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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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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Canada Re-mapped - the 'well and septic' constituency speaks

Dan Aiken has left a new comment on your post "If PEI is a province, why cannot the GTA be one?":
"Perhaps you skipped out on Canadian History class but here's a crash course. Canada is a federation. A joining together of provinces that were established by Britain. We're not an empire. It makes absolutely no sense to make the GTA a province. If provincial lines are going to be re-drawn it will most likely be to disadvantage the Quebec sub-culture."


Mr Aiken,

Thank you for your interest in my blog & for taking the time to make a very intuitive point about what I do indeed believe (and did not explicitly state) regarding the implications of my concept for the syndicalists-in-francophone-rights-clothing who are now advocating the separation of Quebec from Confederation.

Perhaps I dashed off my entry with the same haste as you did in your reply.

I did not mean to cast any negative comments towards PEI, I just picked it to make my point on the blatant INequality of the provinces, size, structure, population etc

In 1993 I ran in York North a riding just north of Toronto that (prior to 3 subsequent boundary re-adjustments) had a population greater than PEI but was just one electoral district.

In other posts I've drawn parallels to Switzerland's canton/ half-canton system in describing and recommending subsidiarity (government 'control' by the order of gov't closest to the pop/issue)

Disregarding your "history lesson' comment, My reading informs me that PEI was an independent colony (as was Vancouver Island) prior to Confederation and that PEI was unable to join the 1867 group because it's land was not controlled by the Crown - absentee landlords had been granted franchises on most of the island and then pretty much left it to its own devices.

I am not saying PEI should 'disappear or be amalgamated' or some such thing, (I fact I believe boundaries should be natural ones (rivers, heights of land - watershed boundaries as they were in the Hudson's Bay Charter and the Proclamation of 1763).

I just looked at the map of Canada (pop distribution, economic concentrations, transportation links, proximity to local and foreign markets, traditional industries etc) and saw two "ways of life"
struggling within the "bosom" of each province'.

Why are we fighting/suffering the "well and septic" vs. "built-up urban" war, 10-11-13 times?

The needs and wants of city-folk are different from the not-in-town-and-darn-happy-about-it folks.

If we were drawing boundaries today would we use Catholic vs. Protestant guidelines? english vs. french language? lines of longitude?

If we were to try and simplify government and simplify the collection and re-distribution of wealth (assuming we DO want to deploy the surplus providence of one area to foster growth and prosperity elsewhere in the country) why not set up 'canton/provinces' that we almost self-sufficient in the first place.

PEI has the constitutionally entrenched right to be PEI and to be over-represented (in a strict rep by pop sense) because it IS a province, an entity, a personality, a destination and a omeland.

Quebec -same thing.

Ontario is an artificial construct - expanded by craft, guile and (un)fortunate-timing of decisions vis a vis political events.

The 49th parallel we're stuck with, the 60th parallel, I'm not sure of.

The Rocky Mtns are a suitable e-w divide, as is the Ottawa River - but the n/s boundaries of Man/Sask/Alta? why there? why not seven instead of 3 or 6 or 2 or 1?

Administrative decisions were taken from far away and along time ago.

Look at the map of New France/ Quebec/ Canada from early colonial days, 1763, 1774, 1791, 1851 and then 1912

Where should Ontario & Quebec end in the north?

Where should Labrador be separated from (subsumed by) Northern Quebec?


Who lives there, how do the live and who will decide?

'If it ain't broke don't fix it' for sure.

But is Canada's administrative system broke? is it maximized? is itsensible?


If you COULD do it all over again, (knowing everything we know today) would you do it differently? using different criteria and from much closer (i.e. not from Whitehall)?

So my grievances is not with Quebec or PEI or Alberta's nouveau-rich cockiness (were WAS this western alienation in the 30's and 40's?).


My grievance is with Toronto's under-representation and the burden that the "rest of Ontario" has to bear when the province issues edicts "for" Toronto that affect the well-and-septic territories.

Rent Controls, Market Value assessment, gun control,HomoSex marriage etc BIG urban stuff, but it applies across Timmins and Kenora et al.

This same 'city rules applicable to non-urban environments' occurs in every province.

The Province of Ontario has now enacted a land use policy that in fact defines the boundaries of my GREATER Toronto province and the local regional governments are working on common water, waste, transport, power etc solutions - the components are there, it just needs, well, 'Confederating'.

If Toronto was the proto-type, some other cities might watch, wait and either do or not do the same (but I have my suspicions that obtaining the constitutional jurisdictions and taxing, etc powers of a province would be irresistible for many).

The only 'hitch' is what happens to the "rest of the province" that has it's city 'separated' from it?

If we imagine Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa/Hull and Montreal hived of as new provinces what do we have left? who lives there? what do they do for a living? what is the sources of the revenue that funds their 'much-loved gov't safety net programs'?

Do they have much in common or is there wide disparity in lifestyle and 'need' for governing?

If we throw Calgary/Red Deer/Edmonton into the mix it is just that much clearer. (and what about tossing in Quebec City,? Winnipeg? Halifax? London? ... any city/region with say 400-500 thousand people)

The cities live off themselves, the 'well and septic' zones live off the land, localized industries, government money (that money comes from the cities and industry/commerce, which is largely situated in the cities) and natural resources royalties.

Humpf ... if these new cities/provinces/cantons took care of themselves ... and the non-urban areas shared all the natural resource revenue .... would we need criss-cross-transfers and subsidization and equalization etc?

Would the natural resources be "stewarded' better or worse ... if there was one pan-Canadian policy governing development, harvesting, value-added processing and sustainability of the raw material?

Would PEI be better off enjoying a piece of Hibernia + the NWT Diamond mines +the Voisey's Bay nickel in Labrador, the gold, the tar sands ... you name it - rather than hoping for a slice of the wealth after it went through taxation and re-distribution in the province of discovery, then some head office, then Ottawa, and then the PEI government?

Would Toronto be better on with rules that suited ultra-urban densities and population intensities, that it crafted itself for itself?

Would Montreal be better off in its urban cosmopolitanism being self-governed rather than a 'creature of the province'?

The wild card is Calgary/Red Deer/Edmonton - but I leave it up to them.

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