet's takeover of ITS double-check -the Treasury Board - and created the environment that you (and most Canadians) have rightly criticized today.

The Cabinet runs the whole show and double-checks itself.

Successive Party(s)-in-Power have created this self-satisfying system and then made-absolutely-sure by padding the Senate with (unqualified) stooges and hand-picking the GG.

The only things that currently can save us from a Cabinet with "Absolute Power" are the Auditor General, the Public Accounts (but they are a tough read) or a civil servant whistle-blower.

Ms Francis, notwithstanding the miscreant 'de facto' GovCan operations of today, the de jure system's original set-up (with a very few updates) is in my opinion excellent and well-suited!!



Thursday » May 12 » 2005

Canada doesn't have to be a corrupt duchy

Diane Francis

Financial Post
May 12, 2005

The greatest damage to Canada by the corrupt Liberal regime over the years has been the spread of cynicism among the voting public.
It's not unusual to hear people say that all politicians are crooks and that nothing will ever change.
Too many people assume that all parties are the same and only out for their own ends or the goals of their loyalists and cronies.
That simply doesn't have to be the case.
The problem with Canada is not its politicians, the Liberals excepted. The problem with Canada is the political system itself, which has no checks and balances. The result is that it's been run like a corrupt little Third World country. And promises last year by Paul Martin to correct this have not been acted upon.
Canada's governance system has never been revamped since 1867, nor was it properly conceived by the British in the first place. At least Britain's House of Commons has checks and balances in the form of a monarchy and House of Lords, which can apply brakes to a runaway Parliament. Canada's did not and the governor-general has been merely a shameless patronage appointee with a big, fat budget for parties.
Fixing the system is not difficult and the measures contained in the Conservative platform would do the trick. The Bloc Quebecois has another way to fix the system and wants Quebecers to leave the country for good. Whatever the solution, this country isn't working as it should or as it could.
The result has been predictable. Adscam is not isolated but part of a pattern of systemic corruption in Ottawa, which includes the disappearance and defrauding of taxpayers of $1-billion in Human Resources Development Corp. grants; questionable cost overruns on the gun registry, the co-option of the civil service and RCMP, plus much, much more.
Grants, contracts and loans are routinely handed out to Liberal friends and contributors. Taxpaying businesses are told they must cut a cheque to the appropriate Liberal candidate, riding or lobbyist.
Here are examples that have come to attention recently. All deserve investigation. Some are drawn from the Gomery inquiry, some from past media reports and others from sources who have to remain nameless:
- A retired senior civil servant said a Canadian corporation he is involved with, which does business abroad, was told to make a contribution to the Liberal party before a Liberal cabinet minister or External Affairs would get involved.
- Former civil servant Chuck Guite told the Gomery inquiry last week that former Liberal cabinet minister David Dingwall (appointed to run the Royal Canadian Mint) told him to forget guidelines that price should determine who gets ad agency business from Ottawa. He then gave a number of examples of that in practice. He also said he was told to look after Chretien buddy Jacques Corriveau, who was a Liberal bagman and owned a design firm that employed Chretien's youngest son. He also said Chretien insider Jean Pelletier (fired from Via Rail last year) reversed a decision to grant a Toronto advertising agency a huge contract so that it could be split with a Liberal-friendly Montreal firm.
- All contracts granted under the RFP, or Request for Proposal, system by Liberals should be investigated. These are based on subjective judgment only and there are widespread reports of influence peddling involving the purchase of weapons, computers, legal or accounting services, management consulting services, office supplies and real estate.
- A car dealer explained a scam used by Liberals in two Crown corporations involving the leasing of company cars. The Crown corporation pays excessive monthly leasing rates of $2,000 for two years, so that at the end of the lease the cost of buying the car, by the Crown corporation Liberal, will be a fraction of its actual value.
- An inquiry should be held into Liberal expense accounts. Shenanigans are rampant, involving more individuals than the discredited, former Privacy Commissioner George Radwanski or former Canada Post honcho Andre Ouellet. The latter racked up $1,000 a day in expenses for several years without providing receipts.
- Crown corporation pensions should be audited. There is concern that Liberals and their patronage pals on boards of directors have skimmed pension surpluses by dramatically enhancing pension entitlements.
- Manipulation and interference in the immigration and refugee process has permitted the wholesale circumvention of rules and the entrance, through thousands of special ministerial permits and other gambits, of undesirables at the expense of the business community, which finds it increasingly difficult to import trained workers.
Systemic, sleazy and shameless come to mind when describing the Liberal government. But it doesn't have to be that way. To stop future corruption, the next Parliament must create a system that imposes checks on all future politicians
© National Post 2005

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